Thu. Sep 21st, 2023
The next set of Apple iPhones are being released

As has become a tradition in September, Apple is preparing for the launch of its new iPhone by releasing a new version of iOS. It brings a number of new features to all iPhones from the past five years, including a small change to autocorrect.

By means of Tom Acres, technology reporter

Monday September 18, 2023 01:42, UK

Ahead of the release of the iPhone 15, a major software update is set to arrive on Apple’s existing handsets today.

iOS 17 brings new features, including a standby mode that turns your device into a bedside smart display, interactive home screen widgets, and the ability to clone your voice with AI.

Sky News has been putting the update to the test since it was rolled out to beta testers earlier this summer, and we’ve put together a list of the most important things you need to know.

But first: how do you actually get the update?

Check if your iPhone is compatible

A good soldier may never leave a man behind, but every year he does Apple kick at least one iPhone from the update list.

This time it’s especially symbolic because one of the things to miss is the iPhone X, the first to ditch the once-ubiquitous home button. when it debuted in 2017.

What is also missing from iOS 17 are the iPhone 8 and 8 Plusbut they will – like the X – still receive critical security updates.

All newer iPhones are ready for today’s changes. If you’re not sure what you have, check the model name in your phone’s settings under general/about.

Install the update

If you have automatic updates enabled, iOS 17 should appear without you having to do anything.

However, it may take a few days, so if you are impatient, you can install it yourself today.

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Go to the Settings app and then general/about/software update to check if Apple has already made it available.

Now without further ado, on to the main new features…

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‘Ducking’ autocorrect

One of the most celebrated announcements when Apple first detailed iOS 17 improved autocorrect.

The iPhone keyboard now learns how you like to chat, so it no longer corrects the vulgar vocabulary you like to use on purpose.

Standby mode

For those of you who sleep with your iPhone next to your bed, this turns it into a home hub-like assistant.

When activated, charging your phone in landscape mode will cause the screen to display chosen widgets such as the clock, calendar, photos, weather, and media playback controls.

Standby mode is designed for use with charging stands like this one. Image: Apple

Interactive widgets

Apple was late to the widgets party when they finally arrived on the iPhone a few years ago, and this time it’s once again following Android’s lead in making them interactive.

It basically means you can have micro-limited versions of apps that you can control directly from the home screen without actually opening them, for example checking off tasks from a reminder list.

Calls and messages

The phone app introduces customizable contact cards, which appear when you get a call – and you can share them with someone new via AirDrop by holding your devices close together.

Voicemails are becoming increasingly useful, with live transcripts helping you decide whether to accept or ignore the call, while you can also leave them in video form via FaceTime.

And Messages gets a check-in feature similar to apps like HomeSafe, so you can let friends and family know when you’re going out and where you’re going. You can send them an alert when you reach your planned destination and display important information such as battery level and signal strength if there is no response.

The contact cards, with customizable images and text, appear when you receive a call. Image: Apple

Voice cloning and accessibility

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The aforementioned voice cloning lets you create an on-demand version of yourself so you can have any typed sentences read out loud – we tested it and You can read how it works here.

It is designed for people at risk of losing speaking skills, or for those who find it difficult, and is therefore included in the accessibility settings – along with other new features such as adjusting Siri’s speaking speed.

Privacy and security

You can now share passwords in your iCloud Keychain with trusted friends and family members, while the Safari web browser hides your private sessions behind a facial recognition lock.

Apple’s messaging apps, and third-party apps that support it, can now flag sensitive photos and videos to you before you open them – mainly designed to prevent you from receiving unwanted nudes.

The check-in feature is added to the messaging app. Image: Apple

Photo recognition

A big win for households with multiple pets is that the photo app can now recognize and distinguish between animals.

And if someone sends you a photo of a nice plate of food, you can tap the info button and get an online recipe selection for similar dishes.

Mental health

Most people probably associate the health app with tracking runs, swims and cycles, but it will now offer a way to track mood and assess signs of anxiety and depression.

There is also a diary app coming with iOS 17 that allows users to record their thoughts.

And a PSA: “Hey Siri” turns into even easier to accidentally activate “Siri,” so be careful.

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