iOS 17: Update Now! Features, Compatible Devices, and More
With every iOS update, Apple updates its built-in apps, and iOS 17 is no exception. There are new features for almost every stock iOS app, from Phone and Messages to Photos, Notes, and Reminders.
The Phone app gains Contact Posters, designed to allow you to customize what people see when you call them. You can select a background from one of your images, or use your Memoji, and you can customize the font and color that your name uses.
It’s similar to being able to choose a Contact photo from iOS 17, which is used across Messages, but this time it’s for the entire call screen. You can choose to share your Contact Poster with just contacts or with anyone you call. This feature requires an iPhone for the person on the other side to see your customized image.
With Live Voicemail, when someone leaves a voicemail, you can see a transcription of what’s being said in real time on your Lock Screen. From there, you can choose to pick up the phone if it’s something important, or you can ignore the message. Note that Live Voicemail changes your voicemail message.
If Silence Unknown Callers is turned on, unknown numbers will go directly to Live Voicemail, while calls identified by carriers as spam will be automatically declined.
Other Phone App Changes
- Call Log – In the Recents call log for missed and received calls, if the caller left a voicemail, you can now see it and tap into it from there.
- Dual-SIM – Dual-SIM support is improving, with Apple adding an option to sort messages based on SIM, separate ringtones for each SIM, and choose a SIM when calling back an unknown number.
Apple tweaked the design of the Messages app to give it a cleaner look. All Messages apps and tools like the camera and photo options can be accessed by tapping on the « + » button.
With the new Check In safety feature, you can let friends and family know that you’re going somewhere and they’ll be automatically notified when you reach your destination. If you stop making progress while on your way, Messages will check in with you to see what’s going on, and if there’s no response, helpful information like your battery level, location, and cellular status will be shared with your friend or family member. There are options for the amount of data that you share. Limited shares location, network signal, and battery level, while Full shares all of that plus route traveled, location of last iPhone unlock, and location of where the Apple Watch was last removed.
There’s a revamped Stickers experience, and all emoji are now considered stickers and are stored in the same place. The Stickers option in the updated Messages app experience lets you see emoji, stickers you’ve downloaded from the App Store, stickers you’ve created from photos, and Memoji in one spot. Emoji can now be used like stickers, placed anywhere on a message.
Other New Messages Features
- Sticker Creation – Using the Remove Subject From Background feature introduced in iOS 16, you can create and save your own stickers. You can add special effects like borders and color, and if you use a Live Photo, your sticker can animate.
- Sticker Reactions – You can use emoji and stickers to react to messages by putting the sticker right on the bubble from the tapback menu.
- Stickers in More Places – Stickers (and emoji) can be used anywhere that emoji can be accessed, including App Store apps, pictures, emails, and more.
- Catch-Up – If you are behind on a Messages chat with a friend or a group of friends, the catch-up arrow jumps to the first message you haven’t seen in a conversation when you tap it.
- Swipe Reply – To send a reply to any message in a conversation, just use a swipe to the right on it. This brings up the reply interface, and it’s quicker than having to long press and tap reply.
- Search Filters – It’s quicker than ever to find what you’re looking for in search because you can combine search filters. For example, you might type cat to find a message about your cat, but if you want to narrow it down, you can type in « cat » « April » and it will show messages from that timeframe. This feature lets you search messages by a specific person, which is handy.
- Location Sharing – From the « + » button in Messages, you can tap on the Location option to send your location or request a friend’s location. You can also share a pin at a specific location if you’re going to be moving.
- Audio Message Transcriptions – If someone sends an audio message, you can see a transcription so you can read it right away if you’re not able to listen at the time that it is received.
- Auto-Delete Verification Codes – You can set one-time passcodes that you get in the Messages app to auto-delete after they’ve been used, keeping these messages from cluttering up your app.
- Memoji – There are new halo, smirk, and peekaboo Memoji stickers.
For more on what’s new in the Messages app, we have a dedicated Messages guide that walks through each feature.
