Sunday, July 21, 2024
Smart Phones

Apple’s massive 17.2 update is here to improve your iPhone’s camera, messages, stability, and more


Nearly three months after its original release, iOS 17 is getting a big new stable update today that’s been in the works (aka in public beta tests) since late October. As you can imagine, that makes iOS 17.2 a little more feature-packed and important for a lot of people than the 17.1 build delivered to the masses around a month and a half ago.

Of course, you don’t really have to imagine many things, as the aforementioned beta program has allowed us to get a pretty good idea of what’s coming to all new and a bunch of old iPhones even without trying out the latest batch of add-ons, performance enhancements, and security tweaks for ourselves.

Who is the update for and what is it all about?

It’s obviously quite simple to know if you’re eligible or not for a jump to iOS 17.2. All you have to do is answer this very basic question: does your iPhone support iOS 17? If yes, it naturally can run the newest OS version without a hitch (at least in theory), and if you want to download and install it on your officially supported mobile device, you can finally do so without restrictions or hesitation (at least in theory) by opening the Settings app and then accessing the “General” and subsequent “Software Update” menus.

If you haven’t installed iOS 17 yet, now is definitely as good a time as any to do precisely that as long as you own an iPhone XS, XR, or newer model (and yes, that includes the second-gen iPhone SE).
While some new features are exclusively designed to work on this year’s iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max powerhouses, most changes and improvements will make all (eligible) handsets at least a little bit better, smoother, faster, or safer to use. There’s also something that might put a big smile on the faces of iPhone 13 and iPhone 14-series device owners only, although the most exciting thing about iOS 17.2 is arguably the Journal app Apple originally unveiled all the way back in June.

This clearly needed a lot of fine-tuning before being deemed ready for primetime, leveraging machine learning to help you easily keep records of events, trips, and other “experiences” worth remembering. Personalized suggestions based on photos, workouts, and “more” are the app’s key strength and “selling point” (don’t worry, it’s free to use), and yet privacy shouldn’t be a concern as Apple promises end-to-end encryption for everything that has to do with the Journal functionality.

Perhaps the other big new thing is spatial video capture support added to Apple’s latest Pro-branded smartphones, which will actually become useful when the Vision Pro headset launches next year. Until then, you won’t really be able to “relive your memories in three dimensions”, but you can shoot them for later enjoyment.

Other small but important changes

Because it wouldn’t be fair to ignore anything about iOS 17.2, this is everything else included in the latest update, as detailed by Apple itself:
Action Button

  • Translate option for the Action button on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max to quickly translate phrases or have a conversation with someone in another language.

Camera

  • Improved Telephoto camera focusing speed when capturing small faraway objects on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Messages

  • Catch-up arrow lets you easily jump to your first unread message in a conversation by tapping the arrow visible in the top-right corner;
  • Add sticker option in the context menu lets you add a sticker directly to a bubble;
  • Memoji updates include the ability to adjust the body shape of any Memoji;
  • Contact Key Verification provides automatic alerts and Contact Verification Codes to help verify people facing extraordinary digital threats are messaging only with the people they intend.
Weather

  • Precipitation amounts help you stay on top of rain and snow conditions for a given day over the next 10 days;
  • New widgets let you choose from next-hour precipitation, daily forecast, sunrise and sunset times, and current conditions such as Air Quality, Feels Like, and wind speed;
  • Wind map snapshot helps you quickly assess wind patterns and access the animated wind map overlay to prepare for forecasted wind conditions for the next 24 hours;
  • Interactive moon calendar lets you easily visualize the phase of the moon on any day for the next month.
More improvements and bug fixes

  • Siri support for privately accessing and logging Health app data using your voice;
  • AirDrop improvements including expanded contact sharing options and the ability to share boarding passes, movie tickets, and other eligible passes by bringing two iPhones together;
  • Favorite Songs Playlist in Apple Music lets you quickly get back to the songs you mark as favorites;
  • Use Listening History in Apple Music can be disabled in a Focus so music you listen to does not appear in Recently Played or influence your recommendations;
  • A new Digital Clock Widget lets you quickly catch a glimpse of the time on your Home Screen and while in StandBy;
  • Enhanced AutoFill identifies fields in PDFs and other forms enabling you to populate them with information such as names and addresses from your contacts;
  • New keyboard layouts provide support for 8 Sámi languages;
  • Sensitive Content Warning for stickers in Messages prevents you from being unexpectedly shown a sticker containing nudity;
  • Qi2 charger support for all iPhone 13 models and iPhone 14 models;
  • Fixes an issue that may prevent wireless charging in certain vehicles.



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