iOS 17 is packed full of useful features that enhance the user experience on iPhones. In our iOS 17 features guide, we’ll take you through everything it has to offer, alongside which devices are supported.

If you’re interested in picking up one of these compatible iPhones, check out our extensive collection of handsets; each is available in a wide range of colours and storage sizes.

What is the iOS 17 release date?

iOS 17 was released on 18th September 2023, starting from the iPhone XR and subsequent models.

Which devices support iOS 17?

iOS 17 is compatible with the following iPhone devices:
• iPhone XR
• iPhone XS
• iPhone XS Max
iPhone 11
• iPhone 11 Pro
• iPhone 11 Pro Max
• iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 12
• iPhone 12 Pro
• iPhone 12 Pro Max
• iPhone 13 mini
iPhone 13
iPhone 13 Pro
• iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 14
iPhone 14 Plus
iPhone 14 Pro
iPhone 14 Pro Max
iPhone 15
iPhone 15 Plus
iPhone 15 Pro
iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone SE (2nd generation)
iPhone SE (3rd generation)

iOS 17 features list

1 – Contact Posters

In our breakdown of the iPhone 15, we highlighted the extensive personalisation options available on iOS 17. One of the most customisable features is Contact Posters, which provides creative ways to reflect your personality when interacting with friends and family.

images of contact posters people have created for their contacts

With a few taps you can create a bespoke image that others will see when you call them. Tweak it by including text or adding a filter; there are numerous ways to craft a poster that is truly you.

2 – Check In

This nifty feature makes it even easier to see when a friend or family member has got home safely. Check In enables your iPhone to message you if a contact has reached their destination, such as a child getting home from school or a friend travelling back from a night out.

a pop up of a check-in to notify friends or family what time they got home

If you want peace of mind from the worry of keeping in touch, Check In is a must-use feature in iOS 17.

3 – Message chain location sharing

Keeping on the topic of safety, iOS 17 grants the ability to share a location directly within a message chain. If you’re texting a friend and want to let them know where you are, you can do so without needing to use a separate app or setting.

4 – StandBy mode

StandBy mode in iOS 17 significantly enhances the user experience when utilising an iPhone in a horizontal setup.

different iphone displays on standby mode to show you the wide variety you can choose from

When charging your iPhone and laying it horizontal, the UI (user interface) will change to provide information you want to see from a distance, such as the time or a calendar. You can even customise StandBy mode with widgets to turn your iPhone into a mini hub.

5 – Live voicemail

Voicemail technology has existed since the 1980s when VMI set up the first voicemail service, but Apple have changed things up with their Live Voicemail feature in iOS 17.

When someone calls but you can’t answer, your iPhone will create a live transcript of the call as the person is speaking, making it incredibly easy to understand the call’s context.

a screenshot of how live transcript works when sending a voice message

For accessibility, Live Voicemail is also hugely valuable; if you’re hard of hearing for example, the transcript means you can understand what the voicemail is about, as it happens.

6 – iMessage updates

Apple’s instant messaging service received several useful updates in iOS 17. Alongside the previously highlighted Live Voicemail feature, iOS 17 contains several quality-of-life improvements, too.

If you regularly send the same types of media to your contacts, like photos, music or stickers, iMessage will remember which ones you’ve used and list them for easy access; no need to trawl through your app list to find the one you need.

Keeping up-to-date with messages is also far simpler, thanks to a handy catch-up button that returns you to the first message you haven’t read in a chain.

7 – Sticker drawer

All of your stickers, emojis and Memojis in iOS 17 are collected together in one easy-to-find place. From the emoji keyboard you can access any sticker pack you have available, and these all sync to iCloud for use across any other Apple device that supports emojis.

stickers avaliable to use in images and messages placed in the emoji keybaord

8 – Live Stickers

The world of Stickers on iOS 17 has greatly expanded beyond just the above usability improvements. Live Stickers represent a huge leap forward for the feature, enabling you to use your own photos and transform them into a snappy sticker format.

Various effects can also be added to these stickers, such as Shiny and Comic, to give them a unique flair.

