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5 best iMessage, FaceTime and phone features in iOS 17


Live Voicemail & More Best Features
Live Voicemail, FaceTime video messages, Check-In and others are some of the best iOS 17 features.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

iOS 17 brings with it a lot of new features to the apps you use to communicate every day: iMessage, FaceTime — and last and certainly least — Phone. If you’re trying to call someone and have a missed connection, you have many more options for leaving them a message to pick up later. Changes to iMessage bring small but impactful improvements to stickers, threaded replies and sharing your ETA.

iOS 17 is out now. If you bought a new iPhone 15, you’ve got it already. Otherwise, head over to Settings > General > Software Update to get it. Upgrading may take about 20 minutes after downloading, so make sure you don’t start it at a bad time.

How to turn your iPhone into a smart display with StandBy


The Smart Display You Already Own
Turn your iPhone into a smart display on your desk.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

StandBy is a headline iOS 17 feature that turns your iPhone into a smart display on your nightstand, at your desk or in the kitchen. It’s an attractive way to put your phone to work as a small information board or digital clock when you’re not using it.

Of course, it works best if you have a phone with an always-on display like the iPhone 14 or 15 Pro. However, it works on any iPhone with MagSafe running iOS 17. Here’s everything you can do with StandBy on your iPhone.

iOS 17 beta 7: All the new features and changes


iOS 17 preview
The fourth iOS 17 developer beta is here with some minor changes.
Photo: Apple

Apple continues beta testing iOS 17, with the seventh beta dropping on August 22nd. As the beta program has progressed, the company has made fewer and fewer user-facing changes to new builds.

It’s the same story with iOS 17 beta 7, which hardly packs any meaningful changes or improvements. Below is everything new in the latest iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 beta.

Long iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 beta-testing process nears end


iPhone with iOS 17 logo
The months-long wait for iOS 17 is almost over.
Image: Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

The launch of iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 is drawing close, as the many steps of beta testing for these operating systems are almost finished. The same holds true for tvOS 17, and watchOS 10 is nearly as close. Apple likely will release them all in September.

macOS Sonoma, however, isn’t expected to debut until later.

Latest iOS 17 beta moves End Call button back to the center


Before and after screenshots show the location of the End Call button in the two most recent iOS 17 betas.
The End Call button jumps back to a more familiar position in iOS 17.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apparently responding to online criticism, Apple returned the End Call button to a central location in iOS 17. Previously, Apple moved the button to the right side of the Phone application.

That change proved controversial, and Apple reversed it in the sixth iOS 17 beta recently seeded to developers.

How to get the latest iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 public betas


iOS 17 and iPadOS 17
Here's how to install the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 public betas on your iPhone or iPad.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

The second iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 public betas became available Monday so anyone who wants to start tinkering with the new features can try these well before the autumn release.

Among the more significant changes in iOS are personalized contact posters in the Phone app, home screen widgets go interactive, and autocorrect is smarter. iPadOS gets many of those same features, as well as signifi can’t Lock screen improvements.

Want to try the changes out for yourself? We’ll show you how.

More big iPhone leaks, including one we really don’t like [The CultCast]


Wor$t iPhone 15 rumor yet! With The CultCast logo, episode 605.
Not all iPhone rumors are created equal.
Image: Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: Not all iPhone rumors prove exciting. In fact, a big one this week — possible iPhone 15 price hikes — sounds downright depressing. But it’s not all bad news. The “normie” iPhone 15 might get some trickle-down camera tech that could make it easier not to go Pro this year.

Also on The CultCast:

  • Think of all the interesting ways you could use an Action button like on Apple Watch Ultra’s on an iPhone. Well, the iPhone 15 Pro might get in on that action.
  • Apple’s Vision Pro loaners for developers come with some absolutely ridiculous restrictions.
  • We’ve got an Apple Watch tip that we bet you don’t know — how to get the time with a tap on your wrist. Perfect for those long, boring meetings when you don’t want to peek at your watch.
  • Hang around for the great Apple Music versus Spotify debate of 2023.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

Save Home Screen space with two shortcuts in one small widget [Pro Tip]


Two for the space of one
Double the shortcuts in the small widget.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Pro tip bug

You can fit two shortcuts into one small widget in iOS 17, a significant change for power users of Apple’s time-saving Shortcuts app. A lot of shortcuts I make are in pairs — and now, you can put two shortcuts of a kind in one small space on your Home Screen.

Shortcuts, if you’re not aware, let you automate the things you do most often on your iPhone, Mac, iPad or Apple Watch. For instance, you can create a shortcut that sets a Focus mode when you get to work, one that suggests easy-to-remember passwords, one for converting units — the possibilities are endless. (Read Apple’s helpful Shortcuts guide if you want to familiarize yourself with the powerful app.)

Home Screen widgets are a great way to launch the shortcuts you use every day. On the iPhone, where space is limited, fitting twice as many shortcuts without losing any icons could be a game changer for your Home Screen. Let me show you how to set it up.

Use Apple Health to track your mental well-being


How do you feel, pointy or circular?
Apple’s mental health tracking feature makes it easy to log your feelings and see what’s bothering you most.
Image: Duke kgomotso/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Here’s how to keep track of your mental health using the new mood-tracking feature in iOS 17. Logging how you feel throughout the day, your iPhone will help you identify what’s causing you trouble or what works for you, whether it’s work, family, exercise, sleep or other things.

In order to make any kind of meaningful change, you need to understand fully what helps, what doesn’t, and what you can do. Starting your log is easy. Set it up once, and your phone will ask you every day so you don’t forget.

Let me show you how to start a log of your mental wellness in iOS 17.

How to downgrade your iPhone from iOS 17 beta to iOS 16


Downgrading iPhone from iOS 17 beta to iOS 16
Yep, you can always go back to iOS 16 from iOS 17 beta.
Image: Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

Installing the iOS 17 beta is a great way to try all the new features before the operating system’s public release — if you can stomach a little inevitable iPhone flakiness. Some people can, some people can’t. If you gave the iOS 17 beta a shot and now regret your decision, don’t worry: You can downgrade your iPhone to iOS 16.

Follow this guide to safely downgrade your iPhone to a stable iOS 16 release from iOS 17 beta.