Just one week after releasing iOS 17, Apple surprises with the first beta of iOS 17.1 for developers. This update not only brings the promised features from the previous version but also introduces significant improvements. Let’s go through all the novelties.
Apple Music says goodbye to the “Like” system
Version 17.1 of the operating system brings a revamped favorite system for Apple Music. Now, we can mark songs, albums, playlists, and artists as favorites directly within the app. When you do this, they will be automatically added to your library, which, in turn, will refine the recommendations you receive from the app.
This new feature replaces the old “Like” system, in which we used hearts to indicate to the system that we liked a song but didn’t add it to our library. Additionally, a detail that will delight many: we can mark our favorite songs from the playback widget on the lock screen.
The Music updates conclude with a small nod to the most observant users: songs that have a star next to them are marked as favorites, while a dot identifies the most played song on the album. Although they are not yet available, Apple plans to launch a playlist of Favorite Songs and offer collaborative playlists.
AirDrop: unrestricted distance transfers
As explained during the previous WWDC, if we start a transfer and move away from the person we are sharing with, we can now complete it using a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. This is a feature that was not available in the official release of iOS 17 but is now arriving in the first beta of the system.
You will no longer need to stay close to someone when sharing a large volume of files. And for situations where there are data consumption limitations, there’s a new option in the AirDrop settings to enable or disable transfers over a mobile network, thus restricting them to Wi-Fi while still maintaining the flexibility to move away from the receiver.
NameDrop, Tones, Wallet, Books, Journal, and much more
Explained the two most important innovations, let’s go over the rest of the improvements and changes in a somewhat more condensed format:
- With the new NameDrop, it’s now possible to exchange contact information between an Apple Watch and an iPhone. This was also not available in the first version of iOS 17 and will officially arrive in the version we are now testing as a beta.
- Although more than 20 new tones were added in the initial release of iOS 17, they have disappeared in the iOS 17.1 beta. It is expected that they will return in a second beta, but in the meantime, custom tones for Mail and Messages have returned.
- For users in the UK, it’s now possible to add their bank accounts to the Wallet app. This feature allows you to view balances, payments, purchases, and deposits directly from the application.
- In the Books app, the “Reading” section is replaced by “Read.”
- The Diary app is not included in this first beta of iOS 17.1, although it is mentioned in some sections of the system.
- When activating the flashlight on iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 15, or iPhone 15 Plus, a flashlight icon will now appear in the Dynamic Island. This used to only happen on iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.
- In iOS 17.1, you can use the Nintendo Switch N64 controller.
- Additionally, when setting a new wallpaper, there’s now an “Expand” option to adapt images that don’t fit the screen size with just a tap.
- In Apple Podcasts, the program’s cover art is now displayed in full screen.
- In the Apple Watch, watchOS 10.1 beta lays the groundwork for enabling the double-tap gesture. It’s not active yet, but there are references to it.
- The battery cycle counter, exclusive to the new iPhone 15 models, remains exclusive to these models in iOS 17.1 Beta 1.
Overall, iOS 17.1 beta brings significant changes and improvements that enhance the user experience while simplifying it. We don’t know how long this beta cycle will last, although according to Apple’s communication, it should arrive before the end of the year.