Your iPhone just got a big free upgrade from Apple – here’s everything that’s new

The last big iOS update of the year from Apple has just been released for iPhone users worldwide, and it brings several new features to you for free including the brand new Journal app.

The iPhone-only Journal apps is Apple’s attempt to digitise the idea of keeping a diary, also known as journaling. The app will appear on your iPhone’s home screen once you’ve updated to iOS 17.2, which is available now to all iPhones released in or since 2018.

Just like a physical journal, you can add entries assigned to a date and type out your thoughts and feelings. But as this is on an iPhone, you can also import photos and videos from your camera roll, or even run, walk and cycle routes or location pins from Apple Maps to help you remember and log your memories.

Apple is pushing the privacy side of Journal, given a person’s diary or journal is quite a personal thing that you’re unlikely to want anyone to read. The company says everything in the app is end-to-end encrypted, and automated suggestions for post using data from your photos and activities is on-device only, so Apple doesn’t process any of that data in the cloud.

You can also lock the app behind Face ID or Touch ID, so even if someone is using your phone they can’t tap on the app and read your private musings.

Other new features in iOS 17.2 include spatial video recording on iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. This will give video shot in that format 3D depth, but this can only be viewed on Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro headset that’s due to launch in the US in early 2024 at a cost of $3,499.

For everyone without an iPhone 15 Pro – stretching back to the iPhone XR and XS from 2018 – you’ll be able to enjoy being able to change the default alert sound for more alerts and notifications before, which is great if you hear an iPhone pinging away at work or home and think it’s yours as everyone has the same default bell sound.

It’s also been rumoured that the update brings faster wireless charging to iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 models if they are wirelessly charged on new Qi2-standard wireless pads, but Apple has not directly confirmed this.

More nice-to-have additions include new weather and clock widgets for the home screen and new Memoji customisations. On the iPhone 15 Pro models, the Action Button can now be assigned to Translate, so you can quickly translate phrases or have conversations with someone in a different language.

Apple has also added a catch-up arrow in Messages that sends you to the first unread message in a conversation, and you can now add stickers to bubbles in chats. In its release notes, the company also lists a few bug fixes.

The update is also bringing a favourite songs playlist to Apple Music, which is frankly something we can’t believe it didn’t already have. Tapping a star icon while listening to a song you like will add it to the favourite songs playlist and also help the Apple Music algorithm better understand what you like so it can give better, more personalised recommendations in other playlists.

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