By | November 23, 2023
Reflections in the Journal app

Apple released iOS 17.2 beta 3 to public beta testers on November 15, less than a week after the company released the previous beta version. The beta includes at least a dozen new features, including long-awaited additions like the Journal app and Contact key verification. Developers and beta testers can download and try the beta and all the new features now, but there’s no word on when Apple will release iOS 17.2 to the public.

We recommend downloading a beta version on something other than your primary device. Since this is not the final version of iOS 17.2, these features may be buggy and battery life may be reduced, and it is best to keep that experience for a secondary device.

If you’re a developer or a public beta tester, here are some of the new features you can find in the third iOS 17.2 beta. Note that these may not be the only new features landing on your iPhone when iOS 17.2 is released.

The Journal app

Apple finally debuted journal app with iOS 17.2 beta 1. The tech giant announced the app at the company’s WWDC event in June alongside iOS 17, but it was absent from the update’s September 18 launch. It now appears that Journal will be included in iOS 17.2.

Apple said at WWDC that the app uses on-device machine learning to create personalized typing suggestions. Some of these suggestions are created using information on your iPhone, such as photos you’ve taken and music and podcasts you’ve listened to throughout the day. And if you forget which podcast you were listening to earlier in the day—as I do regularly—the app will show you that information when you go to post.

Reflections in the Journal app

Journal shows you several reflections at the same time by default.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

The app also shows you a handful of topics to write about, called Reflections. Some of my reflections included, “Write about a time you gave someone an unexpected gift” and “Who cheers you up when you’re feeling down?”

But if you don’t want to rewrite what you were listening to or use a Reflection, you can just type by pressing New entrance button. IN New entranceyou can write whatever you want, or create a voice note, take a photo or create a video to add to your journal entry.

You can also lock the app after it has been closed for a certain amount of time for some privacy. So if you close the app and don’t open it again for a certain amount of time, say five minutes, it will ask for your Face ID or password to open it again.

With iOS 17.2 beta 3, Journal prompts you to set a journaling schedule the first time you open the app. You can set the schedule for a certain time every day, every other day or however often you want to journal. Once that’s done, Journal will notify you when it’s time to journal. The option to schedule notifications to remind you to journal isn’t new, but this home screen is.

Contact key verification in messages

Apple announced contact key verification in December 2022, and the security feature finally appears in iOS 17.2 beta 1.

“With iMessage Contact Key Verification, users who face extraordinary digital threats — such as journalists, human rights activists, and government officials — can choose to further verify that they are only messaging the people they intend to,” Apple said in a press release in December.

Apple wrote that many people will not be the target of a cyber attack, but Contact Key Verification gives people who might be a target an extra layer of security.

React with Live Stickers

A text showing a picture of a dog A text showing a picture of a dog

This is how you react to a text with a Live Sticker, but honestly, the heart reaction would be enough in this case.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

Live Stickers is a new feature that Apple introduced in iOS 17 at launch. The feature allows you to create your own stickers from photos you’ve taken. And in iOS 17.2 beta 1, you can react to texts in messages with your Live Stickers. To react with a Live Sticker, long press on a text you’d like to add a reaction to, then tap Add sticker in the drop-down menu to pull up your stickers.

New Apple Music settings

If you subscribe to Apple Music — which costs $11 per month — iOS 17.2 beta 3 lets you automatically add songs you’ve favorited to your library. If you don’t like this, you can turn off the setting by going to Settings > Music and press the slider next to Add favorite songs.

More Memoji customization

In iOS 17.2 beta 1, there is a new menu in the Memoji editor called Body which allows you to edit the appearance of your Memoji’s body. You can adjust your Memoji’s waist, bust, shoulders and arms in this menu. However, there are only three options in each of these sections as of this writing, so Memoji isn’t a full character creator menu like you’d see in a video game.

Photos and Apple Music work together

If you go into the Photos app after updating to iOS 17.2 beta 3, Photos will ask for permission to access your Apple Music library. The screen says it will use songs from your library to compile songs for your memories.

Catch-up arrow in Messages

A new feature in iOS 17.2 beta 1 can help you understand what’s going on in a text group or if someone is sending you a lot of messages. The beta brings back the arrow to messages, so if you wake up from a nap with a lot of messages, you can jump to the beginning of the new messages and follow the drama for context.

The pickup arrow was present in some early iOS 17 betas, but has been absent since then.

New options for sharing contact posters

In iOS 17.2 beta 3, you can now share your contact poster via phone and FaceTime. If you go to settings and either Phone or FaceTimeyou will see an option called Share name and photo. Tap this and you can choose whether you want to automatically share your contact poster with your contacts or require your phone to always ask before sharing. This feature was only available in Message before.

iPhone 15 Pro action button updated

Action button on iPhone 15 Pro Max Action button on iPhone 15 Pro Max

Apple replaced the mute switch on the side of the iPhone 15 Pro with the action button.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

According to Apple’s news blog iSoftware UpdatesiOS 17.2 beta 1 update iPhone 15 Pro’s action button. With the beta version, the action button now has a translation function. The new feature will reportedly allow you to translate phrases or have a conversation with someone in another language.

