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Apple Unveils iOS 17 – Brings Improved AirDrop, More Intelligent Text Input, Updated Apps

Apple Unveils iOS 17 – Brings Improved AirDrop, More Intelligent Text Input, Updated Apps

Apple today unveiled iOS 17 for the iPhone, which brings updates to the Phone, FaceTime, and Messages apps, easier sharing with AirDrop, and text input improvements that improve the speed and accuracy of typing. The new mobile OS also brings with it a new Journal app, and a new StandBy feature that allows users to view glanceable information when the iPhone is sitting down while charging.

The iPhone Phone app allows users to create their own custom contact poster using your photos of Memoji. The custom representation will then display on other folks’ iPhones when you call them.

A new Live Voicemail feature displays real-time live voice transcription on your iPhone’s lock screen, allowing you to make an informed decision on whether or not to answer a phone call.

FaceTime gains a new feature allowing you to leave a video message if someone isn’t available to answer the video call. The FaceTime call recipient will be notified about the video message at their convenience, much like a voicemail message.

The Messages app receives multiple updates in iOS 17, including new search filters, a new “catch-up arrow” allowing you to quickly jump to the first unread message in a long conversation, and easier inline replying with swipe to reply.

Audio messages are now transcribed in the messages thread, and inline location sharing is also available. Check-In provides updates about your location, letting family or friends know when you arrive to your destination safely.

A new “plus” button provides access to apps within Messages and stickers have been revamped, allowing you to create your own stickers and create and add motion stickers from your own live photos.

AirDrop content can be shared by bringing two iPhones close together and transfers can now be conducted in the background. A new “NameDrop” feature allows users to share their contact info by bringing two iPhones close together.

iOS 17’s new “Journal” app allows users to make daily journal entries, using people, places, activities, music, and photos. Daily reminders can be set to remember to write an entry.

A new “StandBy” mode displays the time, widgets, and other information when the ‌iPhone‌ is horizontal and is being charged.

Users can now simply utter “Siri” instead of the traditional “Hey ‌Siri‌” command, users can issue follow-up commands that do not include the “Siri” trigger phrase.

Additional features in iOS 17 include:
  • 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.
  • Apple Music introduces Collaborative Playlists that make listening to music with friends easier than ever before, and SharePlay in the car allows all passengers to easily contribute to what’s playing.3 Listeners can control the music from their own devices, even if they don’t have an Apple Music subscription.
  • 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.


The developer beta of iOS 17 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today, and a public beta will be available next month at beta.apple.com. iOS 17 will be available to the public this fall as a free software update for iPhone Xs and later.