Every fall, Apple launches new iPhones—this year, the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max should be announced on Tuesday, September 12. Full details of the release schedule here.
But the new software that will be on those phones is also coming a bunch of current Apple handsets, specifically iPhones from the iPhone Xs onwards. Here’s when we can expect to see that software go on general release, so you can download it, install it and benefit from some very cool upgrades, without spending a cent.
The updates include customizing what people see when you call them, Live Stickers crafted from your photo library, a full-screen experience called StandBy when your iPhone is charging, improved widgets, simple number swapping with NameDrop, improved autocorrect which can even learn to swear, maps you can download offline and a ton of other stuff. It’s enough to make you dizzy.
Right now, iOS 17 is in beta. Two different kinds of betas, actually. One for developers, one for public consumption. The dev betas have been going since June, soon after the software was announced at WWDC. Right now, it’s up to beta 8.
The public beta followed on July 12, and has been updated in tandem with the dev beta ever since. The sixth beta, which matches the eighth developer beta, was released on Tuesday, August 29.
The general release of iOS 17 will happen before the next iPhones go on sale. That’s certain. But let’s see if we can be more exact.
Before September 22
Now that we know the Apple special event is set for Tuesday, September 12, we can narrow things down. Apple always puts its iPhones on sale on a Friday. While it is theoretically possible the iPhones could go on sale the very next Friday after the keynote, that is, September 15, this is highly unlikely.
I’m certain the next iPhones will be instore on Friday, September 22. So, the iOS 17 drop must happen some time in those ten days, September 12 to September 22.
My bet is that the software will drop in the same week as the iPhone goes on sale. Which means between Monday, September 18 and Thursday, September 21.
Narrow It Down, Please
Last year, Apple’s latest products saw their reviews come to light on the Wednesday and Thursday before they went on sale, and Apple may choose the same cadence here for reviews of the iPhones and Apple Watches it unveils.
Which leaves two days free in that week, Monday and Tuesday. On the other hand, everything’s a week later this year, and I wouldn’t mind betting that Apple could bring its reviews a day or two earlier to compensate.
It could all still be up in the air. Apple may be waiting until the last minute to decide. But while it could be either Monday or Tuesday, my gut feeling is that iOS 17 will become available on Monday, September 18, around 10 a.m Pacific.