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Explained: Apple rolls out iOS 17 with upgrades to calls, FaceTime

iOS17 upgrades the communications experience for Apple iPhone users with Contact Posters, new stickers, Live Voicemail, and much more

iOS 17 makes iPhone even more personal and intuitive with major updates to communication apps.
iOS 17 makes iPhone even more personal and intuitive with major updates to communication apps. (Apple)

Apple rolled out iOS 17 on Monday, announcing that its latest mobile operating system was now available as a free software update. The latest version of iOS upgrades the communications experience with Contact Posters, a new stickers experience, Live Voicemail, and much more.

iOS 17 makes the iPhone even more personal and intuitive with major updates to communication apps; StandBy, a new way to experience iPhone when it is charging; easier sharing with AirDrop; and more intelligent input that improves the speed and accuracy of typing, the Cupertino-based company said in a news release. iOS 17 is available for iPhone Xs and later models, Apple said.

Incoming calls: One of the major updates in iOS 17 comes to the Phone app, with personalized contact posters. Apple says this feature provides a new way for users to express themselves by customizing how they appear when they call known contacts, including in other third-party calling apps. “Contact Posters can be personalized with beautiful treatments for photos, Memoji, and eye-catching typography and font colors,” Apple explains in the release.

Another new feature in the calling department is Live Voicemail, which provides a real-time transcription as someone leaves a voicemail, and gives users the opportunity to pick up while the caller is leaving their message.

FaceTime: With iOS 17, users will now able to leave a video or audio message on FaceTime to capture exactly what they want to say when someone they call is not available. They will also be able to users “reactions” in FaceTime calls: such as hearts, balloons, fireworks, and laser beams that can be activated by simple gestures, and are also available with supported third-party video conferencing apps, such as Zoom and Webex by Cisco, Apple said in the news release.

Messages gets new features: The search feature in the Messages app will be more powerful now with advanced filters. Apple says users will now also be able to read audio messages that will get automatically transcribed. Bthe new standout feature in Messages is Check In, which lets users notify a family member or friend when they have made it to their destination safely. After a user starts a Check In, their contact will automatically be notified as soon as they arrive. “If they are not making progress toward their destination, useful information, such as the device’s location, battery level, and cell service status, is temporarily shared with the selected contact in a secure and private way,” the release explains.

NameDrop, StandBy and Journal app: StandBy is a new full-screen experience that shows glanceable information designed to be viewed from a distance while iPhone is on its side and charging. Users can personalize this to display a range of clock styles, favorite photos, or widgets. StandBy will also display full-screen Live Activities, Siri results, incoming calls, and larger notifications.

NameDrop is a new AirDrop feature that will let users exchange contact information, including their Contact Poster, simply by bringing their iPhone devices together. With the same gesture, users will also be able to share content or start SharePlay to listen to music, watch a movie, or play a game while in close proximity. Interestingly, Apple announced in the release that later this year AirDrop will add the ability to continue transfers over the internet when a user steps out of AirDrop range.

Apple also released a new iPhone app called Journal that will helps users reflect on everyday moments and special events. “To help inspire a user’s journal entry, personalized suggestions can be intelligently curated from a user’s recent activity, such as photos, people, places, workouts, and more, and scheduled notifications can help build a journaling habit,” the release explains.

Also read: Apple iPhone 14 series: Your biggest questions answered

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