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Apple’s best iOS 17 features will cause Android owners to feel more left out than any other time in recent memory

I own both an Apple iPhone 14 Pro and a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, yet to my friends and family, I am a green bubble. My SIM card has to be moved, and Apple phones no longer allow this; therefore, I can’t use iMessage for communications. Apple is notorious for restricting standard functionality to an exclusive number of iPhone customers. If you’re an Android user like me, hold on tight because iOS 17 is on the way and things are about to get a lot worse.

I’m a green bubble, unable to FaceTime, and excluded from group messaging. We get a lot of complaints from green bubbles, don’t we? What exactly is the big deal? Our text messages are still being delivered. Who, after all, utilizes text messaging? Isn’t everyone on WhatsApp, Telegraph, or some third-party service not owned by Apple or Google?

If it wasn’t a huge thing before, it’s going to become a lot bigger. Apple’s iOS 17 will include a slew of new features that will alter how we communicate with one another via our phones. That is, if you possess an iPhone.

Who are you if you don’t have a contact poster?

 iOS 17
(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

The first step is to meet and welcome someone. You may have sent them a message using your contact information in the past. You might contact them, so they have your phone number in their call history.

With iOS 17, you’ll be holding your phone near theirs. Because you both have iPhones, your phones will recognize each other through special iPhone magic. A mysterious vortex will appear on your screen, similar to staring into a crystal ball. Your contact poster will then show up.

The contact poster is the new avatar for iPhone owners. Don’t be concerned if you don’t own an iPhone. You will not have one. When two iPhone users touch their phones together (or bring them close together), they connect and begin sharing. The contact poster is the first step.

SharePlay lets you watch shows or play games, with iPhones only

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

Every iPhone owner will be able to build and distribute a contact poster that includes their contact information. These new sharing options, however, do not end with contacts and posters. After connecting to another iPhone, you can begin a SharePlay session for music, films, or games.

You can, of course, only use SharePlay if you have an iPhone. You may use SharePlay to host a private dance party with your friends, all playing the same music at the same time on their phones, completely in rhythm. When does an Android buddy arrive and wish to join? I suppose they’ll simply have to hum along.

But it won’t only be for dancing. If you’re in a car with a bunch, everyone who has an iPhone gets to choose the music. Android users simply listen. The latest CarPlay version will allow iPhone users to share music to the car’s playlist via SharePlay. Keep humming if you have an Android.

Check In safety feature is no joke, but only works with iPhone

This may appear to be a stupid complaint. It irritates me a little that Android users will be excluded from private dance parties. What particularly bothers me is that Android phones are excluded from the new safety check-in function.

You may send a check-in message to another iPhone user using the Messages app. This allows them to keep an eye on you and ensure your safety.

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When someone leaves your house and you want to ensure they arrive safely, or if you send your child to piano lessons after school on their own, they may specify a location, and you will be alerted when they arrive. They don’t have to think about anything else; it’s all automated. You may even specify a time period rather than a place, so that if someone goes for a run, they must Check In after an hour.

If they do not arrive safely, or if they do not check in after the time limit has expired, the phone can initiate an emergency call. If you have set up an Emergency SOS contact and process, it can trigger it. It may also just send a message to one person with your position, battery level, and network signal.

It can also communicate the position of the last spot where your iPhone was unlocked or where your Apple Watch was removed. This is serious business.

Except that it does not function on Android. If you try to send a check-in message to someone with green bubbles on an Android phone, the option does not display in the Messages app. You can’t check in with someone unless they have an iPhone.

Basic phone features shouldn’t be exclusive to one brand

Check-in is a feature in the iOS 17 public beta, therefore, it may change before the final version is released. I’ve contacted Apple for clarification, and I’ll update this story if I receive a response. I’m hoping this isn’t how Check In works in the final edition. While the Check In bubble is a live updating widget within the Messages app, Android users must be accommodated.

I don’t mind when phone manufacturers give unique features that reward consumers who invest in a device ecosystem. That’s amazing if my laptop works better with my tablet and TV. I’m also not opposed to businesses building a social network of fans. In some ways, iMessage and the blue bubbles are the same thing. A social network for iPhone users.

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(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

The issue is that this social network is concealed under a text messaging app. People who acquire an iPhone frequently underestimate how much their text messaging experience changes as a result of iMessage. Apple doesn’t make it apparent how difficult it is to leave.

Phone companies should not be able to restrict basic phone functionality. Apple should avoid tampering with features that are as ancient as the iPhone itself. When I make a phone call, I should be aware that it might be received by anyone. Text communications should be treated similarly. If a message is intended just for iPhone users, it should exist in its own social network rather than in text messages.

While this was once an aggravating quirk of Apple devotion, it is now a safety risk. If Android users are unable to get safety check-in messages from friends and family, the wall surrounding the garden has become too high. What is Apple’s point here? We want you to be safe, so advise your friends and family to get an iPhone. That’s a step too far, and I’m hoping Check In can notify everyone, not just friends who own iPhones, that I’m safe.

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