Apple’s debut of iOS 17 will change the way you call, text, and view information on your iPhone. iOS 17 will bring updates to FaceTime, Messages and the Phone app to make your iPhone feel more intuitive and personal, the company revealed Monday during its Worldwide Developers Conference.
Last year’s software update, iOS 16, introduced the ability to edit or “unsend” messages you send through iMessage, Apple Pay Later, a major lock screen overhaul, revamped notifications, and live activities. These additions didn’t come all at once and were actually scattered over the course of smaller iOS software updates throughout the year.
We can expect the same for iOS 17, which will probably launch just before the rumored iPhone 15 goes on sale.
Last year we got customizable lock screens in iOS 16. This year iOS 17 has a similar change for the contact cards on your iPhone, to make them look more eye-catching. Contact banners are beautiful contact photo treatments and emoji combined with stylish fonts that appear when you receive calls and for other services on your phone where you communicate and share.
You can personalize your Contact Poster in a similar way to how you personalize your lock screen. Choose a photo, font and color and you’re done.
AirDrop becomes easier to use
iOS 17 brings a hotfix to AirDrop. You just need to bring your iPhone close to someone else’s to share a contact poster, photos, videos or start a sharing activity using Share Play. Of course, this being Apple, there’s a word for sharing your contact poster with someone new: NameDrop. The good thing is that you can choose what contact information is shared. NameDrop also works between iPhones or with an Apple Watch. It reminds me of “hitting” a contact in the early days of the iPhone.
Standby turns your iPhone into an Amazon Echo Show
One of the biggest additions in iOS 17 is for when your iPhone isn’t in your hand. When your iPhone is on its side while MagSafe charges, you get a new full-screen experience with visible information. The feature is called Standby, and it mimics what many smart home devices, like the Amazon Echo Show, can do.
The new screen shows the time, photos, widgets and live activities; almost all of which can be customized. It’s a bit of a cross between the always-on display on the iPhone 14 Pro and the nightstand mode on the Apple Watch.
When you swipe to the side on the standby screen, you can view your favorite photos or moments. iOS 17 will also automatically shuffle images to find the one that makes the best use of your screen.
Standby mode can also show visible widgets. For example, you can view the weather, Apple Home smart controls, or your favorite third-party widget. With support for live activities, you can also see the score of sporting events or the status of a food delivery.
One of the neater features is that Standby can remember your preferred view “settings” for each place you load via MagSafe.
The new Diary app
iOS 17 brings a new Apple app called Journal that creates personalized suggestions to inspire writing. These suggestions are curated from information on your iPhone, such as photos, location, music, and workouts.
Journal gives you the option to select a time, such as “morning visit, Ocean Beach,” and start writing. You can also schedule notifications to remind you to write and get new directions. You can mark important moments so you can reflect on them later.
Another new talent iOS 17 has got involves its voicemail. When someone calls you and leaves a message, you’ll see a live transcript in real time as they speak. The new service is called Live Voicemail, and it feels like the days of answering machines, when my dad would screen a call. For live voicemail, you’ll see voicemail right on your screen so you can decide whether to go out and take the call. The feature works with your iPhone’s neural engine to preserve your privacy. Live Voicemail looks identical to Call Screen on Google Pixel phones, which isn’t a bad thing.
iOS 17 will let you record a video message on FaceTime. It’s a much-requested feature that will ensure you can document and share important moments, even if someone misses your call.
Apple is expanding and simplifying your location sharing through Messages. The new feature, called Check In, is to let a loved one know they’ve arrived at their destination safely. Whether you’re walking home after dark or heading out for an early morning run, you can start a Log with a family member or friend, and as soon as you get home, you’ll automatically let your friend know. But if something unexpected happens, it can recognize that you are not close to your destination and communicate with you. If you don’t respond, Check In can automatically share your current location, the route you took, your iPhone’s battery level, and cellular service status; all of which is end-to-end encrypted.
The posts get a handful of fixes and additions.
The tried-and-true Messages app gets a handful of updates, including a visual overhaul to your iMessage apps that will no longer sit above your keyboard and instead be accessible via a plus sign in the bottom left.
Searching through your Messages becomes a lot easier in iOS 17 with the addition of filters. When you start a search in the Messages app, you can add terms to narrow your results.
Another welcome addition is the transcription of audio messages. If you have friends or family sending you audio messages, you can read a transcript of the recording right in the Messages app.
There’s also a new “catch up arrow” in Messages. It’s at the top right of your conversation and allows you to jump to the first message you haven’t read. This could be a great feature for managing group chats. Apple also made online responses faster. In iOS 17, you’ll be able to simply swipe to reply on any message bubble.
Apple fixes ducking autocorrect
Autocorrect will get smarter and you will be able to correct more grammatical errors. Reverting the words to what you typed is easier. And apparently, the autocorrect will learn and allow you to use swear words. Duck yeah!
iMessage stickers gets a new drawer to gather all the stickers you’ve used in one place. And now the emoji are stickers. You can peel and stick an emoji sticker to a message bubble, rotate it, and resize it. Last year in iOS 16, Apple introduced the ability to lift a subject from the background of a photo as part of Visual Lookup. With iOS 17, you can turn a photo subject into a label in Messages.
The sticker drawer also has a live sticker tab that allows you to create a sticker animation (also known as a GIF) from a live photo. Stickers are accessible system-wide in things like Tapback, Markup, and third-party apps; basically anywhere you can access emoji.
But wait, there are more iOS 17 features
As usual at WWDC, there are many more additions and improvements in iOS 17 than Apple showed off during the keynote. Some notable highlights include:
- Activate Siri simply by saying “Siri” instead of “Hey Siri”
- Download offline maps in the Maps app
- New profiles for Safari and your passwords
- Automatic retrieval of unique verification codes from the Mail app
- Interactive widgets (which were introduced in depth during the iPadOS part)
iOS 17 will be fully available this fall and will work on iPhone XS, XR, and newer, including iPhone SE 2020.