Apple has launched new iPhones for 2023, but there’s another iPhone update available for all iPhones from the iPhone XR up: iOS 17. The iOS 17 update was made available to hundreds of millions of iPhones on Monday, September 18, 2023.
New features in iOS 17 include contact posters, NameDrop, StandBy, Live Voicemail, FaceTime video voicemail, a whole new Siri voice recognition model, huge improvements to autocorrect and dictation, and a lot more.
It’s almost like getting a new iPhone without paying a penny. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about iOS 17, including all the features and any issues that arise, as well as keeping tabs on the latest version and what is coming in the next update.
Update 22 September:iOS 17 has already been updated–iOS 17.0.1 is available to install. It includes bug fixes and security updates.
There will be a lot of updates over the coming months, both minor point releases for bugfixes and security updates and major releases that add new features. Here’s a look at just some of the iOS 17 features coming in later updates.
iOS 17 beta: Latest version
Apple has run a beta program since it revealed the details of iOS 17 at WWDC. Now that the full version of iOS 17 is available to the public the beta testing will continue. The current beta version is still the iOS 17 Release Candidate, but Apple is likely to start work on iOS 17.1 very soon, which is likely to address any early bugs and problems with the first version of iOS 17.
Security: Apple issued an update to iOS 17 on September 21 which addressed some security flaws.
Slowdowns, battery life: Some people when updating iOS complain that their iPhone slows down, or that their battery runs out quickly, or that their phone feels hot. This can be typical behavior after an iOS update as the iPhone spends a few days carrying background tasks related to the update, such as re-indexing, this can in turn cause it to use more battery up, and get hot. You could try restarting your iPhone to see if that helps.
Apple has previously addressed this issue in a Tweet:
Wi-Fi: Another issue people sometimes encounter after updating the iOS is that their iPhone struggles to stay connected to Wi-Fi networks. Again, it’s worth restarting the iPhone if this happens. Alternatively, look at: How to stop an iPhone dropping Wi-Fi connection.
Standby won’t show correct time zone: We encountered this issue (the clock was stuck in Cupertino). The fix was as follows:
Long press the clock that appears in Standby mode
Tap the + in the top left
Add the clock widget with the correct time to the list
iOS 17: How to install iOS 17 on your iPhone
Installing iOS 17 couldn’t be simpler. Just follow these steps:
Open the Settings app
Tap Software Update
On this screen you’ll see the version of iOS you have installed, and if a new version is available it will say so. It may say “Install Now” if the update was already downloaded in the background but not yet applied, or “Download and Install” if you haven’t even downloaded it yet.
Just follow the instructions there to upgrade to iOS 17. You may need to re-agree to terms and conditions, and it will take several minutes to download, verify, and apply. Then your iPhone will restart, and you’ll be presented with some welcome screens that introduce new features.
If you install an update and want to revert to the previous version there is a very small window in which you can do that, but it can be done, read: How to downgrade iOS.
iOS 17 Compatibility: Which phones can run the latest software?
iOS 17 will not support the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or the iPhone X. They are all able to run iOS 16 though, so they should get support through security updates for at least another year. The following iPhones get support for iOS 17, although some won’t support all of the new features:
iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max
iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max
There were many new features in iOS 16, including a redesigned Lock Screen, unsending iMessages, and the iCloud Shared Photo Library, but what is new in iOS 17? Initial rumors suggested that there would be “fewer major changes” than usual–but at WWDC 2023 Apple announced numerous new features for the update which we will describe below. You can also read our comparison of iOS 16 vs iOS 17 for an overview of what’s new.
Not all the new features were available at launch though. At least five iOS 17 features weren’t ready including AirDrop over the Internet, the Journal app, Collaborative Apple Music playlists, AirPlay in hotel rooms, and NameDrop to Apple Watch. These features will come “later this year” in a subsequent software update.
