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Apple A-Z » Apple Software

iPadOS 17

iPadOS 17

Apple tends to update the iPad operating system with significant feature changes every other year. That means iPadOS 17 could focus more on feature stability versus major overhauls like those seen in iPadOS 16.

● Stage Manager improvements
● iPhone Lock Screen customization comes to iPad
● Small feature changes with few, if any, major alterations
● TBA WWDC 2023

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Leaks surrounding Apple's operating system updates rarely happen, but government regulations and iOS 17 rumors give some insight into iPadOS 17. After Stage Manager changed multitasking on iPad in iPadOS 16, Apple could focus on small-scale changes and stability for 2023.

Apple has already revealed a handful of iPadOS updates before WWDC. These include accessibility changes and adding Apple's pro apps Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro to the platform.

While there aren't many rumors to go off of, we can make a few educated guesses about what updates are coming in June. Apple tends to bring iOS updates forward to iPadOS, plus there's a load of regulations coming that will affect Apple's tablet software too.

What Apple's already told us about iPadOS 17

Apple usually tries to pre-announce some features before WWDC, especially if the event is expected to be packed full. Pre-announcements vary from accessibility updates to new first-party apps.

New Accessibility features

Accessibility features tend to be revealed before global accessibility day on May 18, and 2023 was no different.

New accessibility features include Assistive Access, Live Speech, Personal Voice, Point and Speak, and more. These changes will be available in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 when they launch in the fall.

Increase legibility and touch surfaces with extra-large icons Increase legibility and touch surfaces with extra-large icons

Assistive Access makes using an iPad easier for those with cognitive disabilities to see what's on the display and select it. That includes using high-contrast buttons, large text labels, and extra-large icons on the Home Screen.

Live Speech allows users to type out statements that can be read aloud during FaceTime or in person. This is enhanced with Personal Voice, which learns a user's voice with 15 minutes of training so Live Speech sounds like the user.

Point and Speak is an enhancement of Detection Mode in Magnifier. It describes the user's surroundings using image recognition through the camera, and now it will read aloud detected text.

Other updates include pairing MFi hearing devices to Mac, Voice Control phonetic suggestions, more Text Size control across apps, and Siri response speed control.

Pro apps on the iPad

Apple announced that Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro would come to the iPad in May. While this isn't technically an iPadOS 17 feature, it does show Apple's commitment to the platform.

Final Cut Pro running on iPad Pro Final Cut Pro running on iPad Pro

Users are required to run iPadOS 16.4 or later to use these pro apps. That means Apple has included specific enhancements in the operating system to ensure the apps run as expected.

We expect iPadOS 17 will further enhance how the apps work and interact with the operating system. Likely, users of these apps will need to upgrade to the new version to unlock specific functionality.

There are a few notable limitations of these apps. One is that the iPad doesn't give users any control over audio input or output, which limits what Logic Pro can do.

For Final Cut Pro, the limitation is the lack of file mobility. A project started on iPad can be moved to Mac, but not the other way around due to system differences.

Apple could eliminate these limitations in iPadOS 17.

Predicting iPadOS 17

Beyond what Apple has already told us through pre-announcements, there's little else. However, we can piece together what might be announced using what features exist in iOS 16 and some guesswork based on incoming regulations.

Stage Manager

Apple introduced a whole new way to manage apps on iPad and Mac in 2022 called Stage Manager. It launched successfully after a hectic summer of beta testing, but there is plenty of room for improvement — especially on the iPad.

Stage Manager on iPadOS needs some work Stage Manager on iPadOS needs some work

As it exists now, Stage Manager allows users to open up to four apps simultaneously on an iPad's display. These app windows can be resized and arranged using presets.

An external display can be attached to iPads running an M-series processor, which enables four more apps to be opened on that display for a total of eight running apps. This allows an incredible amount of multitasking for a product line that used to allow only one app to run at a time.

However, it isn't a perfect system. Apple needs to provide developers with more tools for determining the status of Stage Manager and window sizes.

Lock Screen customization

Apple tends to bring significant operating system changes to iPhone first, then iPad. The introduction of widgets that could be placed anywhere, for example, came to iPhone first in iOS 14, then iPad in iPadOS 15.

iPad could gain iPhone's Lock Screen customization iPad could gain iPhone's Lock Screen customization

We expect Apple will bring Lock Screen customization to iPadOS 17. Clever code sleuths managed to get the feature working on iPadOS 16, though broken, so the groundwork was already being laid.

Apple may implement the same system on iPadOS with similar limitations. Since there is more space, however, Apple could allow users to add more widgets or have more Live Activities visible on the screen.

A lot of what makes the Lock Screen customization features interesting is the iPhone 14 Pro's ability to keep the display Always On. There isn't an iPad that can do this yet, though rumors suggest Apple might attempt to release an OLED iPad sometime in the future.


Multiple pieces of legislation going into effect between now and 2024 will dictate how Apple does business. There's a chance Apple will limit operating system changes for regulations based on where the regulations are enforced, but we expect it might just implement changes globally for simplicity.

The EU wants Apple to open up the iPhone and, by proxy, the iPad to third-party app stores and side loading. This would allow users to download software from sources outside of Apple's App Store.

Side loading could enable users to download emulators Side loading could enable users to download emulators

It isn't clear how Apple would comply with these laws, but third-party app stores and individual apps seeking to do business outside of Apple's ecosystem likely face paying fees, regardless. Apple may be unable to charge a full 30% or 15% for transactions outside of the App Store, but it is still in control of its products and can block software as it sees fit.

The EU could also force Apple to open its mobile devices up to other browser engines. Currently, even for browsers like Chrome and Firefox, any browser on iOS or iPadOS must use WebKit.

Rumors suggest Apple is already preparing to allow alternative web engines on its platforms to get ahead of regulations. Soon, Chromium or Gecko could come to iPad.

Regulators also want to allow users to choose default apps on iPhone and iPad. This would mean selecting Spotify instead of Apple Music, or Google Maps instead of Apple Maps. Though, this particular change may not happen soon.

iOS 17 rumors

Not much has been leaked about iOS 17 that could affect iPadOS 17 except for maybe one plausible change. Apple is looking to expand its Health app capabilities and bring it to iPad.

Control Center customization options could be limited to iOS 17 Control Center customization options could be limited to iOS 17

Another aspect of health is journaling, and rumors suggest Apple is developing a first-party journaling app. It would include data from Apple's software like Find My and compete with apps like Day One. An iPad version of this app is also possible.

While the iPad might get Lock Screen customization, one iOS update could take another year to implement on iPad — customizable Control Center. Like Apple's other customization updates, the initial rollout will likely focus on iPhone first.

When is iPadOS 17 being released?

Apple will announce iPadOS during WWDC in June. Developers and testers will get beta access to the operating system through the summer.

In September, after the iPhone 15 is launched but before it ships, iPadOS 17 will release alongside iOS 17, tvOS 17, and watchOS 10. Apple will also release a new version of macOS and possibly xrOS for the Apple VR Headset sometime in the fall.