September 24, 2023

On my house desk is an iPhone 14 Professional working iOS 17 on a MagSafe charger. The display screen reveals an enormous clock that from time to time fades into an alert for a brand new message from my pal. I can swipe up and down to alter the type of the clock between one that appears stylish to 1 that is extra inventive and one other that is straight out of the ’80s. Apple calls this display screen StandBy, and I am keen on it. StandBy is totally different from utilizing your telephone’s always-on show. It transforms the iPhone right into a bedside clock or a wise show displaying images and widgets. Its versatility is compelling as a result of it feels modern and appears extra like a miniature iPad than my iPhone.

The brand new function is one in all many additions coming in iOS 17 that Apple introduced final month and simply publicly launched in beta. Although iOS 17 was largely overshadowed by Apple’s Imaginative and prescient Professional headset announcement, there are various new options value your time and a spotlight on this upcoming iPhone replace. The software program is in beta and also you should not set up it onto your major iPhone as it’s possible you’ll expertise the occasional bug or glitch.

For me, practically every part in iOS 17 falls into one in all 4 classes that I made up: pleasant options, intuitive enhancements, private additions and useful instruments. These sound like Jeopardy classes, however all of them add as much as an iOS that is a serious high quality of life enchancment.

Like the previous couple of years of Apple software program updates, iOS 17 would not alter your iPhone in main methods and as a substitute provides a bunch of customizations and options you possibly can select to make use of or simply plain ignore. There are nonetheless options I would prefer to see Apple add, like an onscreen quantity button for the iPhone’s digital Apple TV distant. The ultimate model of iOS 17 will likely be out this fall, probably when the rumored iPhone 15 is introduced. For a extra complete deep dive into every part that is new in iOS 17, try my earlier story right here.


Watch this: We Tried iOS 17 for Ourselves and We’re Impressed So Far

iOS 17 pleasant options

The iPhone has numerous options, apps and utilities which can be simply plain enjoyable to make use of. And iOS 17 provides much more to what’s already obtainable.

With iOS 17, your iPhone has a house display screen, a lock display screen, an at all times on show (you probably have a 14 Professional) and that new StandBy display screen. After I flip my iPhone on its aspect whereas charging, the StandBy display screen robotically pops up in lieu of the always-on show. It is principally an enormous clock that may additionally present images, a calendar, widgets and notifications. It is good for a nightstand, desk or kitchen counter.

I have been utilizing the Belkin Boost Charge Pro 2-in-1 stand, however any bodily stand that fees by way of MagSafe ought to work.

The iPhone on a MagSafe charger in StandBy mode

When the iPhone is on a MagSafe charger and in a horizontal place, StandBy mode kicks in.

John Kim/CNET

I like how every part flows in StandBy mode. If I obtain a notification whereas the clock is on display screen, my telephone shows a easy animation that transitions between the 2. If I need to change up the StandBy display screen, I can swipe as much as choose a special type or format. It will possibly show my images and stay actions, too. When it is darkish (like while you’re sleeping) the StandBy display screen turns pink, harking back to a pink mild in a darkroom for growing images.

One other pleasant function is Stickers in Messages. Although message stickers aren’t new, iOS 17 brings many extra of them, together with emoji stickers. These are helpful while you need to be extra particular along with your expression relatively than simply responding to a message with a Tapback thumbs up, thumbs down, coronary heart, snicker, query mark or exclamation factors.

iMessage apps are now not situated above the keyboard. As an alternative, they now have their very own devoted menu, which is the place you will discover the Stickers part. Faucet the plus signal button on the underside left of the Messages app to tug it up, after which choose Stickers. A Stickers tray pops up with tabs for all of your present iMessage stickers, one other tab for emoji stickers and, my favourite, one for custom-made stickers. And it is the custom-made stickers which can be actually superb.

A hand making a custom sticker on an iPhone from a photo of a cat

Now you can flip your photograph right into a sticker in Messages.

John Kim/CNET

To make a brand new one, I tapped the Stickers drawer’s plus signal, chosen a photograph and tapped the Add Sticker button. The topic of my photograph was then lifted out of the image and remodeled right into a sticker, whereas the unique photograph remained unchanged. From there, I might add an impact instantly or edit the sticker later. And it is now saved in my Stickers’ drawer for future use.

You should utilize a stay photograph to make an animated sticker, which could now be the very best a part of Stickers. That is addictive, and I foresee a future the place there are tons of, 1000’s, hundreds of thousands(?) of custom-made animated stickers being despatched between iPhones. I exaggerate, however you will see when you attempt it. I’ve positively bombarded most of my mates with a bunch of those already.

iOS 17 intuitive enhancements

A fingers swipes left on a message on the iPhone

Swipe to answer makes direct responses to a message bubble straightforward and quick.

John Kim/CNET

In iOS 17, Apple improved numerous present options and added numerous new instruments that make utilizing your iPhone extra intuitive and simpler. One in every of these is the power to swipe to answer within the Messages app. Inline replies are nothing new, they usually positively assist preserve group threads from turning into a multitude. However with the ability to swipe to answer a particular message in iOS 17 is one thing I am unable to imagine we’ve not had earlier than. It appears fairly apparent.