The FaceTime app now allows you to leave a video or audio message when someone misses your FaceTime call, similar to how you can leave a voicemail for a missed phone call. FaceTime video messages support all of the same features like Portrait mode and Studio Light.
FaceTime reactions add fun 3D augmented reality effects to FaceTime with certain hand gestures. There are gestures for hearts, confetti, fireworks, and more. The gestures are available when using the front-facing camera on an iPhone 12 or later.
iPhone and iPad users with an Apple TV can use Continuity Camera for FaceTime on the big screen. A call can be started on iPhone and handed off to the Apple TV, or started on the Apple TV through the FaceTime app. The iPhone serves as the camera (similar to how it works for using the iPhone as a webcam for a Mac) while the FaceTime interface shows up on the Apple TV. A device running iOS 17 and an Apple TV 4K with tvOS 17 are required.
Other FaceTime Features
- Missed Calls on Apple Watch – If someone leaves you a FaceTime video or audio message, it can be played back on Apple Watch as well as the iPhone.
Later this year, Apple plans to introduce a Journal app that will let iPhone and iPad users record their daily thoughts and activities. The Journal app will bring in information from your iPhone like your photos, music you’ve listened to, workouts, and more, and it will suggest topics for you to write about.
Entries can have integrated photos, music, and audio recordings, and important moments can be highlighted. The Journal app is passcode and Face ID protected, so you’ll need a facial scan to open it up. All suggestions are done on-device, and entries are end-to-end encrypted.
Safari and Passwords
Safari supports profiles in iOS 17, which means you can have profiles for different activities like work and personal use. Profiles have separate histories, extensions, cookies, favorites, and Tab Groups, and swapping between profiles can be done with a tap.
Passwords and passkeys in iCloud Keychain can be shared with friends and family members so you can invite trusted contacts to have access to mutual passwords. Each participant can access, edit, and add to the same set of passwords once a password sharing group has been set up, and passwords stay up to date for everyone.
Other New Safari Features
- Tracking URLs – iOS 17 automatically removes tracking parameters from URLs in Safari, Messages, and Mail, which prevents cross-website tracking. iOS 17 will strip the tracking parts of a URL, allowing the link to still work as expected.
- Locked Private Browsing – Private browser windows are now locked behind Face ID or Touch ID so someone who has access to your phone won’t be able to see your open tabs without a second scan or your passcode. Apple also now totally blocks unknown trackers and removes tracking added to URLs while you browse.
- Faster Search – Search is more responsive so you get your results quicker.
- More Relevant Search Results – Search results have been improved to be more relevant, with information presented in an easier-to-read format.
- Listen to Page – Safari has a Listen to Page option that will read the contents of the current webpage out loud if tapped.
Read more on what’s new in Safari in our dedicated guide.
For the first time, Maps can be downloaded for offline usage in iOS 17. A specific area of the maps app can be saved and explored while offline. Saving retains information like business hours and ratings, and allows for turn-by-turn directions even without a cellular connection.
Downloaded maps can also be viewed on a paired Apple Watch.
Other New Maps Features
- Charging Stations – Real-time charging station availability is shown along Maps routes for those who own electric vehicles. Users can select a preferred charging station.
More on what’s new in the Maps app can be found in our iOS 17 Maps guide.
The Photos app is now able to better recognize people, plus it can distinguish between different pets so you can add your cats and dogs to the People album (which is now the Pets and People album).
Visual Look Up
Visual Look Up now works with food, so you can tap the « Info » button on a photo with a dish and then search for similar recipes.
Visual Look Up works for any image across iOS, in the Photos app and in other apps like Safari.
Other Photo and Visual Look Up Features
- Remove Subject From Background – When you use the Remove Subject From Background feature to remove a subject from a photo, you can look it up right from that interface.
- Visual Look Up for Videos – You can pause a video on any frame and tap on the info button to look up a subject like a plant or animal.
- Visual Look Up for Automobile Symbols – Visual Look Up is now able to detect car symbols on vehicle dashboards, such as hazard warnings, ventilation, and more.
- Visual Look Up for Laundry Symbols – Visual Look Up can also be used to decipher the laundry symbols that are on clothing.