Share content between your iPhone and Apple Vision Pro

Apple unveiled its Vision Pro headset at WWDC in June. While you can’t buy the Vision Pro yet — Apple plans to have the headset available in the US in early 2024 — iOS 17.2 beta 1 introduces a setting to let your iPhone act as an extra display for it.

The setting is called AirPlay Receiver and can be found below AirPlay & Handoff in Settings. Apple writes that AirPlay Receiver allows you to stream or share content from your Vision Pro headset to your iPhone.

Spatial video recording for iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max

The second iOS 17.2 beta has a new feature that allows iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max users to record Spatial video. This feature will presumably allow the video to be viewed in 3D on the upcoming Vision Pro headset. Spatial videos can also be viewed in the Photos app like regular videos.

Disable inline predictions on your keyboard

Keyboard Options with Show Predictions Inline in Red Keyboard Options with Show Predictions Inline in Red

If the gray words are annoying, you can now cancel them.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

Have you ever typed a text in Messages and all of a sudden a gray word appears in front of the cursor? This is called inline text predictions, and if you’ve ever been confused or annoyed by this feature, iOS 17.2 beta 3 introduces the ability to turn it off. In beta you go to Settings > General > Keyboard and press the slider next to it View predictions inline.

Warnings for more sensitive content

Sensitive content warnings were introduced in iOS 17 and blur images and videos that appear in some Apple services that may contain nudity. With iOS 17.2 beta 2, these warnings have been expanded to include contact posters that may contain nudity.

More Siri requests

With iOS 17.2 beta 2, you can ask Siri some new questions, like what your height is and what your estimated time of arrival is if you’re using the voice assistant for directions.

Siri responds that a person's height is 919 feet above sea level Siri responds that a person's height is 919 feet above sea level

I’m about 919 feet above sea level, according to Siri.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

Collaborative playlists in Apple Music Music

With iOS 17.2 beta 1, Apple Music subscribers can collaborate on playlists with other subscribers. To collaborate together, go into a playlist and tap a symbol in the upper right corner of your screen that shows a person with a plus sign.

Updated weather widget

In previous iOS versions, you had three options for a Weather widget: a small tile, a medium tile, and a large tile that took up half the screen. All displayed the current weather conditions in more detail as they increased in size.

However, in the first beta version of iOS 17.2, you have six weather widgets to choose from. The first three are the original small, medium and large tiles. The three new widgets are all the same size as the small tile, but show more detail for the day.

A tile shows the current state, precipitation, UV index, wind levels and air quality index. Another box shows the current conditions plus the expected conditions for the next four days. And the last new tile shows when you can expect sunrise and sunset.

New digital clock widget

In iOS 17.2 beta 1, the Clock widget also gets an update. The clock widget now gives you the option of a digital clock to easily read the time.

The clock widget shows 2:42 and the weather widget shows the forecast for Denver The clock widget shows 2:42 and the weather widget shows the forecast for Denver

The new digital clock widget is easier to read, and the new Weather widget packs more information into a small package.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

The news app supports live activities

The News app also gets an update in iOS 17.2 beta 1. Now you can enable Live Activities for the app, so you can follow news events, like elections, as they happen on Live Activity-enabled iPhones.

Apple TV app updated

The Apple TV app is also getting an update with iOS 17.2 beta 1. If you open the app and tap Store in the bottom menu you see Movies and TV programs Episodeat the top of the screenis gone.

Options for local awareness in emergency alerts

Emergency Alerts menu in iOS 17.2 beta 1 Emergency Alerts menu in iOS 17.2 beta 1

Local Awareness aims to improve the emergency alerts you receive.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

With iOS 17.1 beta 1, there is a new option in the emergency alerts menu called Local Awareness. Apple writes that if you enable this option, it uses your approximate location to improve the accuracy, timeliness and reliability of emergency alerts you receive.

More customization options for contact posters

Contact Posters is another new feature that Apple introduced with iOS 17. With iOS 17.2 beta 1, you can customize your contact posters even more by giving you the option to give a contact poster rainbow colored text.

Apple has not announced a release date for iOS 17.2. The company may include more features in iOS 17.2, and there is no guarantee that these features will be included in the update either.

For more Apple news, here’s what Apple announced on its “Scary Fast” October eventwhat was included in iOS 17.1 and our iOS 17 cheat sheet.

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Check this out: iOS 17 still holds surprises: Overheating fixes, podcast changes and more


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