iOS 17 features: Everything new that Apple has added to the iPhone’s OS

iOS 17 Featured Image

On June 5, 2023, during the WWDC 2023 keynote, Apple announced iOS 17, the latest update to the operating system that powers practically every recently released iPhone. iOS is known for its stability and attention to detail, and Apple remains ever-so-particular about any changes it makes to the most popular phones on the planet. iOS 17 brings a surprising number of changes, and all iPhone users will soon be able to use them.

When is iOS 17 releasing?

Apple iOS 17 Feature Summary

Aamir Siddiqui / Android Authority

You can expect iOS 17 to be released to the public in September 2023, right when the iPhone 15 series launches. If you cannot wait to try out iOS 17, there are betas you can try, though we do not recommend them as they contain bugs.

iOS 17 features: Contact Posters come to the Phone app

Apple WWDC 2023 contact posters

One of the top user-facing changes in iOS 17 is Contact Posters. Contact Posters are personalized photos that introduce you whenever you call a fellow Apple user on their iPhone or iPad. So instead of displaying the standard incoming call screen on the other person’s phone, iOS 17 will display a rich photo you can personalize.

Apple iOS 17 Contact Posters

Users can choose between their photos or Memoji and customize the typography and font colors. Contact Posters will also be available for third-party calling apps and how your contact card gets shared.

NameDrop lets you AirDrop your contact card

Apple WWDC 2023 name drop 3

Now that you have created a good-looking Contact Poster, it’s time to share it, and iOS 17 is making it easy with the new NameDrop feature.

Apple WWDC 2023 name drop

NameDrop lets you share contact information by bringing your iPhone closer to another iPhone or Apple Watch. Gone are the days of manually spelling your phone number out. Now bump your iPhone into another to send over your details!

AirDrop can now send files over the internet if you get far

Apple iOS 17 AirDrop Internet send

The entire premise of AirDrop that made it convenient for many was how flawlessly it worked to transfer files within close proximity. But what if you walk away after initiating an AirDrop?

Previously, the transfer would fail. But with iOS 17, AirDrop will switch to using the internet to avoid interrupting the transfer. This lets you move beyond proximity after you have initiated the transfer.

Real-time transcriptions with Live Voicemail

Apple WWDC 2023 live voicemail 2

Real-time transcriptions are coming to iPhones with the Live Voicemail feature, letting users read the real-time transcription of an incoming voicemail. This will help them react better to the voicemail, such as deciding to pick up the call if the message is urgent enough.

Calls identified as spam calls by carriers will be instantly declined and not appear as Live Voicemail. Live Voicemail transcriptions will be handled on-device through the iPhone’s Neural Engine.

FaceTime gets audio and video messages, reactions, and more

FaceTime gestures

With iOS 17, if someone cannot pick up your FaceTime video call, you can leave them an audio or video message.

Further, you can now send reactions within FaceTime calls. These need simple gestures that you act out in front of your phone’s camera, which gets recognized, and then the reaction is displayed on the screen for all participants. For example, showing the heart gesture will shower hearts on the screen. Third-party video calling apps can also take advantage of reactions.

Live Stickers lets you lift subjects from photos and create reusable stickers

Apple iOS 17 Messages Live Stickers

Apple’s nifty iOS 16 feature that lets you lift subjects from photos and send them forward has been a big hit amongst users. iOS 17 is following up with Live Stickers within the Messages app.

The concept is the same: you lift subjects from photos (and now Live Photos), but now you can create reusable stickers. You can also animate them with effects like outlines and glitter. Your sticker collection can also be accessed system-wide wherever Emoji can be accessed.

Check In lets you automatically notify people when you reach

Apple iOS 17 check in resize

The Messages app is getting a nifty new Check In feature. This will be immensely helpful when you want to notify friends or family when you have safely reached your destination.

When you initiate Check In, the receiver will automatically be notified when you arrive at your destination. However, suppose you are delayed beyond fifteen minutes on your route to the destination. In that case, critical information from your device, such as your recent location, battery level, and cell service status, will be shared.