- One-Tap Crop – When zooming into an image in the Photos app, you can now tap on the « Crop » button in the upper right corner to crop into that spot without having to open up the editing interface.
- Interface Updates – The Cancel and Done buttons in the Editing interface of the Photos app have been moved to the top of the display, and tool icons now have text descriptions to make it clear what they do.
- Screenshot Interface – When taking a screenshot, there is now a Save to Photos option that saves the full page of the screenshot. Previously, the feature that captured a full page screenshot only allowed it to be saved as a PDF.
For a deeper look at the new features in the Photos app, we have a dedicated iOS 17 Photos and Camera guide.
There are new mental health features in the Health app, including a mood tracking feature. Using the Health app on iPhone, you can select your mood at the moment or your mood for the overall day.
You can choose factors that might be influencing your mood like work or family, and track your responses over time to see what contributes to your state of mind.
Other Health App Features
- Critical Medication Reminders – For critical medications, you can set up a reminder to let you know if you haven’t taken your medicine 30 minutes after the time you have set for your initial reminder.
- Screen Distance – The Health app can let you know if you are holding an iPhone or iPad too close to your face, increasing risk for myopia. The new Screen Distance feature is designed for children, and works using the TrueDepth camera.
- Daylight Exposure for Children – The Apple Watch with Family Setup can be used to monitor the amount of daylight that a child is exposed to. 80 to 120 minutes outdoors per day can cut down on the risk of myopia, with this information trackable by parents using the Health app.
- Mental Health Assessments – The Health app provides clinical mental health assessments for anxiety and depression so you can determine if you might have issues that need to be discussed with a doctor. Apple will also provide access to crisis resources and articles.
For a deeper look at the new features in the Health app, we have an iOS 17 Health guide.
The Mail app has a limited number of new features, but there is now an option to autofill one-time verification codes that are received in Mail in Safari without having to open up the Mail app.
You can also have one-time verification codes deleted automatically after you use them.
Later in the year, the Music app will support collaborative playlists so your friends and family members can add to, reorder, and remove songs from a playlist. The feature allows all participants to react to songs with emoji.
SharePlay for CarPlay also allows everyone in the car to play their favorite music and contribute to the songs that are playing.
Other Music App Features
- Crossfade – With crossfade enabled, songs smoothly transition into one another so that the music never stops.
- Updated Interface – Full-screen animated artwork is now used for albums that support the feature, and the album art also blends seamlessly into the music player where the controls are located. As for the minimized version of the music player, it uses an updated hovering style that offers a depth effect.
- Lyric Updates – Lyrics that are not synced to the music that’s playing are now shown in a larger, more legible font.
- Song Credits – There’s now an option to view song credits by tapping on the three-dot icon next to a song that is playing, searched for, or in a playlist. Credits show all of the performing artists, composition artists, and those who were involved in production and engineering.
- Playlists – Playlists now support song suggestions to add new music that matches what’s already been added to the playlist.
More on the new features in the Music app can be found in our iOS 17 Music guide.
The Weather app features a moon module the current status of the moon, the time until the next full moon, moonset and moonrise times, and a moon calendar.
Other Weather App Changes
- Interface Updates – The main Weather page shows large « My Location » text for the weather forecast in your current location, with the city underneath.
- Yesterday’s Weather – The Weather app now displays the previous day’s weather in the 10-day forecast.
- Forecasts – In addition to yesterday’s weather, 10-day forecasts show the chance of rain each day and provide a « daily summary » of the weather conditions.
- Wind Module – The Wind module is a larger size that shows information on gust speed at a glance, as well as a daily comparison and wind scale.
- Averages Module – A new Averages weather module shows how the current temperature deviates from the historical average on that day.
- Comparisons – There are day-to-day comparisons for UV index, humidity, the « Feels Like » index, and visibility.
- Units – Units of measurement can be changed for wind speed, precipitation, pressure, and distance.
For a deeper look into what’s new in the Weather app, we have a dedicated iOS 17 Weather guide.
