iOS 17.4 brings a handy upgrade to your iPhone's stopwatch

iOS 17 logo on iPhone sitting on MacBook keyboard
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

An addition for the humble iPhone Stopwatch has appeared in iOS 17.4 (spotted by MacRumors), giving it support for iOS' Live Activities feature.

After starting a stopwatch in the iPhone Clock app as usual, you'll now see with iOS 17.4 installed that a Live Activity bubble appears on the lock screen on all compatible iPhones and also in the Dynamic Island for iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models.

iOS 17.4's Stopwatch Live Activity running on the lock screen and Dynamic Island

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The lock screen version, and the expanded Dynamic Island version offer the option to either pause or start a new lap on the stopwatch. Pausing the stopwatch then lets you remove the Live Activity with a swipe or by pressing the X button.

iOS 17.4's Stopwatch Live Activity running on the lock screen and Dynamic Island, expanded to show full controls

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Sadly, there's only support for the traditional digital-style stopwatch in the Live Activity version. The fun analog-style version is only available in the full app, presumably for size and practicality reasons.

Why didn't we have this before?

If you're anything like us, you may well have thought upon reading this news: "wait, this wasn't already a feature?!" And while it surprised us too, this is the Stopwatch's first foray into Live Activities.

The Clock's timer function has been compatible with Live Activities since the feature was introduced in iOS 16.1, over a year ago. Live Activities also works great for things like tracking ride-sharing trips, checking flight information, monitoring your takeout's delivery statuses or keeping an eye on sports scores, provided you have the right app installed. But somehow Apple never added stopwatch support before now.

iOS 17.4 also introduces new emoji and significant changes in the EU to open up the App Store and payment systems to third parties, but for now though, it's still in developer beta. iOS 17.3 is the most recent stable version of iOS, which offers collaborative playlists for Apple Music and the Stolen Device Protection security feature as headline features.

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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.