iOS 17 is the newest version of iOS, the operating system that is designed to run on the iPhone. Previewed in June, iOS 17 is in beta testing and is set to see a release in September alongside new iPhones. There are new features for Phone, FaceTime, and Messages, along with small improvements for other apps and an all new app that’s coming later this year for journaling.
Apple focused on communication, and overhauled the Phone app. You can now create customized Contact Posters that people see when you call them. You can choose a photo or a Memoji, select a font, a font color, and more. Contact Posters are available for the Phone app and also for third-party apps.
When someone leaves a voicemail, the Live Voicemail feature shows a real-time transcription of the message on the Lock Screen as the person is speaking. Based on what’s being said, you can choose to pick up the phone. Calls marked as spam by carriers will be instantly declined and won’t appear as Live Voicemail.
NameDrop, a new facet of AirDrop, lets you bring your iPhone near another iPhone to exchange contact information. This works with Apple Watch as well. Bringing two iPhones together can initiate SharePlay so you can listen to music, watch a movie, or play a game with another person who has an iPhone, and it also works for transferring content. Later this year, AirDrop will allow large file transfers to be initiated by two phones in close proximity, with the transfer finishing over iCloud.
FaceTime supports both audio and video messages, so if you don’t pick up a call, the person on the other end can leave a video recording for you or an audio message. FaceTime also supports a range of Reactions like hearts, balloons, fireworks, laser beams, and rain. Effects are activated through gestures, and will also work in third-party apps.
An iPhone or iPad can now link to the Apple TV 4K for FaceTime on the TV. Using Continuity Camera, an iOS device serves as the camera for a FaceTime call, but the video is displayed on the larger screen of the TV. It supports Center Stage framing and all other FaceTime features, including Handoff, for transferring calls between an iOS device and the TV.
In the Messages app, there’s a cleaner interface with access to apps, photos, and the camera tucked away behind a “+” button that’s next to the compose bar. Tapping on the button gives quick access to the Camera, Photos, Apple Cash, Audio Messages, your Messages apps, and an updated Stickers experience.
All emoji characters are now stickers and are in the Stickers section of the Messages app. Emoji can be used as normal, but can also be placed over images and messages like a sticker. You can create your own stickers from your photos using the Remove Subject from Background feature that was introduced in iOS 16. If you use a Live Photo, you’ll end up with an animated sticker that you can share in the Messages app. Stickers can have special effects like a hand drawn look, glitter, or a different color, and they can also be used across iOS, essentially wherever you can use an emoji.
Search in Messages supports search filters for finding exactly what you’re looking for. You can start with a broad search and narrow down the results by entering additional search terms. If you have trouble keeping up in group chats or with a person who sends a lot of messages, the catch-up arrow lets you know exactly where you left off so you can see what’s unread. You can reply right inline by swiping on a text bubble, and if you send an audio message, it’s now transcribed automatically so it can be read right then. One-time verification codes delivered by the Messages app can be deleted automatically.
Location sharing in Messages is simpler and when a user shares a location, it’s updated in real time in the conversation. It works in tandem with Check In, a safety feature that tells a friend or family member that you’ve arrived safely at your destination when traveling. When Check In is turned on, the person you’re communicating with is notified when you arrive where you’re going, and if you don’t make it in time or progress stalls, your contact can see your iPhone’s location, battery level, and cellular status to determine whether you need help. Unsolicited nude photos can also be blocked in messages with a new nudity warning.
Apple improved autocorrect across iOS, adding a new machine learning model that can better predict what you want to say. It can offer to autofill entire sentences with inline predictions when typing, so finishing a word or a sentence is as simple as pressing the spacebar. Correcting mistakes is easier because it can be done with a tap. There’s also a new speech recognition model for dictation that makes it more accurate.