The Reminders app can automatically sort your groceries into categories to make shopping easier. Grocery items like produce, milk, and breads are automatically organized under different headers as you add them to your shopping list. Fruits and vegetables, for example, get organized under « Produce, » while oatmeal and cereal go under « Breads & Cereals. »
Categories include Produce, Breads & Cereals, Frozen Foods, Snacks & Candy, Meat, Dairy, Eggs & Cheese, Bakery, Baking Items, Household Items, Personal Care & Health, and Wine, Beer & Spirits.
Other Reminders Features
- Categories – Categories are automatic for grocery lists, but you can also add categories to other types of reminders, organizing them manually.
- Column View – Reminders can be organized into a column view, showing them side-by-side. This is useful for those who prefer Kanban-style organization.
- Interactive Widgets – With interactive widgets, Reminders can be checked off right from the Lock Screen or Home Screen.
- Early Reminders – You can schedule an alert for a reminder up to six months before it is due.
The Notes app now supports interlinking, so you can link one note to another note to for a Wiki-style system.
Other Notes Features
- PDFs – You can view and mark up PDFs and scans directly in the Notes app. Enhanced Autofill also allows the iPhone and iPad to identify fields in a PDF and fill them with your autofill details.
More on what’s new in the Notes and Reminders apps can be found in our iOS 17 Notes and Reminders guide.
AirTags and Find My network accessories can now be shared between up to five people, so family members can finally share AirTags with one another. Everyone that has access to an AirTag can use Precision Finding and play a sound to find a lost item.
The Freeform app on iPhone and iPad supports additional drawing tools. There’s a watercolor brush, calligraphy pen, highlighter, variable-width pen, and ruler.
In the Apple News app, Apple News+ subscribers can access daily crossword puzzles.
The Home app now includes an Activity History that displays information on who locked or unlocked a door and when, plus it displays recent activity for garage doors, contact sensors, and security devices.
There’s also an updated interface for lights that support multiple colors, and HomeKit devices can be controlled through interactive widgets.
Apple Pay order tracking now includes Apple Maps support, receipts for transactions, an option to add an order to the Wallet app from an email attachment, and a « track with Apple Wallet » button that can be used on apps and websites.
Later this year, iPhone users will be able to present a driver’s license or ID stored in the Wallet app at participating businesses and venue to verify age and identity for alcohol, rental cars, and more.
For parents, the Wallet app will allow recurring Apple Cash payments to be set up for children on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.
In the Shortcuts app, there is a new « Transaction » option that triggers an action when a Wallet Card or Pass is tapped. You can create a trigger for a payment tap, transit tap, access tap, or ID card tap.
A closer look at all of the new features in the Wallet app can be found in our dedicated iOS 17 Wallet app article.
Apple introduced a new design for the Now Playing screen, which shows the full-display page art or episode chapter images. Apple has also redesigned the playback controls on the bottom of the display, with the play speed button relocated from the bottom left corner of the screen to the rewind button.
Other Podcast Design Changes
- Sleep Timer – The sleep timer button has been moved from the bottom right corner of the app and is now located next to the fast forward button for a more compact control bar.
- Queue Interface – There’s now a dedicated queue button at the bottom next to the AirPlay button, and if you press it, you can see all queued episodes in a list format.
- Up Next – The Up Next carousel has redesigned cards, a three-dot options menu icon, and a new compact playback indicator that shows if you’ve started a podcast but not finished it.
A full walkthrough of the changes in the Podcasts app can be found in our Podcasts guide.
An updated camera leveling function is included in iOS 17. Activating the new Level option will add a horizontal line to the screen so you can make sure that landscape shots are properly lined up and level.
Other Camera App Features
- QR Codes – The Camera app has been able to scan QR codes since iOS 11, but in iOS 17, the link button automatically appears at the bottom of the Camera interface, making it easier to tap.
- Cinematic Mode Video Editing – There’s a Cinematic API for third-party apps that allows them to support Cinematic mode video playback and editing.
App Store App
The App Store app can now tell you how long an app will take to download once the download has been initiated. When you tap the « Get » or purchase button on an app and the circular download symbol pops up, it will show the time remaining.