Earlier this year at WWDC, Apple revealed the next major updates for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. Now those updates have reached public beta status, so they are ready for wider testing — and you can try them today.
Apple has released the public betas for iOS 17 for iPhone, iPadOS 17 for iPad, macOS Sonoma for Mac, tvOS 17 for the Apple TV and watchOS 10 for the Apple Watch, following a few months of betas aimed exclusively at app developers. The new public betas should, at least in theory, be stable enough for use on a device you use every day. You can sign up for the public beta on Apple’s website, but we won’t have a clear idea about the stability until people have used it for at least a few days, and some software (especially on macOS) is probably still broken.
The iOS 17 update for iPhone won’t completely change the way you use your phone, but it does include personalized lock screens for calls from your contacts, live transcription of incoming voicemails, updates to iMessage like stickers and improved location sharing, the Journal app, interactive widgets, improvements to AirDrop, and much more. It also has a new StandBy mode, which turns your phone into something closer to a smart clock or smart display when it’s charging and not in use.
The iPadOS 17 update includes most of the same features, but with the addition of Stage Manager improvements and other upgrades. The macOS Sonoma release is relatively minor, but it does have new widgets features, new modes for the camera, more powerful web apps in Safari, a Game Mode that optimizes performance, and other changes. Installing macOS preview builds is usually more risky than the other platforms, though.
If you don’t feel comfortable installing the public betas right now — which is usually a good idea for devices you rely on — you probably won’t have to wait long for the final stable release. Last year’s iOS 16 update arrived on September 12, 2022, and iOS 15 before that was released on September 20, 2021. Another release in September seems likely, which is only two months away.