iOS 17 - What you actually need to know
When will it be available?
iOS 17 was launched on Monday 18th September. If your device is compatible, you can update to iOS 17 in Settings > General > Software Update.
What has changed in iOS 17?
New features include StandBy, live voicemail, interactive widgets, and Apple Maps offline.
If you want to see all the new features in action, Nick Ackerman has a great 16-minute demonstration video here.
As usual, the interface receives a visual refresh. Some of the icons look a bit more aesthetic and some of the menus have been cleaned up and re-organised.
Should I update to iOS 17?
iOS updates always improve on previous versions, so you'll benefit from updating, even if the new features don't appeal to you.
However, new software versions always have some bugs. We haven't seen or read about them yet, but can guarantee that there will be reports of software corruption, data loss, battery drain and app crashes. Most users won't have any issues, and can freely enjoy the new features in iOS 17, but some users will inevitably run into problems when they update. Apple has a team of software developers working frantically around the clock to fix these bugs, which is why they release subsequent software updates so frequently.
I usually recommend waiting until the ".2" version. You almost certainly won't miss out on anything by waiting for a few weeks, and once you've made the jump, there's no going back. Take 2 minutes to check that your data is backed up first, just to be safe.
Will updating to iOS 17 kill my battery life?
One common complaint that floods the forums as well as our phone lines following an iOS update is reports of decreased battery life.
Most users will indeed experience decreased battery life for the first two days following a major software update. Even after the update has finished being installed, there's still a ton of background processes occurring, and these will consume more power. The device undergoes a series of complex operations to organise all of your new and existing files, apps and other bits of software. This is called indexing. Most of your apps will automatically download updates so that they are optimised for the new OS.
If battery drain persists for more than 48 hours, you may be one of the unlucky few who's device does not like the OS - in which case, you'll have to sit and wait for the developers to fix it. It could also be coincidence. Batteries degrade over time. If your phone is more than three years old, the battery itself may have been on its way out anyway. We are more likely to notice something following a big change, which can lead us to drawing false causations.
Is my device supported?
If you have an iPhone XS, XR, SE 2, SE 3, 11, 12, 13 or 14, you're good.
2017 models, iPhone 8 and iPhone X, will not update to iOS 17. They will still receive security updates for at least two years though.
It feels like yesterday the iPhone X was the all-new, cutting-edge piece of premium hardware. Time & tech moves fast...
FYI: Apple's software support is good. 6 years of updates plus 2 years of security updates is a solid return on a smartphone.
What about iPads?
iPadOS 17 arrives at the same time as iOS 17, and brings most of the same new features and improvements to the iPad.
Supported devices are:
12.9-inch iPad Pro 2nd Gen & later
11-inch iPad Pro
10.5-inch iPad Pro
iPad Air 3rd Gen & later
iPad 6th Gen & later
iPad mini 5th Gen & later
iPad Pro 1st Gen and iPad 5th Gen will not update to iPadOS 17.
I can't upgrade to iOS 17 - is my life over?
It's unlikely that you'll notice anything or have any problems by sticking with your iPhone 8 on iOS 16. As mentioned above, you'll still get security updates, which are important for protecting your sensitive data. All the third-party apps that you use (WhatsApp, Instagram, Waze, NatWest etc.) will continue to work as normal for years to come.
Eventually app developers will stop releasing updates for iOS 16, but this won't occur for quite a while. You can still use WhatsApp on an iPhone 5S, and you can still do mobile banking on an iPhone 6S.
Yes, the newer models are better, but if you're happy with your old phone, then stick with it! Nothing has changed.
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