When you’re not using your iPhone, you can put it horizontally on a charger to activate StandBy mode, a full-screen display with information you can see at a glance. StandBy mode works best with an always-on display, but you can see it with a tap, too. It is similar to Nightstand mode on Apple Watch, offering different clock styles, photos, calendar, weather, a view of Live Activities, or customizable widgets through Smart Stack.
On the Home Screen, widgets are now interactive so you can use them to do things like control music, activate a light, mark off a reminder, and more. Spotlight Search is also more interactive so you can do things like change settings without opening an app.
The Health app has a mood tracking feature that lets you log your daily emotions to track your state of mind over time. It will offer up options for recording your mood along with what’s causing that mood, so you can make useful connections. Apple is also offering depression and anxiety assessments used in clinics to help you determine if you might be at risk.
Using the TrueDepth camera, the Health app can help you determine whether you are too close to your screen through the Screen Distance measuring tool in Screen Time. This is developed for kids, but adults can use it too, with the feature letting you know if you’re holding your device closer than 12 inches to your face.
Though not available yet, iOS 17 will bring a Journal app that’s designed to let you record your thoughts and activities on a daily basis. The iPhone will use on-device machine learning to suggest topics for you to write about based on what you’ve done during the day, such as traveling, completing a workout, visiting people, taking photos, and more. Third-party apps can offer journaling suggestions, but all content is protected and even passcode locked.
In Safari, private browsing is locked with Face ID, and it also blocks trackers from identifying your device and following your browsing traffic across websites. An option for Profiles separates your work browsing from your personal browsing with different histories, extensions, Tab Groups, favorites, and cookies.
The Photos app can recognize pets, and Visual Look Up works in paused video. The option can now identify food to provide recipes, plus it recognizes storefronts, signs, and videos.
Passwords and passkeys can be shared with other people through a Family Sharing feature available in the Passwords app. Everyone in the group can add and edit passwords that are shared safely through iCloud Keychain. This feature is useful for passwords that need to be accessed by more than one person, such as for streaming services.
Apple Music supports Collaborative Playlists for listening to music with friends, and thanks to SharePlay in the car, passengers can add songs to what’s playing through CarPlay even without an Apple Music subscription. With crossfade, songs will fade into one another so there’s never a pause.
In the Maps app, you’re now able to download offline maps for select regions, so you can access turn-by-turn navigation, estimated time of arrival, and nearby locations even with no signal. Apple updated maps to provide more information on trails in parks across the United States, and there is real-time charging availability information for electric vehicles.
AirTags can now be shared with other people, so friends and family members who live together can both track an item with an AirTag in the Find My app. Everyone can see the item’s location, play a sound, and use Precision Finding, plus it works with Find My network accessories.
AirPlay is smarter and can learn your device sharing preferences, plus later this year, select hotels will support AirPlay on TVs for easier access to your content when you’re traveling. It’s now easier to sign into an iPhone with your Apple ID using a nearby device or an email address or phone number listed in your account.
There are new features for AirPods. An Adaptive Audio option for AirPods Pro 2 combines Active Noise Cancellation with Transparency so you can be more aware of your surroundings while also cutting down on unwanted noise. Conversation Awareness turns down your music when someone is talking to you so you can hear them, and Personalized Volume adjusts sound to your preferences. With improvements to Automatic Switching, swapping between devices is faster and more reliable, and you can mute and unmute sound by holding on the AirPods stem.
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The Home app lets you see activity history for up to 30 days for door locks, garage doors, contact sensors, and alarm systems, and PIN codes and tap to unlock work with Matter-based smart locks.
In Reminders, there’s a built-in grocery list that groups items you add into categories, and in Notes, you’re able to create links between notes so related notes can be interlinked. The Notes app also has deeper support for PDFs so you can view and mark up PDFs and scans.
You no longer need to say Hey Siri to activate Siri, and can instead just say “Siri.” Multiple commands can be issued in succession without needing to reactivate Siri. Note that activating Siri without the Hey is limited to newer devices.
