iOS 17 Review: StandBy Mode Is My Favorite New Feature, Hands Down - CNET

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An iPhone with the fig   17 connected  the surface  adjacent  to the Apple logo

iOS 17 brings these caller features to your iPhone.

Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Whether you're upgrading to 1 of the caller iPhone 15 models or holding connected to a 5ive-year-old iPhone XS, you tin download iOS 17 now. Apple introduced the latest iPhone operating strategy astatine the company's Worldwide Developers Conference successful June earlier releasing beta versions of the bundle implicit the summer. 

Read more: How to Download iOS 17 Now

I started beta investigating versions of iOS 17 successful July connected a newer iPhone 14 Pro and an older iPhone XR to spot however the latest OS volition impact astir radical with compatible devices. The OS brings a batch of caller and utile features to your iPhone, particularly successful Messages, which mightiness marque you wonderment wherefore those functions weren't determination successful the archetypal place. Some apps, similar Shortcuts, are little daunting than they were successful erstwhile iOS versions. 

Screen of antithetic  iOS 17 updates

Apple announced iOS 17 astatine WWDC 2023 successful June.


iOS 17 picks up visually wherever iOS 16 near off. Contact Posters successful iOS 17 brings visuals to contacts akin to those iOS 16 brought to the fastener screen. But I recovered Contact Posters much amusive than useful. The largest ocular alteration is StandBy mode, which turns your iPhone into a mini hub filled with widgets, photos and customizable clocks.

iOS 17 volition enactment connected iPhone XS and newer models. But portion the caller bundle makes experiences seamless and little burdensome connected older and newer iPhones alike, immoderate features truly radiance connected newer models, similar the iPhone 14 Pro. That doesn't mean you should debar iOS 17 if you person an older iPhone -- you'll inactive acquisition astir 90% of iOS 17's benefits. StandBy mode, for example, worked connected my XR, but with the display's slumber timer turned off, I person to fastener my surface successful bid for it to work. Once successful StandBy mode, the show goes to slumber a abbreviated clip later.

Now, let's get into immoderate of my favourite iOS 17 features.

StandBy mode is simply a standout

When Apple announced StandBy mode astatine WWDC, I was skeptical. My woman and I don't person a astute display, similar the Amazon Echo Show, oregon immoderate different benignant of supplementary hub successful our home, and we've been conscionable good -- and yes, if you travel by later, I'll astir apt beryllium yelling astir the weather. But StandBy mode is my favourite caller iPhone diagnostic successful years, and it's not adjacent close. 

Sure, you could accidental StandBy mode makes your iPhone into an costly bedside clock, but if you conscionable usage it arsenic a clock, you're missing retired connected truthful overmuch functionality. Interactive widgets connected my surface made it casual to cheque the weather, work the latest headlines and overmuch more. I could besides alteration euphony playing done connected astute speakers without sportfishing my iPhone retired of my pocket. 


Watch this: We Tried iOS 17 for Ourselves and We're Impressed So Far


Notifications besides showed up connected my screen, and I could easy preview them without unlocking my iPhone. So erstwhile I got a notification from an app similar Ring, I could rapidly cheque if it's the message idiosyncratic delivering a bundle oregon conscionable a car driving down the road. And with Live Activities and StandBy mode combined, I could travel the people of an MLB crippled portion I watched an NFL crippled connected TV.

StandBy mode adjacent started to amended my narration with my iPhone. Before iOS 17, if I got up from my table to drawback a snack oregon spell to the bathroom, I'd marque definite my iPhone was successful my pouch -- and if it wasn't I'd instantly spell into detective mode to find it and enactment it backmost wherever it belongs, my close beforehand pocket. 

Since I started utilizing StandBy mode, I regularly permission my iPhone down connected its charging basal portion I marque different cupful of java oregon drawback the mail. When I announcement it's not successful my pocket, I mightiness motion and think, "It's connected the charging stand. I'll drawback it later," and those instances are getting much frequent. And I've welcomed this change. Disconnecting from our devices could person large wellness benefits, similar reduced anxiousness and depression, truthful whether Apple intended it to oregon not, StandBy mode could assistance amended your intelligence health. I surely consciousness much relaxed.

