Apple released the first iOS 17.1 public beta for the iPhone on Thursday. The first iOS 17.1 beta arrives about a week and a half after the release of iOS 17 and about a week after the release of iOS 17.0.1 and iOS 17.0.2. The update brings a few new features and bug fixes to the iPhones of beta testers and developers.
We recommend downloading a beta only on something other than your primary device. Since this is a beta version of iOS 17.1, these features might be buggy and battery life may be short, and it’s best to keep that on a secondary device.
If you’re a developer or public beta tester, here are some of the new features you can find in iOS 17.1 beta 1. Note that the beta is still ongoing, so these might not be the only new features to land on your iPhone when iOS 17.1 is released. There’s no word on the public release for iOS 17.1 just yet.
Apple Music upgrades
In iOS 17.1 beta 1, Apple has added a new button in Apple Music that allows you to quickly Favorite songs. When a song is playing and you’re looking at its card on your iPhone, there’s a star outline near the song’s title. You can tap this star to add the song to your Favorites.
There’s also a new way to find all your Favorited playlists, albums and songs. To find them, go into the corresponding category in Apple Music, tap the button in the top-right corner of your screen, and tap Favorited.
Apple Music also shows you song suggestions in iOS 17.1 beta 1. To see them, go into any of your playlists and scroll to the bottom of the playlist to see a section called Song Suggestions. These are songs that the app thinks you might like based on your musical tastes.
AirDrop using cellular data
With iOS 17, Apple upgraded AirDrop with NameDrop, which allows two devices to tap each other and exchange contact information — kind of like exchanging digital business cards. And in the first iOS 17.1 beta, Apple now lets you use cellular data to send and receive information over AirDrop when two iPhones are out of range of each other.
Flashlight symbol in Live Activities
Have you ever accidentally switched on your iPhone’s flashlight and had someone point it out to you later? Some iPhone users won’t have to worry about that anymore. In iOS 17.1 beta 1, when you turn on your flashlight, a little flashlight symbol appears in the Live Activities feed across the top of the screen of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. This feature was on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, but with the first iOS 17.1 beta, Apple seems to have expanded this function to other iPhones with Live Activity capabilities. I couldn’t replicate this symbol on my iPhone XR.
Goodbye, new ringtones
When Apple released iOS 17, it included all new ringtones. However, with iOS 17.1 beta 1, Apple removed those ringtones, reverting back to older ringtones. I hope Apple brings some of those new ringtones back in a future release.
Those are some of the major new features developers and beta testers will see in the first iOS 17.1 beta. That doesn’t mean these are the only features coming to the next iOS update, or that these changes will stick when iOS 17.1 is released to the public.
For more, check out my review of iOS 17 and CNET’s iOS 17 cheat sheet.