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4 min read

iOS 17 Update Affects Caller Display & Voicemails

The Updated Impact of the iOS 17 Display on Branded Calling
Written by
Mary Gonzalez, Brand & Content Manager
Published on
November 29, 2023

Apple’s latest software release is iOS 17 (17.1.1). Available to all users, it includes many new features, including personalization to contact cards, live voicemail and audio message transcripts, updated location sharing, a new interface when you set your phone down horizontally, and more.  

However, the support of caller authentication information required under the TRACED Act was, again, not included in the iOS 17 update, which we hoped would be updated from the software update that preceded it (the iOS 16 update). In fact, the latest release is a further step in the wrong direction, making it even more difficult to read the incoming call screen information. The FCC has been clear in its requirements that voice service providers must protect consumers from unauthenticated calls, especially those that seek to defraud consumers.  

Device manufacturers, such as Apple, are not joining the efforts to pass authenticated caller information along at the time of the call. This has been viewed by some as neglecting the need to protect consumers from fraudulent calls by continuing to provide minimal and difficult-to-read caller name display information at the time of the call. Despite the slight boldening of the font on the call screen, the once contrasted black background with white text has been swapped for a grey-on-grey screen, with labels like “Potential Spam” in small font above the scrolling phone number, potentially going unnoticed.  

Comparison of branded call display on the incoming call screen: iOS 16 v iOS 17

When the device is locked, the previous iOS 16 display showed the calling entity or call label in a small, grey, unbolded font directly below the calling phone numbers. After the iOS 17 update, the display name field is above the phone number, still greyed out, but lightly bolded.  

Unfortunately, the updated call screen background has been changed from its traditionally high-contrast black, to a light grey color that makes it difficult to notice the display name above the phone number (see images below), and can easily be missed. Calls properly assigned warning labels like Potential Spam may go unnoticed by call recipients at the time of the call, potentially putting consumers in harm’s way of fraudulent calls.

Numeracle branded call on iOS 16 on the left; iOS 17 on the right.

Screenshot of a call with a Potential Spam label via Verizon on iOS 17 on the left; unbranded phone number displaying location on the right.

Comparison of a branded call displayed in the missed call log: iOS 16 v iOS 17

On iOS 16 and iOS 17, the name of the caller is displayed below the number of the caller. Both are still lacking a verification checkmark.

iOS 16 call log on the left; iOS 17 call log on the right

Where More Caller Information Has Been Updated in iOS 17

Contact Posters that Mimic Branded Calling Concepts

Each Apple user can now update their personal ”Contact Poster“ with their Apple ID to display a name and image with your choice of display colors that you want call recipients who have you and your personal phone number saved as a contact on their device - as long as it’s also on iOS 17. This is a personalization update and personal branding exercise that allows users to showcase creativity into how they appear to call screens that have you saved as a contact, overriding previous images and contact names the recipient has on their device.

However, it signals a focus on branded displays at the time of the call, which we hope to see translate soon into enterprise branded calling for incoming calls to devices that do not have incoming phone numbers previously saved.

Example of a Contact Poster on an iOS 17 incoming call screen. Images provided by Apple iOS17 update materials

Live Voicemail Transcripts on Incoming Calls

iOS 17 also introduced a live voicemail transcript feature where call recipients can view a real-time transcription of the message someone is leaving you, providing added context to the intent of the call. If this information helps you decide to pick up, you can still answer the call while the transcript is generating. Alternatively, if you decide based off this added information that you do not or cannot answer the live call, you can send it straight to Live Voicemail in your call log; the same happens if you ignore or do not answer the call and a voicemail is left.

iOS 17 live transcript without contact poster incoming call screen on the left; iOS 17 live transcript with a contact poster incoming call screen on the right. Images provided by Apple iOS 17 update materials.

Trust in Incoming Calls

Alignment across the telecom ecosystem, security and identity management experts, device manufacturers, service providers, and America’s most trusted brands will be needed to continue to move the industry forward to protect consumers from unauthenticated calls. By de-prioritizing the display of vetted brand information, this software release is another step back in the return of trust and transparency to incoming calls from unsaved contacts.  

Numeracle will continue to monitor future iOS releases for impact on name display on Apple devices. Branded call display on Android devices remains unchanged.

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