iOS 17: The major new features of the iPhone are also the ones that you will notice the least

Estimated read time 3 min read

iOS 17: The major new features of the iPhone are also the ones that you will notice the least

For Apple users, this month is all about the iPhone, whether it’s buying a new iPhone 15 or updating an old model with iOS 17, which is officially released today.

iOS 17 represents the new generation of iPhone software, with a multitude of features that ZDNET has covered extensively since it opened to beta for developers in June. The goal of this year’s Apple mobile OS update is clear: Apple offers you a familiar iPhone experience with useful improvements that are just subtle enough not to justify a radical lifestyle change.

This is what I remembered after using an iPhone running iOS 17 throughout the summer.

As you prepare your iPhone for iOS 17, here is a list of useful (and subtle) features that you should know about:

  • Swipe to reply to iMessages : Whether it’s a group discussion between family members, roommates or members of a sports team, sometimes the conversations drag on and you want to respond to a specific message. Now, on iMessage, you can swipe sideways on a text bubble to leave a direct response. Your reply will still appear as a new entry in the group chat, but it will also be attached to the corresponding message.

  • Improvement of adaptive autocorrection : iOS 17 relies on a transformative language model (yes it’s AI) to better learn from your typing habits and the way you spell certain words.

  • Automatic deletion of one-time access codes : Now, when you automatically fill in a confirmation number for two-factor logins, whether it comes from your iMessage or from Mail, the iPhone can automatically delete the coded message shortly after.

iMessage on iOS 17

iOS 17 no longer automatically corrects your most emotional texts. June Wan/ZDNET

  • No more “Hey Siri” and longer conversations : There is nothing more abnormal than calling Apple’s voice assistant saying “Hey Siri” before each request. With iOS 17, not only can you simply say “Siri” to activate the function, but the voice assistant can hold longer conversations and respond to several prompts per session.

  • Levels tool in the Camera application : When I demonstrated iOS 17 to my parents, no feature got as much reaction as the camera level tool. This is a discreet addition to the camera experience that greatly facilitates the framing of shots, whether it is a landscape or a family portrait.

  • Live activities in standby mode : Perhaps the most spectacular feature of iOS 17 is the Sleep mode, which turns your iPhone into an ambient smart display when placed sideways on a MagSafe charger. But did you know that sleep mode can also display live activities, from sports scores to Uber rides?

  • Offline maps in Apple Maps : Like Google Maps, Apple Maps now allows you to download sections of areas for offline navigation. This feature is especially useful when traveling to places where cellular or Wi-Fi services are scarce or non-existent.

  • Interactive widgets : Apple first introduced widgets on the home screen with iOS 14 in 2020. Three years later, with iOS 17, you can finally interact with these components without launching the corresponding applications, whether it’s pressing play and pause on the Apple Music widget, checking your Reminders or turning on the lights in your house.

What do you think of iOS 17? Are there any other useful but subtle features that I missed? Let me know in the comments below.

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