iPhone users: Today is the day to update to Apple’s latest operating system, iOS17, and unlock a host of new features that promise to make the iPhone experience more personal and intuitive.
Apple first teased iOS17 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in early June, but you may have missed some details as the tech giant unveiled its much-anticipated mixed-reality Vision Pro headset on the same day.
iPhone users can update to iOS17 starting Monday by clicking on the Software Update section in the phone’s Settings app. Of course, many users have gotten into the habit of backing up important photos or files before downloading the latest software update – or waiting until another version arrives (probably in the coming weeks) if they’re worried about any bugs that might come. With the first version of the next-generation mobile operating system.
Here are some of the hottest and most anticipated new features that iPhone users can expect from iOS17.
Direct voicemail and FaceTime video messages are here
One of the hottest new features, dubbed Live Voicemail, will transcribe a caller’s message in real time, letting iPhone users decide whether to ignore the call or pick up while the other person is on the line and leave their message.
Unknown numbers will go straight to live voicemail when you have the “Silence Unknown Caller” setting turned on.
Moreover, FaceTime will now also give users the ability to leave a video message if the video call is not picked up.
With iOS17, FaceTime calls will also become more meaningful – reactions like hearts, balloons, fireworks and more effects that can be activated by simple gestures.
Another update that takes some getting used to is simply saying “Siri” instead of “Hey Siri” to activate Apple’s voice assistant.
Dropping “this” from Siri’s launch-phrase is meant to create a more natural way to activate Assistant. Additionally, Siri will be able to process back-to-back requests better once activated.
For example, instead of asking: “Hey Siri, how tall is Shaquille O’Neal?” and “Hey, Siri, how old is Shaquille O’Neal?” You should just be able to say: “Siri, how tall is Shaquille O’Neal?” Then: “How old is he?”
The new NameDrop feature in iOS17 makes exchanging contact information with a new friend easier than ever. iPhone users can bring their iPhones closer together, like when they’re airdropping something, to share names and contact posters.
Contact poster update is another new feature that iPhone users are very excited about. It allows iPhone users to design a custom image that will appear when making a call. The update, which allows users to choose their own caller ID photo, will give iPhone users a more consistent look no matter who they’re calling, Apple said.
iPhone users will be able to personalize their contact card “poster” with a favorite photo or Memoji.
AutoCorrect is also getting a comprehensive update, Apple said, with the Transformer Language Model — or “a sophisticated on-device machine learning language model for word prediction,” according to the company.
This refreshed design better supports typing and offers sentence-level autocorrect that can correct more types of grammatical errors. iPhone users will now receive predictive text recommendations in-line as they type, making adding whole words or completing sentences as easy as tapping the space bar.
The new iOS keyboard will also learn your habits over time, such as fixing words you frequently misspell and omitting words you purposely thumbed. Apple software chief Craig Federighi said in June: “At the point where you just type a ducking word, well, the keyboard will learn it too.
New standby mode, journal app and more
iOS17 also introduces a new full-screen experience with eye-filling information designed for viewing from a distance when the iPhone is on standby, side by side, and charging. For example, while charging your iPhone on your nightstand or desk, you can personalize the display to feature a clock, favorite photos, or your most used widgets.
Apple’s new Journal app, which aims to help users reflect and practice gratitude through the daily practice of journaling, will also be available in a software update later this year.
And there’s more: Check out Apple’s handy 17-page guide to all the new features coming to iOS17.