9 – FaceTime video and audio messages

The FaceTime app evolved in iOS 17 to offer more ways to communicate, particularly when someone is away from their phone.

a screenshot of a woman creating a video voicemail

If your contact can’t answer the call, you can leave a video or audio message for them, similar to a voicemail. These messages can also be customised with the same effects you’d have on a video call.

10 – FaceTime with Apple TV

Further improvements to FaceTime mean you can use your iPhone as a webcam when paired with the Apple TV app, without the need for an additional device.

Position your phone next to the TV and take a call completely hands-free. You can also transfer an existing call from your iPhone to the TV.

11 – Share more with AirDrop

AirDrop gets some love too in iOS 17. Upgrades to Apple’s wireless sharing feature include sending phone numbers or email addresses via AirDrop to another iPhone, as well as your Contact Poster. This is done by simply holding the two iPhones close together and using the NameDrop functionality.

two iphones next to eachother so they can airdrop nummbers email adresses or contact posters

12 – Journal

iOS 17 sees the introduction of Journal, an app that’s designed for preserving and looking back on those precious moments.

a screenshot of an iphone display showing the journal app

Your iPhone uses machine learning to suggest moments based on photos, music, places visited and more. You can also chronicle your own memories and customise them with cover images that define the experience.

Only you can access your Journal, thanks to end-to-end encryption of the data that’s used to suggest entries.

13 – Personal Voice

On top of all the personalisation features on offer in iOS 17 are some exceptional accessibility tools, like the Live Voicemail feature we mentioned previously. Part of that mix is Personal Voice, which has the potential to be a game changer for those with voice-impacting illnesses.

Anyone who is fearful of losing their vocals can use Personal Voice to create a replica, and can then combine it with the Live Speech tool to engage in conversations. These two features work in tandem to maintain as much individual autonomy as possible for the user.

14 – Safari profiles and private browsing

The search experience on iPhones has been upgraded with iOS 17. Users can create separate profiles for work and personal browsing, segmenting their search history, tabs and favourites.

a screenshot of showing the option of creating a profile for private browsing

When switching to Private Browsing, the mode locks any windows you have open to maintain your search privacy, too.

15 - Improved music playback with SharePlay and CarPlay

Sharing music when in the car became much easier with iOS 17. Updates to CarPlay, Apple’s UI that enables a hands-free experience when driving, mean you can connect to the dashboard via SharePlay and play music from your phone, even from the back seat.

16 – Smarter Autocorrect

Many of us use Autocorrect every day to make typing out on smartphones easier. iOS 17 benefits from improvements to Apple’s learning algorithm, making it smarter and better at predicting what you’re going to say.

17 – Adaptive audio

If you own a pair of AirPod Pros (2nd generation), you can enjoy Adaptive Audio when on the move.

an image of airpods with sound waves to show adaptive audio

This feature dynamically adjusts the sound based on where you are, so you get the correct volume and mix for your location. Entering a loud, crowded area? Adaptive Audio will automatically shift the sound levels so you can still hear your music.

18 - No more “Hey Siri”

A lot of us have grown used to saying “Hey Siri” when asking Apple’s AI assistant for help. This changes with iOS 17; to activate it, simply say “Siri” and follow up with your command.

19 - Expanded Health app

Apple’s Health app in iOS 17 includes a mood tracker, which iPhone owners can use to monitor how their feelings change throughout the day.

The aim of this feature is to help you visually note how your mood shifts; if you’re going from one activity to another and notice that your mood drops, this might mean that particular activity is causing the shift.

Thanks to the vibrant and clutter-free user interface, using the enhanced Health app is simple and easy.

20 – Visual look-up

If you find something interesting in a photo or video, you usually have to leave it behind briefly and look it up via a search engine. Not the case in iOS 17; with Visual Look-Up, all you have to do is tap and hold on the image, at which point your iPhone will bring up information on the subject.

a phone scanning for recipes by scanning a subject

This also works with recipes; use Visual Look-Up on a photo of food, and find a matching recipe without needing to search for it manually.

There’s a huge amount to discover in iOS 17, and you can access these features on a wide range of iPhones. If you’re interested in learning about the powerful iPhone 15, see how it compares to its predecessor in our detailed rundown.