This is a brand new app that builds on Memories in Photos to bring a new way to relive special moments, remember and write about experiences with text, location, and photos, and more. There is also a Suggestions API for developers to use in their apps.
Coming in a subsequent update ‘later this year’
This seems to borrow from the Apple Watch. Put the phone in landscape on a stand at night and see the time with a clock and a range of clock styles. You can also shuffle through your best photos, display widgets, and see Live Activities, like game scores. You can also choose Night Mode to display red text and minimize eye strain at night. Remember alarm clocks? It’s a bit like that. See: How to use StandBy to make a smart home hub
This will let you personalize how you appear in calls and on your contact card (since your custom contact card will show up in Contacts for your friends). You can customize your poster with images, fonts, and colors. This works with Call Kit so it can be used in third-party VOIP apps.
The Messages app will be faster, and search filters will let you add terms to a search to narrow the results. You’ll also be able to jump to the first unread message in a group chat, swipe to reply on any bubble, and automatically transcribe audio messages.
A new Check-In feature will also let Family and Friends know if you’ve made it to a destination safely. Messages can recognize if you aren’t making progress toward the destination and prompt you to respond. If you don’t, it will share information with the selected contact, including your location, battery level, and cell service status.
Ring Tones and Text Tones
There are 24 new Ringtones in iOS 17 including Dollop, Kettle, Scavenger, Steps, Storytime, Unfold and Valley. To change the ringtone go to Sounds & Haptics, then tap Ringtone.
New text tones include Cheers, Droplet, Portal, Slide and Welcome. Find them in Sounds & Haptics setting under Text Tone.
Apple is changing the way AirDrop works it will be much simpler to use. You only need to bring your phones close together and you will be able to share information. You can easily choose the phone numbers and email addresses you want to share on an iPhone or Apple Watch. For example, if you want to share photos, just bring your phones close together.
Another AirDrop related change will come in a later update – the ability to start an AirDrop in person, but then leave before the transfer completes with the transfer finishing over the Internet.
AirDrop over the Internet is coming in a subsequent update.
A new feature that takes advantage of AirDrop is NameDrop, an easy way to exchange contact info. No more having to miss-call a new friend just so they have your number.
Keyboard and Dictation
Autocorrect will be “more accurate than ever.” Tap the underlined word to get the option to revert to the word you had typed. You can get predictions in line as you type and just tap the space bar to add them. Machine learning will also learn your writing style and adapt autocorrect accordingly. Additionally, Dictation leverages a new speech recognition model to make it even more accurate.
You no longer need to say, “Hey” every time you want to summon Siri. Siri is powered by the new transformer model that the new dictation and autocorrect is, making it far more accurate and better able to understand what you mean. You can also make multiple requests in the same command.
The People album in iOS 17 will be able to use on-device machine learning to recognize “more photos of a user’s favorite people” as well as cats and dogs.
Collaborative Apple Music playlists are coming to Apple Music, but not until a later update. You’ll be able to share playlists with friends and they will be able to add, remove and reorder the songs.
Apple announced passkey support in iOS 16 but it’s going mainstream in iOS 17. In iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma, you’ll be able to log into your Apple ID with a passkey using Face ID or Touch ID on your iPhone instead of a password.
iOS 17: Third-party app stores and sideloading
Ahead of WWDC, there were reports that Apple will start to open up the iPhone in iOS 17, allowing the distribution of apps outside of Apple’s own App Store, the use of NFC for touchless payments beyond Apple Pay, browsers that don’t have to use Apple’s Webkit rendering engine, and more. It’s all necessary to comply with the EU’s new Digital Markets Act, and the expectation is that it will only apply to those iPhones running iOS 17 in the regions covered by EU law.
Apple didn’t discuss the changes at WWDC, which isn’t very surprising. Furthermore, there are no references to sideloading or third-party app store on the iOS 17 website. However, that doesn’t mean those changes aren’t coming in iOS 17, either at launch or sometime in 2024.