Apple has just released the new version of iOS, the company’s operating system for the iPhone. iOS 17 is a free download and it works with the iPhone X or later, as well as the second- and third-generation iPhone SE. Apple is also releasing major updates to watchOS, iPadOS and tvOS today.
I would say that the main change in iOS 17 is the new StandBy mode. When you’re not using your phone and you put it down on a wireless charger, your iPhone displays full-screen widgets for quick, glanceable information.
Of course, it works with a MagSafe-enabled dock. But even if you have an iPhone SE, you can use the feature with a good old Qi charger from Anker, as long as your phone is angled toward you.
You can choose the widgets to display, such as the weather forecast, a list of reminders, your next calendar events, the current time and more. You can also use this mode to view your favorite photos in your photo library.
Many people are going to use it for the customizable alarm clock screen as well. It’s a great way to replace an old FM radio alarm clock on your nightstand.
iOS 17 also features new interactive widgets, a better keyboard, AirPlay improvements, and a ton of updates to built-in apps, such as Messages, Apple Maps, Contacts, the built-in password manager, FaceTime, etc.
The update is currently rolling out and is available both over-the-air in the Settings app and by plugging your device into your computer for a wired update. But first, back up your device. Make sure your iCloud backup is up to date by opening the Settings app on your iPhone and tapping on your account information at the top and then on your device name. Additionally, you can also plug your iOS device to your computer to do a manual backup in Finder or iTunes for Windows (or do both, really).
Don’t forget to encrypt your backup if you back up to a computer. It is much safer if somebody hacks your computer and encrypted backups include saved passwords and health data. This way, you don’t have to reconnect to all your online accounts.
Once this is done, you should go to the Settings app, then “General” and then “Software Update.” You should see “Update Requested…” It will then automatically start downloading once the download is available. While it’s downloading, you can read our review of iOS 17.