iOS 17 will have some new features but no tentpole ones as the focus is on fixing bugs

Apple will deliver some new features with iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, but the main focus will be fixing bugs and improving reliability and performance.

An iPhone laying on a MacBook, showing an iOS update progress bar
A new update is available for your iPhone | Image: Szabo Viktor/Unsplash
  • What’s happening? iOS 17 was supposed to be a maintenance update focused on improving performance and fixing bugs. But as it would seem, the update is rumored to provide a few “most requested features” after all.
  • Why care? iOS 17 was plagued with missed deadlines and a rocky start with bugs and missing features ruining the experience for some early adopters.
  • What to do? If you haven’t updated to iOS 16, tell us why in the comments. Is it because of the bugs in early releases, the lack of features or something else?

What new features will iOS 17 bring?

iOS 16 was plagued with missed deadlines and a rocky start with bugs and missing features ruining the experience for some early adopters.

But Apple is reportedly content to avoid repeating the same mistake with its next major operating system. iOS 17, codenamed Dawn, will reportedly be mostly a bug-fix release focused on performance and reliability improvements.

But just because iOS 17 was supposed to be a Snow Leopard-like release, Apple won’t pause on innovation altogether, as there’ll be a few new features here and there to keep users happy.

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

When Apple set out to develop iOS 17, the initial thinking was to call it a tuneup release — one focused more on fixing bugs and improving performance than adding new features (not unlike the approach the company took with Snow Leopard on Mac OS X back in 2009).

The hope was to avoid the problems of iOS 16, an ambitious update that suffered from missed deadlines and a buggy start. But later in the development process, the strategy changed.

And this:

The iOS 17 release is now expected to boast several “nice to have” features, even if it lacks a tentpole improvement like last year’s revamped lock screen. The goal of the software is to check off several of users’ most requested features.

Gurman doesn’t mention what those new features might be.

Blame it on the headset!

Another reason why iOS 17 won’t be big on major new features: the rumored headset. As Gurman reported in January, the development work around Apple’s mixed-reality headset has been so consuming that it pulled manpower from software teams. As a result, iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS 14 (codenamed Sunburst) will only include some of the new features that were initially planned.

Regardless, it now appears that iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 could be more significant updates than we were led to believe earlier, which is a good thing.

Apple will preview iOS 17 and the next major versions of its other operating systems at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference in June, when the company is also expected to unveil its long-awaited headset.