Here's 3 iOS 17 phone upgrades that will make your life easier

iOS 17 logo on iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

iOS 17 has introduced some new abilities to the humble Phone app, making the most basic part of your iPhone more enjoyable and easy to use.

The introduction of Contact Posters, Live Voicemail and a quick call muting function for AirPods are all things you can look forward to when the final version of iOS 17 arrives later this year (assuming your iPhone's compatible). You can try out the iOS 17 developer beta right now, but we don't recommend doing this unless you have a second iPhone laying around. It's not worth losing precious data or photos over trying these features early.

Read on for a summary of the main iOS 17 Phone app upgrades. And when you're done, have a look at the iOS 17 Messages updates to see how another of your iPhone's core features is evolving in the newest software version.

iOS 17: Contact Posters

WWDC 2023

(Image credit: Apple)

The Contact Poster now takes the top spot of an individual contact's entry when you open their details up in the Phone app. You can make one for yourself by picking a Photo or Memoji of yourself, and then add your name in a choice of fonts and colors.

These will make your appearance in your own Contacts app, or that of another iPhone user, look a lot more interesting. These are easy to share as well thanks to Apple's new NameDrop feature, an extension AirDrop that allows you to trade contacts and other files just by bringing two iPhones (or an iPhone and an Apple Watch) into close proximity.

Live Voicemail

WWDC 2023

(Image credit: Apple)

If you miss a call, or aren't sure about picking up an unknown number, the Phone app's Live Voicemail feature will kick in. This creates a transcription of what the caller is saying to your virtual answering machine, allowing you to easily follow along and pick up if you wish to. Spam calls in theory get rejected before Live Voicemail kicks in, so you won't get a transcript of a robocall trying to sell you who knows what.

This feature is initially launching for the U.S. and Canada, meaning that even other big English-speaking countries like the U.K. or Australia will have to wait to try it out, possibly until next year depending on how fast Apple works.

Quick mute/unmute for calls on AirPods 

wwdc 2023

(Image credit: Apple)

If you take calls via Apple's AirPods wireless earbuds, iOS 17 now gives you the option to quickly mute your microphone with a press of the stem. This works on AirPods Max too, except you press the Digital Crown instead.

This won't work with 1st-gen or 2nd-gen AirPods for whatever reason. Bad news if you were an early AirPods adopter.

iOS 17 Phone outlook

The change list for the Phones app isn't huge as it is for some of the other default iPhone apps. These three upgrades all seem worthwhile though. Muting your microphone on AirPods calls and Live Transcription seem particularly useful, with Contact Posters adding an element of visual flair to what's otherwise a rather plain-looking app. Maybe these changes will tempt you to actually start using your iPhone for calls when the update arrives on your device in a few months' time. 

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.