Then there are house display screen widgets, which have been obtainable on the iPhone since 2020. So far, widgets have primarily been helpful for displaying glanceable info or serving as app shortcuts. With iOS 17, widgets grow to be interactive. I can begin or pause a podcast straight from the widget, and the identical goes for music. Proper now within the beta, many of the interactive widgets are Apple’s personal apps, so I am excited to see how non-Apple apps reap the benefits of the operate. Listed below are the apps which have an interactive widget component thus far:

  • Apple Music.
  • Apple Podcasts.
  • Safari.
  • House.
  • Contacts.
  • Books.
  • Apple Information.

iOS 17 private additions

A hand editing a contact poster on an iPhone

You’ll be able to customise a number of variations of your contact poster.

John Kim/CNET

Apple added numerous new instruments and utilities on iOS 17 that make your iPhone extra of a mirrored image of your type. One in every of these is contact posters, which principally flip your mundane contact card right into a mini film poster. You’ll be able to choose from a couple of totally different templates, like ones that present your initials, a Memoji or a photograph of your selecting. This jogs my memory a number of the lock display screen customizations we bought in iOS 16. Your contact card can have a contact poster and a contact photograph. And you’ll share your contact poster utilizing Title Drop, which is a cross between AirDrop and Apple Pay (sans the bank cards). I can hover my iPhone over another person’s (much like the way you set off Apple Pay at a contactless cost terminal) and share my contact poster.

I can choose the particular telephone quantity or e-mail deal with I need to share when Title Drop is triggered, which will be useful if I am sharing my contact particulars with knowledgeable colleague and do not need to hand over my private e-mail deal with. And there is an choice to simply obtain another person’s contact info, and never share your personal.

Title Drop allows you to share your contact poster with one other iPhone just by bringing them shut collectively.

Patrick Holland]CNET

There’s additionally one other private addition, aimed toward folks with pets. The Pictures app can now determine and discover pet images higher. If I sort the phrase “cat” into the Pictures search discipline, it pulls up all of the images of cats on my telephone. Finding pet images is not precisely new, however apparently it really works higher in IOS 17. For the report, I had 562 cat images on my telephone, which seems like quite a bit, however I’d’ve thought there have been extra.

Additionally, while you pull up a photograph of a cat, there is a new Visible Lookup icon with a tiny cat silhouette on it. There is a related icon for canine images, too. The brand new icon would not add any performance however it’s only a good contact.


You’ll be able to lastly select which images present up on the homescreen with the Pictures widget for albums.

John Kim/CNET

There’s now a Pictures widget for albums. When you add the widget to your private home display screen, you possibly can edit it to indicate images from a particular album. Just like the swipe to answer in Messages, why hasn’t this been on my iPhone prior to now?

iOS 17 useful instruments


Stay Voicemail is a nifty new call-screening software for the iPhone.

John Kim/CNET

Over 16 years, the iPhone has developed from being three revolutionary gadgets in a single, as outlined by Steve Jobs, into a necessary a part of our each day lives that serves dozens of various roles, like displaying you the climate, letting you hail a experience or letting you pay for a meal. iOS 17 provides much more helpful instruments, and some of the conspicuous is stay voicemail transcription; principally a modern-day equal of screening telephone calls utilizing an answering machine within the ’80s, ’90s and early-2000s.

As somebody who opinions each iPhones and Android, it jogs my memory of the Name Display screen function on Google Pixel telephones. Primarily, when somebody calls and begins to go away you a message, you will see a stay transcription of the voicemail because the particular person speaks. You’ll be able to choose up the decision to speak to them at any time. I do not get a ton of telephone calls from folks I do not know, however this may go a great distance towards minimizing the nervousness that rises after I get a name from an unfamiliar quantity.

And iPhone with a long Messages thread

Probably the greatest enhancements can also be one of many smallest. If there is a lengthy thread of latest messages, a tiny arrow will seem on the correct aspect, which when tapped brings you to the primary unread message in a collection.

John Kim/CNET

Messages will get a brand new arrow button that allows you to immediately bounce to the primary unread messages in a dialog. It is nice for lengthy threads the place it’s good to catch up quick. Simply faucet the arrow to go to the primary unread message.

After which there’s Examine In, which lets a pal know robotically while you’ve arrived at a vacation spot safely. It is location sharing taken to a different degree, and I discovered it straightforward to make use of. In my exams, I discovered it easy, particularly because it’s proper there in that new Messages pop-up menu.

Check In on the iPhone

Examine In is a streamlined technique to share your location with a pal to make sure you get to your vacation spot safely.

Patrick Holland/CNET

iOS 17 arrives in full this fall

iOS 17 nonetheless has a month or two of testing and tweaks earlier than it is totally prepared for prime time, however I am impressed with it thus far. Like earlier iOS releases, there are way more options, instruments and enhancements which can be nonetheless ready to be found. However you probably have an outdated iPhone mendacity round (iOS 17 works with the iPhone XR and newer), or do not thoughts coping with a couple of glitches right here and there, it is value downloading the general public beta. iOS 17 pushes your iPhone expertise ahead not by being a radical reimagining of telephone software program, however relatively by refining and increasing on numerous options we already take pleasure in.