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20 Best Hidden iOS 17 Features That Apple Didn’t Announce at WWDC

by Parth Shah
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Apple officially unveiled iOS 17 at WWDC 2023. While features like personalized phone calls, live voicemail, StandBy mode, Mental Wellbeing, Safari profiles, and interactive widgets dominated the presentation slides, dig deep and iOS 17 will surprise you with useful add-ons. It’s packed with neat quality-of-life improvements to elevate your iOS experience. Here are the top hidden iOS 17 features Apple didn’t mention on the stage.

1. Link Notes in the Apple Notes App

The default Notes app on iPhone received several much-needed features in iOS 17. You can now link notes and connect ideas seamlessly. You don’t need to navigate folders to find relevant notes. For example, if you are making travel plans, you can link restaurant lists and other notes to the main note.

1. Open a note in Apple Notes and long-tap on a text or empty space. Select Add Link.

2. Type the note name, select it, and hit Done.

Your linked note appears with the original title and it’s just a tap away.

2. Quotes and Monostyle in Apple Notes

The Notes app also gets two new styles to differentiate phrases and paragraphs. The Monostyled option adds a nice grey background to the paragraph. You can also use the new quotes style to make the text stand out.

3. Column View in Reminders

You can now create several sections in the Reminders app and view them in a neat Column view to manage tasks.

1. Open a list in the Reminders app and tap the three-dot menu. Expand the Manage Section and add several relevant sections to the list.

2. Tap View as Columns from the same menu and check them in action.

You can now easily drag and drop tasks cars between several sections in the Reminders app.  It will remind you of the famous Kanban layout.

4. Smart Shopping List in Reminders

When you create a new list in the Reminders app, you have the option to mark it as a Shopping list.

When you add shopping items to the list, it automatically categorizes them. For example, when adding Cake, the list adds the item under Bakery. Similarly, Coke goes under Beverages, and so on.

5. Notifications to Review Media Permission

When a specific app has had your photos library access for over six months, iOS 17 shows an alert to limit or continue with full access.

6. Auto-Clean Up Verification Codes

As a part of iCloud Passwords improvements, you can auto-delete verification codes in the Messages and Mail after inserting them with AutoFill.

Open Settings and head to Passwords > Password Options, and enable the Clean Up Automatically toggle.

7. More Options to Clear Safari History

When you try to delete Safari history and website data, you have more timeframes to choose from. You can clear browsing data from the last hour, today, today and yesterday, or all history. Prior to iOS 17, you only had the option to delete the entire history.

1. Open Settings and scroll to Safari.

2. Select Clear History and Website Data and pick the timeframe from the following menu.

8. Safari Widgets

With iOS 17, Safari gets Reading List widgets in three sizes to add to the home screen. We would like to see more Safari widgets from Apple in the upcoming updates.

9. Share Passwords With Family

You can now share passwords and passkeys with trusted contacts. You need to create a group to share passwords. You can choose what to share and you remain in control to add or remove others.

Navigate to Settings > Passwords > Family Passwords and follow the on-screen instructions.

10. Visual Look Up in Photos

The Photos app is now smart enough to detect objects and show relevant suggestions and web results. For example, you can open your birthday cake photo and tap the suggestion at the bottom to view recepies.

11. Stickers in Markup Tool

With iOS 17, you don’t need to use third-party apps to add stickers to photos on your iPhone. It’s now a part of the Markup tool in the Photos app. When you tap the + icon in the Markup tool, you see an option to add stickers to the photo.

12. UI Improvements in Apple Music and Podcasts

Apart from SharePlay in the car, the Apple Music app receives UI improvements with animated album covers. The Podcasts app also gets a fresh now-playing cover with a gradient theme.

Must Read: How to Enable and Setup Contact Photo and Posters on iPhone

13. Screen Distance in Screen Time

Keeping iPhone or iPad screen close to the eyes for an extended period increases the risk of myopia in children. iOS 17 now alerts to keep the screen far to help reduce eye strain.

You can head to Settings > Screen Time > Screen Distance and enable the Screen Distance toggle.

14. Sensitive Content Warning

iOS 17 auto-detects and warns before viewing nude photos on your child’s device. It works in the Messages app and provides guidance and age-appropriate resources to help them make a safe choice.

Open iPhone Settings and go to Screen Time > Communication Safety menu. Enable the Check for Sensitive Photos toggle.  

15. More Options to Check iPhone Storage

The default iPhone Storage menu shows detailed breakdown data, and you also have the option to sort the apps by Size, Name, and Last Used Date.

16. Multiple Timers

You can add multiple timers in the Clock app on your iPhone. All your active timers also appear as live activities on the lock screen.

17. Redesigned Spotlight Search

The Spotlight search received a nice UI makeover and it’s more intelligent than ever. When you search for an app, Spotlight suggests app shortcuts too. For example, when you search for the Photos app, you can directly jump to the Favorites album from the same menu.

18. Download Offline Maps

Many iPhone users have raised issues with Apple Maps due to a lack of offline functionality. With iOS 17, you finally have the option to download maps for offline use.

19. New Drawing Tools in Freeform

Freeform is a digital whiteboard app from Apple. You can now use drawing tools like a watercolor, calligraphy pen, highlighter, and ruler while discussing ideas with team members.

20. Collaborate on Apple Music Playlists

It’s been a highly requested feature from Apple Music users. Scheduled to arrive later this year, iOS 17 lets you invite friends to join your playlist. Everyone can add, reorder, and remove songs from the list.

Hidden iOS 17 Features

Although iOS 17 didn’t bring a major redesign, it’s still a noteworthy update from Apple. iOS 17 features announced on the stage are only the tip of the iceberg. The latest software update will amaze you with hidden features and animation improvements throughout the interface.

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