iOS 17 Should Really Include This One Feature

I have been an iPhone user for a long time, and as much as I enjoy using iOS, there are many things that it lacks; and no, I’m not talking about home-screen customisation, or an app drawer. Now, with WWDC 2023 looming on the horizon, and the prospect of iOS 17, I have been thinking about the features Apple might be bringing to the iPhone this year. And, there’s one iOS 17 feature for which I have my fingers crossed.

iMessage: The One Thing It Lacks

iMessage has evolved considerably over the years, and with iOS 16, it saw some major updates — undo send, editing messages, replies… the works. It basically has most features to call itself a proper messaging app, and a WhatsApp alternative.

However, there is one feature that’s conspicuously missing from iMessage’s arsenal — chat lock.

Most messaging apps on iPhone support Face ID authentication to allow users access to the app. In fact, WhatsApp is now rolling out a feature thats allows users to lock individual chats in WhatsApp. Now that’s useful.

whatsapp lock chats

Similarly, Telegram also supports locking the app using Face ID.

App Locking, and Why iMessage Should Support It

The idea of locking apps isn’t new or novel. It has existed on Android for years, and apps on iPhone have had Touch ID (and now) Face ID locks for a while as well. Surprisingly, however, Apple hasn’t felt the need to add a feature such as this to iMessage.

iphone apps locked face id
iPhone apps I’m using that support Face ID authentication

It’s not even unprecedented at this point. The stock Photos app on iOS now uses Face ID to authenticate a user before allowing them to open the Hidden folder and the Recently Deleted folder within the app, so bringing this functionality over to the Messages app shouldn’t be too out of the way for the company either.

What’s more, the ability to lock chats in iMessage will make the app even more useful for people who prefer keeping their personal chats under an additional layer of security. You will be able to simply lock the chats you don’t want anyone else to be able to read (or reply to), and you can safely hand over your iPhone to anyone without worrying about them snooping around on it.

Other iOS 17 Updates I’m Excited About

Active Widgets

Even though the ability to lock iMessage chats is one of my most wished-for features in iOS 17, there are plenty of other features that are expected to come with the next iteration of the iPhone operating system. Many of which are really exciting as well.

However, my personal favourite in all the rumored features so far, is the new “active widgets” feature.

iPhone’s widgets are much better, at least visually, than widgets on Android. And though there are many apps that don’t yet have widgets on the iPhone (looking at you, Slack), the ones that do, look really good on the home screen.

widgets on iPhone

However, functionally, the iPhone’s widget system is quite lacking, especially in contrast to Android widgets. Where this shows most, is in the fact that widgets on iPhone are static… very much so.

Case in point, the Spotify widget. In my opinion, Spotify’s widget should allow me to do more than just acting like a shortcut to the recently played section of the Spotify app. I could have done as much with Siri Shortcuts as well.

spotify widget on iPhone

Active Widgets, if Apple deems them “ready” for the iPhone, would make widgets a lot better on iOS 17. Imagine the possibilities: a Spotify widget that shows an actual “now playing” screen, maybe even with seek and track controls! If that sounds too good to be true, let me bring to your attention the Android widget for Spotify, which does these things.

spotify widget on Android

Lock Screen Updates

There are also rumors about updates to the lock screen with iOS 17. While iOS 16 brought with it features like Lock Screen widgets, if the rumors are to be believed, iOS 17 will make the lock screen even better.

For one, there’s the rumor about Apple Maps directions showing up straight on the Lock Screen. However, I’m not too excited about that, because Apple Maps works really poorly in India most of the time, and I always use Google Maps for navigation.

apple maps directions on lock screen iOS 17 feature

However, the rumors also suggest that among the updates to Apple Music, will be the ability to display song lyrics straight on the lock screen. This does make me happy, because it will make my personal/solo concerts where I sing to myself and no-one else, much easier and better. No longer will I accidentally say “all the lonely Starbucks lovers” while listening to Blank Space on repeat.

Special Mention: Sideloading Apps

Sideloading apps on iPhone has been a dream to many people, for many years. However, with the EU’s legislation about third-party app stores, it seems Apple is going to let iPhone users install apps on their iPhones without going through the App Store. That’s great.

So why is this is a special mention? Well, since the legislation has been passed by teh European Union, Apple is likely to keep the sideloading feature limited to iPhones in Europe, which means the rest of the world is unlikely to see the benefits of being able to use other app stores, or straight up IPA files to install apps on their devices.

Still, I’m holding out hope that the feature will expand to other regions too, over the years. We’re just gonna have to wait and watch, jealous, I might add, of our European friends.

Bring Me the Features, Apple!

Apple is notoriously late at introducing features to the iPhone. You might claim that it’s because the company “waits to implement the feature perfectly” before rolling it out, but that claim falls apart when you look at the sheer number of bugs that iOS users have been facing over the last few years.

Apple should really work on implementing quality features within iOS. Things like locking chats with Face ID are a definite must-have in this day and age of messaging apps rolling out features like there’s no tomorrow.

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