iOS 17 Hands On: What’s New? Features and Changes

iOS 17 brings new innovative features and significant changes to the table. From StandBy mode to FaceTime Reactions, the iOS 17 promises to deliver a more seamless and personalized experience.
iOS 17 Hands On: What’s New? Features and Changes
iOS 17 Hands On: What’s New? Features and Changes

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Apple's iOS 17 is set to officially launch in September 2023 alongside the much-anticipated iPhone 15. The tech titan has been pushing the boundaries with this forthcoming update, currently released in beta version, offering a sneak peek to testers and developers worldwide. This hands-on guide explores the innovative features and significant changes that iOS 17 brings to the table. It's time to buckle up and join us on this exciting journey, as we unravel the ways in which iOS 17 is poised to revolutionize your everyday digital experience. So, buckle up, and let's explore what this update has to offer!

StandBy Mode

One of the most innovative features that iOS 17 will introduce is StandBy mode. StandBy mode brings your calendar, cherished memories from your photo gallery, incoming notifications, Siri responses with rich visuals, live activities, and even weather updates to your iPhone's lock screen. It supports widgets, allowing for a customizable experience tailored to your needs. A simple left or right swipe lets you navigate through the available options, and a long-press opens the door to personalization.

Whether you want a customized display of time, a slideshow of handpicked photos, or specific widgets on the StandBy screen, the choice is entirely yours. The feature shines with an always-on display. However, for iPhones that do not support this technology, a single tap brings StandBy to life.

Interactive Home Screen Widgets

Widgets, which were introduced in iOS 14, allow users to access information and functionality from their favorite apps without opening them. iOS 17 will expand the widget system by allowing users to place widgets anywhere on the home screen, not just in the Today View or on a separate page. Users will also be able to resize and stack widgets, as well as create custom widgets using the Shortcuts app.

FaceTime Enhancements

FaceTime in iOS 17 introduces a series of compelling upgrades, designed to make communication more interactive and immersive. Users now have the option to leave video or audio messages if the recipient misses their FaceTime call, akin to the traditional voicemail feature. These video messages are enabled with the same attributes as live FaceTime calls, including Portrait mode and Studio Light, providing the same quality and experience.

Adding a fun twist to your FaceTime calls, iOS 17 introduces 'FaceTime Reactions'. These are 3D augmented reality effects that can be triggered with specific hand gestures. You can shower your screen with hearts, confetti, or even fireworks, elevating the FaceTime experience to a whole new level of enjoyment.

Another remarkable feature is the Continuity Camera for FaceTime, which is now integrated with Apple TV. This feature lets you start a FaceTime call on your iPhone or iPad, and then seamlessly hand it over to your Apple TV, using your iPhone as the camera.

Messages Updates

iOS 17 brings a sleek revamp to the Messages app. The redesign introduces a convenient "+" button as a hub for all app tools, including the camera and photo options. Sharing becomes smoother. A new safety feature, 'Check In', debuts in iOS 17. It keeps friends and family informed about your whereabouts by automatically notifying them when you reach a designated location. Messages will check on you if you stop midway. If there's no response, your chosen contact receives your location, battery level, and more based on privacy settings. 'Check In' offers 'Limited' and 'Full' data sharing options, adding safety while respecting privacy.

Keyboard Changes

The iOS 17 takes typing on your iPhone or iPad to a whole new level with remarkable enhancements to the autocorrect feature. Leveraging updated machine learning technology, autocorrect now offers more precise predictions, adapting to your unique typing habits over time for a personalized experience. This advanced autocorrect feature doesn’t just stop at spelling suggestions but also extends to grammar suggestions, ensuring your communications are error-free and professionally polished.

Safari Get New Features

In iOS 17, Apple has transformed the Safari browsing experience with a host of new, user-centric features. With a focus on bolstering privacy, Safari now automatically strips tracking parameters from URLs across various applications, including Safari, Messages, and Mail. This feature effectively prevents cross-website tracking, ensuring that your browsing activity remains confidential.

In a unique application of biometric technology, iOS 17 introduces 'Locked Private Browsing' in Safari. This feature secures your private browsing windows with Face ID or Touch ID, making it impossible for someone with access to your phone to view your open tabs without a subsequent scan or your passcode.

