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Hands on: All the new features in iOS 17 beta 2: AirDrop & fast Haptic Touch

The new iOS 17 Beta 2

Two weeks after the initial release, Apple has made the second developer beta of iOS 17 available to developers. Here are all the new changes and features.

The new update screen for iOS 17 is visible for the first time in beta 2. It technically was included with the initial iOS 17 but we didn't get to see it until an update became available.

It features the new iOS 17 icon on an inset card with two prominent buttons at the bottom. One button starts the update right away, and the other delays it until later that night.

Apple always gave you the two install options, they're just laid out differently with the new OS.

A new version of AirDrop

AirDrop got Apple's promised new update with this beta, allowing you to initiate an AirDrop transfer by bringing two phones together. It uses NFC to detect a nearby phone before it starts transferring.

We tested this with a photo and it worked perfectly. We opened the photo on our first iPhone and tapped the AirDrop button. A new tip showed on the bottom of the screen telling us to bring our two phones together.

AirDropping a photo
AirDropping a photo

There was both visual feedback and haptic feedback as a ball of light visually jumped from the first phone to the second. The second phone then accepted the AirDrop and the photo was transferred.

We tested this with a website in Safari and our contact card, though neither of them appeared to work yet. Transferring the contact card worked by bringing the two phones together without doing anything.

Transferring our contact card
Transferring our contact card

The first phone asked if we wanted to share our contact card or receive the other person's. When we hit share, the other phone never reacted and it told us to wait.

Other changes in iOS 17 beta 2

Fitness got its own dedicated section within the Settings app, just below Health. It can control things like Live Activities, cellular data, and more.

New Apple Music widgets
New Apple Music widgets

Apple Music got several new sizes of its existing widgets. "Recommendations" now comes in a new medium size, and "Top Charts" comes in small and medium.

Faster Haptic Touch
Faster Haptic Touch

If you go to Accessibility > Touch > Haptic Touch, there is a new option for fast access. It is now almost twice as fast to use Haptic Touch versus the normal option.

While we still preferred 3D Touch, this brings Haptic Touch's speed almost as fast.

Toggling on Crossfade for Apple Music no longer crashes the settings app and there is a slider that allows you to adjust the duration of the effect. StandBy can optionally have notifications muted when enabled.

And finally, on the new Check In feature, Apple has updated the wording. Where it used to denote your data preferences as "current location only" and "all locations visited," it now reads "limited" and "full."

Launching this fall

Apple is set to release iOS 17 later this fall alongside its other new operating systems. A public beta will be launching in July.

Spot any other changes? Let us know on Twitter @Andrew_OSU and we'll add them to our coverage.