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iPadOS 17 gets personal with a customisable lock screen, interactive widgets, and Apple Health

By Ken Wong - on 11 Jun 2023, 10:24am

iPadOS 17 gets personal with a customisable lock screen, interactive widgets, and Apple Health

Note: This article was first published on 6 June 2023.

iPadOS 17 at a glance.

At Apple’s WWDC 2023 the company unveiled iPadOS 17 and a host of new features that come along with it.

Interactive Widgets and a personalised Lock and Home Screen

Image source: Apple.

To kick things off, Widgets have been made interactive. Users can take an action without needing to access the App the Widget is for. For example, users can turn on the lights, play a song, or mark a reminder as complete, right from a Widget. These new Interactive Widgets can be added to both the Lock and Home Screens to make it easy to either take action or get relevant information. Updates to WidgetKit will allow developers to build interactivity into their widgets.

Image source: Apple.

To take full advantage of the larger iPad screen, users can now personalise the Lock Screen by customising it with new Wallpapers and their Photos. Users can select a photo, a set of photos that shuffle throughout the day, or a Live Photo with added smooth slow-motion effect, whenever they wake their iPad.

Besides Photos, users can customise their Wallpaper with different font styles and colours to customise the look of the date and time or create unique designs with their favourite emoji and colour combinations.

Image source: Apple.

Live Activities allows users to keep track of things that are happening in real-time. For example, they can keep track of a food order, a sports score, and a timer.

A better way to work with PDFs

Image source: Apple.

iPadOS 17 makes it easier to work with PDFs by using machine learning to identify fields in a PDF so that users can quickly add details, such as names, addresses, and emails from Contacts. The way we view them is also better with iPadOS 17 allowing PDFs to appear full width, making it easy to flip through pages, make a quick annotation, or sketch directly in the document with Apple Pencil.

The Notes app has been updated to give users new ways to organise, read, annotate, and collaborate on PDFs. With Live Collaboration, updates appear in real-time when users are sharing a note with others.

Keeping you in the pink of health

Image source: Apple.

iPadOS 17 will also bring the Health app to your iPad. With an optimised design for the iPad display, Apple has upgraded the app in multiple ways, allowing users to receive insights into their health data with Trends, Highlights, and detailed interactive charts, manage their medications, use Cycle Tracking, log their momentary emotions and daily moods, and view their available health records from multiple institutions

Stickers add to the mood when using Messages

Image source: Apple.

Newly added Emoji and Live Stickers are new ways to interact when using Messages. Users have access to a new drawer that gathers all of a user’s stickers in one place across iPadOS.

Users can now record Audio messages to be sent and are transcribed automatically so users can read them in the moment or listen later. When a user shares their location in Messages, it shows up live in the conversation until the sharing session is over.

Going Private with Safari

Image source: Apple.

Safari has now added Private Browsing to allow users to lock the window they’re viewing with Face ID or Touch ID, and removes trackers used for cross-site tracking. With Profiles, users can keep their browsing in Safari separate between topics like work and personal. Each Profile has their own history, cookies, Tab Groups, and Favourites, and it’s easy to switch between them.

Other additional updates in iPadOS 17 include:

  • Stage Manager adds even more flexibility to the position and size of the windows, giving users more control over their workspace, and supports built-in cameras on an external display.
  • Freeform offers new drawing tools; support for hover, tilt, and snap to shape; the ability to add connection lines and new shapes to any object; and Follow Along to guide collaborators around the board.
  • Siri can now be activated by simply saying “Siri.” Once activated, users can issue multiple commands back-to-back without needing to reactivate it.


The developer beta of iPadOS 17 is available to Apple Developer Program members at starting today, and a public beta will be available to iPadOS users next month at More information can be found here.

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