Every year at about this time there’s an all-new iPhone on the market, but for those of us not keen to shell out the cash or sign up to another plan there’s an easy way to get that “new phone feeling” with the very latest iOS update from Apple.

iOS is the software that powers the iPhone and back in June Apple announced a bunch of changes that were coming.  While those changes have been well documented by savvy influencers with the Public Beta or nerds like me on the Developer Beta trial – it’s now time for you – the general public to take this little Operating System out of the nursery and into the big wide world.

Be prepared though, there are some cool things, some so so things, and some that will be a bit jarring at first.

Like, the new Call Screen.

Those buttons that appear on the screen while you’re on a call, like Mute, or Speaker.  Careful – they’ve moved down – to allow room for a fancy re-design of this screen when you know who’s calling.

And that all relies on Contact Cards.

A Contact card is your personal digital business card, but informal, a way of displaying your name and either a photo or cartoon version of you.  Looks great when you call people, far better than that little profile photo getting a big screen display.

Highly recommend you jump into Contacts, scroll to the top to your name and create a Contact Card.  Lots of options!

Easily the best feature of iOS 17 is Standby Mode.  

When your iPhone is charging, and is sitting on it’s side – but not the back, so its upright to laying down, it will display a new charging screen.

This is best seen in the use of a MagSafe charging stand like the Belkin BoostCharge.  These elevate your phone, and the display then just works so well as a desktop clock, kitchen display or bedside clock.

So much more than the old school clock-radio, I use it to show a large but dimly lit clock along with my next alarm while I Sleep, while at wrk (and yes, it should remember where you are and how you like it displayed), I get a Clock with appointments showing next to it.

Love this.

Name Drop is the tap and go sharing of your personal info. 

You meet someone new, no need to hand your phone over, instead you just tap your phone on theirs and a request to share info is sent – boom!

AirDrop too is improved with a similar tap and share setup now active. 

Plus, if you walk away and the share isn’t finished, it will complete the AirDrop via the internet.

Autocorrect is better, smarter and something you will hate less.

Great suggestions, prompts and critically easy ways to revert back to what YOU typed are all part of the keyboard in iOS 17.

For those who travel with mates in the car, you can now SharePlay your music.

So if you’re driving and your phone is connected to Apple CarPlay, and I’m in the passenger seat, I can choose to SharePlay my music library or selections to the CarPlay screen meaning I’ve safely got control of the music while you drive, leaving your navigation or other apps uninterrupted.

Now there are a few things that aren’t cool – but they are awesome.

Firstly, Check In. 

The fact we need a service or app that allows us to check that someone got from point A to point B is sad, but we do.

So let’s say im coming to your place.  I’m going to walk.  I send you a new iMessage, choosing Check In as the “add” option (the same way you add a Photo).  I tell it your address, and that I’m walking.  It sends you a note to let you know.

If I am delayed within that walk, It will prompt me to say why, do I need more time, am I ok?  If I don’t respond, it will alert my mate.

Basically, an automated “how far off” message, but with more smarts.  Very nice.

Finally, there’s Assistive Access.  

Apple say this is for people with cognitive difficulties, and while that will vary in ages, I’m going to keep this simple.  This is perfect for your elderly parents.  They can have an iPhone, but without the complexity of all the little icons and text.

You setup what Apps they can see, and those appear as a list or icons, very easy to navigate.  Paried back, simplified.  Very very cool.

iOS 17 is available on the following iPhone Models: 

iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, Phone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone SE (2nd generation and newer) 

How to get iOS 17:

If you have a compatible iPhone model, you can update to iOS 17 by going to Settings, then click General and choose Software Update.

iOS 17 will roll out throughout today, so if it’s not available right now, check again later today.