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iOS 17 Review: Standby Mode, Meaningful Changes in Messages and More


An iPhone with the number 17 on the screen next to the Apple logo

iOS 17 brings these new options to your iPhone.

Avishek Das/SOPA Pictures/LightRocket/Getty Pictures

Whether or not you acquire one of many new iPhone 15 fashions or are holding on to a 5-year-old iPhone XS, you possibly can obtain iOS 17 now. Apple launched the working system on Monday, Sept. 18 after introducing it on the firm’s Worldwide Builders Convention in June. 

Learn extra: Hidden iOS 17 Settings and Options On Your iPhone

I began beta testing variations of iOS 17 in July on a more moderen iPhone 14 Professional and an older iPhone XR to see how the most recent OS will have an effect on most individuals with appropriate gadgets. The OS brings quite a lot of new and helpful options to your iPhone, particularly in Messages, which could make you surprise why these capabilities weren’t there within the first place. Some apps, like Shortcuts, are much less daunting than they had been in earlier iOS variations. 

Screen of different iOS 17 updates

Apple introduced iOS 17 at WWDC in June.

Apple/Screenshot by CNET

iOS 17 picks up visually the place iOS 16 left off. Contact Posters in iOS 17 brings visuals to contacts just like these iOS 16 dropped at the lock display screen. However I discovered Contact Posters extra enjoyable than helpful. The biggest visible change is StandBy mode, which turns your iPhone right into a mini hub stuffed with widgets, images and customizable clocks.

iOS 17 will work on iPhone XS and newer fashions. However whereas the brand new software program makes experiences seamless and fewer burdensome on older and newer iPhones alike, some options actually shine on newer fashions, just like the iPhone 14 Professional. That does not imply you must keep away from iOS 17 you probably have an older iPhone — you may nonetheless expertise about 90% of iOS 17’s advantages. StandBy mode, for instance, labored on my XR, however with the show’s sleep timer turned off, I needed to lock my display screen to ensure that it to work. As soon as in StandBy mode, the show goes to sleep a short while later.

Now, let’s get into a few of my favourite iOS 17 options.

StandBy mode is a standout

When Apple introduced StandBy mode at WWDC, I used to be skeptical. My spouse and I haven’t got a sensible show, just like the Amazon Echo Present, or another type of supplementary hub in our residence, and we have been simply advantageous — and sure, should you come by later, I am going to in all probability be yelling concerning the climate. However StandBy mode is my favourite new iPhone characteristic in years, and it is not even shut. 

Positive, you possibly can say StandBy mode makes your iPhone into an costly bedside clock, however should you simply use it as a clock, you are lacking out on a lot performance. Interactive widgets on my display screen made it simple to test the climate, learn the most recent headlines and far more. I might additionally change music taking part in by linked sensible audio system with out fishing my iPhone out of my pocket. 


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

Notifications additionally confirmed up on my display screen, and I might simply preview them with out unlocking my iPhone. So after I acquired a notification from an app like Ring, I might shortly test if it is the mail particular person delivering a package deal or only a automotive driving down the highway. And with Stay Actions and StandBy mode mixed, I might observe the rating of an MLB recreation whereas I watched an NFL recreation on TV.

StandBy mode even began to enhance my relationship with my iPhone. Earlier than iOS 17, if I acquired up from my desk to seize a snack or go to the toilet, I might be sure that my iPhone was in my pocket — and if it wasn’t I might instantly go into detective mode to seek out it and put it again the place it belongs, my proper entrance pocket. 

Since I began utilizing StandBy mode, I recurrently go away my iPhone behind on its charging stand whereas I make one other cup of espresso or seize the mail. Once I discover it is not in my pocket, I would shrug and assume, “It is on the charging stand. I am going to seize it later,” and people cases are getting extra frequent. And I’ve welcomed this transformation. Disconnecting from our gadgets might have main well being advantages, like diminished nervousness and despair, so whether or not Apple supposed it to or not, StandBy mode might assist enhance your psychological well being. I definitely really feel extra relaxed.

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

However StandBy mode has room to enhance. At present there are a restricted variety of widgets that can be utilized with StandBy mode, and e mail widgets, like Mail, are sorely lacking. Having the ability to shortly test your e mail, or any social media app, from StandBy mode would elevate the usefulness of this characteristic. I am not seeing extra widgets within the iOS 17 launch candidate, however a Mail widget nonetheless is likely to be included within the remaining model. If it is not, Apple ought to embody it in an replace quickly.

StandBy mode additionally works greatest on iPhones with always-on shows, just like the iPhone 14 Professional. It’ll work on different iOS 17 appropriate iPhones, just like the iPhone XR, however solely till your display screen goes to sleep.

Messages upgrades past autocorrect

Sure, autocorrect will now be taught out of your messages so it will not right you all of the “ducking” time. Is that this cool? Yeah. Am I immature? Additionally, sure. The cursing in my texts now flows with out interruption or confusion. However extra so, autocorrect has improved general to higher perceive what you imply. It is also not as wanting to right issues like acronyms or slang.

The keyboard in Messages with the message sometimes autocorrect gets it wrong, and that's ok in the text field

I might revert this correction, however autocorrect is correct right here.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

Messages additionally will get a bunch of different new options that make staying involved with others simple and easy, together with an autocorrect undo operate. “However wait, did not you simply say autocorrect will higher perceive what I imply and never right me on a regular basis?” Sure, expensive reader, glad to see you are paying consideration, however autocorrect nonetheless will get it incorrect typically — similar right here, autocorrect. When it does make a correction, Messages will underline the corrected phrase. In the event you faucet the phrase, you may be given the choice to undo the correction, reverting it again to what you initially typed. 

