Apple has released the third beta version of iOS 17.3 to developers after having to pull the prior beta due to it causing boot looping issues that bricked iPhones. The latest beta includes several new features and fixes aimed at enhancing performance and security.
Lead Up to iOS 17.3
iOS 17.3 is the next incremental update to iOS 17, which Apple released in September 2023. iOS 17 introduced major new features like customizable lock screens, haptic keyboard feedback, and an overhauled Home app. iOS 17.2 brought additional features like support for physical security keys.
iOS 17.3 is currently in beta testing and expected to be released to the public in February or March 2024. The update focuses on bug fixes, security improvements, and some smaller feature additions.
Prior Beta Bricked iPhones
Last week, Apple seeded the second iOS 17.3 beta to developers. However, reports quickly emerged that the update was bricking iPhones by causing them to be stuck in reboot loops. Apple then took the unprecedented move of pulling the beta update. This is the first known instance of Apple completely pulling an iOS beta due to critical issues.
It is believed the bricking issue was related to complications from new anti-stalker protection features in iOS 17.3. The beta update apparently had flaws in the implementation leading to the reboot loops.
iOS 17.3 Beta 3 Changes and Fixes
The third iOS 17.3 beta appears to resolve the reboot looping problems caused by the prior beta. It also contains several other fixes and improvements:
- Enhanced anti-stalker protections for stolen iPhones
- Fixes an issue with irregular haptic keyboard feedback
- Resolves a battery drainage problem
- Improves reliability of Always-On display
- Patches several security vulnerabilities
Here is a summary of the major new anti-stalking protection coming in iOS 17.3:
|Activation Lock Bypass Mitigation
|Greatly reduces ability for thieves to bypass Activation Lock without user password
|Secure Data Erase
|Allows users to remotely wipe all data if device is lost or stolen
|Offline Find My
|Locate stolen device even when offline by leveraging other Apple devices
These capabilities will significantly improve the security of data on stolen iPhones, even if the passcode is known by thieves.
What’s Next After iOS 17.3
After iOS 17.3, Apple’s software updates will shift focus to iOS 18. This next major version of iOS will debut at WWDC in June alongside new iPhone hardware.
iOS 18 is expected to introduce new features like:
- Interactive widgets on the lock screen
- Upgrades to Messages and Health apps
- Improvements to notifications
- Enhancements to CarPlay
The iOS 17 line will receive a couple more minor updates over the next few months. But iOS 18 will be the more substantial release to watch out for later in 2024.
The release of iOS 17.3 beta 3 puts Apple back on track after having to pull the previous beta due to critical bricking issues. The latest beta resolves those problems and provides meaningful security and stability improvements. It also continues building up enhanced anti-stalking protections that will better secure data on stolen devices. iOS 17.3 remains on schedule for a public launch in late February or March, paving the way for Apple’s shift towards the iOS 18 cycle.
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