It’s not long now until Apple should be revealing the latest iteration of iPadOS to the world. Here’s all we know so far about potential release dates, new features and which models will be able to run the software. It’s everything you need to know about iPadOS 17.
iPadOS 17 release date: When will iPadOS 17 come out?
There’s no official date from Apple as yet, but it does have a pretty reliable history of releasing software versions around the same time each year, as you can see from the dates below.
- iPadOS 16: October 24, 2022
- iPadOS 15: September 20, 2021
- iPadOS 14: September 16, 2020
- iPadOS 13: September 24, 2019
With the exception of the last version, which was thought to be delayed to add polish to some features, Apple always introduces a new iteration of iPadOS in the second half of September. We think this is the most likely time we’ll see iPadOS 17 unless Apple has now decided to schedule things separately from iOS 17 as it did with the 16 versions. Either way, it will be in the fall.
In the run-up to the full release, Apple will also make available beta versions of the OS to those on the Apple Beta Software program. This includes several iterations, and we expect it to look something like this:
- June 5, 2023: iPadOS 17 is announced at WWDC, and the first developer beta is released.
- July 2023: Apple releases the first public beta of iPadOS 17.
- June to September 2023: A series of additional developer and public betas appear.
- September/October 2023: The final public version of iPadOS 17 is released.
To see the history of every release so far, you can read our guide to all the iOS and iPadOS versions.
iPadOS 17 compatibility: Which iPads will run iPadOS 17?
Apple usually does an excellent job of keeping older iPads up to date in terms of the software versions they run. When iPadOS 16 arrived, only a couple of older iPads that were running iPadOS 15 couldn’t make the transition. We don’t know yet whether this will be the case in 2023, but it could be the last gasp for a few devices that are now pretty long in the tooth.
The prime suspects for the cull are probably the iPad Pro 9.7-inch and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation) whose A9X processors are getting on a bit now as they were first introduced way back in 2015. There’s also the iPad (5th generation) which runs on an even slower A9 processor.
Just above those are the iPad Pro 10.5-inch, which sports an A10X, as does the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation), and the iPad (6th generation) with its A10, but we hope they might slip through to iPadOS 17 this time around.
That would leave the following on the compatibility list for iPadOS 17:
- iPad Pro 12.9 (5th gen)
- iPad Pro 11 (3rd gen)
- iPad Pro 12.9 (4th gen)
- iPad Pro 11 (2nd gen)
- iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd gen)
- iPad Pro 11 (1st gen)
- iPad Pro 12.9 (2nd gen)
- iPad Pro 10.5
- iPad (9th gen)
- iPad (8th gen)
- iPad (7th gen)
- iPad (6th gen)
- iPad mini (6th gen)
- iPad mini (5th gen)
- iPad Air (4th gen)
- iPad Air (3rd gen)
What new features will we see in iPadOS 17?
There’s been a definite lack of substantial rumors when it comes to iPadOS 17. This could suggest that Apple intends to make it a performance-boosting iteration rather than rolling out too many new features or that most of the new features will also be available for iOS. However, there are a few things that we do expect to find when we launch the new software on our iPads for the first time.
Third-party app stores
The EU has been getting up in Apple’s grill for a little while now. We’ve all heard about the iPhone’s switch from Lighting ports to USB-C that seems imminent, after the political bloc created laws to make it obligatory to use the standard in its region. We’ve even seen leaked photos that purport to show an iPhone 15 bearing a USB-C port for the first time. But there’s also another set of laws in place, called the Digital Markets Act, which impels Apple to open up its devices to third-party app stores.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has reported on the story, saying it’s likely we’ll see Apple introducing third-party app stores and the ability to sideload apps in iPadOS 17. These capabilities have been available on Android for years, but it would be a huge change to the “walled garden” approach Apple has adopted since the introduction of the first iPhone.
Whether Apple users will want to take advantage of these new marketplaces remains doubtful, but at least they will now have the choice. Ot at least they will in some countries—it’s likely that sideloading will only be available for iPhone users in Europe.
Custom Lock Screens
When iOS 16 dropped, it came with a revamped Lock Screen on which you could use widgets, dynamic images, and new fonts and colors to make the device feel far more customizable than ever. Sadly, the same capabilities didn’t make their way into iPadOS 16, but rumors report that the new Lock Screen customization is coming to tablets in iPadOS 17.
For a rundown of what this feature can do on iPhone, take a look at our guide to customizing your Lock Screen in iOS 16.
Third-party browsers free from WebKit
Another potential spillover from the EU’s Digital Markets Act is allowing third-party browsers such as Chrome and Firefox to use their own engines, rather than the Apple WebKit variant that the company currently demands. This would see the other browsers behave more like their web-based versions, instantly beefing up their capabilities. We’d like to see this as it would also provoke Apple to up its game with Safari.
New Control Center
We’ve seen a few rumors that iOS 17 could come with an updated version of Control Center. As is often the case, this suggests we could see a similar venture on iPadOS 17. There are no solid details on what the revamp would do, but we’d be very happy to see this underdeveloped part of the system be given some love.
That’s all we’ve found so far, but obviously, we’ll keep updating this article as new information comes to light, so be sure to check back. In the meantime, take a look at our iPad buying guide to see if you can get a good deal on a new iPad that will be the home for iPadOS 17 when it arrives.