iPhone users: Today’s the day to update to Apple’s latest operating system, iOS17, and unlock a slew of new features that promise to make the iPhone experience more personal and intuitive.
Apple first teased iOS17 at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in early June, but you may have missed out on some of the details as the tech giant also unveiled its much-anticipated mixed-reality Vision Pro headset that same day.
iPhone users can update to iOS17 starting Monday by clicking on the Software Update section in the phone’s Settings app. Of course, many users have gotten in the habit of backing up important photos or files before downloading the latest software update – or waiting until the second version rolls out (likely in the coming weeks) if they’re afraid of any bugs that could come with the first version of a next-generation mobile operating system.
Here are some of the buzziest and most-anticipated new features that iPhone users can expect from iOS17.
Live Voicemail and FaceTime video messages are here
One of the buzziest new features, dubbed Live Voicemail, will transcribe a caller’s message in real time, giving iPhone users the decision whether to ignore the call or take it on while the other person is still on the line and leaving their message.
Unknown numbers will go directly to Live Voicemail when you have the “Silence Unknown Callers” setting turned on.
Moreover, FaceTime will also now give users the ability to leave video messages if someone doesn’t pick up a video call.
With iOS17, Facetime calls will also get more expressive – with reactions such as hearts, balloons, fireworks and more effects that can be activated through simple gestures.
“Hey, Siri” is about to lose “Hey”
Another update that may require some getting used to is saying just “Siri” to activate Apple’s voice assistant, instead of “Hey Siri.”
Dropping “Hey” from Siri’s launch-phrase is meant to create a more natural way to activate the assistant. Moreover, Siri will also be able to better process back-to-back requests once activated.
For example, instead of asking: “Hey, Siri, how tall is Shaquille O’Neal?” and “Hey, Siri, how old is Shaquille O’Neal?” You should be able to just say: “Siri, how tall is Shaquille O’Neal?” Followed by: “How old is he?”
NameDrop feature makes it easier than ever to share contact info
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 iPhone users have been getting hyped about. This allows iPhone users to design a custom image that will show up when making calls. The update that allows users to choose their own caller ID photo and 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 choice.
Autocorrect is getting a ‘ducking’ improvement
Autocorrect is also getting a comprehensive 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 refreshed design better supports typing and offers sentence-level autocorrections that can fix more types of grammatical mistakes. iPhone users will also now receive predictive text recommendations in-line as they type, making adding entire words or completing sentences as easy as tapping the space bar.
The new iOS keyboard will also learn your habits over time, such as fixing words that you frequently misspell and leaving words alone that you intentionally thumbed in. As Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software, put it in June: “In those moments where you just want to type a ducking word, well, the keyboard will learn it, too.”
New StandBy mode, Journal app and much more
iOS17 also introduces StandBy, a new full-screen experience with glanceable information designed to be viewed from a distance when the iPhone is on its side and charging. For example, when charging your iPhone at your nightstand or desk, you can personalize the display to feature 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’s a whole lot more: Check out Apple’s handy 17-page guide on all of the newest features coming to iOS17.