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 personalized and intuitive.
Apple first teased iOS17 at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in early June, but you may have missed some of the details as the tech giant also unveiled its long-awaited mixed-reality Vision Pro headset on the same day.
iPhone users can update to iOS17 starting Monday by clicking on the Software Update section of 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 for the second version to roll out (probably in the coming weeks) if they’re afraid of bugs that might come with the first version of a next-generation mobile operating system.
Here are some of the liveliest and most anticipated new features that iPhone users can expect from iOS17.
Live Voicemail and FaceTime video messaging are here
One of the liveliest new features, called Live Voicemail, will transcribe a caller’s message in real time, giving iPhone users the decision to ignore the call or answer it while the other person is still on the line leaving their message.
Unknown numbers will go directly to Live Voicemail after you have enabled the “Mute Unknown Callers” option.
In addition, FaceTime will also now allow users to leave video messages if someone does not pick up a video call.
With iOS17, Facetime calls also become more expressive – with reactions like hearts, balloons, fireworks and more effects that can be activated through simple gestures.
Another update that may take some getting used to is saying just “Siri” to activate Apple’s voice assistant instead of “Hey Siri.”
Dropping “Hey” from Siri’s opening sentence is meant to create a more natural way to activate the assistant. Furthermore, Siri will also be able to better process back-to-back requests when enabled.
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?” Followed by: “How old is he?”
The new NameDrop feature in iOS17 makes it easier than ever to exchange contact information with a new friend. iPhone users can simply bring their iPhones close to each other, as they would when AirDropping something, to share names and contact posters.
The contact poster update is another new feature that iPhone users have been hyped about. This allows iPhone users to design a custom image that appears when they make calls. The update, which allows users to choose their own caller ID image, will give iPhone users a more consistent look no matter who they’re calling, Apple has said.
iPhone users will also be able to personalize their contact card “poster” with a photo or Memoji of their choice.
Autocorrect is also getting a major update, Apple said, with a transformer language model — or “a state-of-the-art on-device machine learning language model for word prediction.” according to the company.
This updated design supports better typing and offers sentence-level auto-corrections that can correct several types of grammatical errors. iPhone users will also now receive in-line predictive text recommendations as they type, making adding whole words or completing sentences as easy as hitting the space bar.
The new iOS keyboard will also learn your habits over time, such as correcting words you frequently misspell and leaving alone words you’ve intentionally typed. As Craig Federighi, Apple’s software chief, put it in June: “In those moments where you want to just type a ducking word, well, the keyboard will learn that too.”
New Standby mode, Journal app and more
iOS17 also introduces StandBy, a new full-screen experience with at-a-glance information designed to be viewed from a distance when the iPhone is on its side and charging. When you e.g. charging your iPhone by your nightstand or desk, you can customize the screen to display 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 is much more: Check out Apple’s mobile phone 17 page guide on all the latest features coming to iOS17.