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iOS 17 – making the best of it & the OS shuffle

Oh how quickly we forget…

iOS 17 and Apple updates

We are not normal

iOS 17 is coming – that we know.

It all starts for us Apple fans with the summer WWDC conference when Craig saunters on stage to let us know what goodies are in store for us this year. We take it all for granted, even downloading and running betas – which I’ve never been brave (or foolish) to do. But such is our thirst for constant updates and new features we’ll go to any length in an attempt to satisfy it – it’s the eternal itch that needs scratching.

But you do know we are not normal right?

If you’re reading this (and hopefully enjoying it), we are in the minority. iOS 17 isn’t on the tip of many people’s tongues.

How can you NOT know that

I wrote last week about the struggle Apple must face each year in trying to find new features to add to iOS or macOS that will satisfy that lust. Since writing that I have taken another look at the same problem – maybe the problem isn’t only coming up with new features for iOS 17. Making them discoverable and keeping them front and centre in our minds is imperative. We need to know where to find them and how to use them.

What drew my attention to this point was a couple of things that happened at home last week.

Sitting on the sofa with the other half, she showed me a message I’d sent earlier that day with an inline replies – you know when several messages have been sent and you reply to them individually. She had no idea how to do it or that it could even be done! That piqued my curiosity so I asked about different lock screens, widgets and focus modes…it was as if I’d started to talk complete gibberish!

As much as I naturally started to take the you-know-what out of her, later that evening I realised that her response was probably totally normal. Because I bang on all the time about the newest features or apps I’ve just come across, she is possibly better versed than many.

It’s a sad truth that iOS 17 will remain unexplored by most iPhone users just like iOS 16 before it.

In the real world folks aren’t obsessed with the latest OS updates – all they care about is that their phones work.

Undiscovered

Slightly off-topic but app amnesia is allied to this problem.

We add apps to our phones in a blink of an eye then often a few days later they’ll never get looked at again. I’m certainly guilty of it for sure. Just flicking through my phone now there are apps I’ve not touched in an eternity – parking, cooking, coffee shops a wine app and even a toothbrushing app (I’m not kidding!) that all never see the light of day.

This comes back around to that point I made earlier – of not knowing what’s on our phones and failing to make the most of the features we do have. Apps and the impending iOS 17 all fall guilty of this same flaw.

We tend to be creatures of habit which means we often revert to apps and iOs features that we know how they behave and feel comfortable with. There may well be better apps out there, even updated versions of the same app or better ways of using our phones but we often put the blinkers on and carry on as before. Update phobia is another real problem.

iOS 17 will have a battle on its hands…

Help at hand

This year buried deep within iOS 17 for developers is a new feature called TipKit. Ironically it sets out to help developers do the one thing that Apple seems barely able to do themselves – help users understand their apps! I know Apple has its tips guide but honestly, when was the last time you used it?

But as we wait for iOS 17 to land for us non-beta testers I thought it might be fun to look back at iOS 16 and look at some highlights from last year to see what we use and what we’ve forgotten about altogether.

A backwards glance

Last year, if you remember much of the focus in iOS 16 was on the Lock Screen. Lock Screen Editing, Switching and Stylised Date & Time were the buzzwords. We also got Widgets and Photo Styles on the Lock Screen as well.

I have several Lock Screen pictures saved but rarely do I change them. As a side note, I wonder how many people that are not obsessives will even know how to change them let alone swap them. The same can be said for Widgets. I set them a year back and I still have the same ones set today.

Focus Filters and Focus Schedules I have never used and had totally forgotten all about them if I am being honest with you. Something else I’ve never used is the shared photo library…and did you know there was even such a thing as smart setup rules in photos? Nope, me neither.

Looking at messages and I guess because it’s a more go-to app, some of the iOS 16 features I do use. Edit Message & Undo Send have been used but Marked as Unread and SharePlay have both gathered iOS dust.

Live Text in videos I’ve used from time to time and it’s been handy, but Shared Tab groups for Safari and tweaks to Home, Health, CarPlay and Apple Pay again have been resigned to the iOS back-burner.

Wrapping up

Bear in mind, I am pretty switched on as to what’s going on with the updates coming to iOS 17 and come to that macOS as well, yet taking time to look back at iOS 16 has proven what a short memory I have.

Even though I spend the first few hours of my day checking Apple websites & feeds and often writing about what I’ve just read, I stilleither overlook or forget some of the less-used details of each year’s iOS updates.

Muscle memory is tough to overcome and habits are hard to break.

This year iOS 17 was lamented as being a fairly minor update – but major or minor, I can almost guarantee that a lot of what is delivered we’ll not use.

Are Apple on a hiding to nothing or have we just got blasé with iOS updates? I’ve no idea how Apple can manage to spark some new life back into these iOS annual updates but what we need most of all is a way to convince us to explore and dig under the hood of these updates.

I bet there will be some great features in iOS 17 that simply fall under the radar and never catch on. It’s such a shame as it’s the iOS that makes our devices sing, come alive and become individual. The iOS makes the phone ours.

The hardware only goes so far but this year let’s collectively try to change our habits and dig and delve to find the very best of what iOS 17 has to offer.

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