Exploring Messages in iOS 17

With the upcoming release of iOS 17 this fall, Apple is once again dedicating significant attention to enhancing Messages, one of the most popular apps on the iPhone. This year, users can expect a range of minor UI tweaks, including a new full-screen overlay for iMessage apps, making them more easily accessible. Additionally, Apple is introducing new first-party iMessage apps and improving existing features like stickers, autocorrect, and message search. Let’s delve deeper into the exciting updates awaiting users in iOS 17.

Redesigned iMessage Apps Interface: In iOS 17, the iMessage apps interface receives a redesign that aims to simplify access to various apps. The previous version often led to accidental button presses and confusion. The new interface features a single ‘+’ button that reveals both the Camera and Photos iMessage apps. While it adds an extra tap to access the Camera, the streamlined layout makes it less confusing to navigate to other apps. By default, the overlay includes Stickers, Cash, Audio, and Location iMessage apps, and it remains to be seen whether users will be able to customize the grouping based on their preferences.

Exciting New iMessage Apps: Apple is introducing two noteworthy first-party iMessage apps in iOS 17: Location and Check In. The Location app allows users to share their or a friend’s location directly within the Messages conversation, facilitating meetups and providing convenience. On the other hand, the Check In app enables users to schedule a time when they’re expected to reach a specific location. This feature is particularly useful for notifying friends or family when you safely arrive at your destination, automatically sharing important information like location, phone battery level, and cell service status. It’s worth noting that all data shared via Check In is end-to-end encrypted, ensuring privacy and security.

Enhanced Stickers and Custom Sticker Reactions: Stickers, another new addition to iOS 17’s iMessage apps, offers an expanded feature set. Users can create new stickers using photos from their collection, employing the same technology introduced in the previous year to detach subjects from the background. The Stickers app also integrates with Memoji and third-party sticker apps, providing a centralized location for all sticker-related functions. Additionally, stickers can now be used as reactions to messages, offering more expressive and personalized ways to respond. While it would be preferable for Apple to replace the standard tap-back icons with recently used stickers, this new functionality is a step in the right direction.

Improved Autocorrect: iOS 17 brings a significant improvement to the much-maligned autocorrect feature. Apple has integrated a new language model technology, enabling autocorrect to learn users’ personal style and preferred words. It can now correct at the sentence level, better understanding the context in which words are used. This enhancement should reduce instances of erroneous corrections and provide a more seamless typing experience. Although the true impact of these improvements remains to be seen, the integration of advanced language models offers promising possibilities.

Other Notable Enhancements: In addition to the major updates mentioned above, iOS 17 brings several smaller yet noteworthy improvements to the Messages app. Users can now swipe a message to the left to initiate an inline reply, making it easier to engage in specific conversations. Audio messages are transcribed, allowing users to read their contents if they’re unable to listen to them immediately. Moreover, the Messages search functionality receives significant upgrades with the introduction of search filters, enabling users to apply multiple filters to their search queries, such as filtering messages from specific contacts while searching for specific text within those messages.

iOS 17 promises exciting enhancements to the Messages app, offering a more streamlined and user-friendly experience for iPhone users.

Source : https://developer.apple.com/wwdc23/

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