The iPhone connected  a MagSafe charger successful  StandBy mode

When the iPhone is connected a MagSafe charger and successful a horizontal position, StandBy mode kicks in.

John Kim/CNET

But StandBy mode has country to improve. Currently determination are a constricted fig of widgets that tin beryllium utilized with StandBy mode, and email widgets, similar Mail, are sorely missing. Being capable to rapidly cheque your email, oregon immoderate societal media app, from StandBy mode would elevate the usefulness of this feature. I'm not seeing much widgets successful the iOS 17 merchandise candidate, but a Mail widget inactive mightiness beryllium included successful the last version. If it's not, Apple should see it successful an update soon.

StandBy mode besides works champion connected iPhones with always-on displays, similar the iPhone 14 Pro. It volition enactment connected different iOS 17 compatible iPhones, similar the iPhone XR, but lone until your surface goes to sleep.

Messages upgrades beyond autocorrect

Yes, autocorrect volition present larn from your messages truthful it won't close you each the "ducking" time. Is this cool? Yeah. Am I immature? Also, yes. The cursing successful my texts present flows without interruption oregon confusion. But much so, autocorrect has improved wide to amended recognize what you mean. It's besides not arsenic anxious to close things similar acronyms oregon slang.

The keyboard successful  Messages with the connection   sometimes autocorrect gets it wrong, and that's good   successful  the substance   field

I could revert this correction, but autocorrect is close here.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

Messages besides gets a big of different caller features that marque staying successful interaction with others casual and effortless, including an autocorrect undo function. "But wait, didn't you conscionable accidental autocorrect volition amended recognize what I mean and not close maine each the time?" Yes, beloved reader, gladsome to spot you're paying attention, but autocorrect inactive gets it incorrect sometimes -- aforesaid here, autocorrect. When it does marque a correction, Messages volition underline the corrected word. If you pat the word, you'll beryllium fixed the enactment to undo the correction, reverting it backmost to what you primitively typed. 

Another upgrade is simply a catch-up arrow successful radical chats. I spell to slumber comparatively aboriginal -- astir 8:30 p.m. -- and sometimes, erstwhile I aftermath up, a radical chat with my household oregon friends has 30 caller messages. Instead of scrolling up to find the commencement of the messages, there's a caller arrow that volition instrumentality maine to the archetypal connection successful the speech that I haven't read. This has saved maine a batch of disorder astir wherefore my person radical can't conscionable up. However, this diagnostic was contiguous successful aboriginal beta versions but not aboriginal versions. The catch-up arrow is expected to get successful iOS 17 aboriginal this year.

The app barroom has been replaced with a drawer. Next to your connection field, there's a positive motion fastener that you usage to propulsion up iMessage apps similar your Camera, Memoji and others. You tin rearrange these, too, truthful apps that you usage more, similar the #images app, tin beryllium easy accessible. This is simply a tiny but adjuvant change. Before iOS 17, sometimes the app barroom would vanish connected me, and I'd person to swipe my surface up oregon down to bring it back. Now each the apps are successful the aforesaid easy-to-find place.

Create your ain stickers for Messages

Digital stickers of a canine  successful  iOS 17

I mean, however could you not stock that face?

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

With iOS 16, Apple introduced the quality to lift a photo's taxable from the background, giving you (mostly) clean-looking cutout pictures. With iOS 17, Apple lets you usage these cutouts to make your ain stickers. You tin adhd antithetic effects to your stickers, similar a achromatic outline oregon a holographic filter, to marque your stickers standout. And you tin marque animated stickers from Live photos. 

As a arrogant pup parent, I marque and nonstop much stickers of my canine than I'd similar to admit. But I'll gladly stock a tiny illustration of the stickers of Cinnamon Toast Crunch -- yes, that's her name. Are these stickers useful? Not really, but I'm having amusive with them.

iOS 17 tin automatically delete verification codification messages

Two-factor verification messages are a large mode to amended information erstwhile logging into an relationship oregon service. You cognize what truly annoys maine astir them though? All the random messages and emails that clutter my inboxes. But that's nary longer a problem.

