iOS 17 has updates to core features and a new Journal app

Apple has officially unveiled iOS 17.

At WWDC 2023, the company’s developers conference, Apple introduced(opens in a new tab) the newest version of its iPhone operating system. Per usual, the iOS 17 update won’t be available until later this year, but we got the full details on what to expect when it’s released.

Phone, FaceTime, and Messages get needed tune-ups

iOS 17 comes with all around updates to core functions like Phone, FaceTime, and Messages. This includes personalized appearances from incoming calls called Contact Posters, live transcription of voicemails, and automatic decline of calls identified by your carrier as spam.

iOS 17 live voicemail transcription on an iPhone

Screening voicemails just got easier with iOS 17.
Credit: Apple

In FaceTime, you can now record audio and video messages if someone doesn’t pick up. Through iOS 17, users can now transfer a call from iPhone to Apple TV.

In Messages, iOS 17 comes with new search filters for narrowing results, ways of catching up with unread messages, and an easier way of reply to inline messages by swiping. Audio messages are also transcribed. iOS 17 has an improved interface for the plus button on Messages, which also includes emoji stickers, and the ability to make live stickers from photos.

Check In for getting you home safely

Check In is new feature in Messages which notifies contacts when you’ve arrived at your destination. If your location hasn’t changed, Check In will share details like battery life, location, and cell service details.

Check In feature with iOS 17

iOS 17 introduced Check In as a new safety feature for iPhone users.
Credit: Apple

AirDrop and NameDrop for easier file sharing

Apple has expanded AirDrop’s capabilities in iOS 17 called NameDrop. By bringing two iPhones (or Apple Watch) close together, you can share contacts and other content or start SharePlay more easily.

two iPhones close together enabling NameDrop

Easier AirDrop sharing with iOS 17.
Credit: Apple

Improved keyboard, dictation, and no more ‘ducking’ autocorrects

Autocorrect is getting better with iOS 17. The updated keyboard uses a transformer language model which is more accurate for word prediction. It has improved design for fixing grammatically mistakes, a better way of reverting to a word that you didn’t want corrected, and predictive text recommendations inline so you can tap the space bar to fill out full sentences. And, you can finally drop F-bombs.

A brand new Journal app

Apple announced a brand new journaling app for iOS 17 appropriately called… Journal. The app uses machine learning to make suggestions to inspire journal entries by analyzing recent activity from photos, workouts, interactions and travels. You can also schedule notifications to remind you to write and maintain a journaling routine.

iOS 17 Journal app showing a new entry prompt

Journal suggests prompts for new entries based on recent activity.
Credit: Apple

Health app updates

The iOS 17 Health app update also has some mental health features. Users can log their moods and emotions within the app and even access depression and anxiety assessments.

iOS 17 Health app showing mood logging feature

For when you’re feeling pleasant, unpleasant, or anywhere in between.
Credit: Apple

StandBy turns the Always-On lock screen into a smart display

Building on the Always-On lock screen display that was introduced at last year’s WWDC, StandBy works as a smart display, showing the time, temperature, schedule, and other key info when your phone is in horizontal mode. StandBy is integrated with Siri, and other Apple or third party widgets can be added. Standby adapts to low light so it can be used while sleeping.

iPhone horizontally oriented showing the iOS 17 StandBy mode

StandBy builds on iPhone’s Always-On lock screen to work as a smart display.
Credit: Apple

Other features announced

iOS 17 also comes with a screen distance alert through Screen Time to reduce eye strain and risk of myopia, offline use of Maps, increased AirTag sharing with up to five people, AirPlay compatibility with TVs in hotels, improved audio features for AirPods, and Apple finally dropped the “Hey” to activate Siri.

iOS 17 beta and full release details

iOS 17 is available today to members of the developer program with a public beta launching in July. It will be fully available as a software update this fall.

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