Our QA team prepared a comprehensive overview of iOS 17 beta features and bugs. Read on to see real screenshots and new features in action!
Apple WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) 2023 kicked off on June 5 with a traditional keynote featuring the latest advancements in Apple technologies. As a software testing company, we were most excited about the release of iOS 17 beta because we wanted to explore all the new features firsthand.
Our team is part of the Apple Developer Program, so we had early access to the iOS 17 developer beta. We also wanted to see how many bugs our QA engineers manage to report. Read on to learn about iOS 17 features, bugs we found, and a simple way to get your software tested for free with QAwerk Bug Crawl. Let’s go!
iOS 17 Beta Features and Bugs
Ever wondered how Apple releases impeccable software every single time? Well, that’s because they thoroughly test it long before it goes to market. iOS 17 will be commercially released only in fall 2023. By that time, the software will get tested by members of the Apple Developer Program and Apple Beta Software Program on a voluntary basis.
Before we get to the bugs we found, let’s first talk about new capabilities iOS 17 brings to the table.
iOS 17 Features
iOS 17 heavily emphasizes improved communication and personalization; however, it also changes how we exchange contacts, share activities, type, and care for our vision and mental health. So, here’s what’s new.
Phone App, FaceTime, and Messages are at the core of iPhone communication, so it’s only natural that these apps come with new capabilities in iOS 17.
Phone App introduces Contact Posters that allow you to control how you’re represented when you’re calling someone or sharing information. They give power to users to decide what the recipient will see, not the other way around. Creating a Contact Poster feels like customizing a lock screen – you can choose photos, memojis, background colors, fonts, and other editing tools to personalize your image.
There are also updates to Live Voicemail. In iOS 17, Live Voicemail allows users to see the transcript of the voicemail message in real time. It aims to help people decide whether to take the call immediately or skip it and call back when it’s more convenient. Live Voicemail transcriptions will be processed on the device to ensure the conversations remain private.
FaceTime now has the option to record an audio or video message when you’re calling someone, but they aren’t available so that they see it later. Also, you can add 3D augmented reality reactions like confetti, hearts, and fireworks using specific hand gestures. Finally, you can wirelessly connect FaceTime on Apple TV to your phone and use the phone’s camera and mic to join a call. Or you can pick up a call from your iPhone and then hand it off to Apple TV.
Messages app in iOS 17 boasts more advanced search filters. They allow users to add more terms to narrow down the search and find precisely what they’re looking for. Messages in group chats will have a catch-up arrow that allows you to jump right to the latest message of the chat. Inline replies are made easier with a single swipe.
Audio messages are transcribed so that you can see their contents even when there’s no opportunity to listen to them. With inline location sharing, the iOS user can view and request shared location directly from their conversation.
Check In is a new feature in Messages that allows users to notify their family or friends when they arrive at the destination safely. If they haven’t made it on time, Check In will automatically share helpful information like the device’s location, battery level, and cell service with the selected contact, and the sharing process is end-to-end encrypted.
Stickers in iOS 17 are conveniently gathered in one place – the recently used stickers, memojis, downloaded sticker packs live in your live stickers tab in Messages. All emojis are now converted into stickers. Besides sending stickers as usual, you can peel and stick an emoji sticker to a bubble, rotate and resize them.
The best part, you can create your own stickers from any photo, including a live photo, which will be turned into an animated sticker. These stickers will also be available in third-party communication apps, basically, anywhere you can access emojis today.
When it comes to effortless content sharing, we think of AirDrop, but it looks like it can be even better. Here are the latest improvements to AirDrop.
NameDrop is a new feature for an instant exchange of contact information, such as phone numbers or email addresses along with your Contact Poster. All that users need to do to swap contacts is to bring two phones close together and confirm the action. NameDrop also works if you swap contacts between iPhone and Apple watch.
Sharing pictures and files through AirDrop now works the same way – by bringing two phones together. And you don’t have to wait until the transfer is complete. It’s enough to initiate the file sharing, and then you can step away.
