iPadOS 17 is a game-changer for Apple’s iPad collection, boasting a range of heavily requested features including a customisable lock screen, interactive home screen widgets and even a fully-fledged Apple Health app for the first time ever – and it’s out now.
iPadOS 17 had its grand reveal at WWDC 2023 in early June, and following a swathe of developer and public betas released throughout the summer, the big iPad update is now available to download worldwide.
Here’s all there is to know about iPadOS 17, including which of the best iPads can get the update and the key new features.
When was iPadOS 17 released?
Apple released iPadOS 17 on Monday 18 September 2023, at 10am PT/6pm BST.
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Which iPads support iPadOS 17?
Here is the full list of Apple tablets that can download iPadOS 17 right now:
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th generation)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
- iPad Pro 11-inch (4th generation)
- iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation)
- iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
- iPad Air (5th generation)
- iPad Air (4th generation)
- iPad Air (3rd generation)
- iPad Mini (6th generation)
- iPad Mini (5th generation)
- iPad (10th generation)
- iPad (9th generation)
- iPad (8th generation)
- iPad (7th generation)
- iPad (6th generation)
Some older iPad models, like the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation), the iPad Pro 9.7-inch (1st generation), the iPad Pro 10.5-inch (1st generation) and iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation) and the iPad (5th generation), are not supported in iPadOS 17.
What’s new in iPadOS 17?
New accessibility features
Apple actually unveiled a handful of accessibility updates to its iPhone and iPad devices a month ahead of WWDC. The list included features like Live Speech, Personal Voice and Point and Speak in Magnifier.
“Coming later this year, users with cognitive disabilities can use iPhone and iPad with greater ease and independence with Assistive Access; nonspeaking individuals can type to speak during calls and conversations with Live Speech; and those at risk of losing their ability to speak can use Personal Voice to create a synthesised voice that sounds like them for connecting with family and friends.”
“For users who are blind or have low vision, Detection Mode in Magnifier offers Point and Speak, which identifies text users point toward and reads it out loud to help them interact with physical objects such as household appliances”, wrote Apple in a newsroom post this May.
Customised lock screen
This year, the iPad is getting the same lock screen update the iPhone received with iOS 16.
This means that users can now create and personalise multiple lock screens with different wallpapers, font styles and widgets, adding a new layer of customisation to the tablet that was previously exclusive to iPhones.
Another iPhone-esque update coming to iPadOS 17 this year is Live Activities, a feature that allows users to see important information (such as the status of an UberEats order) at a quick glance. It’s a feature that’s tied to Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, but with the added screen real estate of iPads, it should come to most if not all.
The Messages app is also getting some key updates, including Live Stickers (think GIFs based on your images and videos )and improved predictive text that should stop those ducking annoying autocorrections. Fans of voice messages can also look forward to voice note dictation, allowing you to simply read incoming voice notes instead of listening to them.
This one’s a big one: iPad users can finally check their health information without taking out their iPhones as health data is stored on iCloud and available on the tablet, too.
It also includes a bunch of new features and functionality also coming to the iPhone as part of iOS 17, including new ways to monitor your mental health and visual health via standardised assessments run in the app.
AirDrop will now allow you to share contact information with a friend by holding two iPads together via a new feature called NameDrop.
AirDrop has also had improvements in the way it connects, allowing file transfer to continue over the internet if you get out of range of the person you’re AirDropping content to.
It also allows for a much smoother SharePlay experience – simply bring the two devices near to each other to open the same content in supported apps.
Safari has also had some much-needed TLC in iPadOS 17 with new Profiles functionality that lets you split your browsing history and logins between different users – ideal not only if you share an iPad with a family member, but if you want to keep your work and personal browsing history and passwords completely separate.
It also introduces new features that should smooth out the experience of Safari on an iPad including the autofill of codes emailed to you via the Mail app, a new way to share passwords with loved ones, improved private browsing and much smarter search capabilities too.