Apple has finally released iOS 17.0 to the public, which is a highly anticipated update to the iPhone Operating System. With this new version of iOS, Apple brings in useful features and changes as well as refinements across the system.
The first beta of iOS 17 was released on June 5th after WWDC 2023. The Release Candidate version of iOS 17 was already released to Beta Testers on September 12th after Apple’s “Wonderlust” event where they announced the new iPhone 15 series, iPhone 15 Pro series, Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2, Finewoven Accessories, and AirPods Pro with USB-C Charging Case.
Note that the RC Build is now being released to the public, so beta testers who have installed the RC are already running the latest public build, as iOS 17.0 is out of beta.
Here’s everything that’s changed with iOS 17:
AirDrop & NameDrop:
Users running iOS 17 or watchOS 10 will be able to bring their devices together to share contact information with NameDrop along with sharing other content.
The Incoming Calls interface has received a huge update with personalized Contact Posters. According to Apple, “Users can customize how they appear, bringing a completely new look to incoming calls, and choose beautiful treatments for photos or Memoji, as well as eye-catching typography and font colors. Contact Posters will also be available for third-party calling apps.”
Apple also introduced another new feature to Calls – Live Voicemail: On iOS 17, users will be able to see a real-time transcription while someone is leaving a voicemail and will also have the option to pick up during the voicemail. All of the processing happens on-device, making it completely private.
Apple says that calls identified as spam by carriers won’t appear as Live Voicemail, and will instead be instantly declined.
Apple has added support for Video and Audio Messages for FaceTime with iOS 17, which is useful when users call someone who is not available. Along with Video and Audio Messages, Apple also added new effects such as hearts, balloons, fireworks, laser beams, rain, and more. These new effects can be activated with simple gestures during a FaceTime call. According to Apple, third-party video calling apps can take advantage of this new feature as well.
Searching for Messages has become more powerful and precise with search filters on iOS 17 — Users can now start and add search filters to the search field to further narrow down the results. Along with this, Apple also introduced Check In, a significant feature in Messages that enables users to inform their loved ones about their safe arrival at a particular destination. When a user initiates a Check In from their iPhone, their selected family member or friend will receive an automatic notification as soon as the user reaches their intended location. In case the user is not making progress towards their destination, important details like the device’s location, battery level, and cell service status will be temporarily shared with the chosen contact. As usual, all the shared information will be securely encrypted end-to-end. Audio Messages are now transcribed automatically. Apple has added an expandable menu in the Messages App which allows users to display iMessage apps with a simple tap, resulting in a sleeker look.
Apple introduced StandBy with iOS 17, allowing users to view glanceable information with a full-screen experience. while the iPhone is charging in landscape orientation. This feature supports Live Activities, Siri, incoming calls, and larger notifications, making the iPhone even more useful when on a nightstand, kitchen counter, or desk, where the iPhone is intended to be viewed at a distance. According to Apple, StandBy “can be personalized to display a range of beautiful clock styles, favorite photos, or widgets, including Smart Stacks, which surface the right widgets at the right time.”
For iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro models, StandBy will be always visible as it supports Always-On display, while other supported devices can enable it by tapping on the display. When a user charges the iPhone with MagSafe, it learns the preferred StandBy view on that MagSafe charger and then applies the same every time you connect to that MagSafe charger.
Apple also announced the new Journal App that will be coming soon to iOS 17. According to Apple, “Using on-device machine learning, personalized suggestions can be provided to help inspire a user’s journal entry. Suggestions are intelligently curated from recent activity, including photos, people, places, workouts, and more, making it easy to start a journal entry, and scheduled notifications can help build a journaling habit.”
According to Apple’s Press Release, iOS 17 also includes:
- Safari adds greater protection for Private Browsing, both from trackers as a user browses, and from people who might have access to a user’s device. Advanced tracking and fingerprinting protections go even further to help prevent websites from tracking or identifying a user’s device. Private Browsing now locks when not in use, allowing a user to keep tabs open even when stepping away from the device.
- For easier and more secure password and passkeys sharing, users can share passwords with a group of trusted contacts. Everyone in the group can add and edit passwords to keep them up to date. Since sharing is through iCloud Keychain, it’s end-to-end encrypted.
