Something to look forward to: Apple is introducing significant operating system updates for its entire product stack this fall. iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other devices will receive updates to FaceTime, AirDrop, messaging, widgets, Safari, and much more. Meanwhile, the company is completely overhauling the Apple Watch interface.
One of the most significant changes coming to Apple devices this fall will be for FaceTime. The new update for the iPhone and other products will enable video messages, which Apple admits were highly requested. Additionally, the Apple TV 4K gains the ability to display multiple FaceTime call recipients while using the iPhone camera to display a caller’s room from a docking station.
Widget functionality on the iPad and Mac expands in iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma. Users can complete more tasks without fully opening apps like marking reminders, controlling audio, or controlling home lights. macOS Sonoma will display those widgets on the desktop.
Safari also receives privacy and productivity improvements across all devices. Profiles can create separate sets of tab groups, cookies, history, and bookmarks for different purposes like work and personal use. Private browsing can now lock a window behind Face ID or Touch ID and will combat web tracking.
AirDrop now allows quickly sharing contact information or syncing entertainment media by bringing two iPhones or an iPhone and an Apple Watch close together. Eventually, Apple will add the ability to continue large AirDrop transfers over an encrypted iCloud connection when users leave AirDrop range.
A new standby mode for iPhones running iOS 17 will display the time, widget information, and notifications in large text to make them viewable at a distance. The feature is tailor-made for the iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on display, but older devices can still display it when users tap the screen.
Meanwhile, iPads gain new PDF functionality. Machine learning on iPadOS 17 can detect fields in PDFs where users can enter information like name or phone number. The update also allows PDF annotation using Apple Pencil, tracking changes seamlessly across multiple users through live collaboration. PDFs also now display at full width.
With Sonoma, Apple continues its push to improve Mac gaming. A new Game Mode improves performance by diverting more CPU and GPU resources toward games while reducing input lag, while a new Metal toolkit makes porting games to Mac and Apple Silicon faster. Hideo Kojima announced that his company is porting Death Stranding to Apple Silicon.
The Apple Watch receives a new interface and design language with watchOS 10. Apple redesigned all watch apps to use screen real estate more efficiently, and third-party developers can follow suit. A new “Smart Stack” displays a Rolodex-like feed of widgets when users turn the side dial.
An essential new Apple Watch safety feature uses the Compass app to display last-known positions with available cellular reception and SOS calls. A similar new iPhone feature called “Check In” lets users easily notify friends and family members when they reach a destination. If someone is delayed while traveling, Check In can temporarily share information like an iPhone’s location, battery level, and cell service status with trusted contacts through an end-to-end-encrypted connection.
In tvOS 17, Apple TV 4K users can access a control panel containing communication, My Home, and other features without leaving an app. Furthermore, with a visual proximity guide, the iPhone Control Center can help find a lost Apple TV Siri Remote as long as it’s 2nd generation or later. Viewers having trouble hearing dialogue in movies or TV shows can use a 2nd-generation HomePod to move the dialogue to the center audio channel.
The OS updates will introduce many other features when they launch this fall. Developer betas are available now and public betas are set to roll out next month. You can check out device compatibility information below for iPhone, iPad and Macs.