One other improve is a catch-up arrow in group chats. I fall asleep comparatively early — round 8:30 p.m. — and typically, after I get up, a gaggle chat with my household or pals has 30 new messages. As an alternative of scrolling as much as discover the beginning of the messages, there is a new arrow that may take me to the primary message within the dialog that I have not learn. This has saved me quite a lot of confusion about why my pal group cannot meet up. Nevertheless, this characteristic was current in early beta variations however not later variations. The catch-up arrow is anticipated to reach in iOS 17 later this 12 months.

The app bar has been changed with a drawer. Subsequent to your message subject, there is a plus signal button that you just use to drag up iMessage apps like your Digital camera, Memoji and others. You possibly can rearrange these, too, so apps that you just use extra, just like the #photographs app, might be simply accessible. It is a small however useful change. Earlier than iOS 17, typically the app bar would disappear on me, and I might must swipe my display screen up or right down to carry it again. Now all of the apps are in the identical easy-to-find place.

Create and ship your personal Stay Stickers

Digital stickers of a dog in iOS 17

I imply, how might you not share that face?

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

With iOS 16, Apple launched the power to elevate a photograph’s topic from the background, providing you with (largely) clean-looking cutout footage. With iOS 17, Apple permits you to use these cutouts to create your personal stickers, known as Stay Stickers. You possibly can add completely different results to your stickers, like a white define or a holographic filter, to make your stickers standout. And you can also make animated stickers from Stay images. 

As a proud pup guardian, I make and ship extra stickers of my canine than I might prefer to admit. However I am going to gladly share a small pattern of the stickers of Cinnamon Toast Crunch — sure, that is her title. Are these stickers helpful? Probably not, however I am having enjoyable with them.

Learn extra: Create Your Personal Stay Stickers

iOS 17 can mechanically delete verification code messages

Two-factor verification messages are an effective way to enhance safety when logging into an account or service. You realize what actually annoys me about them although? All of the random messages and emails that muddle my inboxes. However that is not an issue.

With iOS 17, your Messages and Mail app can mechanically delete two-factor verification codes as soon as the code has been used to autofill its supposed subject. I like preserving all my inboxes clear and tidy, and this new characteristic is sort of a digital Roomba that removes these pointless messages as quickly as they’re used.

Shortcuts enhancements

Some of the new Shortcuts shown on the Shortcuts homepage

These are a number of the attainable Shortcuts you see once you open the app.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

Confession time: I by no means used Shortcuts on my iPhone earlier than. Setting them up confused and pissed off me. The Shortcuts homepage intimidated me too, so I satisfied myself that Shortcuts weren’t value it. However due to iOS 17, I modified my angle and have already built-in a number of into my on a regular basis life. 

For starters, Apple modified the Shortcuts homepage to indicate a handful of premade ones, like creating a brand new observe in Notes, that you could simply add to your homepage with an extended press. The brand new structure is not as daunting, and may make it simpler for others to see what Shortcuts can do.

The digicam stage is a game-changer

Once I take images or report movies for social media, I fear that they don’t seem to be going to look straight. Earlier than iOS 17, I might attempt to line the grip up with a straight line in body, but when I used to be out in nature I’d simply attempt my greatest. 

The level in the Camera app is yellow when the photo is straight

The digicam stage is a small new characteristic, however I like it.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

In iOS 17, the Digital camera app has an onscreen stage so you possibly can straighten your movies and footage. The extent comes throughout the middle of your display screen as a skinny white line nevertheless it turns yellow when it is stage. It is helped me take straight images, and I additionally used it to double-check whether or not an image body on my wall was stage when hanging it. 

Grocery lists in Reminders 

I like grocery purchasing. I like strolling the aisles, discovering my objects and seeing all of the folks and what they’ve picked up. However what I do not like is forgetting an merchandise on one aspect of the shop after I’ve walked all the way in which throughout and picked up every part else I want. 

Fortunately, Reminders has a brand new characteristic that allows you to create a grocery checklist separated into sections with headers like Produce, Breads & Cereals and Home goods. The app mechanically creates these sections as you add objects and kinds them into the suitable classes. The app even acknowledges sure model names, like Dr Pepper and Ritz, and kinds them appropriately, too. 

iOS 17 options not obtainable at launch

The largest iOS 17 characteristic that is not included at launch that I am enthusiastic about is the Journal app. Apple introduced the app at WWDC in June, saying it will be capable of offer you options about what to journal about, maintain your entries personal and extra. Nevertheless, Apple mentioned the Journal app would launch later this 12 months. 

iOS 17 journal app

An early have a look at the Journal app from WWDC.


Collaborative Playlists in Apple Music collaborations aren’t obtainable with iOS 17 but both. This characteristic is alleged to let folks invite family and friends to edit playlists or react to sure tracks on the playlist. There is no phrase on when this characteristic can be obtainable but.

Apple had additionally introduced that AirDrop will be capable of end a file switch when gadgets transfer out of vary of one another on iOS 17. Nevertheless, we’re nonetheless ready for phrase on when this can be obtainable.

The ultimate phrase on iOS 17

The newest iOS model brings quite a lot of useful enhancements to your iPhone, even when you do not have the latest mannequin. Not all of the adjustments are massive and flashy, like StandBy mode, however most really feel significant.

Just a few phrases of warning for when the brand new working system arrives: Earlier than you replace your iPhone to iOS 17, you must again up your iPhone as a precaution. And whereas it is likely to be tempting to obtain iOS 17 as quickly as attainable, you may wish to wait a day or two to see if different individuals are having issues with their iPhones, and in order that your machine downloads the replace sooner. 

For extra Apple information, try the iOS 17 cheat sheet and critiques for the iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Professional and 15 Professional Max.

Take a Take a look at Apple’s iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Professional: New Colours, Costs and Extra

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