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Apple releases iOS 17.2 with Journal app, iPhone 15 Pro perks, and more

Front of the iPhone 15 Pro with Nomad Modern Leather case.

Max Buondonno/ZDNET

In time for the holidays, Apple has kicked off another major update for iOS 17 to bring joy and good cheer to all iPhone users. Released on Monday, the new iOS 17.2 update carries with it a bag full of toys to play with. Though a few of the new features are aimed at the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, there’s more than enough to go around for any compatible iPhone, specifically the iPhone XR or later.

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First on the list is the Journal app, a new program designed to help you capture your thoughts and feelings about your day and your life. The goal is to encourage you to reflect on everyday events and activities through journaling, a task that can help improve your outlook and overall well-being. Beyond writing in your journal, you’re able to add photos, videos, audio recordings, and favorite locations.

Next up are enhancements for the Messages app. A catch-up arrow lets you jump to the first unread message in a conversation. You can now add stickers directly to a chat bubble. You’re able to tweak the body shape of any Memoji. A couple of new security features help verify the identity of the person on the other end of a message. And a warning will alert you if you’re about to see a sticker that contains nudity.

On the Weather app front, precipitation amounts will clue you in on rain and snow conditions for any day over the next 10 days. A wind map snapshot analyzes wind patterns with an animated overlay of the windy forecast for the next 24 hours. An interactive moon calendar shows you the phases of the moon on any day over the next month. Plus, you can add new widgets for weather-related info such as air quality, wind speed, daily forecast, and upcoming precipitation.

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A variety of miscellaneous improvements are also on tap with iOS 17.2.

You can now log and access Health app data by talking to Siri. For Apple Music, a playlist for favorite songs offers quicker access to your favorites, while a listening history can be disabled while your phone is in Focus mode.

Using AirDrop, you’re now able to share boarding passes, movie tickets, and other items by bringing two iPhone together. A Digital Clock widget available in StandBy mode shows you a quick glimpse of the time on your Home Screen.

An enhanced AutoFill feature scans fields in PDF files and other forms so that you can automatically fill them with names and addresses from your contact list. Finally, faster Qi2 charger support is now accessible to all iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 model phones.

But wait, iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max owners will enjoy even more features.

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A spatial video feature lets users of the Pro model phones record 3D videos to be watched on Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro AR/VR headset, slated to launch in 2024. The telephoto camera on the Pro phones promises to more quickly focus on small and distant objects. And a Translate option is now available for the Action button to more speedily translate conversations between different languages.

iPad and Apple Watch owners have also received their share of holiday offerings.

Many of the same features in iOS 17.2 are available in iPadOS 17.2, including the improvements to Messages, Weather, and Apple Music. The one surprising exception is the Journal app, which Apple omitted from the latest iPad update.

With the new watchOS 10.2, Apple Watch owners will be able to log and access Health app data via Siri, view any Now Playing audio when near a HomePod or HomePod mini, and more easily confirm when a workout is ended. Best of all, you can now once again simply swipe across the screen to change watch faces without having to first press down on the screen.

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Apple’s iOS 17.2 is supported on the iPhone XR or later, while iPadOS 17.2 works with all iPad Pro models, the iPad Air (4th generation or later), the iPad (6th Gen or later), and the iPad mini (5th Gen or later). The new watchOS 10.2 will play nicely with the Apple Watch Series 4 and later, the Apple Watch SE (1st generation) and later, and the Apple Watch Ultra and later.

To install iOS 17.2 or iPadOS 17.2, head to Settings, select General, and then tap Software Update. Tap the Update Now button and sit back while the new version is downloaded and installed. To snag watchOS 10.2, open the Watch app on your iPhone, go to General and then Software Update. Tap the button to download and install the newest version.

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