So after 2 months of using iOS 17 (as well as iPadOS 17, tvOS 17, audioOS17 and watachOS10 (that naming!)), I figured I’d give a little bit of an update on both how the betas have been, but also how the features I was excited about in June have actually shaped up in the real world.
The first question is always "is it stable". Well, yes. Remarkably so. From developer beta 1 through to public beta 6 (which is what I am currently on) it has been rock solid. I've had 1 random restart, and few occasions where I have had to force a reboot to clear silly bugs a few times. Battery life has largely been okay, but it's hard to judge as I upgraded from an iPhone 11 Pro to an iPhone 13 Pro Max whilst on beta 2. For the most part I come of charge at 6:30am and get through the day no problem. I may give a little top-off charge before my bedtime routine but that mostly depends on if I have had a slow day at work and thus more time watching YouTube or playing Golf Battle.
Another issue that often crops up with betas is compatability with banking apps. They tend to err on the side of caution — understandably — but with iOS17 both apps for my banks have working just fine.
Even beyond banking apps there have been no bugs in apps I use that would stop me using them. A few layout bugs here and there, but again, nothing show-stopping. It's easily been the most stable and compatible beta cycle that I can remember, so much so I have put the public betas on my daughter's and partners devices.
What about the features I wrote of?
I'll do these in the order I wrote the original article and then leave a bit of bonus content at the end ;)
Game. Changer. It's really that simple. It's so nice to have them. They even have a neat feature that when you get directions to a location that might have crap network coverage, it will suggest you download the offline map for that area.
Transcribe Voice Messages.
Brilliant when it works. It sometimes gets it a bit wonky but it gets the point across in a pinch. It is a tad unreliable at actually showing incoming messages. Almost always transcribes sent messages, which you might think defeats the point, but it's actually nice to remind you of what you said, especially if the reply is coming in sometime later.
Meh. "Hey Siri" is so ingrained that's it's hard to change the behaviour. In fact, until I went through the previous post I forgot that this was even a thing.
Still beautiful. I worry this feature will look worse than it is when it's launched when people start using low-quality, blurry and grainy photos. It's also weird to set up and could be confusing thus causing people to not bother.
The New iMessage Apps Menu.
Yup. Still a thumbs up but if you're like me it will take some retraining of muscle memory to reach for it instead of the old row of icons.
Brilliant idea, sad that it's needed. My only kvetch is that you can't start a check in as part of an iOS shortcut or automation and I wish you could add custom time intervals for updates.
Some Of My Least Favourite Things.
The list remains the same and I'm indifferent. FaceTime and Live Voicemail is only available to US users, NameDrop might be nice if I ever use it, but I don't hand my number out that often and whilst the new improved autocorrect is useful, I still find myself having to check a lot of things before I send them just in case it's predicted something incorrectly.
The most underrated iOS 17 feature.
I didn't write about this previously but wow is StandBy great. So great in fact that it's part of what prompted me to upgrade to the iPhone 13 Pro Max just to get MagSafe to make it easier to charge overnight in landscape mode. Although with that being said, it's biggest use has been whilst at my desk to easily see the massive notifications as they come in.
This is undoubtedly an iPhone 14 feature designed to be used with the AOD, and I'm surprised (but happy) that Apple even bothered to make it available to previous generation phones.
On those "old" phones, the screen dims after a short period of time, and a double-tap gets you right back to the StandBy screen. I wish a double tap anywhere nearby would wake the screen just like you can with the Apple Watch when it's in bedside mode. I also read that you could just wave your hand in front of the proximity sensor to wake it, and whilst it does seem to have activated whilst at my desk and moving around, I'm not sure if its because of any detected motion or some fluke.
Apple has set September 12th as the date to announce the iPhone 15 and no doubt iOS 17s official release date will be announced to which I've no doubt it will be in September…which means less than a month to go and I'll happily recommended that everybody I know upgrades a week or two later. Why two weeks? Well, beta testing is good but you just never know…