The Mail app supports automatic filling of verification codes just like Messages. In Apple News, subscribers can access daily crossword puzzles and listen to Apple News+ Audio Stories in the Podcasts app.
In the Fitness app you can see highlights of friends’ workout activities and create custom workout and meditation schedules with Apple Fitness+ Custom Plans. Freeform features new drawing tools like a watercolor brush, highlighter, and ruler.
With Personal Voice, users in danger of losing their ability to speak can create a voice that sounds like theirs, and the Live Speech accessibility feature lets typed words be spoken in person, on the phone, or through FaceTime. Point and Speak reads text on physical objects for those who have low vision or are blind.
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iOS 17 is only available for developers and public beta testers to download. The developer beta has been available since June, while the public beta came out in July.
Apple made major changes to the Lock Screen in iOS 16, and with iOS 17, there are even more tweaks to make your Lock Screen more useful.
StandBy is a new iPhone Lock Screen mode that activates when your iPhone is in a landscape (horizontal) orientation and charging with a MagSafe, Qi, or Lightning charger. It is similar to Nightstand mode on the Apple Watch, turning the iPhone into a useful information hub when it’s not otherwise in use.
With StandBy mode, your iPhone can display the time, a calendar, favorite photos aggregated with the Memories feature, incoming notifications, music playback controls, Siri responses with rich visuals, Live Activities, the weather, and more through widget support. You can swipe left or right through different options and long press for customization.
You can choose a look for the time, customize which photos you see, and select widgets to display on the widgets StandBy screen. All of your Lock Screen widgets are available so you can have a StandBy hub that meets your specific needs. StandBy works best with an always-on display, but it activates with a tap on iPhones that do not support always-on technology.
Widgets on the Lock Screen and the Home Screen are interactive, so you can use them without having to open an app. With Reminders, for example, you can check off a task right in the widget, or with Home, control your smart lights. Apple apps work with interactive widgets, and developers will be able to take advantage of interactive widgets for third-party apps.
For an in-depth look at the iOS 17 Lock Screen complete with screenshots, tutorials, and an overview of every feature, we have a dedicated Lock Screen guide.
iOS 17 is using updated machine learning technology for improved autocorrect. Predictions are better than before, and autocorrect learns more about your habits as you use it. Autocorrect is also able to give you grammar suggestions in addition to spelling suggestions.
Tapping on the space bar will now let you use inline predictions to finish words without having to reach up and tap to insert a word, plus it can finish entire sentences.
The iPhone and iPad underline autocorrected words when they’re fixed so you can tell what’s been changed, and you can go back to what you originally typed with a quick tap.
Additional details on the features that are new to the keyboard and the autocorrect feature can be found in our iOS 17 keyboard guide.
A new AirDrop feature called NameDrop lets you hold your iPhone near someone else’s iPhone or Apple Watch to exchange contact information. You can choose specific phone numbers and email addresses to share, and also send someone your Contact Poster.
Additional details on the changes to AirDrop in iOS 17 can be found in our AirDrop guide.
With every iOS update, Apple updates its built-in apps, and iOS 17 is no exception. There are new features for almost every stock iOS app, from Phone and Messages to Photos, Notes, and Reminders.
The Phone app gains Contact Posters, designed to allow you to customize what people see when you call them. You can select a background from one of your images, or use your Memoji, and you can customize the font and color that your name uses.
It’s similar to being able to choose a Contact photo from iOS 17, which is used across Messages, but this time it’s for the entire call screen. You can choose to share your Contact Poster with just contacts or with anyone you call. This feature requires an iPhone for the person on the other side to see your customized image.
With Live Voicemail, when someone leaves a voicemail, you can see a transcription of what’s being said in real time on your Lock Screen. From there, you can choose to pick up the phone if it’s something important, or you can ignore the message. Note that Live Voicemail changes your voicemail message.
