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iOS 17 is available today

by Kyle Meranda

iOS 17, the latest software update for iPhones, is now available, bringing with it a range of exciting new features designed to enhance the user experience. One of the standout updates is to the Phone app, which receives a major upgrade to improve the overall calling experience.

With personalized contact posters, users can customize how they appear when calling known contacts, adding beautiful treatments for photos, Memoji, and eye-catching typography and font colors. This allows users to express themselves and make their calls more personalized.

Additionally, the Phone app introduces Live Voicemail, which provides real-time transcriptions of voicemails, allowing users to read them as they are being left. This feature utilizes the power of the Neural Engine and ensures that the transcription remains private since it’s handled on-device. The update also includes the ability to automatically decline unknown and spam calls, improving overall call management.

FaceTime, Apple’s video calling app, also receives updates in iOS 17. Users can now leave video or audio messages on FaceTime when the recipient is unavailable. Reactions, such as hearts, balloons, fireworks, and laser beams, can also be added to FaceTime calls, making them more expressive. These reactions are also available in supported third-party video conferencing apps like Zoom and Webex by Cisco. Furthermore, FaceTime is now seamlessly integrated with Apple TV 4K, allowing users to start a call on their iPhone and hand it off to the Apple TV for a larger screen experience.

Messaging is another area that sees significant improvements in iOS 17. Messages now include powerful search filters to make finding specific messages easier. Audio messages are automatically transcribed, providing users with the option to read them instead of listening. Replying to messages is streamlined with the ability to swipe on a text bubble to reply inline. The update also introduces an all-new stickers experience, allowing users to create Live Stickers from photos and add fun effects to bring them to life. A new feature, Check In, enables users to notify a contact when they have safely arrived at their destination.

The StandBy feature is a new addition designed to enhance the charging experience. When the iPhone is charging and placed on its side, StandBy offers a full-screen experience with glanceable information. Users can personalize it with clock styles, favorite photos, or widgets. StandBy displays various content such as Live Activities, Siri results, incoming calls, and larger notifications. With Night Mode, StandBy adjusts to low light conditions with a beautiful red tone.

AirDrop, Apple’s file-sharing feature, becomes even more convenient with the introduction of NameDrop. Users can now exchange contact information simply by bringing their iPhone devices together. AirDrop also allows content sharing and enables SharePlay for simultaneous music listening, movie watching, or gaming experiences.

iOS 17 also includes comprehensive updates to autocorrect and dictation. The autocorrect feature benefits from a new transformer language model, which improves word prediction accuracy. Sentence-level autocorrections are expanded to fix a wider range of grammatical mistakes, and the design has been refreshed to enhance the typing experience. Inline predictive text assists users in completing sentences quickly, while the new speech recognition model in Dictation improves accuracy.

The new Journal app is designed to help users reflect on everyday moments and special events in their lives. It offers personalized suggestions curated from a user’s recent activity, such as photos and activities, to inspire journal entries. With on-device processing, end-to-end encryption, and the ability to lock the app, Journal prioritizes user privacy and ensures their entries remain secure.

Other notable updates in iOS 17 include separate browsing profiles in Safari for work and personal use, enhanced password sharing with trusted contacts through iCloud Keychain, new mental health features in the Health app, improvements to the AirPlay and AirPods experience, extended activity history in the Home app, and an innovative grid forecast tool to help users make greener energy choices.

Overall, iOS 17 brings an array of exciting updates that make the iPhone even more personal, intuitive, and enjoyable to use. Whether it’s communicating with loved ones, customizing messages, or optimizing the charging experience, iOS 17 offers a range of features that enhance the overall iPhone experience. The update is available today and is free for all eligible devices.

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