5 hidden iOS 17 features and settings you need to know

The first iOS 17 public beta it’s here, and while you’ve probably heard of the new contacts poster and live voicemail feature, there’s a lot to discover beneath the surface.

Related story: The public beta of iOS 17 is available. I’m excited about these new iPhone features

Like every new release of mobile software, iOS 17 has several hidden features and settings that are just as useful as popular features and that you may end up using every single day on your iPhone.

If you want to dig deeper into what your iPhone needs to master, read on to discover 5 hidden features currently available in the iOS 17 public beta, which you can download right now (as long as you have a supported iPhone).

If your iPhone isn’t compatible with iOS 17, it might be worth checking out the best iPhone models of 2023 and our review of the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max.

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Watch this: We’ve tried iOS 17 for ourselves and so far we’ve been impressed

Automatically delete verification codes that were sent to you by SMS or email

Whenever you log into an application that uses two-factor authentication, or 2FA, you must first receive a text message or a verification code by email. You may have hundreds of these verification codes scattered across your text messages or emails, and while you can delete these codes one by one, there’s now an easier way to clean your house, thanks to iOS 17.

In Settings > Passwords > Password optionsnow you can activate a new Clean automatically setting so that tracking codes in the Messages and Mail applications are automatically deleted after being used with the AutoFill feature that appears at the top of the keyboard.

Tracking code settings in iOS 17

The text message or email with the verification will disappear shortly after using autofill.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Use offline Apple Maps to navigate

You might be surprised to learn this, but you’ve never been able to use Apple Maps offline. Instead, you should be connected to the internet, which is useless if you need to find your way home when you’re out in the desert or in an area with no connection. In iOS 17, you can finally download an offline map to get directions even when you don’t have the service.

In Maps, tap your profile photo at the top right of the navigation window and access Offline Maps. Depending on where you ride the most, you may see a suggested map to download, along with the map size, in case you don’t have a lot of storage space. You can also just hit Download new maptype in a city, manually adjust the map if needed, and download it to your iPhone.

Setting up Apple Maps offline map

Map updates are downloaded automatically.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Crop your photos using the zoom feature in Photos

Cropping a screenshot or image in the Photos app is a relatively simple process, but Apple has made it even easier with iOS 17.

Now, when you view a photo and zoom into it, a new Harvest the button will appear at the top right. This will automatically take you into edit mode and allow you to further adjust the crop, or you can just press Done to finish the harvest. However, you need to act fast, as the crop button only appears for a few seconds after you zoom in on a photo.

New zoom crop feature in Photos in iOS 17

You can further adjust the clipping before hitting Done.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Use crossfading for smoother transitions in the Music app

Whether you’re tasked with playing music at a friend’s party or in the car, you now have the ability to use a crossfade effect between songs in Apple Music on iOS 17.

In the Settings app, go to Music is active Crossfade. Once the setting is enabled, you can choose the length of the crossfade: choose between one second and 12 seconds, in intervals of seconds. If you choose five seconds, for example, the next song in the playlist/album will start playing slowly in the background five seconds before the current song ends.

The crossfade feature in the Music settings on iOS 17

The default crossfade lasts for four seconds.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Interact with certain widgets on your home screen

The widgets that live on your home screen are no longer just there for looks. Apple brought interactive widgets to the iPhone, allowing you to control applications from the home screen, just like you would from the control center.

For now, the number of interactive widgets is limited, but if you want to add one to your home screen, press on an empty space on your home screen to enter edit mode, tap the plus sign at the top right and scroll through the list of widgets. Some available interactive widgets include Podcasts, Home, Notes, and Music.

For example, in Music you can play or pause music, while in Home you can turn any connected device off and on, like a smart light bulb or thermostat.

The Music and Home widgets in iOS 17

In the Home widget, you can turn connected accessories on and off.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

For more on Apple’s upcoming mobile operating system, check out our hands-on look at iOS 17, plus what you should know about Apple’s Vision Pro headset.


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