Standby in iOS 17

I just updated my iPhone 13 Pro toniOS 17. I bought the new Take Control book and tried to understand what’s new. I thought Standby would not be too challenging - after all, it just turns your phone into a bedside display at night: what could go wrong? Well, lots as it turns out.

Right out of the box, the Standby display consisted of an analog clock and a calendar. The clock showed a time in another time zone! There seem to be no instructions about how to configure the display or how to make it interact with Focus (e.g. Sleep). Can anyone explain ?

Yes, worth reporting. The two other clock options you can swipe to both have the correct timezone for me. Quite like the old Fifties vibe off the third one, needs just some radium hands…

Turns out there’s quite a few things you can swipe to and set up. This might be a final resting place for ancient phones, the bedside clock.

No, I can’t explain. Standby appeared to be a 1,2,3 done - Standby feature. It is a total NOP on my iPhone 12 mini.

In the piling on of “does ANYBODY check if this s#!+ works” - RANT DELETED… what’s the point?

OK, for brief seconds, I have gotten Standby to display. It is not consistently repeatable… and I promised, rant off.

Strange experience trying to make Standby appear on my iPhone SE: a tap on the screen, a long press and a swipe rarely work. But, Just moving the phone with a finger pulling the top edge towards me a couple of millimeters and letting go reliably makes it display.
Now I’m trying to find out why it is displaying a green telephone at the top of the screen in Standby.

I ran across this video which may help:

That’s amazingly helpful! Thanks so much.

I can’t get it to activate on my 15. Phone is plugged in to charger and charged, put on its side, and yet nothing despite Settings toggle showing on. Oh well. Likely don’t need it anyway. Set the global Standby toggle to off.

It works on my 11 Pro but wouldn’t be welcome where I charge my phone, by the bed.

I found a Belkin MagSafe charger with a 2-meter cable and a leg to prop it up, making it perfect if you want a longer cable that Apple’s 1-meter cable on a MagSafe charger. With the leg deployed, the phone works perfectly in Standby.

Belkin has a price range for it depending on what else you buy from them, but Amazon matches the lowest price ($30), making it cheaper than Apple’s shorter cable version.

Although I have a MagSafe stand setup at home, this is an excellent travel setup for me.

I don’t think that device (Belkin Boostcharge Pro) is such a bargain in the UK. There are a number of competitors that look OK and are cheaper (e.g. Hynix) but this topic makes me realise that I don’t understand MagSafe at all! I have a device that charges my iPhone13 Pro through induction - you just plonk the phone onto it horizontally - and I know that’s not MagSafe. What I can’t understand is whether I need a special case rather than the simple shell I have now, and whether the Belkin device is expecting some other component between the phone and itself. Extraordinary that one can drift along in the Apple universe for decades and miss out on whole technologies (Widgets next, for me).

I wouldn’t have been surprised if Apple had, indeed, not provided any meaningful documentation on such a completely new feature. Turns out, though, that they have finally included full manuals right inside the OS, starting with iOS 17 (as far as I can tell).

While their location might not be instantly “intuitive,” you can find them at the bottom of the main screen in the Tips application.

The slightly obscure location aside, this is a huge improvement IMHO over having to locate the “iPhone User Guide” in the Apple Book Store and making sure that you get the correct version number and language, etc.

A search for “Standby” inside the iPhone manual will point you to a single-page overview over how to configure that feature.

I wish they’d have provided more details, but at least it’s a solid starting point, what with it exlicitly stating which interactions are supported.

P.S.: To populate the alt text for both images embedded here, I just selected and copied the text directly from the screenshots. Now that is exactly the kind of feature that seems minor and somewhat obscure at first, but turns out to be sheer digital magic in its daily application. Just sayin… :sunglasses:


The lack of documentation bit me. My widgets started changing away from those I’d set. Turns out I had to switch off ‘Widget Suggestions’ which, appearing on the settings for Standby, I assumed that it would make suggestions in the ones presented to me to select from. Apparently it simply makes you wake up in the night, look to check the time, and get presented with something unhelpful, like a map showing where I am (I’m not that old yet!) or a photo (in red night mode) of my wife. Very spooky.

FWIW, I’m not sure about earlier versions, but the iPhone User Guide is in the Tips app of iOS 16 as well.

P.S.: To populate the alt text for both images embedded here, I just selected and copied the text directly from the screenshots.

Great tip! I am so bad about remembering to add alt text - I’m going to try to be better moving forward.