iOS 17 Is Almost Here and I'm Excited About These New iPhone Features

New camera shortcuts, offline mode for maps and more are expected to come to your iPhone in the coming weeks.

Apple announced a number of new software updates at its Worldwide Developers Conference, including the iPhone's next software version, iOS 17. Developers and public beta testers can download and try the software now, but Apple said it won't be available to the general public until the fall. But with Apple's "Wonderlust" event being held on Sept. 12, I expect iOS 17 to be available to the public shortly afterwards.

I switched to iOS from Android about a decade ago, and I've been testing iOS 16 betas since last year. While iOS 17 doesn't fulfill all my iOS wishes, it has some new features that I'm really looking forward to.

Here are the cool and useful new iPhone features I'm most excited about in iOS 17.

StandBy mode
With iOS 17, you get a new mode called StandBy. If you enable this mode on your iPhone while it's charging and in landscape mode, your phone can act as a smart display. It will be able to display the time, widgets, Live Activities and more in this mode.

This feature is helpful, especially if you charge your phone in your kitchen while you cook or on your bedside table at night, but it won't work for all iPhones. Right now, only the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max can use this feature effectively because of these models' always-on display. Earlier iOS 17-compatible iPhones can use StandBy mode, but your screen will turn off at a certain point.

Open Camera app modes with new Shortcuts actions
Reporter Matthew Cassineli pointed out that with the second iOS 17 public beta you could use the Shortcuts app to create actions to quickly open other Camera app modes, like Video and Portrait, rather than the default Photo mode. That means no fumbling through the Camera app to take a video of something cool happening in front of you, only to miss it.

Here's how to create Shortcut actions for your Camera app in the second iOS 17 public beta, and how to get those Shortcuts on your home screen.

Open the Shortcuts app.
Tap the plus (+) sign in the top-right corner of your screen.
Tap Add Action.
Search for Camera.
Tap the Camera mode you want to create a Shortcut for from the carousel under Camera Mode.
Across the top of your screen, tap Open Camera to open a dropdown menu.

In the dropdown menu, you can rename this Shortcut to whatever Camera mode this Shortcut opens by tapping Rename. You can also add this shortcut to your home screen from this menu by tapping Add to Home Screen.

72-hour passcode grace period
Have you ever changed your passcode, and forgotten what it is later when trying to log into your device? In iOS 17, your old passcode can be used for 72 hours to reset your new passcode in case you forget what you set it as. This new feature will surely save people -- myself included -- a big headache.

Autocorrect gets an improvement
Your iPhone's keyboard in iOS 17 will get an upgrade. The keyboard will use a transformer model, similar to what OpenAI uses in its language models, so it'll better predict what you'll type next, whether that's a name or a curse word. Autocorrect will also be able to help with grammar, similar to word processing software like Microsoft Word.

While this is all very cool and helpful, my big takeaway is I won't have to retype swear words multiple times in order to get them to stay in a message. I've probably wasted entire days of my life correcting words like "duck" and "shot" back to my intended curse, so I'm excited to save myself that time.

New Journal app
Journaling can help you manage stress, achieve your goals and more, and your iPhone will get a new journaling app, called Journal, later this year with iOS 17. Other journaling apps are out there already, but Apple's will use on-device machine learning to create personalized prompts to help you out. You'll also be able to schedule notifications to remind yourself to write. The app keeps all entries private with on-device processing, end-to-end encryption and the ability to lock the app.

If you're more comfortable typing than using a pencil or pen and notebooks, this app could help you get into, and stay consistent with, journaling. Even if you already journal regularly, you could get some benefits from the app. I've been journaling for years, and while I won't give up my notebooks or pencils, I'll probably use this app to help me reflect on my day when I can't think of what to write -- it happens more often than you might think.

New Messages improvements and features
Messages gets some upgrades with iOS 17, too. The new Check In feature, for example, lets you quickly and easily tell a family member or friend that you made it to your destination. And if you're a parent you can use this new feature to make sure your child made it safely to their friend's house.

You will also be able to jump to the first message you haven't seen in a conversation in Messages with iOS 17. This can be especially helpful if you're in a lively group chat. Imagine you go into an hour-long meeting and come out to find the group chat you're in with your friends has 50 notifications. With iOS 17 you can go back to the first unread message and read all the context of the latest drama. After all, no one likes spoiled tea.

And if you want to reply to a specific message in Messages, you can also swipe on that message to reply to it directly. Before you had to long hold on the message and select Reply.

You can also create stickers for messages from your photos. Apple calls these Live Stickers, and you'll be able to add effects to these stickers and save them in your iPhone for quick access later. Now you can make your pet's side-eye into a fun sticker -- your pet will probably still be annoyed.