Finally, iOS 17 introduces a 'Listen to Page' option in Safari. This useful feature reads the contents of the current webpage out loud when activated, offering a hands-free, accessibility-conscious browsing experience.

Health App Enhancements

In iOS 17, the Health app takes a leap forward with a slew of new features focused on mental health. A mood tracking feature is now in place, allowing users to log their current mood or the overall mood of the day. This tool offers insights into the factors influencing emotional well-being, such as work stress or familial dynamics, by tracking responses over time.

The Health app also introduces Critical Medication Reminders. This feature ensures that users stay on track with their essential medications by sending an alert if the medicine hasn't been taken thirty minutes past the initial reminder time.

For children, the app has an innovative Screen Distance feature that uses the TrueDepth camera to detect if an iPhone or iPad is held too close to the face, a habit that could potentially lead to myopia. Also tailored for children is the Daylight Exposure feature. With this feature, parents can use the Apple Watch with Family Setup to monitor the amount of daylight to which their child is exposed, thereby reducing any risk of myopia.

Camera App Changes

In iOS 17, the Camera app introduces new changes to enhance the user's photography experience. One of the key updates is a revamped camera levelling function, which aims to perfect landscape photography. When activated, the Level option displays a horizontal line on the screen, helping users align their shots accurately. This innovative feature eliminates odd angles and promises to deliver professionally composed landscape shots, improving overall quality.

Other helpful updates include improved QR Code scanning and Cinematic Mode Video Editing. In iOS 17, QR code scanning becomes even more user-friendly, with a link button that instantly appears at the bottom of the Camera interface, making scanning and accessing content a breeze. Additionally, iOS 17 introduces a Cinematic API for third-party apps, enabling support for playback and editing of videos in Cinematic mode.

Security and Privacy Enhancements

iOS 17 introduces robust security and privacy enhancements to safeguard user data and enhance the user experience. Notable features include 'Sensitive Content Warnings' that blur explicit photos and videos before reaching recipients. This feature is active in Messages, AirDrop, Contact Posters, FaceTime messages, and third-party apps, effectively blocking unwanted content.

In a noteworthy update, iOS now allows a 72-hour grace period to enter a previously used passcode in case of forgotten passcode changes. This ensures users won't be locked out of their devices for forgetting their newly set passcode. Furthermore, iOS 17 boosts privacy while using applications.

'Communication Safety' warnings, previously available for Messages, have been extended to AirDrop, systemwide photo picker, FaceTime messages, Contact Posters in the Phone app, and third-party apps. These warnings alert children about inappropriate content, making iOS 17 a safer platform for young users. This feature now has global accessibility, increasing its impact significantly.

Expanding 'Lockdown Mode' to all devices, including Apple Watch, enhances overall security. The new update allows users to sign into their iPhones using a nearby device or associated email/phone number, simplifying sign-in while maintaining security. These enhancements underscore iOS 17's commitment to a secure and user-centric environment.

Accessibility Enhancements

A significant addition in terms of accessibility is the 'Personal Voice' feature. This has been designed for individuals at risk of losing their speech. It allows users to generate a digital voice that closely resembles their own by reading out a randomized set of text prompts.

'Assistive Access' is another significant functionality that simplifies the interface of iPhone and iPad apps, allowing users to focus on their key features.

The 'Live Speech' update is equally important, enabling users to have their typed text read aloud during calls or in-person conversations. Notably, the 'Magnifier' app has been enhanced with a 'Point and Speak' feature, transforming it into a text reader for everyday objects.

iOS 17 also introduces the 'Pause Images' tool, offering relief for users sensitive to rapid animations by allowing them to halt moving elements in applications like Safari and Messages. In addition, customizable Siri speaking speeds have been introduced, catering to individual user preferences.

App Library Improvements

With the upcoming iOS 17, the App Library is set to receive notable enhancements, including expanded categories, advanced sorting and filtering options for apps. Moreover, users will have the ability to hide or delete apps from the App Library, as well as create personalized folders and labels. These improvements will undoubtedly elevate the user experience, making app management even more seamless and tailored to individual preferences.

iOS 17 Release Date and Compatibility

iOS 17 is expected to be released in September 2023, along with the new iPhone models. iOS 17 will be compatible with the following iPhones models:

  • 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
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone SE

iOS 17 will be a free update for all compatible devices, and users will be able to download and install it via Settings > General > Software Update, or via iTunes or Finder on a computer.

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