Apple finally released iOS 17 for public on September 18, 2023. The iPhone update brings a plethora of exciting new features, such as improvements to first-party apps like the Phone, Messages, FaceTime, and Safari, and iOS 17 also includes a new keyboard with improved autocorrect and prediction. Additionally, the inclusion of new AirDrop features, a new StandBy mode, and a Journal app makes iOS 17 a highly anticipated update.
Just like iOS 16, iOS 17 also incorporates a number of hidden features. These are the features that didn't make it to the stage during WWDC 2023 keynote, but are quite useful in daily life. We have been testing iOS 17 on our iPhone since the first beta release, and we have found some great features that Apple didn't show off on stage. Here are some of the best iOS 17 hidden features that you need to try!
1 Toggle system settings from Spotlight search
Spotlight search received a major overhaul with iOS 17. The sluggishness experienced in iOS 16's Spotlight search is no longer present, and the overall experience feels much smoother and faster. In iOS 17, Apple has also added the ability to toggle system settings such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular data directly from the Spotlight search. Simply search for the desired setting and enable or disable it right from the search screen — no need to even open the Control Center.
2 Listen to a web page in Safari
There's a hidden feature in Safari in iOS 17 that allows users to listen to web pages with a simple tap. If you're not a fan of reading articles or long texts, you can now ask Safari to read them aloud for you. You can, for example, listen to the articles of Pocketnow using this feature while driving or even while working out at the gym.
To use this feature, just tap the "AA" button located in the top left corner and select "Listen to Page." Siri will then start reading the text aloud. You can control the playback just like you do with the music, but the feature currently lacks advanced options such as controlling the reading speed. We hope Apple adds it in the upcoming betas.
3 Fill in verification codes from Mail
Many websites are nowadays using email verification codes. In iOS, SMS codes are automatically detected, as a convenient pop-up appears above the keyboard. iOS 17 builds on this feature and can now detect OTPs even in the Mail app. This feature works similar to how iOS detects SMS codes, and you can now enter email verification codes directly within Safari using AutoFill without ever needing to leave the browser.
4 Delete verification codes automatically
While we're on the topic of one-time verification codes, we all know how our SMS inboxes can become cluttered with almost all the service now relying on OTPs. In iOS 17, there's a handy feature that automatically removes verification codes from Messages and Mail once you've used them using AutoFill. To turn on this feature, head over to Passwords in the Settings app, then tap Password Options and toggle on Clean Up Automatically.
5 Share AirTags and other Find My accessories with friends
Apple AirTags and its Find My-enabled alternatives are some of the best item tracking devices in the world. And, with iOS 17, Apple will allow you to share these trackers with up to with up to five other people. Shared members will have the ability to activate the tracker's alarm and even use Precision Finding to pinpoint its location. This will come in handy for families and individuals who frequently share items such as car keys.
6 Get recipe suggestions from photos
Visual Lookup in iOS 17 is getting more powerful. Not only can it identify what’s wrong with your car, it can also suggest recipes from a photo on your iPhone. For example, in the photo above, my iPhone correctly identifies the photo of a Neapolitan pizza, and suggests recipe for the same. To use this feature, just open the image in the Photos app and look for the food icon in the bottom bar.
7 Easy way to crop images in the Photos app
iOS 17 introduces an all-new way to crop images. You don't need to navigate to the Edit menu anymore. Just open the Photos app, choose the image you want to crop, and pinch-to-zoom until you see the part you want to keep. Then, tap the crop button in the top right corner or long-press it to pick select one of pre-defined aspect ratios for your photo.
8 Add emojis and stickers to images and PDFs using Markup tool
iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 introduce a much-improved PDF tool that allows you to fill in forms. In addition to this, the Markup tool has also gained new features, and it now lets you add emoji and stickers to both photos and PDFs. Simply tap the + icon in the Markup tool and select the Add Stickers option. This will not only add a touch of fun but can also come in handy in a number of situations.
9 Securely share passwords with family
Even though Netflix is trying its best to crackdown password sharing, sometimes you have to share your account passwords with your closed ones. In iOS 17, Apple is making it easier to share passwords with your family members and trusted contacts. To use this feature, head over to the Settings app, navigate to Passwords, and choose Family Passwords.
In the Family Passwords section, the individuals you wish to share the password with and specify the websites for which you want to share passwords. The shared passwords will automatically appear on their devices and will also be updated if you make any changes. It's also worth noting that this feature is end-to-end encrypted.
10 Quick way to share photos in Messages
The Messages app got a little makeover with iOS 17. Apple added a new "+" button for features like stickers, audio, photos, and location. One of the most used features of this screen is sharing photos, and iOS 17 features a neat little trick to quickly get to this screen. Instead of tapping the "+" icon and then choosing photos, you can simply long-press the "+" icon, and your photo library will pop up right below the text field.
11 Screen Distance setting in Screen Time
Keeping the screen close to your face causes strain in the eyes and can even result in Myopia in case of children. To prevent this from happening, Apple has introduced a new Screen Distance feature in iOS 17. This feature will alert the user when they hold their iPhone too close for an extended period of time. This feature can be enabled by going to Settings > Screen Time > Screen Distance. It's worth noting that this feature is available only on iPhones with Face ID.
12 Ping Apple Watch from iPhone's Control Center
Apple lets you ping your iPhone from the Apple Watch, but now the reverse is possible too. You can now ping your Apple Watch from your iPhone by adding a new shortcut to the Control Center. To add this shortcut, head over to the Settings > Control Center and tap on the "+" icon next to "Ping My Watch". Once you've added it, you can now ping your Apple Watch directly from the Control Center of your iPhone.
iOS 17 is truly an exciting update for the iPhone. While it may not introduce as many major features as iOS 16, it brings numerous quality-of-life improvements that are genuinely helpful. Which iOS 17 hidden feature did you like the most? Let us know in the comments section below!
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