Apple and iOS 17 should steal these features from Android 14

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2023 starts Monday and the company is expected to unveil the next version of its iPhone software, iOS 17, at the event. WWDC comes about a month after Google I/O 2023, where Google unveiled its next smartphone software, Android 14.

In the US, iPhones recently took the crown from androids as the most popular smartphone system, albeit after more than a decade of Android dominance. And Android dominates the global market, often by a wide margin. For example, according to IT website SOS Support, Android accounts for about 88% of all smartphones in South America, and iPhones lag behind at about 11%.

But as long as Apple and Google fight like Godzilla and King Kong for dominance of the smartphone market, they also seem to be stealing ideas from each other. For example, notification badges first appeared on iPhones, and Android devices had home-screen widgets long before iPhones, Popular Science notes.

Apparently Apple and Android have been copying features from each other for years.

James Martin/CNET

This back-and-forth continued with Android 14, as Android phones seemingly copied iPhones again, with an updated Find My Device feature and unknown tracker notifications added. We don’t know what Apple is planning for iOS 17, but we think the company should integrate some of the new Android features into the software.

Here are the new Android features I think Apple should bring to iOS 17.

More lock screen customization options

Lock screen customization was one of the biggest updates to land on iPhones when iOS 16 was released in September 2022. I want Apple iPhone users to have more customization options with iOS 17, like Google is doing with Android 14.

Android 14 lets users change the size and design of their lock screen clock – in addition to the font and color – and the software allows users to add shortcuts to their lock screen. Changing your lock screen clock is nice — you can already change the font and color of your iPhone’s lock screen clock — but I really wish Apple would add the ability to edit or add to the shortcuts on the lock screen.

I use the flashlight shortcut regularly, but I tap back on my iPhone to bring up the camera, so the camera shortcut isn’t used that often. The ability to change this shortcut to my wallet app or a search shortcut would be great in iOS 17.

In the current iOS, there are only four lock screen areas for widgets.


It would also be nice if Apple added more widget areas to the iPhone lock screen. With iOS 16, your iPhone has four grid areas for widgets, and some widgets, like the weather widget, take up two of them. It would be great if iOS 17 gave you at least four more grid areas for widgets, giving you more ways to access your favorite apps.

AI generated wallpapers

Android 14 will use artificial intelligence to allow users to create custom wallpapers. People will prompt their phone, which will use AI to generate some background options. It would be great if Apple introduced AI-generated wallpapers in iOS 17, but I don’t have high hopes.

While other companies have started developing their own AI tools, Apple has made no public announcements about developing or collaborating with another company to make such tools.

“I think it’s very important to be conscious and thoughtful about how we approach these things,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said when asked about generative AI at the company’s earnings announcement.

It’s possible that Apple will introduce more AI tools and features in iOS 17, like AI-generated wallpapers, but I wouldn’t expect that. I bet Apple will first integrate AI tools into features most people already use, like Siri.

More options to customize emoji wallpaper

Google announced at its I/O 2023 event that you can create custom wallpapers with emojis on certain Pixel phones. This is not unique to Android 14, however. Users can choose up to 14 emojis, the color of the background, and the layout in which the emojis will be inserted. But Apple has already brought this feature to iPhones.

Emoji wallpapers are already available on iPhones.

James Martin/CNET

To create a custom emoji wallpaper on your iPhone, go to Settings > Wallpaper > +Add New Wallpaper. In the Emoji section, you can find some ready-made emoji wallpapers. Tap on any of these and you can edit the emojis used, the layout and the color of the background. However, you can only select up to six emojis.

It would be fun if Apple would allow you to use more emojis and give you more than six layout options in iOS 17 to further customize these wallpapers.

Cinematic wallpaper

Certain Pixel phones aren’t Android 14-only either, allowing Android users to create cinematic wallpapers. This feature allows people to take a photo and add depth to certain elements of the photo. Once you apply the effect, you can move your Android device and the wallpaper elements will also move, making your wallpaper look 3D.

Cinematic wallpapers on Pixel devices add a three-dimensional look to certain wallpapers.

Screenshot by CNET

Apple introduced a similar lock screen feature in iOS 7, and this feature has been changed to “Perspective Zoom” in some iOS 16 betas. However, the feature is no longer available in recent iOS 16 updates. While Apple lets you apply a depth effect to your lock screen, this only places your watch behind certain background elements. Enabling this will also disable your lock screen widgets.

Cinematic wallpapers on your iPhone would be a nice touch if you included them in iOS 17, and they would really make some wallpapers on your home and lock screens stand out. And if Apple doesn’t allow cinematic wallpapers in iOS 17, it would be great if the company at least allowed widgets to work on your lock screen when your depth effect is enabled.

For more on Apple’s mobile software, see what’s in store for CNET’s Patrick Holland in iOS 17, what might be coming to your iPhone in iOS 16.6, and what new features you’ll get in iOS 16.5.