Whether you have a new iPhone 15 or older iPhone model, turning on these iOS 17 settings will help improve your overall experience.
The iOS 17 has been out for a while. The update brought with it a bunch of new and exciting features I am sure many of you were thrilled about.
Most of the biggest features are ready to use as soon as you start using iOS 17 on your iPhone. However, a few are disabled by default, so it’s your job to go into your settings and turn them on. To truly tap into the full potential of iOS 17, these are the settings you’ll want to enable on your iPhone.
And once you’re done, check out this list of six iOS 17 settings that you should turn off right now.
Let’s get started!
1. Clean Up Verification Codes Automatically
If you’re anything like me — that is, on top of your device and account security — you’ll have received countless text messages with two-factor authentication (2FA) codes over the years. While the best way (in my opinion, at least) to do 2FA is via an app like Google Authenticator, many companies still authenticate via SMS codes, sending them via SMS and email.
Now, these codes don’t present much of a security risk. They expire quickly and after use. But the remaining emails and messages can clog up your Messages and Mail inboxes pretty quickly, especially if you’re repeatedly logging into a service that authenticates in such a way.
Thankfully, with iOS 17, Apple introduced an auto-delete feature which detects and gets rid of 2FA codes in your Messages inbox. This is a welcome feature, and something everyone should turn on. Here’s how.
- Open the Settings app and tap Passwords.
Enter your passcode or unlock your phone using biometrics. Now tap Password Options.
Toggle on Clean Up Automatically.
2. Lock White Balance
The next iOS 17 setting you’d want to turn on has to do with the Camera. Automatic white balance is great, helping you achieve true-to-life colors in your video and photography content with minimal effort, letting your iPhone’s processor do all the work in deciding what tint to give your stills or video. However, during a video, letting the camera constantly recalculate the white balance can be problematic.
Under changing lighting conditions, if your iPhone recalculates the white balance, you may end up seeing noticeable fluctuations in the tint of your footage. This inconsistent look can seem a bit off, and feel unprofessional.
Thankfully, now you can lock your white balance, so it’s calculated at the start of a video clip, and fixed throughout, putting you in greater control over the color temperature during a continuous shoot. This can work well if you’re frequently moving or panning the camera, where there are slight but not too drastic lighting changes.
To lock white balance for video on iPhone, follow the steps below:
- Launch the Settings app and then select Camera
Select Record Video which you should find at the top of the screen.
Scroll to the very bottom of the screen and tap the button next to Lock White Balance so that it turns green.
Once done, you’re able to close the Settings appand launch the Camera app. Select Video from the options and press the shutter button to shoot a video. White balance will not change during your video.
3. Camera Level
A level does exactly what it says on the box: It gives you a visual guide to the angle of your camera, to help you figure out when the camera is perfectly level. With iOS 17’s level option, you needn’t worry about taking a crooked photo.
The camera level is easy to turn on, but hidden away in Settings. Here’s how you turn it on.
- Open the Settings app and tap Camera.
Scroll down and toggle on Level.
Now open the Camera app. You’ll notice that a level appears in the center of the image preview.
Tilt your iPhone accordingly to line up the level. Once you’ve lined it up and got a straight shot, the level will turn into a single golden line, then disappear (it’ll reappear if you tilt the phone).
4. Live Voicemail
After learning how to use Live Voicemail to screen your calls, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it! Introduced in iOS 17, it lets you screen calls by waiting until they go to voicemail. When a caller then begins to leave a voice message, you’ll see a transcription, word-by-word, in real-time. You can decide whether or not you want to jump in and answer.
The feature is really useful for deciding if a call is important. If it’s a friend, then you may decide the message is enough information for now and reply later. If the message sounds like it’s coming from a scammer or someone else you’d rather not deal with, you can just ignore it completely. It’s definitely one of the best iOS 17 features everyone should turn on.
- Launch the Settings app on your iPhone then scroll down and tap Phone.
Scroll down the Phone setting and tap Live Voicemail.