- The Health app offers new mental health features. Users can log their daily moods and momentary emotions; see what might be contributing to their state of mind; and easily access depression and anxiety assessments often used in clinics, plus resources available in their region. Additionally, increasing the distance the device is viewed from can help children lower their risk of myopia and gives adult users the opportunity to reduce digital eyestrain. Screen Distance in Screen Time uses the TrueDepth camera to encourage users to move their device farther away after holding it closer than 12 inches from their face for an extended period of time.
- Maps adds offline maps, so users can download a specific area and access turn-by-turn navigation, see their estimated time of arrival, find places in Maps, and more while offline. Maps also makes it easier than ever to discover thousands of trails in parks across the United States, and supports electric vehicle drivers with real-time charging availability information.
- AirTag can be shared with up to five other people, allowing friends and family to keep track of an item in Find My. Everyone in a group will be able to see an item’s location, play a sound, and use Precision Finding to help pinpoint the location of a shared AirTag when nearby. This also works with all other Find My network accessories.
- Sharing content using AirPlay is even easier with on-device intelligence now learning a user’s preferences. AirPlay will also work with supported televisions in hotels, allowing users to easily enjoy their favorite content on the TV when traveling. Built with a foundation of privacy and security, this capability will be available before the end of the year in select hotels, starting with brands from IHG Hotels & Resorts.
- AirPods receive powerful new features, including Adaptive Audio, Personalized Volume, and Conversation Awareness, that redefine the personal audio experience. Plus, improvements to Automatic Switching and call controls make AirPods even easier to use.
- The Home app adds the ability for users to view up to 30 days of activity history across door locks, garage doors, alarm systems, and contact sensors. Additionally, two popular HomeKit lock features — tap to unlock and PIN codes — are now available for Matter-compatible locks, providing even more ways to connect the home.
- Reminders features a grocery list that automatically groups added items into categories to make shopping easier. Users can change how the items are grouped and the list remembers their preferences.
- Visual Look Up is now available in paused video frames. Now users can identify food, storefronts, signs, and symbols, and lift individual subjects from photos and videos.
- Siri can be activated by simply saying “Siri.” Once activated, users can issue multiple commands in succession without needing to reactivate the assistant.
- In Photos, the People album uses on-device machine learning to recognize more photos of a user’s favorite people, as well as cats and dogs.
- Privacy updates include the expansion of Communication Safety beyond Messages to help keep kids safe when sending and receiving content via AirDrop, Contact Posters, a FaceTime message, and when using the Photos picker to choose content to send. It also expands to cover video content in addition to still images. A new feature, Sensitive Content Warning, helps adult users avoid seeing unwanted nude images and videos. As with Communication Safety, all image and video processing for Sensitive Content Warning occurs on-device, so Apple does not get access to the content.
- Accessibility updates include Assistive Access, a customizable interface that helps users with cognitive disabilities use iPhone with greater ease and independence; Live Speech, which gives nonspeaking users the option to type and have their words spoken in person, or on phone and FaceTime calls; Personal Voice, which gives users at risk of speech loss the option to create a voice that sounds like theirs; and Point and Speak, which helps users who are blind or have low vision read text on physical objects by pointing.
Recently, Apple also shared even more iOS 17 features that are set to come to the iPhone in a software update later this year in the list, perhaps with iOS 17.1 or iOS 17.2. Read more about the upcoming features here.
iOS 17 is supported on the devices listed below:
- iPhone 15
- iPhone 15 Plus
- iPhone 15 Pro
- iPhone 15 Pro Max
- iPhone 14
- iPhone 14 Plus
- iPhone 14 Pro
- iPhone 14 Pro Max
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone SE (3rd generation)
- iPhone SE (2nd generation)
Apple has dropped support for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X which were launched in 2017 with the A11 Bionic chipset. However, Apple will continue providing security updates to these devices.
How excited are you about these new features? Let us know down in the comments or tweet to us on @appleosophy! Be sure to download the Appleosophy App from the App Store or visit our website to stay updated with the latest Apple news!