Messages app gets cleaner and smarter

Apple iOS 17 Messages app attachment options

The Messages app on iOS 17 is getting improved. An expandable menu now displays attachment options like photos, location, and more.

Apple iOS 17 Messages app catch up arrow

There is now a new catch-up arrow that now indicates where you last left the conversation. This will come in handy when a chat gets noisy and you have to go for some work in the middle of it.

Apple iOS 17 Messages app reply

Inline replies are now easier, as you can reply by lightly swiping right on the text bubble.

Apple iOS 17 Messages app inline location

When someone shares their location in the Messages app, it will now update in real-time in the conversation instead of sharing a useless static thumbnail.

Apple iOS 17 Messages app audio transcription

When sending an audio message, the message is transcribed automatically. Others can choose to either listen to the message or read the transcript.

Apple iOS 17 Messages app search filters

Searching within Messages is now smarter with search filters, making it easier to narrow down results.

StandBy gives your iPhone some purpose when charging

Apple WWDC23 iOS 17 StandBy lifestyle 230605

iOS 17 is introducing a new feature called StandBy, not to be confused with the word’s ordinary meaning.

With StandBy, placing your iPhone in a landscape orientation when charging idly will display glanceable information. This can range from the time (with many clock options) to your favorite photos or widgets, including the Smart Stack widget.

StandBy also supports Live Activities, Siri, incoming calls, and prominent notifications, making your iPhone much more usable from a distance.

Further, when you charge using a MagSafe accessory, StandBy will remember your preferred view.

On iPhones with Always On Displays like the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, StandBy is always available when charging your phone on its side. On other phones, you can bring up StandBy by tapping on the screen, where it will sit for a few seconds before the screen switches off again.

Wake up Siri with just “Siri”

WWDC 2023 — June 5 Apple 33 52 screenshot

In iOS 17, one significant change is how Siri can be activated. Instead of needing to say “Hey Siri,” users can now say “Siri” to wake the virtual assistant. Siri can also accept multiple commands in succession without needing to reactivate the assistant.

AI comes to Autocorrect and Dictation

Apple iOS 17 Autocorrect

While Google and Microsoft are busy putting AI in their search products, Apple is putting AI into the iOS 17 keyboard. Autocorrect on iOS has received a significant update with a transformer language model that excels in word prediction. iOS 17 users can expect to receive inline predictive text recommendations as they type, so they can complete sentences by tapping away on the space bar.

Similarly, Dictation is also leveraging a new speech recognition model that makes it more accurate.

New Journal app

Apple iOS 17 Journal app logo

iOS 17 is bringing a new app, Journal, to Apple’s ecosystem. As the name implies, this app lets you build a habit of gratitude journaling.

Apple WWDC23 iOS 17 Journal recent activity 230605

It wouldn’t be an Apple app if it were just a basic journaling app. Instead, Journal uses on-device machine learning to offer personalized suggestions to help inspire journal entries. Suggestions are curated from recent activity, including photos, people, places, workouts, and more.

Apple iOS 17 Journal app suggestions

Scheduled notifications are on offer to help build a journaling habit, and you can bookmark your favorite entries. Since journaling can be a rather personal activity, you can lock the app to prevent someone from casually accessing it when they have your iPhone in hand.

Safari becomes more private

Safari, the web browser on iOS, is becoming more private with iOS 17. Private Browsing sessions will lock when the phone is not in use, letting users keep private tabs open even when they aren’t around their phone. Safari will also prevent websites from tracking or identifying a user’s device through advanced tracking and fingerprinting protections.

Sensitive Content Warning protects you from unwanted nudes

Apple WWDC23 iOS 17 Privacy Sensitive Content Warning

Sensitive Content Warning is a new iOS 17 feature that helps adult users avoid seeing unwanted nude images and videos. So if someone sends you an unsolicited photo or video, the media itself remains blurred while the phone warns you about the explicit nature of the incoming photo or video.

iOS 17 sensitive content warning blur

Apple says that all image and video processing for Sensitive Content Warning occurs on-device.

