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iOS 17 vs iOS 16: Five big new features

iOS 17 has officially been revealed by Apple at WWDC 2023, and it’s due to be released later this year – but what are the key differences between it and iOS 16?

While iOS 16 introduced new flashy features like a customisable lock screen, iOS 17 boasts a number of quality-of-life updates like improved autocorrect tech, improved widget support, voice message transcription and even the ability to leave video messages when your FaceTime buddy doesn’t answer the phone.

Here are five of the coolest new features coming to iOS 17 later this year. 

Live Voicemail

One of the big new additions in iOS 17 may not sound that impressive on the surface, but it’ll be a boon for many users. It’s called Live Voicemail, and the idea is simple; as a recipient leaves a voicemail on your iPhone, you’ll see it dictated on screen in real-time. 

Apple iOS 17 Live Voicemail

This helps you find out the purpose of the call without having to answer – ideal if you want to avoid scam calls or if you get a call during a busy work meeting and can’t answer – and, if you decide it is worthy of your time, you can connect to the call there and then. The recipient will then be reverted from your voicemail inbox to the call. 

Simple, right?

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The Journal app

The Journal app is essentially a new digital diary app making its way to the iPhone in iOS 17 later this year. The app aims to be the one-stop-shop for your memories, goals, affirmations and practically anything else that you want to write down at the beginning or the end of your day.

Journal app for iOS

The app allows you to import photos, videos, music, text and more, with the app able to prompt you with specific questions to help you write about your experiences more accurately. This allows you to preserve specific events or memories as well as do things like practice gratitude and daily affirmations, and you can set up alerts to remind you to fill it out on a daily basis.

Standby Mode

Standby Mode introduces an entirely new way to use your iPhone when not in active use. It’s essentially a mode that’ll turn your iPhone into something akin to a smart digital display when on charge and in horizontal orientation. The display will show recent photos, the time in a larger format, popular widgets and live activities and more.

The big problem? It sounds like a feature that’d be ideal on iPad, but as of the time of writing, it’s a feature exclusively available on iPhone. 

Apple StandBy Mode


Name Drop is a new AirDrop-related feature that allows for easier contact sharing amongst iPhone users in the same location as you.

The concept is a simple one; bring your iPhone near to someone who you want to share your contact details with and they’ll automatically be sent over. You’ll also receive their contact details at the same time. It includes information like names, contact images, email addresses and more, and also works between iPhones and Apple Watches as long as they’re both up to date with the latest software. 

If you like to network and mingle at work events, this could be a real game-changer and finally put those annoying NFC business cards to bed once and for all.  

NameDrop in iOS 17


We’ve all been in that scenario where we promise a friend or family member that we’ll let them know that we got home safe (usually after a raucous night out) and totally forgotten once we got home, right? It’d be much easier if there was an automated way to do it – and apparently, Apple agrees.

With iOS 17, Apple is introducing new Check-In functionality to iPhone that essentially automates that process for you.

In essence, the feature will send automated updates to preselected contacts in your Messages app to let you know when you arrive home. The functionality tracks the route you took on your journey, and will alert your contacts if you’re delayed, deviate from that route or don’t make it home at all. 

It’ll also share vital information like the battery level of your smartphone, helping provide peace of mind for concerned loved ones the world over.

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