With iOS 17, your Messages and Mail app tin automatically delete two-factor verification codes erstwhile the codification has been utilized to autofill its intended field. I emotion keeping each my inboxes cleanable and tidy, and this caller diagnostic is similar a virtual Roomba that gets escaped of those unnecessary messages arsenic soon arsenic they are used.

Shortcuts improvements

Some of the caller   Shortcuts shown connected  the Shortcuts homepage

These are immoderate of the imaginable Shortcuts you spot erstwhile you unfastened the app.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

Confession time: I ne'er utilized Shortcuts connected my iPhone before. Setting them up confused and frustrated me. The Shortcuts homepage intimidated maine too, truthful I convinced myself that Shortcuts weren't worthy it. But acknowledgment to iOS 17, I changed my cognition and person already integrated a fewer into my mundane life. 

For starters, Apple changed the Shortcuts homepage to amusement a fistful of premade ones, similar creating a caller enactment successful Notes, that you tin easy adhd to your homepage with a agelong press. The caller layout isn't arsenic daunting, and should marque it easier for others to spot what Shortcuts tin do.

The camera level is simply a game-changer

When I instrumentality photos oregon grounds videos for societal media, I interest that they're not going to look straight. Before iOS 17, I'd effort to enactment the grip up with a consecutive enactment successful frame, but if I was retired successful quality I'd conscionable effort my best. 

The level   successful  the Camera app is yellowish  erstwhile   the photograph  is straight

The camera level is simply a tiny caller feature, but I emotion it.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

In iOS 17, the Camera app has an onscreen level truthful you tin straighten your videos and pictures. The level comes crossed the halfway of your surface arsenic a bladed achromatic enactment but it turns yellowish erstwhile it's level. It's helped maine instrumentality consecutive photos, and I besides utilized it to double-check whether a representation framework connected my partition was level erstwhile hanging it. 

Grocery lists successful Reminders 

I emotion market shopping. I similar walking the aisles, uncovering my items and seeing each the radical and what they've picked up. But what I don't similar is forgetting an point connected 1 broadside of the store aft I've walked each the mode crossed and picked up everything other I need. 

Luckily, Reminders has a caller diagnostic that lets you make a market database separated into sections with headers similar Produce, Breads & Cereals and Household items. The app automatically creates these sections arsenic you adhd items and sorts them into the due categories. The app adjacent recognizes definite marque names, similar Dr Pepper and Ritz, and sorts them appropriately, too. 

iOS 17 features not disposable astatine launch

The biggest iOS 17 diagnostic that's not included astatine motorboat that I'm excited astir is the Journal app. Apple announced the app astatine WWDC successful June, saying it would beryllium capable to springiness you suggestions astir what to diary about, support your entries backstage and more. However, Apple said the Journal app would motorboat aboriginal this year. 

iOS 17 diary  app

An aboriginal look astatine the Journal app from WWDC.


Collaborative Playlists successful Apple Music collaborations aren't disposable with iOS 17 yet either. This diagnostic is said to fto radical invitation friends and household to edit playlists oregon respond to definite tracks connected the playlist. There's nary connection connected erstwhile this diagnostic volition beryllium disposable yet.

Apple had besides announced that AirDrop volition beryllium capable to decorativeness a record transportation erstwhile devices determination retired of scope of each different connected iOS 17. However, we're inactive waiting for connection connected erstwhile this volition beryllium available.

The last connection connected iOS 17

The latest iOS mentation brings a batch of functional improvements to your iPhone, adjacent if you don't person the newest model. Not each the changes are large and flashy, similar StandBy mode, but astir consciousness meaningful.

A fewer words of caution for erstwhile the caller operating strategy arrives: Before you update your iPhone to iOS 17, you should backmost up your iPhone arsenic a precaution. And portion it mightiness beryllium tempting to download iOS 17 arsenic soon arsenic possible, you mightiness privation to hold a time oregon 2 to spot if different radical are having problems with their iPhones, and truthful that your instrumentality downloads the update faster. 

For much Apple news, here's the iOS 17 cheat sheet and reviews for the iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max.

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