Here are the most important new changes coming to your iPhone this fall


Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks before the start of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, June 5, 2023.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

At its annual developers conference Monday, Apple debuted iOS 17 and the slew of updates it will bring to iPhones everywhere later this year. The company unveiled changes to how incoming calls appear, new in-app messaging features and even a “standby” mode.

The new operating system introduced at the 2023 Worldwide Developers Conference will be compatible with the iPhone XR and later devices, rolling out around September. Here are the highlights – and for CNBC’s live blog of the entire event, click here

Contact cards and video voicemail 

With iOS 17, users will be able to choose how their contact cards appear, including what pops up when they place a call to another iPhone. They can update their image, whether a photo or Memoji, as well as its filter and the color and font of their name. 

If you’re not a fan of voicemails, Apple has some good news. Live transcription will be coming for phone voicemails, so users don’t have to listen to get the message. Since it’s in real time, if something is important, you can “pick up the call to talk to them right then and there,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said on the livestream. 

Another big change is voicemail is also coming to FaceTime, so people can leave video recordings for friends and family. 

Group chat hacks and voice note transcription 

If you’re the notorious flake in group chats, iOS 17 has an important feature for you. It’s a “catch-up” arrow in the top right corner of the messaging window that allows you to jump to the message you read most recently, even if it was last week. You can go beyond the normal emoji and now use your own photos to create reactions, including animated stickers from Live Photos. Users can also react with stickers in third-party apps, Apple said.

The company also announced dictation and autocorrect will now use transformer-based language models for speech recognition and prediction, for better accuracy and efficiency. If the feature gets things wrong, it’s easier to revert to your original text, Apple said, and in-line predictions are now more personalized — just type the spacebar to accept a suggestion. 

For those who like to overshare on voice messages, iOS 17 is delivering automatic transcriptions.

Airdrop gets a revamp, and so does location sharing

Messaging now offers in-app location-sharing functionality, so you don’t have to click out of a conversation to view a contact’s shared location, and there’s a check-in feature so you can see when someone has made it home safe. If you’re not heading toward your location, your iPhone will ping you to check in and allow you to add a time to your planned arrival. If you don’t respond, it can share your location and battery power situation with your chosen contact. Apple said all that information is end-to-end encrypted. 

Apple also revealed updates to Airdrop, including “Namedrop.” That allows you to bring your device close to another person’s iPhone or Apple Watch, and share contact information, specifying which of your phone numbers or email addresses you want to pass along.

If you’re big into showing off all those vacation pics, iOS 17 will let you continue sharing even when you leave Airdrop range and without losing quality.

Journaling comes to iPhone, outside the Notes app 

Notes app power users now have a new tool. Journal uses on-device machine learning to “inspire your writing” via personalized suggestions from your Photos app. Say you took a week-long beach vacation with your family, Journal may display where you went, your favorite songs from the trip and the photos you took, as well as a writing prompt for you to reflect on the highlights.

Users can schedule journaling prompts for a certain time of day and are encrypted so “no one but you can access it, not even Apple,” Adeeti Ullal, a senior engineering manager, said at the event. 

Standby mode

When your phone is charging and turned on its side, iOS 17’s Standby mode allows it to turn into a clock, meeting schedule and music display, map, food delivery tracker and more. It’s “glanceable information designed to be viewed at a distance,” Federighi said on the livestream. 

Another bonus: However you personalize the new feature, your iPhone will remember specific settings based on the MagSafe charging location. For instance, charging on your desk may mean Standby automatically chooses to display your meeting schedule, and charging on your nightstand may automatically display a selection of favorite photos. Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube. 

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