After WWDC 2023, we finally have some idea of what iPadOS 17 is going to look like. We know there are some big changes to be excited about, such as the new lock screen, customization options, widget implementation, and new PDF features. Some features are carrying over from the macOS update too, like Safari updates and Stage Manager extras. Even the keyboard is being spruced up while there's the addition of a health app you're more used to seeing on your iPhone.
iPadOS 16 was a pretty large addition for most of us. It brought with it the Freeform collaboration app as well as Stage Manager for iPad multitasking features which truly enhanced many people's ability to be productive.
And potentially, iPadOS 17 could be even bigger. Here's a look at everything that is coming to iPadOS 17 later this year.
iPadOS 17: New features
New lock screens with iPadOS 17
New lock screens were one of the first big new features announced at WWDC. Much like the lock screen on iOS, you're able to customize the iPad lock screen with new photos and clocks. The clocks can be hidden by part of the background intelligently, plus you can change the font and layout of the clock too.
Also new to iPadOS are the widgets that you can place on the Lock and Home screens. These widgets look a lot like the lock screen widgets you see on iOS, but they're slightly larger in line with the bigger screens of the iPad range. The widgets are interactive too, so you can turn on or off HomeKit devices, interact with Health apps, and play or skip music in Apple Music.
Such widgets carry over to your Home Screen, being able to blend seamlessly into the background, and sit alongside your apps. They're interactive too with widgets like Photos, Music, and others to add to your Home Screen. They blend in with the look screen ones, so you gain a more seamless experience.
iPad Health app
Health has also come to iPad, with the bigger screen allowing for more metrics and graphs. The interface has been built with the bigger iPad screen in mind, with more information displayed on one screen.
PDF baked in
PDFs are now a baked in addition to the latest version of iPadOS. You can more easily edit them on your iPad thanks to this. The format has also come to the Notes app so you can annotate them and collaborate with others too.
More iOS-like features are also coming to iPadOS 17. There will be new messaging Stickers as well as an expandable tray-like menu for the Messages app. FaceTime is also seeing improvements such as allowing you to connect to an Apple TV box and take calls on a bigger screen.
Stage Manager has also been improved, with more flexibility to the position and size of windows. Freeform will offer new drawing tools, and some more new features including support for hover, tilt, and snap-to-shape. Spotlight comes to help users find information even faster with shortcuts to actions, enhanced visual results, and more.
There's a new autocorrect model for the keyboard too, in a bid to make it easier to type faster than before. Dictation is also more accurate thanks to the new speech recognition. Related to that, Siri can now be summoned without needing to say 'hey' first. Finally, AirPlay will follow user preferences to get to know when and where to connect to devices.
iPadOS 17: Release date
Assuming Apple sticks to its regular schedule, iPadOS 17 will likely be released in September or October. iPadOS 16 was released a month after iOS 16 in 2022. That was so it could coincide with the release of new iPads so we could see similar happening again in 2023.
Beta testers can get their hands on the update now, with the developer betas available to download already. Public betas will release soon.
Which iPads support iPadOS 17?
iPads tend to be supported for a long time. When Apple does remove tablets from the compatibility list, it tends to be a small number of them. iPadOS 16 only saw two devices lose support -- the iPad Air 2 (released in 2014) and the iPad mini 4 (2015).
If you own one of the best iPads, you won't have to worry.
We don't have official confirmation of what doesn't make the cut with iPadOS 17. However, there are now 23 iPads that support the latest version of iPadOS so we could see more be removed. That's counting the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (4th generation), and iPad (10th generation).
The five iPads most likely not to make the iPadOS 17 support list include the following:
- iPad (5th generation) (2017)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation) (2015)
- iPad Pro 9.7-inch (2016)
- iPad Pro 10.5-inch (2017)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation) (2017)
How to install the iPadOS 17 beta
While we've seen iPadOS 17 at WWDC, the full public release of the software won't become available until later in the year. If you absolutely must try out the latest version of iPadOS, you can – with the beta. Keep in mind that the beta won't be as stable as the final release, so make sure this isn't on one of your main devices.
First of all, you'll need to register for the Developer Program so that you can download and install the software. Once you're registered, you'll be able to install any beta software on all the Apple devices signed into that account.
To install the beta, go to Settings, General, Software Updates, and then finally Beta Updates. There, select the correct developer beta – in this iPadOS 17. This beta won't yet be available, but once the show is all finished, it will be good to go.
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John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.
Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.
John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.
John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.
In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.
- Stephen WarwickNews Editor