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Turn Your iPhone Into a Smart Display Using iOS 17’s StandBy Mode
July 25, 2023

Turn Your iPhone Into a Smart Display Using iOS 17’s StandBy Mode

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Get a free smart display by updating to the latest iOS software.

A smart display, like Google’s Pixel Tablet or Amazon’s Echo Show, can boost your productivity, keep you updated on news and weather, and connect you to your smart home. But you don’t need to buy a new display to reap the smart benefits: With iOS 17, your iPhone can now turn into a smart display on its own, giving you all the Apple benefits you might miss out on with something from Amazon or Google.

This feature, called StandBy, works automatically as long as you’re running iOS 17—Apple’s big upcoming software update. The new OS is still in beta testing, which means you’ll need to enroll your iPhone in Apple’s beta program to try it (and all the new features) out. Running beta software always comes with a risk, since it’s not finished, so we recommend testing it on a secondary iPhone, or at least backing up your iPhone to a secure source, like your computer.

While the new feature should be enabled by default, you can make sure it’s turned on by going to Settings > StandBy. From here, turn your iPhone sideways while it’s locked and charging. (It can be charging via USB, or, if you want to be really cool, you can put it on a landscape MagSafe charging dock.) Your iPhone just needs to be angled while being in a landscape mode. It won’t work if it’s lying flat on the surface, which is why a MagSafe dock makes a lot of sense.

Once your iPhone is charging and you turn it sideways, you’ll be greeted by two large widgets side by side. These are generated automatically, but can also be edited like widgets on your Home Screen. Third-party widgets will be supported with the public release of iOS 17.

You can swipe up and down on the widgets to switch between all available options. Tap and hold on a widget to enter editing mode. Here, you can use the Plus button to add a new widget, while the Minus button will remove one. You can also use drag and drop to reorder widgets, and you can disable the Smart Rotate and Widget Suggestions features if you only want to see your own selection of widgets at all times.

Best of all, these widgets have buttons you can interact with. For example, the Music widget has a Play button, and you can expand the Now Playing section to get full media controls; you can check off items in Reminders without even opening your iPhone; and, if you use HomeKit devices, you’ll be able to control individual switches, or scenes, right from the widgets.

But StandBy isn’t only about widgets. Swipe horizontally, and you can switch between a photo slideshow and a full-screen clock. You can swipe up in both views to see different styles. In the photos screen, this will show different categories like nature and people. Tap and hold the screen, tap the Plus button, and now you can add any album to the slideshow. For the Clock scene, you can enter the edit mode to change the colors.


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