StandBy stands out as the best feature on iOS 17 — here's how to use it

iOS 17 Standby
(Image credit: Apple)
iOS 17:

A grid of iPhones running iOS 17

(Image credit: Apple)

- Compatibility: iPhone XR and later
- Release date:
September 18
- How to download and install iOS 17
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Apple's new StandBy mode is definitely the standout feature in iOS 17. While some iOS 17 features bring new functionality and cool features, StandBy mode transforms your iPhone into an entirely new product. A cool, sleek, minimalist desktop companion that's as uncluttered as it is undistracting. 

Simply place your iPhone on charge and in landscape mode and you're off. There are amazing clocks and time screens, a music player, photo slideshows, and more. As remote workers here at iMore, we've found it to be ultimate home office companion, and it works great at your bedside on a nightstand too!

How to download and install iOS 17

How to use StandBy on iOS 17

Activating StandBy on iOS 17 is incredibly easy. With your screen locked, plug your iPhone into charge and turn it on the side. Of course, StandBy feels destined to be used with a MagSafe charging stand, but if you only have a lightning cable, you can also use StandBy just by propping your phone on its side. Please note: StandBy will not work if you lie your iPhone on a flat surface.

StandBy works with all iPhones on iOS 17 but you’ll need an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max to take advantage of the always-on benefits of the mode, and one of the best stands for iPhone to make StandBy look as good as possible.

iOS 17

(Image credit: Apple)
  1. When entering StandBy for the first time, you’ll see a calendar widget and a classic clock. Swiping up on either switches between clocks and the widget SmartStack.
  2. Press and hold to add or remove widgets from this view
  3. Swipe left and right to change between multiple StandBy views. There’s a Photo view that will slowly change through photos in your library as well as different clock styles.
  4. Press and hold on any of the clock faces to change the color, although only the default analog clock view allows for widgets

StandBy on iOS 17 works with Live Activities, Siri, incoming calls, and other notifications like text messages. As iOS 17 is still in development, we expect more use cases to appear once developers update apps to support the mode.

StandBy on iOS 17 is a standalone music player

StandBy on iOS 17 music player

(Image credit: iMore)

One of the best use cases for StandBy so far is as a music player for Apple Music, Spotify, and any other application that uses Apple’s Music API. 

Start playing a song, then lock your iPhone and place it on charge in landscape, and your iPhone suddenly becomes a dedicated music player. You’ll see an icon in the middle of your StandBy screen, if you’re using AirPlay with a HomePod, it shows a HomePod icon, for example. 

Tap the icon, and you’ll see a beautiful full-screen music interface. You can go back to StandBy by swiping up on the middle of your screen at any time.

One more thing... the future is bright for StandBy on iOS 17

iOS 17 Standby

(Image credit: Apple)

StandBy has all the potential to really stand out as a must-have feature for iOS 17. It looks awesome, is fun to use, and feels futuristic. We can’t wait to see how the feature evolves throughout the development process, but first signs show a mode that might well become the most used iPhone feature for anyone who works from home.

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.

Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.

John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019. 

John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit. 

  • mech1164
    Have to say it surprised me when I put 17 on my Xr and standby worked. Now I plug this in with the in built stand on my case and boom standby on the nightstand. To say I'm a happy camper is an understatement.