Now tap the toggle button so that it’s green. Live Voicemail is now on.
Now when someone calls you and leaves a message, a live transcription of that message will appear on the screen. You can slide the answer button to answer the call. You can also view the transcription in the Voicemail section of your Phones app.
5. Reminders to log your mood
With iOS 17, Apple added a "State of Mind" feature to the Health app. This option is designed to allow you to track your emotions on a daily basis, to get an overall picture of mental wellbeing.
Like any tracking, keeping tabs on your mental health is a good habit to get into. Thankfully, Health gives you the option of turning on reminders to log your mood in the app. Here’s how:
- Launch the Health app, and from the Browse tab, select Mental Wellbeing from the menu of options.
Tap the Edit Schedule option and on the ensuing page move the togglesto determine whether you get reminders at the beginning of the day or the end; you can also get reminders to log your moods at both times.
Regular mood logging is helpful in that it will give you a chart showing what your mood was at any point in time and — more importantly — what’s affecting it. That gives you information you can share with a mental health pro, but even if you’re just reviewing the data on your own, you might identify patterns and triggers that have an impact on your mood and emotional state.
The sound break between a song ending and the next one starting is a vibe kill when listening to your favorite tunes. With iOS 17, you have the opportunity to select a crossfade option that provides a smooth transition between songs that are playing.
It almost provides the effect of a DJ mixing two songs together, helping bridge the awkward gap between music, and it is especially useful when you have the AUX in your car, at a party, or at any event.
The thing is, if you didn’t read the release notes or know where to look, you’d never have realized, as Apple hasn’t really made a big song and dance (get it?) about the feature. It’s buried in the Settings menu and isn’t turned on by default.
Here’s how to enable the new Apple Music crossfader.
- Open the Settings app and tap Music.
Scroll down and toggle on Crossfade.
Adjust the timer slider to control when the crossfade starts to happen at the end of a song.
Now simply open Apple Music and play a song. Cue a second song and listen as the crossfader kicks in(you’ll see the song name change before the first song ends).
7. Sensitive Content Warning
If you’re on your phone going about your day, the last thing you want to do is open your phone and find someone’s sent you an image you can’t unsee. For some reason there are people out there who love to share pictures featuring naked people, often themselves, completely unprompted.
Fortunately iOS 17 has a feature designed to offer some protection against being sent unsolicited nudity. It won’t stop those pictures or videos arriving, but the Sensitive Content Warning feature can spot them and censor the image before you have a chance to lay eyes on it. If you decide to look at it anyway, well that’s on you.
The thing about the Sensitive Content Warning is that it isn’t turned on by default, and you’ll need to jump into the settings to do so.
Here’s how to get everything set up, and protect your eyes from errant genitals in your inbox.
- Head to the iPhone’s Settings app, then scroll down and tap Privacy & Security.
Scroll down that page and tap Sensitive Content Warning. It’s right below Safety Check and above Analytics & Improvements. It’s off by default, and you’re going to want to change that.
At the top of the page you’ll see a toggle to turn the Sensitive Content Warning on and off. You’re going to want to tap it and make sure the feature is switched on.
Sensitive Content Warning can be applied in four different circumstances right now. Your options are for AirDrop, Contacts, the Messages and Video Messages.
You can choose between **toggling them all on, off or picking and choosing **which circumstances will see sensitive imagery censored. We recommend you switch them all on, just to be safe.
Once the settings are toggled on, iOS will be able to scan and detect incoming images and video messages for signs of nudity. If nudity is present, the image will be blurred out in gray.
You can tap the Show button in the bottom rightto view the image. Alternatively, tap the triangular icon in the top right and then tap Block Contact to block the person sending the image, or to find resources to help — should it be necessary in the circumstances.
8. Screen Distance
iOS 17 comes with a feature designed to enforce one of the rules your parents likely set out all those years ago — by making sure you’re not sitting too close to the screen. Screen Distance is an opt-in feature designed to alleviate eye strain, and help reduce the risk of near-sightedness in children that spend a little too much time with their screens.
