Apple enthusiasts and iPhone users around the world have reason to celebrate as iOS 17.1 arrives on the scene. After the major iOS 17 update, this latest update, Apple brings a host of new features and crucial bug fixes to its lineup of devices. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the exciting world of iOS 17.1, exploring the enhancements it brings to various aspects of your digital life.
From the music aficionado’s dream updates in Apple Music to an improved AirDrop experience and additional customization options, iOS 17.1 has something for everyone. But it’s not just about adding new features; this update also addresses key issues, including a software fix for the persistent OLED burn-in problem and improvements to Screen Time settings syncing.
So, fasten your seatbelts as we take a detailed journey through the remarkable changes and upgrades that iOS 17.1 offers, aiming to enhance your overall Apple experience. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
New Apple Music Features
The Power of Favoriting
But what does favoriting tracks, albums, or artists mean for you? In iOS 17.1, it’s a substantial upgrade. When you favorite an item, it instantly finds a new home in your Apple Music library. This simple action goes beyond personalizing your music collection; it actively shapes the recommendations you receive.
The tracks you add to your favorites will now take center stage in playlist suggestions. Replacing the old heart icon, you’ll spot a star icon next to a track. The new Favourites feature significantly influences recommendations, reminiscent of the retired Love system.
Farewell to the Old Love System
In iOS 17.1, the former Love system, which allowed users to favorite genres and artists, is officially retired. While it had its merits in terms of receiving notifications about new music releases and influencing recommendations, it was undeniably convoluted. Liking a song, playlist, or album required navigating to the ellipsis menu and choosing “Love.”
The quirk was that you could only view your favorite tracks in the macOS Music app and not on other devices. Expressing your disapproval of a song was an even more puzzling ordeal. There was no direct “dislike” option within the menus. To convey your displeasure, you had to opt for the somewhat cryptic “Suggest Less Like This,” signaling to Apple Music that you preferred fewer songs of a similar ilk.
Suggested Songs: Your Music Assistant
What’s music without a dash of spontaneity? Apple Music’s got you covered with its “Suggested Songs” feature. This addition takes your playlists to the next level by offering song recommendations based on your listening habits and favorites. Conveniently located just below the tracklist in your playlists, these song suggestions make curating your music collection even more enjoyable. When creating a new playlist, Apple Music guides you by recommending suggested songs and recently favored tracks, making the process smoother than ever.
Custom Playlist Artwork: Show Your Style
A fresh and visually appealing feature is the ability to customize your playlist’s artwork. Apple offers users a selection of eight distinctive styles, ranging from abstract geometric shapes to vibrant gradients. Your chosen artwork style also features the playlist title, adding a personal touch to your music collection. This not only adds aesthetic value but also makes browsing your playlists a breeze. Say goodbye to generic playlist artwork and hello to a more visually engaging experience.
Collaborative Playlists: Sharing the Music Experience
Collaborative playlists are the cherry on top of this Apple Music update. Shortly, multiple users will have the ability to join forces in creating and managing playlists. This collaborative feature empowers users to add, remove, and reorder tracks collectively, turning music discovery and sharing into a shared adventure. The functionality of this feature will heavily rely on the Favourites playlist and is expected to arrive in a future update.
Building on Past Improvements
In addition to these exciting new features, it’s worth noting that previous updates have already brought significant improvements to the music app. With iOS 17.0 and iPadOS 17.0, users gained the ability to crossfade songs on their iPhones and iPads, resulting in a smoother and more seamless listening experience. The updates just keep getting better.
AirDrop Feature in iOS 17.1
Seamless Wireless File Transfers
The release of iOS 17.1 comes with an exciting new feature that will revolutionize the way you share files. This new AirDrop feature was initially announced at WWDC23 and is now set to debut with iOS 17.1. It allows in-progress file transfers to harness the power of cellular data when Wi-Fi connectivity is unavailable. As iOS 17.1 and iPadOS 17.1 undergo rigorous testing, this feature is poised to make wireless sharing more versatile than ever before.
Toggle for Cellular AirDrop: Empowering Users
To make the most of this new capability, users will need to enable a toggle in their device settings. This toggle, found in Settings, empowers users by allowing AirDrop to seamlessly transition to cellular data if Wi-Fi is not accessible. This level of control ensures a smooth file-sharing experience, even when network conditions are less than ideal.
AirDrop Functionality: Bridging the Gap
AirDrop has always been a game-changer for users looking to transfer files wirelessly. It facilitates the transfer of content between nearby devices without the need for cumbersome cables. It leverages Wi-Fi for direct connections and Bluetooth for proximity information. The typical Bluetooth range for AirDrop extends to less than ten meters (33 feet). Now, with iOS 17.1, this feature is being elevated to the next level.
Use the Cellular Data Option: A New Lifeline
The introduction of iOS 17.1 and iPadOS 17.1 brings a crucial addition—an option labeled “Use Cellular Data.” This feature is accessible through your device’s settings, specifically in the “General” section, under “AirDrop.” By enabling this option, you instruct AirDrop to utilize your iPhone’s cellular data when Wi-Fi isn’t available. This enhancement is a game-changer for mobile users, ensuring that your file transfers can continue seamlessly, regardless of network conditions. It’s important to note that this feature is not available on Mac devices.
