The Dazzling All-New iPhone Software Is Here, With Cool Features And Upgrades

Which iPhones Can Run iOS 17?

If you have an iPhone released in 2018 or later, then iOS 17 is compatible. That means the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone Xr are the earliest phones, with iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max and all more recent phones included. This includes iPhone SE second- and third-generation models.

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How To Get It

Updating is to the new software is straightforward, though it’s likely going to be a big download for everybody and there may be quite the wait as lots of people try to upgrade at the same time. Practise patience. For my iPhone 14 Pro Max, it’s a 3.3GB file size.

Open the Settings app, click General, then Software Update. Next, select Download and Install, and let the software do the rest.

What’s In The Release

Launching just before the iPhone 15 series, iOS 17 can make you feel like you’ve got a whole new iPhone, without spending a cent. It’s certainly feature-packed, but here are some of the key upgrades.

Contact Posters—this is one of the updates to the phone app and it means you can control how you appear to others when you call them, for instance. Of course, the other person needs to be on an iPhone, too. Live Voicemail does what it sounds like, that is, you can see a transcription onscreen as someone leaves a voice message. If it’s a call you want after all, you can pick up. There’s better search in Messages, which also gets a better layout and reply options. Audio messages are also enhanced so you can pause while leaving one or speed up playback when receiving. FaceTime adds the feature to leave a video or audio message when someone doesn’t pick up, and in a video call you can add video effects such as Portrait mode. You can also send hearts, balloons, fireworks and rain through gestures—rain comes from two thumbs down.

Check In is a really great new feature so you can let someone know when you arrive somewhere. Check in with someone and it can detect when you’ve got home safely, for instance, and let the other person know.

StandBy is one of the most anticipated updates, so that when your iPhone is charging and is on its side, the phone can show the time, work as a photo album or show information large enough to be read from across the room.

AirDrop gains extra functionality so that you can share contact details just by bringing two iPhones close, with a cool animation showing the contact is made. This particular part of AirDrop is called NameDrop. I like it. In regular AirDrop features, if you’re sharing content but you have to go, the transfer can continue over wi-fi. Better autocorrect is coming to Keyboard so that it can fix mistakes as you type, learn if you want to swear and let you do so, and improve speech recognition as you dictate (though whether it’ll be much better at names is anybody’s guess).

Maps receives a much-anticipated feature where the phone will download maps for offline use, which is handy if you’re going into an area with no cellular signal or, for example, you’re abroad and don’t want to shell out for roaming cellular data. There is also better EV charger information in iOS 17.

You can invoke Siri without the need to say Hey before its name, and multiple commands will work.

It’s a lot, right? And that’s before we even get to improved AirPods software including the brilliant Adaptive Audio, better Health and Fitness apps, smarter Spotlight searches, and, a particular favorite of mine, using Visual Look Up to decipher laundry codes before you accidentally shrink a beloved garment. Useful.

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