The Best New iOS 17 Features for Work and Business Users

You can now download Apple's latest mobile OS and these are the best new iOS 17 features to help you get stuff done at work.

Tim Cook and co stuck to the script at the recent Wanderlust event. The Apple Store went down, a healthy amount of whooping from the stage in Cupertino followed, and before you knew it we had the new iPhone 15 family launched and up for pre-order. Alongside these devices, we also got a full and final reveal for Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 17.

It’s available to download now, but installing a fresh new OS and actually knowing what to do with it are two different things. With so much noise around new iOS 17 features, we’re here to highlight the ones that are the biggest deal for business users – and show you how to download iOS 17 if you’re not 100% sure. iOS 17 was released on September 18, and we have a list of supported devices below. The short version is most newer iPhones are fine – you have to go back to handsets like the iPhone XS and XR to get the bump.

When it comes to new iOS 17 features, the best of the best to help you in your work life include new Safari profiles, NameDrop, and offline Apple Maps. Read on for full details of these and stay tuned for more, as we’ll be updating this guide with more as we spend more hands-on time with iOS 17 now it’s out in the wild.

Best New iOS 17 Features To Try Today

Once you’ve downloaded iOS 17 on your device, the next question is what do you do with it? There are plenty of eye-grabbing new iOS 17 features to take in, from Contact Posters to Visual ID expanding to quickly jump from a sexy food snap to the recipe that’s going to help you turn it into that night’s dinner.

iOS 17 isn’t just a great update for the weekend, though, and there are a handful of really useful new iOS 17 features relevant to business users.

Safari Profiles

The first one worth mentioning is Safari profiles. This is somewhat self-explanatory, but it’s also a big deal. Basically, in iOS 17 Safari is adding the ability to create user profiles. This means you’ll be able to more easily configure your iPhone to separate your work and your personal life. More specifically, having a separate profile means easier access to all of the bookmarks, tab groups, extensions and cookies you use for your job – the latter being particular useful as means you can separately store your work account logins on your iPhone.

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When it comes to using iOS 17 for work-related stuff, one new feature stands head and shoulders above the rest: NameDrop.

NameDrop is an extension of AirDrop that lets you share your contact details with another iPhone just by holding your device near to it. Whatever information you set to be shared – whether it’s your name, telephone number, email address and even your Contact Poster (once you inevitably make one) – will then be sent to the receiving iPhone in the blink of an eye.

With this feature, iOS 17 is basically bringing the business card into the 21st century. The usefulness of NameDrop at professional networking events and on work trips cannot be understated, not least because it could save millions of physical cards being printed unnecessarily.

We’d add that NameDrop looks like iOS 17’s killer feature in every context, not just work. How many times have you scribbled a number down on the back of a napkin, only to throw it out when you empty your pockets thinking it’s just another piece of trash? It’s particularly crippling when you finally go on a Hinge date that doesn’t end in disaster, or at least that’s what we’ve been told.

Offline Apple Maps

When Apple launched its Google Maps rival back in 2012, it was widely ridiculed and for pretty good reason. It would tell you to drive through the ocean, move your favorite sub shop to a different continent, and once infamously placed Berlin somewhere in middle Antarctica.

Fast forward to 2023 and Apple Maps is actually worth using – especially now it has followed in Google’s footsteps and added offline maps.

Driving for business purposes is commonplace, whether it’s a courier service, the trucking industry, or trying to get to an offsite meeting on time. For instance, some but not all of the best dash cams for truckers feature GPS functionality. In other cases, your organization might be relying on people using every day apps like Apple Maps for directions and navigation.

There’s nothing more frustrating than entering a GPS dead zone, which is why having offline access to maps becomes so important. Now Apple Maps has them in iOS 17, it becomes a truly viable option for commercial use cases and you can rely on it for work, not just to get you to your kid’s soccer game at the weekend.

How To Download iOS 17 and Supported Devices

Apple is now letting users download iOS 17 in the usual way, which is via an over-the-air update. This is when a new system download magically becomes available to download on your iPhone at a given time, and is how Apple delivers all of its software to mobile devices these days. That means when we talk about the iPhone and iOS 17, the same holds true for iPad tablets and its closely related new operating system, iPadOS 17.

Supported iOS 17 devices – that’s the iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone SE 2, iPhone 11 series and above – will be prompted to download at some point after the release becomes available, but you can also manually check. Just follow the Settings > General > Software Update path on your iPhone and you’ll be able to see as soon as iOS 17 becomes available for your device.

That should be the case by now, though bear in mind early iOS 17 download times can be agonizing as everyone tries to install the new software at once.

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Written by:
James Laird is a technology journalist with 10+ years experience working on some of the world's biggest websites. These include TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and The Sun, as well as industry-specific titles such as ITProPortal. His particular areas of interest and expertise are cyber security, VPNs and general hardware.
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