Even if you’re not upgrading to one of Apple’s latest iPhones — the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro announced today — you will still be able to update your iPhone and gain new features in a matter of days. Apple confirmed in its iPhone press release that its latest operating system, iOS 17, will be released as a free software update today, September 18, 2023.
The new software will deliver a range of new features for iPhone users across Apple’s first-party apps, including the Phone app, Messages, FaceTime, and more, and will introduce new functionality like Live Voicemail, FaceTime audio and video messages; Contact Posters that let you customize how you appear to others during incoming calls; a revamped Messages app; and Name Drop — a new way to share contacts by bringing phones close together — to name a few.
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iMessage improvements constitute one of the bigger consumer-facing makeovers coming in iOS 17, as Apple has redesigned the experience with a new drawer in the keyboard for easier access to common functions like the Camera, Photo, Stickers, Apple Cash, Audio, Location Sharing, and more.
Plus, one of the more fun additions is something Apple calls “Live Stickers,” which are those users create themselves by lifting subjects from their photos, and then adding optional effects to bring them to life.
A new safety feature called Check-In also lets users notify family or friends when they’ve made it to their destination safely.
iOS 17 also introduces StandBy, which offers a full-screen experience when the phone is on its side with glanceable information and widgets, clocks, photos, and even notifications.
Other machine learning improvements bring better autocorrect (a feature some say has gotten worse over the years) and better dictation.
The update should additionally bring a new first-party app, Journal, that lets users track their day and well-being. This feature wasn’t yet available for testing during the public beta releases, so users will be looking forward to trying it.
There’s a wide range of other improvements as well, including better Private Browsing in Safari, support for passkeys, new mental health features in the Health app, offline Maps, updates for Apple Music, AirPlay, AirTag, the Home app, Reminders, Siri and much more.