SharePlay is another update to AirDrop. Again, by holding two phones closely, users can start a SharePlay session, be it listening to the same track, playing the same game, or watching the same livestream.
The boom over transformer language models is also seen in the updates Apple incorporated into its keyboard and speech recognition. Now both of these functionalities are powered by transformer-based models, increasing autocorrect accuracy and enabling inline predictions.
Inline predictions improve based on the phrases and words you use most, so they get personalized over time.
The last part of the keynote regarding iOS 17 updates was devoted to brand-new experiences, such as a new pre-installed app and a way to benefit from an iPhone when it’s placed on a charging stand.
Journal is a new built-in app that aims to improve well-being through practicing gratitude. The app leverages on-device machine learning to create curated journal entry templates or suggestions, similar to how it works with Photo Memories. These suggestions intelligently group photos, music, podcasts, locations, and workouts. Users can choose what kinds of information they want to save in their journals.
The journal templates contain writing prompts you can tweak to personalize your story. You can mark journal entries as important and schedule reminders to stay consistent with your journaling. Since journals contain highly sensitive information, they are processed on the device and secured by end-to-end encryption.
StandBy is a new full-screen experience designed to display helpful information viewable at a distance when your phone is charging on a stand. You can turn your iPhone into a clock screen, photo album with auto-shuffle, giant weather forecast, or live activity widget, among other things.
Widgets surface the right information at the right time, such as showing your calendar before a meeting. At night, StandBy adapts to low light conditions and changes the color of the clock screen.
Health App now offers features for mental and vision health. You can log how you feel and what leads to this state of mind. The app will show stats on what contributes to your happiness most and how consistent you are with logging your moods and emotions.
It will help track how your lifestyle, such as exercise, mindful minutes, and sleep, impact your mental health. More so, users can take standardized assessments often used in clinics to identify early signs of depression and anxiety and seek professional help before their conditions aggravate. Those reports can be shared with a care provider, and the app also offers helpful articles and resources.
As for the vision health, iOS 17 introduces Screen Distance – a feature that will automatically lock the screen and show a warning when a phone is too close to eyes. This feature aims to prevent the development of nearsightedness.
Besides major surprises, iOS 17 brings an array of smaller updates. Here’s what has changed:
- Siri now works without “hey”; simply say “Siri” once
- Passwords and passkeys can be shared with a group of trusted people, where every member can add and edit passwords in a secure way
- In Maps, you can select an area and download it for use offline
- In Photos, People Album has improved recognition abilities and can distinguish between cats and dogs
- Widgets on the home screen become interactive
- The Mail app has the autofill verification code feature with the option to automatically delete the codes after use
- Safari has enhanced private browsing, increasing protection from trackers and device fingerprinting
- Safari also allows setting up several browsing profiles to separate work history and extensions from private browsing
- Subjects lifted from an image or a video can be instantly looked up to identify signs, storefronts, find food recipes, etc.
- Grocery lists in Reminders automatically group items by categories leaving users the option to tweak them and memorize user preferences for future
- PDFs and scans have enhanced AutoFill to populate the fields with information saved in Contacts
The exhaustive list of features is available on the official iOS 17 preview site. iOS 17 supported devices include iPhone XR, XS, and later, including the second- and third-gen iPhone SE. Unfortunately, older devices like iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X didn’t make the cut.
iOS 17 Bugs
Since 2015, QAwerk has helped numerous businesses in North America and Europe, such as Unfold and Penpot, get rid of the beta label, slay on the launch day, and steadily grow their products. So testing betas is something we’ve truly mastered.
At the same time, we’ve never tested Apple betas, so we decided to give it a shot and test iOS 17 to experience all those exciting features on our own. Here are iOS 17 bugs we discovered within 18 hours of manual testing.
Contact Poster Issues
While it’s possible to create customized Contact Posters, they may not necessarily appear exactly how you saw them in the preview. Also, we noticed a minor UI issue and jumpy scrolling.