Because it’s far too easy to accidentally slip closer to that screen when you’re engrossed in something, so Apple is using iOS 17 to do something about it. Screen Distance uses Face ID to detect when you’re sitting too close to the screen for an extended period, stopping you from continuing until you back off a bit.
Screen Distance is an opt-in feature, though. So if you’re worried about how screens might impact the eyes of you or your family, you’ll have to go into the settings to enable the feature. Here’s how to turn on Screen Distance in iOS 17.
- From your device’s home screen, or App Library, find the **Settings app **and tap the **Screen Time option. **You’ll find it in the second block of options, below Focus but above General.
Once in the Screen Time menu, tap the Screen Distance option. It’s the second one down, directly below App & Website Activity.
The next two screens will explain what Screen Distance is, how it’ll be of benefit to users, and what to do if the Screen Shield warning flashes up.
The feature itself is designed to reduce eye strain and the increased risks of myopia associated with up-close screen usage. And should a warning flash up, you’ll need to move the screen at least 12 inches (or 30cm) away from your face before you’re given the option to continue.
The final screen has a single toggle, which lets you switch Screen Distance on and off at your leisure. It should be switched on once you get through the previous confirmation screens, but just be sure that the switch is green if you want Screen Distance turned on.
From here Screen Distance will work in the background, only ever activating if Face ID detects that you’re sitting too close to the screen for an extended period. It doesn’t happen instantly, though, and in our brief testing we found that it takes around 5 minutes before the Screen Shield appears on screen — at which point my eyes were already hurting.
9. Require Face ID to Unlock Private Browsing
The private browsing feature in iOS 17 Safari gets an extra layer of privacy, as the your private browsing tabs can now lock when you’re not using the feature. But to make sure prying passersby don’t see your browsing activity, you’ve first go to turn on locked private browsing in iOS 17.
When you turn on locked private browsing, you’re setting things up so that your open tabs can only be unlocked with Face ID, Touch ID or your passcode. The advantage of having that safeguard in place should be clear — no one will be able to see your private browsing tabs except for you. That way, you can keep those tabs open when you need to move on to other things, secure in the knowledge that whatever sites you’ve visited in Safari will remain private.
- Launch the Settings app, and scroll down until you find Safari. (It’s in the block of settings that contain the other built-in iOS apps.) Tap Safari.
In the Safari setting screen, scroll down to the Privacy & Security section. There’s an entry for Require Face ID to Unlock Private Browsing. Move the slider right to turn on the feature.
For phones without Face ID — essentially the iPhone SE, at this point — the menu item lets you require Touch ID instead.
Once that slider is set, your private browsing sessions will now require you to unlock the page using Face ID (or Touch ID) before you can view any open tabs. You can also unlock pages by tapping Unlock and entering your passcode.
As a reminder, here’s how to enter private browsing in Safari on your iPhone.
- Launch Safari app, and tap the tabs button. (It’s the one on the far right of Safari’s menu bar at the bottom of the screen.)
Swipe right on the tab menu so that the private browsing tab now appears on the center of the page. Tap Done to begin private browsing.
10. Hide notifications preview in StandBy
The StandBy feature is arguably one of the biggest new iOS 17 features to the iPhone, turning your phone into a smart display when it’s charging horizontally and showcasing information, like the time, your calendar, photos and notifications, in large blocks that are easy to see. StandBy is a great way to quickly absorb information by glancing at your phone, but if there are people around and you want to keep some of your information private, you may not want StandBy to show your notifications as they pop up. If you’d rather not have previews of your messages and emails appear like this, the new Preview on Tap Only toggle means you won’t see any unless you touch the screen.
- Launch the Settings app on your iPhone and tap StandBy.
Toggle on the switch next to Show Preview on Tap Only.
Now when you’re in StandBy, the preview of a notification will be hidden until you tap on it.
These are some iOS 17 settings you should turn on right away on your iPhone. What do you think about iOS 17? Are there any other useful settings that I missed? Let me know in the comments below.