If Silence Unknown Callers is turned on, unknown numbers will go directly to Live Voicemail, while calls identified by carriers as spam will be automatically declined.
Apple tweaked the design of the Messages app to give it a cleaner look. All Messages apps and tools like the camera and photo options can be accessed by tapping on the “+” button.
With the new Check In safety feature, you can let friends and family know that you’re going somewhere and they’ll be automatically notified when you reach your destination. If you stop making progress while on your way, Messages will check in with you to see what’s going on, and if there’s no response, helpful information like your battery level, location, and cellular status will be shared with your friend or family member. There are options for the amount of data that you share. Limited shares location, network signal, and battery level, while Full shares all of that plus route traveled, location of last iPhone unlock, and location of where the Apple Watch was last removed.
There’s a revamped Stickers experience, and all emoji are now considered stickers and are stored in the same place. The Stickers option in the updated Messages app experience lets you see emoji, stickers you’ve downloaded from the App Store, stickers you’ve created from photos, and Memoji in one spot. Emoji can now be used like stickers, placed anywhere on a message.
For more on what’s new in the Messages app, we have a dedicated Messages guide that walks through each feature.
The FaceTime app now allows you to leave a video or audio message when someone misses your FaceTime call, similar to how you can leave a voicemail for a missed phone call. FaceTime video messages support all of the same features like Portrait mode and Studio Light.
FaceTime reactions add fun 3D augmented reality effects to FaceTime with certain hand gestures. There are gestures for hearts, confetti, fireworks, and more. The gestures are available when using the front-facing camera on an iPhone 12 or later.
iPhone and iPad users with an Apple TV can use Continuity Camera for FaceTime on the big screen. A call can be started on iPhone and handed off to the Apple TV, or started on the Apple TV through the FaceTime app. The iPhone serves as the camera (similar to how it works for using the iPhone as a webcam for a Mac) while the FaceTime interface shows up on the Apple TV. A device running iOS 17 and an Apple TV 4K with tvOS 17 are required.
Later this year, Apple plans to introduce a Journal app that will let iPhone and iPad users record their daily thoughts and activities. The Journal app will bring in information from your iPhone like your photos, music you’ve listened to, workouts, and more, and it will suggest topics for you to write about.
Entries can have integrated photos, music, and audio recordings, and important moments can be highlighted. The Journal app is passcode and Face ID protected, so you’ll need a facial scan to open it up. All suggestions are done on-device, and entries are end-to-end encrypted.
Safari supports profiles in iOS 17, which means you can have profiles for different activities like work and personal use. Profiles have separate histories, extensions, cookies, favorites, and Tab Groups, and swapping between profiles can be done with a tap.
Passwords and passkeys in iCloud Keychain can be shared with friends and family members so you can invite trusted contacts to have access to mutual passwords. Each participant can access, edit, and add to the same set of passwords once a password sharing group has been set up, and passwords stay up to date for everyone.
Read more on what’s new in Safari in our dedicated guide.
For the first time, Maps can be downloaded for offline usage in iOS 17. A specific area of the maps app can be saved and explored while offline. Saving retains information like business hours and ratings, and allows for turn-by-turn directions even without a cellular connection.
Downloaded maps can also be viewed on a paired Apple Watch.
More on what’s new in the Maps app can be found in our iOS 17 Maps guide.
The Photos app is now able to better recognize people, plus it can distinguish between different pets so you can add your cats and dogs to the People album (which is now the Pets and People album).
Visual Look Up now works with food, so you can tap the “Info” button on a photo with a dish and then search for similar recipes.
Visual Look Up works for any image across iOS, in the Photos app and in other apps like Safari.
For a deeper look at the new features in the Photos app, we have a dedicated iOS 17 Photos and Camera guide.
There are new mental health features in the Health app, including a mood tracking feature. Using the Health app on iPhone, you can select your mood at the moment or your mood for the overall day.
