iOS 17 features
Source: Apple

By: Nick Gambino

WWDC 2023 saw a lot of new Apple hardware and software, but one of the most exciting reveals was everything coming to an iPhone near you in iOS 17.

While there’s a lot I can’t wait for in iOS 17 the biggest thing has to be some long-awaited features in Messages. People, we’re finally getting a swipe to reply option! This is huge. Nothing feels clunkier in the current Messages app than having to long-press a message and then select “Reply.” Now, just like in WhatsApp and Messenger, you can simply swipe right on a message to type out your reply.

If you happen to be in a text relationship with one of those short burst texters who sends you 25 messages before you’ve even seen the first one or if you happen to be in any group chats, you no longer have to scroll up to find the beginning of the convo. In iOS 17 there’s a catch-up arrow that you just tap and it’ll bring you to the first text you didn’t see.

Searching in Messages has continued to improve over the years. While it may still be far from the superior WhatsApp search feature, it’s getting better. In the new iOS you’ll be able to add more than one search filter when looking for a particular message. For example, you can search by a contact’s name as well as a key word.

Messages is bringing transcription to audio messages so you can quickly review them without having to be locked into listening, which can be a pain when the message is long.

In addition to improvements to Messages, FaceTime is also getting some nice upgrades. You’ll be able to leave a voicemail or video message when someone doesn’t answer your FaceTime call. In other words, FaceTime calls now have voice/video mail. Another new feature allows you to add 3D effect reactions to your FaceTime calls much like you would in texting. These include confetti, balloons and fireworks.

FaceTime can also be integrated with Apple TV, so you can use your iPhone’s camera but see your call up on the TV. This is great for family calls and even work calls where a larger screen is more fitting.

There are a ton of other smaller additions to iOS 17 like the ability to turn Live Photos into animated stickers and the ability to AirDrop a contact with “NameDrop.” Also, “Hey Siri” is dropping the “Hey.”

iOS 17 is available in developer beta now and will be released wide in the fall for anyone using an iPhone XS or more recent phone.