Apple has today made the pre-release version of their latest operating systems available to the public to test, and that means, most particularly for iPhone users you can no get the latest and see what it’s like!

I’ve been using iOS 17 – the developer version – for the best part of a month and have found it to be stable, and easy to use. In reality the recent Threads app by Instagram was the first I found that struggled with iOS 17, but that was fixed today as it happens!

So what will you see in iOS 17 if you instal the Public Beta?

Not much has changed, to be honest. It’s a really mild update, and I think most of the cool stuff will become apparent when many more people are on the latest version. This is because many of the changes relate to how your phone interacts with other phones, and how we share information together.

That said, it’s a worthy upgrade, and while there is always the known risk of a Beta being problematic for your device, so go in knowing you are testing! Backup your device first. This is stable, and worth a look!

Here are the top six things I’m loving about iOS 17

Of course there are many great new features, but these are just the ones I found myself stopping to notice or take screenshots of.

Standby Mode

This is by far the best update, turning your phone into a bedside alarm clock, a kitchen photo frame or frankly a simple smart speaker.

Whenever your phone is charging, and it detects that it is sitting sideways (landscape mode) it will enter standby mode when locked.

On the screen you get a large clock and calendar, and the option to swipe through the side widget for to do lists, and other info.

Swipe right and you can see a photo based standby mode, again swiping up and down through different pre-determined galleries, and swipe again for more clockfaces.

It’s the perfect way for your phone to charge if you are a “bedside charger” kinda person, and pairs perfectly with devices like the Belkin MagSafe Chargers which are stunning!

Contact Cards

A new way for you to display on other people’s phones!

Now again, this is nice, but useless until more of us are using iOS 17 – create your own contact card with either a photo or cartoon based you, using the colours, text and details you want.

It’s nice. That’s all.

Messages Updates

For those that use Messages (iMessage) new swipe to reply feature makes those replies way easier, as well as searching in group messages and a new way to see all your associated messaging apps.

Personally, I don’t use it a lot – but for those that do, this will be a big update, long overdue and attempts to put messages on par with apps like WhatsApp.

Podcasts App

Having seen how Spotify displays podcasts, this too is long overdue. Where your favourite podcasters are using different “cover art” for each episode, that will now appear within the Podcast app – fans of Two Blokes Talking Tech will love this. Some hidden gems there.

Personal Voice

This one is amazing, but not really necessary for most of us. Using a 15 minute (took me more like 30) training exercise, you record words and phrases shown on the screen and then when your phone is plugged into power your device will use those phrases to create a “personal voice”.

When enabled, triple click the side button to type what you want to say and it says it in your voice.

It’s not AMAZING but its damn good.

CarPlay updates

On a road trip and other people want to play their music? Easy. Allow them access to the CarPlay from your phone, they can select the song that plays.

Works well – a game changer.

And some tweaks to the UI with WhatsApp message reading appearing over the top of your maps or other content.

How do I join the Apple iOS 17 Public Beta?

Its free and easy remember to backup your phone first though!

Just visit the Apple website that allows you to register your device to get the new version installed.