iOS 17: Best features including Journal app, Standby Mode and Live Voicemail

Apple has just announced iOS 17 at WWDC 2023, complete with a new redesigned Messages app and interesting features like Live Voicemail.

Apple has taken the wraps off iOS 17, the latest version of the software that powers the iPhone. Big upgrades this year include a new Standby mode that turns an iPhone into a smart bedside clock with widgets, an updated Messages app, Live Voicemail and more.

There’s also a new Journal app that allows you to jot down thoughts and saves images throughout the day in a private way. For all the new features, keep on reading.


This is one of the biggest updates in iOS 17 and it’s a new way to use and interact with your iPhone when it’s charging on your bedside table.

Almost like a smart display, Standby Mode lets you see photos, the time in a larger format and even widgets. The demos Apple showed also highlighted numerous clock styles and Live Activities taking up the whole screen. If you’ve got an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max, the always-on display will keep Standby mode always visible though it’ll work on phones without that feature.

While this seems like it would make the most sense on the iPad, it looks to just be iPhone only – for now, at least.

Updated Messages App

The Messages app has picked up a fresh coat of paint in iOS 17. It now has clever features like transcription for audio messages, and a neat feature called Check In that’ll allow contacts to let you know they’ve safely arrived home.

There are a few other additions too, including inline location sharing, search filters, swipe to reply and a new home for your iMessage apps.

Live Voicemail

Instead of forcing you to pick up calls you might not want to, Live Voicemail will begin to transcribe what the caller is saying so you can decide whether you want to answer or not.

Journal App

A new app included in iOS 17, Journal is a handy service that is designed to let you jot down thoughts throughout the day. You can add images and the like too, so you can really keep note of what you’re doing each day.

The app will also use machine learning to create personalised suggestions of moments throughout the day, including people you’ve spoken to and music you’ve listened to.

Apple made it clear the app is based around privacy and the Journal app can be locked, so people can’t go snooping if you don’t want them to.

Updated Phone App

An app that often gets overlooked, it looks like Apple has seriously upgraded the Phone experience this time around. Just like the home screen view introduced in iOS 16, the new Contacts experience is colourful and bright, with plenty of emoji options and fonts.


New for FaceTIme in iOS 17 is FaceTime messages, this allows you to leave someone a quick video message if they’re not around to answer your call.

Everything Else

Other updates in iOS 17 include a smart keyboard with better autocorrect, support for stickers, interactive widgets, number swapping with AirDrop and autofill verification codes in Mail.

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When will iOS 17 be released?

Apple announced iOS 17 at WWDC 2023. If you’re a registered Apple developer the update is available to begin testing app support with now. A public release has been confirmed for July and a full release will likely arrive sometime in September 2023 alongside the rumoured iPhone 15

Which devices will support the iOS 17 update?

Here’s a list of the iPhones that will get the iOS 17 update. Note there’s no longer support for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X.

If you want to upgrade in time for the next update, take a look at our pick of the best iPhones

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