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March 4, 2024

New iOS 17.3 Beta Brings RCS Messaging, Enhanced Security Features to iPhones

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Dec 30, 2023

Apple’s upcoming iOS 17.3 update will introduce several notable new features to iPhones, including RCS messaging support, enhanced anti-theft protections, and more, according to multiple reports this week. The first iOS 17.3 beta has already been seeded to developers, giving a glimpse of what’s to come.

RCS Messaging Support Coming to iPhone in 2024

One of the most anticipated additions in iOS 17.3 is Rich Communication Services (RCS) support, which will allow iPhone users to exchange higher-quality messages with Android users.

As reported by Tom’s Guide, Apple is finally preparing to adopt RCS in 2024 after years of holding out. RCS is a messaging protocol that includes features like read receipts, typing indicators, higher resolution photo sharing, video calling, and more.

Up until now, messages between iPhones and Android devices have been limited to basic SMS/MMS. With RCS, the messaging experience will be significantly upgraded no matter what devices are involved.

This news comes after Google directly called out Apple over the last year for failing to adopt RCS and provide a consistent texting experience across platforms. Apple has faced increasing pressure, even from its own users, to add RCS compatibility.

While RCS messaging will provide a better cross-platform messaging solution than SMS/MMS, it may still fall short of the seamless iMessage experience iOS 16 users enjoy. Some improvements users would like to see in Apple’s RCS implementation include:

Desired RCS Features Benefit
End-to-end encryption Enhanced privacy and security
Integration with iMessage threads Unified messaging threads across Android and iOS contacts
Memoji support Personalized stickers and reactions in RCS chats
Typing indicators and read receipts across all conversations Consistent messaging experience whether chatting via iMessage or RCS

Bringing RCS messaging support to iOS is a major step toward providing users a more consistent and advanced messaging solution. While it may still need refinement, it addresses one of the biggest pain points iOS users have faced in cross-platform messaging.

Anti-Theft Protection Comes to Find My App

iOS 17.3 will also deliver important new anti-theft and security capabilities to better protect user data in the case of device theft or loss.

As covered by MacRumors, a new “Stolen Device Protection” is being introduced in Find My app that will essentially brick an iPhone that is taken illegally.

Once enabled, the iPhone will enter a special activation locked state if it is ever erased and reactivated without the proper credentials. This renders the device unusable to thieves even if they factory reset it. Legitimate owners can still unlock their device with their Apple ID, but unauthorized users will be completely locked out.

This feature expands on existing Activation Lock protections that prevent reactivation of lost or stolen devices without the original owner’s credentials. However, the existing safeguards could be bypassed by erasing the device entirely.

Stolen Device Protection closes this loophole and maximizes security in worst case scenarios. Users who suffer theft or loss of their iPhone can rest assured knowing their personal data is safeguarded from unauthorized access.

Activation Lock has proven very effective since its introduction over a decade ago. With iOS 17.3, Apple’s anti-theft protections will be even more ironclad.

Siri to Leverage Generative AI for More Natural Conversations

Apple is also working on some intriguing improvements to Siri, according to reports. iOS 17.3 may introduce a Siri powered by generative AI for more natural conversational interactions.

As noted by LiveMint, Apple aims to make Siri more contextually aware and better at maintaining consistent two-way dialogue compared to today’s limited single-turn interactions.

This would allow Siri to handle more complex, multi-step requests without losing context, much like Google Assistant and Alexa. Users could inquire about related topics and Siri could continue the conversation with relevance and understanding.

Apple’s generative AI for Siri is also said to enable more personalized and natural responses tailored to the user. This could make Siri seem less robotic and more conversational.

Upgrading Siri with generative AI would be a major leap forward. It opens the door to far more capable voice assistance that is conversational, contextual, and intelligent rather than purely reactive.

Other Enhancements: Apple Music, Messages, CarPlay

Additionally, iOS 17.3 is likely to introduce some other feature improvements:

  • SharePlay in Messages: Allows Apple Music songs, movies, and more to be shared directly in Messages threads for synced viewing/listening.
  • Enhanced Apple Music integration: An Apple Music tab may be added directly to iOS for easier access and music sharing.
  • CarPlay updates: CarPlay may allow third-party navigation and EV charging apps for more flexibility.

While not as groundbreaking as RCS or enhanced anti-theft protections, these tweaks demonstrate Apple’s commitment to continually refining and improving the iOS experience.

What’s Next After iOS 17.3

The first iOS 17.3 beta indicates the public release is on the horizon, likely by Spring 2023. This will deliver some of the biggest iOS upgrades we’ve seen in years.

After iOS 17.3, attention will turn to iOS 18 and the iPhone 15 series expected in Fall 2023. Rumors indicate the iPhone 15 may make some radical design changes like finally ditching the Lightning port for USB-C charging. There is also speculation about under-display Touch ID and solid state volume/power buttons.

On the software side, iOS 18 may introduce smarter artificial intelligence integrations across the operating system to proactively assist users. Expanding on iOS 17’s generative Siri, AI could monitor daily habits to provide helpful suggestions or automations. Interactive widgets and more customizable always-on display options are also rumored.

While iOS 17.3 brings some major new capabilities in early 2023, the innovation is far from over. Apple is clearly invested in enhancing the iPhone and iOS feature set for the long haul. Some truly game-changing AI integration may still be on tap as Apple aims to maintain the iPhone’s gold standard for smartphones.

Conclusion

With RCS messaging, enhanced anti-theft protections, an upgraded Siri, and more in the iOS 17.3 pipeline, 2023 is gearing up to be a milestone year for iPhone upgrades. These impending updates address some of iPhone users’ biggest wants like improved messaging, better security, and a more proactive assistant.

iOS 17.3 marks a major leap forward, but Apple still has even bigger innovations in store to ensure the iPhone offers industry-leading experiences for years to come. The integrated mix of hardware and software allows Apple to craft innovations that seamlessly blend advanced technology with intuitive real-world use. As rivals like Android play catchup, Apple and iOS continue charging forward to define the future of smart devices.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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