How Cellular AirDrop Works: A Reliable Mechanism
While this feature has yet to be tested on devices, its functionality is conceptually straightforward. To harness cellular AirDrop, users must first initiate an AirDrop transfer through a Wi-Fi connection. The process starts over Wi-Fi, but here’s where the magic happens. If the Wi-Fi connection is unexpectedly interrupted during the transfer, AirDrop smoothly transitions to cellular data to ensure that your files get to their destination. This means that you can keep sending and receiving content even when Wi-Fi suddenly becomes unavailable. It’s a dependable mechanism designed to ensure the continuity of your file transfers.
Security and Quality: Protecting Your Content
No matter whether your files are transmitted via Wi-Fi or cellular data, AirDrop takes security seriously. It utilizes end-to-end encryption to safeguard your transferred content. This level of encryption ensures that not even Apple can decipher the files being transferred. What’s more, AirDrop continues to maintain the quality of your content, ensuring that images, for example, are transmitted in full quality over the internet.
Requirements and Defaults: Ensuring a Smooth Experience
For this feature to function seamlessly, both the sender’s and recipient’s devices must be signed in to iCloud. To prevent inexperienced users from incurring excessive cellular data charges, the “Use Cellular Data” option defaults to “off.” This thoughtful default setting ensures that users have full control over their data usage.
As a bonus, iOS 17.1 introduces the NameDrop feature, taking AirDrop to a new level of convenience. NameDrop enables contact sharing when two devices are brought into proximity. As these devices approach each other, NameDrop initiates a visually appealing animated effect, with contact posters appearing on both screens. Users can personalize their contact posters, enhancing the calling and messaging experience. And for those who prefer a bit more privacy, there’s an option to disable automatic nearby AirDrop transfers by turning off the “Bringing Devices Together” setting.
Standby Display Options
iOS 17.1 introduces new display options for the iPhone’s StandBy mode. These options include a toggle to keep the screen awake during standby mode. However, this feature is only available on iPhones with always-on displays.
Display Options in Standby Mode:
Standby mode was initially introduced in iOS 17.0 to allow users to view information from a distance while the iPhone is charging in landscape orientation. In the initial implementation, the display would turn off after a period of inactivity.
With the release of iOS 17.1, new display options have been introduced and can be found in the “Turn Display Off” section within Settings > StandBy. Users can now configure the iPhone’s screen to sleep automatically after 20 minutes or never during standby mode. The “Never” option is exclusive to iPhones with always-on displays. Additionally, existing toggles for Night Mode and Motion to Wake have been moved to the new Display section.
Keeping the screen awake during standby mode only works on iPhones with always-on displays. Supported models include the
With iOS 17.1, significant changes are introduced to the Action button on the iPhone 15 Pros. These changes are designed to prevent the Action button from inadvertently triggering certain actions while the iPhone is in your pocket.
Pocket-Friendly Action Button
The key adjustment is that the Action button will no longer accidentally activate features like the camera, flashlight, and other functions when the iPhone is in your pocket. However, it’s worth noting that the activation of silent mode remains available for those who prefer to use the action button for that purpose. The primary goal of these changes is to prevent any unintentional activation of system functions.
Prevented Actions in the Pocket
Several actions are now intentionally prevented from being activated when the iPhone is in your pocket. These actions include:
Camera: The Camera action will no longer execute when pressing the Action button in your pocket.
Flashlight: Accidental activation of the flashlight in your pocket is now effectively prevented.
Voice Memo: To record voice memos, you will need to take the iPhone out of your pocket.
Focus: Accidental triggers of features like Do Not Disturb (DND) or other Focus modes are now avoided.
Magnifier: The Magnifier feature won’t be triggered when the phone is in your pocket, which may lead to potential battery life improvements for users who frequently press the Action button in their pocket.
Accidental Actions in the Pocket:
These changes not only prevent unintended actions but also contribute to potentially saving battery life. Accidentally triggering actions like the camera or other functions may not necessarily cause harm, but it can impact the device’s battery life. Users can unknowingly record video or activate features while the device is in their pocket, which these changes aim to address.
The Apple Music updates, particularly the Smarter Favourites System and collaborative playlists, are promising. However, you might find the transition from the old Love system a bit disorienting at first, and you may need some time to adjust.
The ability of AirDrop to use cellular data during transfers is convenient, but it requires careful management to avoid unexpected data charges. It’s a feature you can appreciate, but you need to be mindful of your data usage.
The changes to the Action button are great for preventing unintended activations, but you might occasionally miss the convenience of using it for certain functions, especially when your iPhone is in your pocket.
The enhanced StandBy mode is a welcome addition for those with newer iPhone models sporting always-on displays. However, it’s unfortunate that this feature isn’t available on older devices.
In a nutshell, iOS 17.1 offers a combination of improvements and adjustments, which may cater to different preferences and needs. Your experiences will likely vary, and it’s up to Apple to refine these features further to ensure they are universally well-received.
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