You can choose factors that might be influencing your mood like work or family, and track your responses over time to see what contributes to your state of mind.
For a deeper look at the new features in the Health app, we have an iOS 17 Health guide.
The Mail app has a limited number of new features, but there is now an option to autofill one-time verification codes that are received in Mail in Safari without having to open up the Mail app.
You can also have one-time verification codes deleted automatically after you use them.
Later in the year, the Music app will support collaborative playlists so your friends and family members can add to, reorder, and remove songs from a playlist. The feature allows all participants to react to songs with emoji.
SharePlay for CarPlay also allows everyone in the car to play their favorite music and contribute to the songs that are playing.
More on the new features in the Music app can be found in our iOS 17 Music guide.
The Weather app features a moon module the current status of the moon, the time until the next full moon, moonset and moonrise times, and a moon calendar.
For a deeper look into what’s new in the Weather app, we have a dedicated iOS 17 Weather guide.
The Reminders app can automatically sort your groceries into categories to make shopping easier. Grocery items like produce, milk, and breads are automatically organized under different headers as you add them to your shopping list. Fruits and vegetables, for example, get organized under “Produce,” while oatmeal and cereal go under “Breads & Cereals.”
Categories include Produce, Breads & Cereals, Frozen Foods, Snacks & Candy, Meat, Dairy, Eggs & Cheese, Bakery, Baking Items, Household Items, Personal Care & Health, and Wine, Beer & Spirits.
The Notes app now supports interlinking, so you can link one note to another note to for a Wiki-style system.
More on what’s new in the Notes and Reminders apps can be found in our iOS 17 Notes and Reminders guide.
AirTags and Find My network accessories can now be shared between up to five people, so family members can finally share AirTags with one another. Everyone that has access to an AirTag can use Precision Finding and play a sound to find a lost item.
The Freeform app on iPhone and iPad supports additional drawing tools. There’s a watercolor brush, calligraphy pen, highlighter, variable-width pen, and ruler.
In the Apple News app, Apple News+ subscribers can access daily crossword puzzles.
The Home app now includes an Activity History that displays information on who locked or unlocked a door and when, plus it displays recent activity for garage doors, contact sensors, and security devices.
There’s also an updated interface for lights that support multiple colors, and HomeKit devices can be controlled through interactive widgets.
Apple Pay order tracking now includes Apple Maps support, receipts for transactions, an option to add an order to the Wallet app from an email attachment, and a “track with Apple Wallet” button that can be used on apps and websites.
Later this year, iPhone users will be able to present a driver’s license or ID stored in the Wallet app at participating businesses and venue to verify age and identity for alcohol, rental cars, and more.
For parents, the Wallet app will allow recurring Apple Cash payments to be set up for children on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.
In the Shortcuts app, there is a new “Transaction” option that triggers an action when a Wallet Card or Pass is tapped. You can create a trigger for a payment tap, transit tap, access tap, or ID card tap.
A closer look at all of the new features in the Wallet app can be found in our dedicated iOS 17 Wallet app article.
Apple introduced a new design for the Now Playing screen, which shows the full-display page art or episode chapter images. Apple has also redesigned the playback controls on the bottom of the display, with the play speed button relocated from the bottom left corner of the screen to the rewind button.
A full walkthrough of the changes in the Podcasts app can be found in our Podcasts guide.
An updated camera leveling function is included in iOS 17. Activating the new Level option will add a horizontal line to the screen so you can make sure that landscape shots are properly lined up and level.
The App Store app can now tell you how long an app will take to download once the download has been initiated. When you tap the “Get” or purchase button on an app and the circular download symbol pops up, it will show the time remaining.
With updates to on-device intelligence, AirPlay learns your preferences over time. So if you often AirPlay from an iPhone to your Apple TV, your iPhone learns that behavior and shows the Apple TV first in your AirPlay list. Devices are shown based on relevance, and you’ll also see suggested connections proactively based on past AirPlay usage.
