These Are the Cool New Features You’ll Actually Use In iOS 17

And a few you won't

Fact checked by Jerri Ledford

Key Features

  • iOS 17 is a quiet update with lots of small but useful tweaks.

  • The iPad mostly gets last year's iPhone additions, like home-screen widgets.

  • Video karaoke is apparently now a thing on your iPhone.

<p>Apple</p> iOS 17


iOS 17

iOS 17 doesn't really have any standout headline features, but it has something even better—a bunch of tweaks and small changes that make your iPhone or iPad way nicer to use.

With every iOS update, some features end up sticking, and you wonder how you ever got by without them (copy and paste on iOS 3). And then there are the features that look great on paper but which you try once and then forget about (Stage Manager, in last year's iPadOS update—although it's actually been improved this year). Today, we're going to take a look at the new and improved iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 features that you will actually use—in no particular order.

"Favorite feature? Undoubtedly, the 'nightstand mode' has been a game-changer for me. It's a simple yet impactful feature that transforms the device into a bedside clock when charging," Chris No, head of design at, told Lifewire via email. "This mode provides utility and encourages users to charge their devices overnight, ensuring they start the day with a full battery. It's a testament to Apple's commitment to enhancing the user experience in subtle yet meaningful ways."

Widgets and Live Voicemail

First up, we have interactive widgets. Now, developers can put buttons, checkboxes, and so on into home-screen widgets. The excellent Albums app, for example, now offers play buttons next to widget album art, and the Things app lets you check off items in your to-do list right from the widget.

<p>Apple</p> iPhone iOS 17 music in Standby Mode


iPhone iOS 17 music in Standby Mode

Next, and this one is probably a biggie, we have Live Voicemail. When you get a call, don't answer. Let it go to voicemail instead. Live Voicemail will kick in and transcribe the caller's message in real-time. That's right. You can read the caller's message as they leave it and pick up at any time to talk to them. There's also a new voicemail option in FaceTime video calls, but I'm not sure this will catch on.

Speaking of listening to things, iOS 17 brings perhaps my favorite new feature, Adaptive Audio. This is actually an update to the AirPods Pro 2, and it expands their noise-canceling abilities. Adaptive Audio is a kind of mix between transparency mode and full-on noise canceling. It lets external sounds through in quiet environments and blocks them automatically when the surrounding sounds get loud.

I've been testing it for a week or so, and it works well. Somehow, it manages to reduce loud sounds while still letting you hear what's going on, although that may have something to do with another AirPods improvement, Conversation Awareness, which automatically enhances voices when people talk to you, breaking through your bubble of almost-silence.

"The Adaptive Audio feature in iOS 17 stands as a significant upgrade. This feature has notably enhanced the audio experience, tailoring sound outputs to individual hearing capabilities, which is a boon for someone with a background in audio and video editing like myself," Brian Mclintic, founder of Real Good Software, told Lifewire via email.

<p>Apple</p> iOS 17 Standby mode


iOS 17 Standby mode


Autocorrect is also much improved. It uses AI/machine learning to better predict your next word or even the next several words, and instead of displaying its suggestions above the keyboard, they're right in line with your text, displayed in gray. You confirm the suggestion with the space bar and keep typing. It's way better than the old way.

"I type really fast on my phone, and I do it a lot. It's my preferred way to send emails and to communicate with both my colleagues and my family. Because of this, I'm really looking forward to the upgraded, customizable autocorrect features. Not only can I better correct for my most common typos, but I can also set up quick shortcuts to complete long, commonly-used words, like Studypool. It's going to make me even faster at communicating," Troy Portillo, director of operations at online learning platform Studypool, told Lifewire via email.

There are a zillion more small new tweaks, but these are the ones that we think will actually be useful and end up becoming essential, unlike Apple Music Sing with Continuity Camera (video karaoke with FX) or business news in the Stocks Widget, which must have been a specific request from Tim Cook. You're going to love them.

Read the original article on Lifewire.