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Following months of rumors and leaks, iOS 17 has officially been revealed. Previewed during the main keynote of WWDC23, this major software update introduces some notable upgrades to the way users communicate. These updates spread across the Phone and Messages apps, in addition to other background services, such as AirDrop and SharePlay.

Source: Apple

Starting with the Phone app, users now get to customize the call screen through different typography, Memoji, and more. This allows users to fully personalize the call screen, and assign different looks to the various numbers they contact. Furthermore, users now get to utilize Live Voicemail, a new addition that lets you read the transcript of a voicemail as someone records it. This way, you get an idea of the call's context and decide whether you wat to pick up accordingly. And speaking of voicemail, you can now leave a video message when you FaceTime someone and they don't pick up.

Source: Apple

In the Messages department, users now get to create and insert Live Stickers, a notable upgrade for the existing stickers feature. This allows users to quickly create and insert these fun elements in their conversations. That's not to mention that you can also now utilize these stickers in other system areas, where Markup is available.

Apart from Live Stickers, the Messages app gets plenty of other handy additions, such as a faster gesture to reply to a certain message, inline location sharing, the ability to jump to the last message you've read, more precise filters, and much more.

To message someone, though, you typically ask for their number. That's why Apple has also introduced a new shortcut for number exchange. Two users can now put their iPhone side-by-side to quickly share their contact details, thanks to NameDrop. The feature relies on AirDrop, which works across all major Apple devices. And speaking of, if you walk away during an AirDrop exchange, iOS 17 will rely on the internet to avoid interrupting the transfer. This way, you get to share media with people you haven't saved to your Contacts app, without needing to stay within proximity. Communication upgrades don't stop there. The keyboard on iOS 17 can now predict the sentence you're typing, allowing you to automatically get it typed. It will also get better at learning from your typing patterns, thanks to Apple silicon.

Source: Apple

Moving on to one of the bigger announcements, iOS 17 introduces an all-new Journal app. The app aims to help you reflect on certain moments by compiling various types of data in one place. This means you'll get to type and describe a certain day, as iOS picks some of the photos you've shot and attaches them to the prompt. To encourage you to actively use the app, you can even receive notifications to remember adding your thoughts. Expectedly, the app utilizes your iPhone's processor, rather than online servers, allowing you to keep your data private.

Source: Apple

iOS 17 isn't just about communication upgrades and the Journal app, though. This release introduces a Standby mode, which will work when your phone is charging in landscape mode. iOS will then surface relevant information, such as the time, date, weather, and more. You can also swipe between different widgets to view the various types of data you could be interested in. During sleeping hours, Standby mode switches to a dimmer, red color to avoid being an active source of bright light.

There's more to iOS 17. Using Siri becomes more convenient with this release, as it drops the Hey from the hot phrase. So just like Alexa, you simply say Siri, followed by your request. This makes it easier and faster to request things from the virtual assistant. However, there's still no word on whether the release will make Siri smarter or not.

With iOS 17, users also get to download maps for offline viewing. The feature has been available on Google Maps for many years, and Apple Maps users can finally utilize this feature in areas where there's no service or when they're low on data. Another iOS 17 handy addition is also pet detection in the Photos app. On versions older than iOS 17, the People album in the app only detects and groups humans. Through this change, users will finally get to include their fur babies with the rest of their friends and family members.

iOS 17, along with macOS Sonoma, watchOS 10, and iPadOS 17 beta 1 will be available to registered developers later today, with the public betas set to follow next month. Those waiting for the stable releases will have to wait for the fall. Though, do note that you will need an iPhone XS or newer to run this OS version. You can read more about this release on Apple Newsroom.