I have been using the beta version of iOS 17 since it was released the day after WWDC23. First of I was really surprised that I was able to download it as it appeared to be the developer’s version which I have not paid for, but it seems that it was released for beta users, so that was a bonus. I wonder if this will continue.
Anyway, less about that and onto the features that I have been loving in this latest version of iOS.
1) Standby Mode
2) Keyboard – Predictive Text
3) Interactive Widget
4) Mood tracking
There are many more such as updates to messaging. I am based in the UK, and iMessage is not a big deal with most people using Discord or WhatsApp. So in this post, I wanted to cover the 4 features that I have used consistently and how I have found using them.
This was the first of these features that I checked out and one that is proving popular with other beta users from what I have read and seen on YouTube. Now this is not a new feature; it’s also available on the Apple Watch, so it feels nice and familiar.
When you put your iPhone on its side (horizontally), and it’s charging, it activates a new Lock Screen mode, so your Lock Screen can be customised so it’s sort of like a hub. The main use I have found for this is having it as a clock on my desk or bedside table. I always charge my phone on my MagSafe charger at night, so it is so easy to rotate it and have it as a clock.
There are useful bits of information that you can select to display when you have it in this mode.
1) Clock and Calendar View
2) Music Playing
4) Photo Memories
5) Live Activities
You swipe through and long press to select/customise what you want to be displayed. This is probably a feature that is best for the iPhone Pro model, which has the always-on display, but hopefully, we will see that come to all models in the iPhone 15 range, not just the Pros.
Keyboard Predictive Text
Randomly I think that this is my favourite new feature. Or can we call it a new feature, or is it more of an update to improve the existing keyboard, any which way its was a much-needed update to the Apple keyboard on the iPhone.
Apple is using AI machine learning for better auto-correct (we have all had that ducking auto-correct), but for me, it’s been the much improved predictive text that has been the winner.
It uses machine learning to learn how you write, so when you start typing a message, it gives you suggestions to finish the sentence etc. From there, you can just press the space bar, and it will accept the suggestion, or you can carry on typing if it’s not quite what you wanted to say.
It is nice to see the widget on iOS evolve as before, and they were just away of displaying information. You couldn’t interact with them. Tapping on them would just take you into the app.
This s is particularly useful for to-do lists. I have a widget on my iPhone for my reminders app. I can easily mark them as done in the widget without having to go to the app to do it.
I love that Apple has now introduced Mood tracking to iOS. This essentially allows you to track your mood and emotions daily. This is useful as you can look back on how your week or month has been in your health app to see if you need to focus more on your mental health.
You can receive notifications on your iPhone and Apple Watch at points in the day, which will prompt you to log your mood. To actually log your mood, you go into the health app and under Mental Wellbeing, you will get the option to log under state of mind. You will get a couple of options
1) How do you feel at that moment
2) How you felt overall for the day? So you can log more than once a day if you choose to.
You can then answer the question that the app will take you through, and it’s as easy as that. The animation and UI are nice, which makes it really easy and atheistically pleasing to use. Of course, to view your data, you need to go into the health app and view your charts to give you at a glance view of how your mood has fluctuated or not.
As mentioned already, there are so many more features that makeup iOS 17. I really like the check-in feature that is coming, as I think this will give people peace of mind knowing that you have reached your destination. However, these are just the main ones that I have enjoyed using that I think a lot of you will do as well.
If you are a person that might sit on the fence for a while, when it comes the time that it is released to everyone to upgrade, I would say just give it a go. There are so many great new features for you to use. From a performance perspective, I have been using the public beta, and I have not experienced any major issues or bugs with it. So by the time it’s released, it will should be pretty statable.