My iOS 17 wish list: FaceMails, expanded Tapbacks, more

Home » My iOS 17 wish list: FaceMails, expanded Tapbacks, more
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I do realize that it is far too late in the year to make a wish list that might get any traction re: things I’d like to see Apple implement into iOS 17, and that’s fine – I don’t care – but I have to document my hopes and dreams as a consumer and Apple loyalist somewhere, and with WWDC happening next month, I remembered that I have ideas. Read on to see what I would love, would absolutely die for, should Apple choose to implement any of the following into any of their products at any point in any future iOS release ever.

FaceTime messages

You know when you’re scrolling social media, and you come across someone who took a screenshot of a FaceTime they attempted to have with someone else, but the person they tried to reach wasn’t available, and the person who initiated the FaceTime captions the screenshot with, “When ____ doesn’t answer,” and the screenshot is them looking emotive with the words “FaceTime unavailable” underneath the person’s name whom they tried to reach? A long sentence! But I know you know what I’m talking about. 

Imagine, if you would, FaceMails™. There have been innumerable times when I, too, have tried to reach someone via FaceTime, and they didn’t answer, and I’ve thought, I should be able to leave them a messageof my face. There is something about the notion of FaceMails that feels very dystopian to me, very Black Mirror, but also very Seth Rogan via Knocked Up? (I’m in your phooooone.”) Almost like it has the potential to be uncomfortable for some people while also having the potential to be incredibly entertaining for others; that said, it could be an option for users to enable or disable for anyone who didn’t want to partake. I think this would be a fun implementation into iOS 17 for those of us who want to leave a video message like we would a voicemail or an audio note.

Expanding Tapbacks

I spoke about this a year and a half ago, and to the shock of absolutely no one, Apple has yet to update or expand “Tapbacks” for its users. Tapbacks are the official word for what most of us call “reactions” – when we love, like, thumbs up, thumbs down, exclaim, or question a text someone else has sent. Meanwhile, WhatsApp, in July of 2022, released the ability to react to texts with any emoji a person wishes – catching up with what Facebook Messenger already did quite nicely. In February of this year, Google Messages did the same, which means that of all of the messaging platforms and providers, it’s literally only Apple that doesn’t allow users to respond to texts with an emoji outside of its six default options. This would be a welcome improvement for the iMessage experience in iOS 17.

Screen record highlights

A few months back, a good friend of mine asked me how to set up voice notes so that they wouldn’t expire after two minutes. To show him how, I took a screen recording of the process and texted it to him, which is a really nice way to alleviate a bunch of actual texts back and forth. When you take a screen recording and you tap something on your phone, the recording shows exactly what your screen looks like – which is what it should do, of course – but if the recipient doesn’t know what to look for or where to tap, they may not know what it is you’re trying to show them; this is where a highlight option for screen recordings would be key in iOS 17. Anytime a person takes a screen recording and taps a button on their phone (versus simply scrolling), that action should be clearly identified, lest it be missed entirely.

Pinging misplaced iPhones

The same friend I sent the screen recording to also told me that Apple should allow you to ping your iPhone from another iPhone when you can’t find it, “… just like how you can ping your phone with your Apple Watch,” he said. Initially, I didn’t know what he meant, but he brought it up to me more than once, and so I just sort of agreed and was like, “Yes, absolutely, that is a great idea.” And then, a couple of months ago, I got an Apple Watch; while I don’t tend to misplace my phone, I have absolutely used the feature on my Apple Watch for those moments when my phone slid underneath a couch cushion or I inexplicably left it on a countertop I never actually use. What a convenient little feature! So as it turns out, yes, absolutely, being able to ping your misplaced iPhone from another iPhone rather than using Find My is a great idea.


While I do believe that Apple will eventually give us more text reactions and maybe even let us ping our lost iPhones from other Apple devices, I’m not holding my breath for FaceMails or screen recording highlights, but who knows! We’ll have to watch WWDC together and find out. Are there any other updates or fixes you’d like to see in iOS 17? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

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