Sep 18, 2023 - Technology

Apple iOS 17 available on iPhones today: Here's what's new

iPhone screens show different features of Apple's iOS 17.

Apple's iOS 17 has several new features including Live Voicemail. Photo: Courtesy of Apple

The newest Apple iPhones are almost here but starting Monday you can update past models to the latest operating system.

The big picture: iOS 17 adds features found on the iPhone 15 line, including improved autocorrect, live voicemail transcription and the new StandBy mode.

iOS 17 release time

Apple said the new operating system will be available Sept. 18, days before the Sept. 22 launch of the new iPhone 15 devices.

In past years, the latest software is available at 10am PT or 1pm ET. The initial rush to update can lead to longer download times.

  • To download the software, go to your iPhone's settings, then "General" and then "Software Update."

iOS 17 supported devices

Compatible devices for the new OS are: iPhone SE (2nd generation or later) and models from iPhone XR, which was released in 2018, and later devices.

New iOS features

The following are some of the features of the operating system.

StandBy mode in iOS 17

Details: When your iPhone is charging and turned on its side, the new StandBy mode "gives users a customizable full-screen experience with glanceable information designed to be viewed from a distance," Apple says.

  • The mode offers support for Live Activities, Siri, incoming calls and larger notifications.

Live Voicemail and other phone app changes

If you missed a call and someone left you a message, you'll be able to see a live transcription and can pick up the call as they're leaving it.

Yes, but: Unknown numbers will go directly to Live Voicemail when you have Silence Unknown Callers turned on.

  • Calls identified as spam by carriers don't go through to Live Voicemail and are instead instantly declined.

Other changes for the phone app include:

  • Contact Posters: Make a customized poster that's automatically shared with your contacts who have an iPhone when you call them.
  • In-call controls have moved to the bottom half of the screen so they're easier to reach, Apple said.
  • A new journal app that was previewed in June during the annual Worldwide Developers Conference will be added in an update later this year, according to Apple's iOS 17 guide.

Siri upgrade

There's no need to say "Hey Siri" when activating Apple's assistant. You can now just say "Siri."

  • Apple said Siri detects this phrase with low-power on-device processing that keeps your audio private.

"Check In" with friends, family

The new feature, dubbed "Check In," allows users to let others know when they've reached their destination.

  • If users don't check in at their declared destination, their location, battery level, cell service status and last active time will be shared with select contacts, Apple says.

NameDrop is a new way to swap numbers

To use NameDrop to share contacts, you'll need to hold your iPhone near someone else's iPhone or Apple Watch.

  • With the "new AirDrop experience," you'll be able to choose the specific phone numbers or email addresses to share.

Autocorrect without ducks

It's about "ducking" time, the new iOS uses machine learning to stop autocorrecting swear words.

  • "In those moments where you just want to type a ducking word, well, the keyboard will learn it, too," said Craig Federighi, Apple's SVP of software engineering, in June.

How it works: Apple says autocorrect delivers "even better support as you type" and temporarily underlines autocorrected so "you know what's been changed and you can revert back to the original word with just a tap."

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