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How to use StandBy Mode on iOS 17 (and which iPhones support it)

Using StandBy Mode on the iPhone.

June Wan/ZDNET

If you’re the type of person who leaves your phone on your bedside or docked on the office desk, iOS 17’s StandBy mode has your name on it.

With the upcoming version of iOS, setting your iPhone horizontally (or in landscape orientation) on a MagSafe charger activates StandBy mode, turning what would typically be a blank lock screen into an interactive, glanceable window of widgets.

Also: I ranked the best iOS 17 features from most useful to straight gimmicky

The feature is expected to roll out to most recent iPhone models in the fall — when Apple releases the official version of iOS 17 — but can be accessed right now if you’re on public beta software. Here’s how.

How to use StandBy mode on iOS 17

By default, StandBy mode is turned on in iOS 17 — at least in the public beta version, but there’s always a chance that Apple will have the feature turned off in the official software.

If that’s the case, or should you want to turn off the feature, open up Settings > scroll down to StandBy > and switch the activation toggle.

Also: This 3-in-1 MagSafe dock will charge your Apple devices while keeping them cool

There are two other settings within this page for turning on Night Mode, which shifts the color tint from vibrant to red when the environment is darker, and notifications. 

With the latter, you can have critical notifications displayed in StandBy mode and you can also tap on them to expand to the preview, similar to the iPhone’s lock screen behavior.

As of the time of writing, StandBy mode works with any compatible iPhone that’s charging and rotated to a horizontal orientation. That means that you can power the iPhone with a MagSafe charging dock, a standard Qi-enabled wireless charging pad, or even a standard lightning cable.

Also: 5 useful iOS 17 features Apple quietly released at WWDC 2023

When both requirements are met, StandBy mode will automatically turn on and your iPhone lock screen will change into a widescreen status hub with the time, date, and temperature.

There is one notable advantage when using a MagSafe-certified charging dock: location awareness. If you plan on docking your iPhone on multiple MagSafe accessories — say you have one for your work desk, one by your bedside, and another for the kitchen — the iPhone will automatically display the StandBy mode configuration that you set for each.

StandBy Mode demoed at WWDC

StandBy Mode has three display modes, with the first one showing two columns of interactive widgets.


Swiping sideways on a docked iPhone cycles between three StandBy mode panels:

  • The first panel displays two columns of interactive widgets, similar to the ones found on the iPhone home screen. A tap and hold on this panel allows you to add or remove widgets, move them around, and turn on Smart Rotate and Widget Suggestions for a more personalized experience.
  • The second panel is a photo clock, displaying the time and your choice of existing photo albums or photo categories (i.e. pets, nature, people). A tap and hold on this panel allows you to select what pictures you’d like to be displayed.
  • The third panel shows a larger clock, with different styles to choose from.

If Show Notifications is turned on in the iPhone’s StandBy settings, incoming messages and alerts will appear when the device is docked. 

Also: Do iOS updates wear out your iPhone’s battery? The answer is not so obvious

For more privacy, you can toggle on Show Preview on Tap Only, so that you have to unlock the device via Touch ID or Face ID to view the notification in full.


What iPhone models support StandBy mode?

All iPhones that are upgradeable to iOS 17 will support StandBy mode. That level of support spans from this year’s models to the iPhone XR. Here’s the full list of compatible devices.

Will StandBy mode always stay on?

StandBy mode will only stay on for iPhone models that support always-on display, meaning at the time of writing, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. For older models, StandBy mode will automatically turn off after 30 seconds of inactivity.

What charging dock is compatible with StandBy mode?

StandBy mode works with both MagSafe-certified chargers and traditional Qi-enabled wireless chargers, but if you want to take advantage of MagSafe location awareness, you’ll need the latter of the two types. The most important requirement is for the iPhone to be rotated horizontally. 

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