just a little Apple is releasing iOS 17 for iPhone, months before Apple launches Apple Vision Pro with brand new operating system. Yes, 17 sounds like a big number.
And in many ways, iOS has reached the point of stability and maturity we’ve all been looking for. If you’re updating from iOS 16, you’ll feel right at home. Of course, there are many small changes in iOS 17. But iOS 17 won’t be a disappointing update. And that’s a good thing.
At the operating system level, the two most visible changes are a new standby mode and new interactive widgets.
with dysfunctional method, users can take advantage of it when they are not using their phone. If you have the MagSafe Dock, you can place your phone down in landscape and it will automatically start displaying quick, eye-catching information.
There are three different ways to use standby mode. You can use it using two interactive widgets side by side. iOS 17 uses the same widgets that you can use on your home screen as well. For example, you can put the weather forecast in the left widget and a list of your upcoming calendar events in the right widget.
Like your home screen, you can also create stacks of widgets and circles with these widgets based on the information you need. I don’t know why, but this was an instant hit for me when I was testing the beta version of iOS 17 this summer.
If you receive notifications, you can view them in standby mode. You can interact with Siri without having to put your phone back in portrait.
The other two modes are a full-screen clock and a photo mode that switches between your photo library or specific albums. This mode will work especially well on HomePods with built-in displays. Maybe next year…
As for the watch, there are five different styles to choose from. The idea here is that your iPhone can potentially replace your old and dusty FM radio alarm clock. Your screen adapts to low light.
On the home screen, there is a major new addition Interactive widgets. Over the past few years, widgets have become a big hit for iPhone users. And Apple is repeating on this success with new features that can be leveraged by developers to create widgets with some basic form of interaction.
Apple has already updated some of its widgets. For example, the new Home widget lets you trigger home accessories in one tap without opening the Home app or using Siri. This door lock is especially useful for the blind. Apple’s content apps have also been updated to add some interactivity like music, books and podcasts.
Other low-level changes are more subtle. For example, the Keyboard English, Spanish and French have been completely overhauled with improved autocorrect using Transformer language models. Autocorrected words are now underlined so you can quickly spot if your iPhone has betrayed you behind your back (or behind your cursor).
And Dictation It has received annual upgrades. I was already using dictation for a lot of text messages, but it’s even easier to use because you can now write a few words, type a few words, write the rest of the sentence without going back and forth between dictation and typing.
A new version of iOS means that almost all built-in Apple apps have also received an update. The common thread here is that many updates focus on bringing quality-of-life features.
For example, the the message The app has received a major upgrade. Somehow, this space is always evolving with WhatsApp, Telegram and Apple adding new features every year. They also take some inspiration from each other… For example, in a conversation thread, you can now swipe on an individual message to reply inline.
But there are other significant changes. The search feature has been completely changed. It’s now much easier to type someone’s name, then select their name to search for keywords in a specific conversation.
Audio messages have also been improved. You can finally stop your recording and resume it later. You don’t need to be in the app to hear incoming messages. And audio messages are now automatically transcribed on your device. very nice
Another interesting new feature is check in. This is a mini app from Messages that helps you send messages to your loved one when you are back home. Many people have a tendency to forget to send a quick text message, so you can set up a check in when you leave someone’s house and your iPhone will automatically send a message when you arrive at your destination.
On the communication front, face to face Got two big changes. First, you can now leave video messages when no one picks up. Second, you can use FaceTime on Apple TV with your phone acting as a webcam and microphone.
And if you still use your phone to call people, you’ll be happy to hear that Apple spent some time updating… Phone App. You can now create a contact poster, which is a full-screen representation of yourself that will appear when you call someone.
Just like your profile photo, your contact poster will be shared with your contacts as soon as you start talking to them on iMessage. The editing screen works like the wallpaper editing feature introduced with iOS 16. It’s very easy to create something that looks great.
And if you rarely pick up the phone, you can now send incoming calls directly to voicemail and read a live transcript of the voicemail. If it’s the delivery person, you might change your mind and pick up the phone.
For those of you who use it Apple Maps (Besides me), Apple finally added support for offline maps. It’s the #1 pet peeve of Google Maps users — not anymore.
All the rest
I won’t list all the changes in iOS because it would make this review too long. When you start using your iPhone with iOS 17, you will notice the smallest changes over time.
But here’s a quick list of some updates that are worth highlighting in the changelog:
- You can initiate AirDrop by bringing two devices close together. It also works with contact posters (Apple calls it Namedrop).
- The airdrop continues over the internet so you can leave the room during an airdrop transfer.
- FindMy lets you share an AirTag with anyone else in your family.
- Safari lets you create different profiles with separate tabs, history and cookies.
- You can share passwords and passkeys with other people. Goodbye, 1 password.
- When you’re using Apple Music in the car with CarPlay, other passengers can join the session and control the music — no subscription required.
- EV routing has been improved in Apple Maps.
- Your iPhone automatically suggests AirPlay speakers and TVs near you.
- AirPods are a bunch of improvements.
- The main search feature has been redesigned. It takes some getting used to but it works well.
- The Health app has new mental health assessments.
- Journal, Apple’s journaling app, is coming later this year.
- You can say “Siri” instead of “Hey, Siri”.
Overall, iOS 17 is a nice and polished update. It feels like a refined version of iOS 16 without some of the rough edges. TL; DR, this is an improvement.