❌ Actual result: The contact poster preview displays only part of the entered text; however, the text is displayed in full during an incoming call.
✅ Expected result: The contact poster preview and the actual contact poster during an incoming call look the same.
❌ Actual result: The contact poster text looked partially transparent while editing, but after saving the changes, the text loses its opacity.
✅ Expected result: The contact poster text style before saving it should match its style afterwards.
❌ Actual result: The contact photo editing screen jumps when scrolling to the bottom.
✅ Expected result: The user can scroll down the page smoothly.
Troubles with Stickers
Again, while you can create static and animated stickers from your own photos and apply effects on them, they are not always accessible, and the newest peel-and-stick feature requires polishing.
❌ Actual result: The Messages app crashes when peeling and sticking a resized sticker to the message.
✅ Expected result: The Messages app doesn’t crash, and the resized sticker is attached to the message.
❌ Actual result: The Stickers drawer in Messages doesn’t open every time.
✅ Expected result: The Stickers drawer should open every time.
❌ Actual result: The sticker that was not delivered disappears.
✅ Expected result: Stickers should be displayed on the sender’s device, even if the message wasn’t delivered.
Third-Party App Bugs
Surely, third-party apps need time to tweak their software to the latest iOS release. However, these bugs perfectly illustrate that you can’t build software once and forget about it for a long time. iOS updates usually include changes to SDK methods or UI conventions, which will inevitably affect your app’s performance. Here’s how it looks in real life.
❌ Actual result: Stickers In WhatsApp are sent as images.
✅ Expected result: Stickers must be sent as stickers – without background and animated.
❌Actual result: Stickers in WhatsApp disappear when you tap and hold them.
✅ Expected result: Stickers shouldn’t disappear.
❌ Actual result: Stickers in Telegram are not displayed every time; they appear in ⅓ of cases.
✅ Expected result: Stickers should be displayed every single time.
While testing iOS 17 core features, we also stumbled upon other random bugs, such as those below.
❌ Actual result: A redundant gray bar is displayed in the settings.
✅ Expected result: The settings screen should have no visual defects.
❌ Actual result: The keyboard is not displayed. During testing, it happened one time.
✅ Expected result: The keyboard should be displayed every single time.
If you’d like to see a complete version of the bug reports above, with summaries, environment, and steps to reproduce, you can access them here.
How to Have Your Software Tested for Free
As we’ve mentioned above, Apple benefits from crowdtesting by opening early access to its beta software through the Apple Developer Program and Apple Beta Software Program. In both cases, Apple pays no compensation to beta testers as the participation in these programs is voluntary.
But what if you are not Apple and you can’t get so many people excited about testing your beta software for free? Well, there’s one more way.
QAwerk Bug Crawl
QAwerk has a mission to help businesses deliver better solutions through enhanced quality. That’s why we created Bug Crawl, a very special program that allows tech startups to have their products tested for free in exchange for publicizing the bug report.
So far, we’ve tested over 455 mobile apps, SaaS products, and games, resulting in over 2000 bugs reported in total.
Bug Crawl is a no-commitment deal. You get your software thoroughly tested once, receive a professional bug report with a detailed breakdown of all the steps and visual proof, and a fresh perspective on where your product stands quality-wise. However, perhaps you want to follow in the footsteps of Unfold, an Android beta storymaker that has grown with our help to a brand-level content creation platform with 10+ mln daily users and an Apple Design Awards 2019 winner. In that case, we’d be happy to continue our engagement with you and lead you to similar results.
We hope Apple’s QA strategy inspires you to make software testing your ongoing priority. As we see, Apple takes almost 3 months to polish their iOS 17 before releasing it to the public, leveraging not only in-house, but also third-party testing. That is a hands-on example of how much effort goes into delivering state-of-the-art software.
Improve your app quality for free!
Our QA engineers will perform the first round of exploratory testing for free! Sign up to participate in our Bug Crawl program and receive a detailed bug report highlighting major and minor areas for improvement.