Apple is partnering with select hotels to support AirPlay in hotel rooms. Later in the year, participating hotel rooms will allow you to scan a QR code so you can connect to the TV in the room to securely share videos, photos, music, and more to the TV.
Additional information on the new AirPlay features is available in our iOS 17 AirPlay guide.
With iOS 17, Apple is enhancing the functionality of the AirPods, introducing new features that work on devices running iOS 17.
For the second-generation AirPods Pro, an Adaptive Audio option blends the Transparency and Active Noise Cancellation modes into one, automatically tailoring noise control based on your environment and interactions throughout the day.
Adaptive Audio is meant to drown out the environmental sounds that you don’t want to hear like construction noise or the noise of an airplane, while letting you hear important announcements and conversations.
Personalized Volume adjusts the sound of what’s playing based on your personal preferences and the sounds around you, with the iPhone learning more about the volume you like over time. With Conversation Awareness, when someone is speaking, media volume is lowered, background noise is reduced, and the voices in front of you are enhanced.
Note that all of this functionality is limited to the newest version of the AirPods Pro.
With iOS 17, there’s no longer a need to say “Hey Siri” to activate Siri, and the personal assistant can be activated just by saying “Siri.” Siri can also interpret and handle multiple back-to-back requests without needing to be reactivated.
As an example, you can ask Siri to send a text to a friend that you’re on your way, followed up by a request to add a reminder to get milk and Siri will complete both tasks.
Apple hasn’t debuted the total overhaul of CarPlay that it promised last year, but there are a handful of new features for CarPlay in iOS 17.
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SharePlay works with the Apple Music app in CarPlay, which means everyone in the car, passengers included, can contribute to an Apple Music playlist.
As long as the car owner has an Apple Music subscription and initiates a SharePlay session from CarPlay, other people in the car can choose music to play. Each person can scan a QR code generated by the main user to get access to the playlist to add songs to the in-car Apple Music queue.
If you have an electric vehicle, the Apple Maps app provides real-time charging availability for the charging networks that are compatible with your car. The update should make it easier for EV owners to locate nearby charging stations on a trip.
Apple at WWDC 2022 previewed the next-generation version of CarPlay, which will offer deeper integration with vehicles in the future. Apple did not talk about the new CarPlay experience at WWDC 2023, but the company did say in 2022 that the first cars with the updated technology will be coming in late 2023.
CarPlay will support multiple displays, showing up across all of the displays in a vehicle, including the instrument cluster. Apple will be able to offer a consistent experience throughout the car, and CarPlay will integrate with the speedometer, tachometer, odometer, fuel gauge, and more.
The vehicle’s climate controls will also be accessible through CarPlay in upcoming vehicles, letting users adjust temperature and activate other in-car climate features through the CarPlay interface.
With Sensitive Content Warnings in iOS 17, sensitive photos and videos that contain nudity can be blurred before you receive them, ensuring you don’t receive images that have unwanted nudity. The feature works in Messages, AirDrop, Contact Posters, FaceTime messages, and third-party apps.
For more on the privacy and security features included in iOS 17, we have a dedicated guide.
iOS 17 includes a number of accessibility features, including Personal Voice for those who are in danger of losing their ability to speak, and Assistive Access for a simpler iOS interface.
There are a number of other smaller tweaks to various iPhone features that don’t fit neatly into specific categories.
iOS 17 is compatible with the iPhone XR/iPhone XS and later, which means it drops support for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. These devices were able to run iOS 16, but cannot be updated to iOS 17. Compatible models include:
Apple is holding an iPhone-centric event on Tuesday, September 12, and the new iPhones are likely to be introduced on Friday, September 22. We often get new iOS releases two days before new iPhones come out, so if Apple sticks with that pattern, we could see iOS 17 launch on Wednesday, September 20.
Last year, iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 were released at separate times, but this year, we are expecting iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 to be released at the same time.
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