iOS 17 Beta 4 Unveiled: Exciting New Features in AirDrop, Messages, and Beyond

Small details throughout the system.

iOS 17 Beta 4 Unveiled: Exciting New Features in AirDrop, Messages, and Beyond
David Bernal Raspall

David Bernal Raspall

Following its usual schedule, Apple released yesterday afternoon new versions of iOS 17, macOS Sonoma, and watchOS 10. With the launch of the fourth beta of iOS 17, Apple continues to fine-tune its upcoming mobile operating system ahead of its official release to the public in September.


Traditionally, beta 4 is one of the versions that brings the most new features to the system for two main reasons. The first is that it is in beta 3 when the public betas are opened. Apple has to focus on them, and then new features start arriving in the betas. The second reason is that the company has had time to work on the feedback it has received.

Fewer news than expected, but very diverse

This time, however, there aren’t as many novelties as one would expect, and the ones that have been discovered are more like aesthetic changes than anything else. Nevertheless, let’s go through what’s new in this beta 4.

  • Farewell to Photo Stream: one of the most notable changes in iOS 17 beta 4 is the complete disappearance of the My Photo Stream service. The company announced the closure of this service months ago. As of now, it is no longer available, and as a direct consequence, the fourth beta has completely removed this feature.
  • More options to customize AirDrop functionality: in this new beta, Apple has introduced an option in the Settings app, which allows us, if desired, to disable the ability to initiate transfers via AirDrop when two devices running iOS 17 are brought close together. An additional layer of control that also prevents NameDrop from functioning, which allows us to exchange contacts by simply bringing two iPhones or an iPhone and an Apple Watch close together.

  • More options for StandBy mode: now we can configure it for a more private experience. By enabling the corresponding option in Settings > StandBy, we can make notification previews not show up until we touch the screen. A method to avoid prying eyes from seeing certain alerts.

  • Refinements in the Messages app: which bring some aesthetic changes. Apple has reimagined the design and icons of the applications within the Messages app. Now, all of them have a rounded appearance. The clearest example is the Photos app, which went from displaying the app’s icon to showing the most recent photo in the catalog, and now returns to showing the app’s logo itself.

  • Small changes in the buttons of the TV app: iOS 17 beta 4 has introduced a slightly modified design for the buttons within the TV app.
  • New icon in the Settings app: The options for Home Screen and App Library now feature a more colorful icon representing nine apps on a lilac background. Previously, it showed the icon of an iPhone on a blue background.

  • Tweaks to the Siri Remote function for Apple TV: The button to access the Remote from the Control Center now has a simpler design that prominently displays the features of the remote, omitting some details like the power button. Within the Remote itself, the Play/Pause button now features a bold symbol.

  • New AirPlay animation: Another small change in the interface is a new animation for the AirPlay selector. It now appears slightly faster, providing quicker access to the audio output selection we want to use.
  • Lock screen changes: Lastly, Apple has made a minor change to the design of the text that we can customize on the iPhone lock screen. Now, the thinnest possible text is noticeably thicker than in the third beta, where it could be difficult to read with certain wallpapers.

Absolutely! iOS 17 beta 4 provides us with a clearer vision of what Apple has in store for its next major update. From improvements in aesthetics and usability to the removal of older features, the company continues to evolve the system and fine-tune its design down to the smallest detail.


Indeed, it’s important to keep in mind that what one beta changes, another could revert, so we won’t know the final look of the system until its official release at Apple Park next month in September. Until then, we’ll be eagerly anticipating and closely following its evolution.

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David Bernal Raspall

David Bernal Raspall

Architect | Creator of | Trainer in Apple technologies | Editor at Softonic and iDoo_tech and previously at Applesfera

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