Big annual update for Apple iPhone operating system, with official release of iOS 17, available for iPhone Xs and later
Apple has released its biggest software for the year, by making available iOS 17 for anyone with an iPhone X or later.
iOS 17 delivers some new features to some of the mostly commonly used apps, and it also includes a standby mode that turns an iPhone into a bedside smart display similar to a traditional alarm clock.
It also includes easier file sharing with AirDrop, improved typing options, interactive widgets for the home screen, and a new StandBy mode.
The arrival of iOS 17 comes just a week after Apple unveiled the iPhone 15 lineup, which saw the arrival of USB-C ports on the new handsets, and the end of the Lightning cable.
Apple iOS 17
Some of the most notable updates for iOS 17 concern commonly used apps such as the Phone app, Messages and FaceTime.
For example Apple’s ‘Personalised Contact Posters’ in iOS 17 changes the way a person’s iPhone looks when they receive a call. Essentially a user can select a picture and font to change how they appear when they call someone else iPhone.
With iOS 17, users can create their own “personalised contact posters”. These Contact Posters can be “personalised with “beautiful treatments for photos, Memoji, and eye-catching typography and font colours,” said Apple.
Apple iOS 17 is also offering users the ability to leave a video or audio message on FaceTime to capture exactly what they want to say when someone they call is not available.
FaceTime calls have also been tweaked to offer more reactions such as hearts, balloons, fireworks, and laser beams that can be activated by simple gestures.
FaceTime also connects to an Apple TV 4K, so users can use Continuity Camera to start a FaceTime call on iPhone and hand it off to Apple TV, or initiate the FaceTime call directly from their Apple TV.
Messages have also been updated with new options and audio messages get automatically transcribed so users can read them in the moment or listen later.
Meanwhile there is also now a feature called “Check In” built into Messages, that lets users notify a family member or friend when they have made it to their destination safely.
After a user starts a Check In, their contact will automatically be notified as soon as they arrive.
The StandBy feature meanwhile mimics a traditional bedside alarm clock offering a full-screen experience with glanceable information designed to be viewed from a distance while iPhone is on its side and charging.
StandBy can used for a desk, nightstand, or kitchen counter, and can be personalised to display a range of clock styles, favourite photos, or widgets, including Smart Stacks, which surface the right widgets at the right time.
Users can opt to use a MagSafe charger, so StandBy will remember a user’s preferred view for that MagSafe charging dock.
Meanwhile AirDrop makes it easier than ever to share stuff with friends, family, and colleagues.
NameDrop is a new AirDrop feature that lets users exchange contact information, including their Contact Poster, simply by bringing their iPhone devices together. See video here.
With the same gesture, users can also share content or start SharePlay to listen to music, watch a movie, or play a game while in close proximity.
And later this year, AirDrop will add the ability to continue transfers over the internet when a user steps out of AirDrop range.
Autocorrect has received a comprehensive update according to Apple, with on-device machine learning language model for more accurate word prediction.
Apple says “sentence-level autocorrections can fix more types of grammatical mistakes, and the refreshed design better supports typing by temporarily underlining corrected words and allowing users to revert back with just a tap.”
Meanwhile inline predictive text helps quickly finish sentences, while dictation’s new speech recognition model brings improved accuracy.
How to install
There are also a range of other features, including roadside assistance so that users in the US with the latest iPhones (iPhone 14, 15) call AAA via satellites, if there’s no mobile service.
Apple iOS 17 is available for the iPhone X and later, which means that users of the iPhone 8 and older are now excluded from this update.
Apple iOS 17 can be installed as follows:
- Open the Settings app on iPhone.
- Tap “General.”
- Tap “Software Update.”