Apple has shifted to the eighth developer betas for iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, with the final release getting ever closer to reality.
Developers taking part in the beta program can acquire the latest versions via the Apple Developer Center or by updating their devices with the beta software. Public beta versions are generally available shortly after the developer releases through the Apple Beta Software Program.
The eighth arrives after the seventh, distributed on August 22, which followed after the sixth, which arrived on August 15. Final releases are expected to coincide with new iPhone launches in September.
The eighth beta update package is build number 21A5326a, replacing the seventh, 21A5319a.
New communications features are the mainline items on the list of updates, starting with Contact Posters, Live Voicemail, and FaceTime video messages in the update. NameDrop boosts AirDrop by allowing the sharing of contacts.
Password and passkey sharing with contact groups, improved AirPlay support for hotel TVs, background Internet download of AirDropped content, and an updated CarPlay SharePlay experience join the list. Crossfade support in Apple Music, Apple Music Sing on Apple TV with Continuity Camera support, Apple Music Radio shows on Apple Podcasts, workout routes in Apple Fitness+, and daily crosswords for Apple News+ subscribers are also in there.
iPadOS 17 borrows Lock Screen customizations from iOS, as well as getting Home Screen widgets, the Health app, eye health in Screen Time, an improved Stage Manager and webcam support, and other elements.
The third beta of iOS 17 added full crediting in Apple Music, a new Home splash screen, reactive Home Screen widgets, Weather UI changes, and a new modal shown when you recover photos or multiple images in the Photos app.
Beta 4 introduced a new app drawer for iMessage, a toggle for NameDrop, StandBy Mode changes, and a bunch of other UI alterations.
Beta 5 smoothed the UI animations, added a new graphic to Health's State of Mind category, a minor Check In update, and a change to the Live Voicemail prompt.
Beta 6 added more educational pop-up screens showing "What's new" in apps. The Photos widget included albums, haptic feedback was removed from the mute toggle, weather can be logged in the Health app, and Apple shifted the end call button to the bottom location after a previous change.
Beta 7 included a mute toggle changes, and a change to the End button in calls.
AppleInsider and Apple strongly suggest users don't install beta operating systems or other beta software on "mission-critical" or primary devices, as there is the small chance of issues that could result in the loss of data. Testers should instead use secondary or non-essential hardware and ensure they have sufficient backups of their critical data at all times.