The end of the year is usually a time when people reflect on what came before the previous year, and the same goes for Apple’s software, especially iOS.
Since 2007 with the debut of the iPhone and iOS, there has been an annual turnaround of new software updates that will bring big changes or small improvements, such as a redesign in iOS 7, or widgets on the home screen in iOS 14.
But with iOS 16 bringing widgets to the lock screen, it seems users want an expansion of existing features, rather than new ones for iOS 17.
With this in mind, we racked our brains and came up with seven iPhone platform features that can benefit many users.
Startup screen showing the new features
This is something I hear a lot: “I didn’t know the iPhone could do that.” When I work in an open office, I’ll see iPhones updated to iOS 16 but still on the old lock screen or others still running iOS 13 on an iPhone 11 Pro.
Apple believes that design should be invisible, that you should intuitively know that a function will be there, ready to use, but it doesn’t work that way for everyone. A friend had no idea you could answer calls on a Mac through, say, an iPhone—a feature that’s been around since 2014.
This is why an additional splash screen should appear when you update to iOS 17. Just like when you start one of Apple’s apps and a screen appears showing what’s new. Instead, have this show when you go to the home screen, and make it clear that the Tips app can help you try out these features.
The Tips app is a lesser-known app from Apple, but for a new user it’s great – it’s just not talked about much by the company, and you most likely don’t know that you can go to the app and, as the above image shows, see an overview of all the new functions.
Let’s see it become more ubiquitous—maybe a random tip pops up on Dynamic Island the first day you update to iOS 17, or even an email showing what you can do.
Redesigned control center
This is something that has been waiting for a long time, but it is a difficult challenge to overcome. First appearing in iOS 7 with the major redesign to a flat methodology, you would swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone to access some settings. It was later moved to the top right corner when the iPhone X and beyond used the swipe gesture to return to the home screen.
Almost ten years later and the Control Center has deteriorated, mainly due to the number of new features that have appeared, in turn filling up the menu so much that it can be difficult to exit the screen when you try to swipe up.
Let’s see a redesign where we can resize the options, similar to widgets on the home screen, and allow third-party apps to access the control center.
And as an aside, let’s also see Control Center being part of the multitasking menu on the iPad, rather than having its own section.
Stream games more easily from iOS to Twitch
Apple made a big push into gaming at WWDC 2022, announcing that Resident Evil Village is coming to Mac, and No Man’s Sky is coming to both Mac and iPad, but if you’re looking to stream games on your iPhone via Twitch, you’re out of luck.
Granted, SharePlay allows users to stream what they’re doing in certain apps, but that’s within a FaceTime call. Instead, let’s see a feature where you can press a button to upload your Twitch account and stream your Apple Arcade game.
Let’s also make it possible to view the chat window of those watching your stream, and keep track of your subscriptions through notifications on any other Apple device you may have.
We’re in an age where many users own multiple Apple products, and while iCloud helps you manage files across those devices, some details like exercise and battery life can only be found on certain Apple products.
For example, if you want to look at your Move goal on a Fitness widget from the iPad, you can’t.
If you want to check the battery on all your devices, you’re out of luck. The only way to check if they are running out of power is to load up the Find My app, go to Devices taband select each of your Apple products to check how full the battery icon is for each one.
If one app can do this, a battery widget in iOS, and also macOS and iPadOS is possible.
The home screen on iOS had barely changed since 2007, so when a redesign finally arrived in iOS 16 with widgets, it was great to see. However, let’s see these efforts expand even further in iOS 17.
Six widgets and a Live Activities widget on the lock screen aren’t enough for some – there are plenty of opportunities to see more widgets in more sizes and more places.
For example, the time should be allowed to be replaced by another widget, along with another row of widgets below the three we can already choose.
More widgets are always a good thing, so let’s see more of them, and in more sizes.
Better picture-in-picture controls
While the ability to watch a video anywhere on your device debuted on the iPad only in iOS 9, there have been hardly any improvements since, except for its appearance on iOS 14 in 2019.
However, the ability to better control the video, such as scrubbing the timeline and selecting other videos, has still not arrived, which is why these should appear in iOS 17.
It’s also a hidden feature when using this in macOS – if you hold Option while dragging a video, you can place it anywhere on the screen. Let’s see this appear in iOS 17 as well, so we have more control over the size and placement.
Get back landscape mode
When I had an iPhone 8 Plus, I loved having the ability to flip the phone to landscape and the home screen would rotate along with everything else.
The keyboard would have added features such as punctuation keys and shortcuts such as copying and pasting text, as well as taking advantage of the extra length to make some keys wider, but this was removed in future models when the iPhone XS was launched in 2018.
Almost every iPhone currently available, from the iPhone 13 to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, all have the same or larger screens than the regular iPhone 8 Plus, thanks to the different screen design. So let’s see iOS 17 take advantage of it, and extend it to other apps as well, such as Apple Music and even the lock screen with its useful widgets.
Is your wish missing?
We’re at a point with iOS where the high-hanging fruit of features have been fulfilled by Apple over the years—from custom keyboards to redesigned widgets on the home screen.
The seven here are what can improve anyone’s use of an iPhone, but individuality is something Apple knows is important, which is why we can customize our redesigned lock screens in iOS 16 to make them our own.
Is there anything you think we missed for iOS 17? Get in touch with us (opens in a new tab) to tell us what you’d like to see in a future release from Apple.