Share passwords with people you trust

iOS 17 is making it easier to share passwords with trusted contacts. Sharing is done through the iCloud Keychain. Everyone in the group will be able to add and edit passwords (like for Wi-Fi and shared shopping accounts), making it easier to live a life with a shared community.

Health app offers new mental health features

Apple WWDC23 iOS 17 Health emotion 230605

The newest addition to the Health app with iOS 17 is the focus on mental health. iPhone users can log their daily moods and momentary emotions in the Health app. They will be able to figure out what might be contributing to their state of mind while being able to access depression and anxiety assessments that are often used in clinics, plus have access to other resources available in their region.

Screen Distance advises kids to maintain distance from the screen

Apple iOS 17 Screen Distance

A new feature called Screen Distance within Screen Time will advise kids to maintain distance from the screen. The feature uses the TrueDepth camera system on the iPhone to determine if the user is using the phone closer than 12 inches from their face for an extended period. If so, it will encourage the user to move the device away, helping reduce digital eyestrain.

Maps get offline support and other features

Apple WWDC23 iOS 17 Maps offline 230605

Maps on iOS 17 is finally getting offline support, letting users download a specific map area beforehand.

Apple WWDC23 iOS17 Maps offline

They can then access turn-by-turn navigation, see their estimated arrival time, find places, and more when offline.

Apple WWDC23 Apple Maps EV routing

Further, Maps is making discovering park trails across the US easier. Apple has also added real-time charging availability information to help electric car drivers plan their routes better.

Apple Cash gets recurring payments and auto top-ups

Apple WWDC23 Apple Cash payments balance

Apple Cash on iOS 17 will allow users to set up weekly, biweekly, or monthly Apple Cash payments. This will make it easier for parents to pay allowances to kids and friends to pay rent to each other.

Users can also choose to automatically top up their Apple Cash balance when it runs low.

Apple Wallet can now present your ID to businesses

With iOS 17, businesses can accept IDs in Apple Wallet without needing additional hardware.

Users have to hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near the business’s iPhone. They will then see a prompt highlighting the requested information and whether the receiver will be storing it. Users can authenticate and consent using Face ID or Touch ID.

This will make it easier for businesses to verify a person’s identity and age quickly.

Apple Music gets Collaborative Playlists for shared music listening

Apple WWDC23 iOS 17 Apple Music collaborative playlists 230605

Apple Music is introducing Collaborative Playlists, letting users in proximity use SharePlay to contribute what is playing on a device, like a car or a group speaker, for example. Listeners can control the music from their own devices even if they do not have an Apple Music subscription themselves.

AirPlay now available in hotels

Apple WWDC23 iOS 17 AirPlay connect 230605

Apple is working with hotels to use AirPlay on iOS 17 to make everyone’s life easier. You can connect to hotel Wi-Fi and start sharing your phone content to the hotel room TV through SharePlay with a simple QR code scan. This feature will be available in select hotels, starting with brands from IHG Hotels & Resorts, before the end of 2023.

Smaller changes in iOS 17 and its apps

There are many more minor changes in iOS 17 and included apps. Some of these smaller iOS 17 features are listed below:

  • The Home app allows users to view up to 30 days of activity history. It’s a small but helpful change when setting up your smart home or troubleshooting it.
  • The Reminders app now features a grocery list that automatically groups added items into categories that make shopping easier. Users can change how the items are grouped, and the list remembers their preferences.
  • Visual Look Up can now be activated in paused video frames, making reverse image searching possible from within videos.
  • Thanks to on-device machine learning, the People album will now recognize more photos of people and pets in the Photos app.
  • Accessibility improvements:
    • Assistive Access is a customizable interface that helps users with cognitive disabilities use an iPhone more easily.
    • Live Speech allows non-speaking users to type and have their words spoken in person or on phone and FaceTime calls.
    • Personal Voice allows users at risk of speech loss to create a voice that sounds like theirs.
    • Point and Speak helps users who are blind or have low vision read text on physical objects by pointing the camera of their iPhone on it.

These are all the new iOS 17 features across the system and apps. Even though the update may not seem significant, there are plenty of big and small changes all around that will positively impact the end-user experience on iPhones.