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What Does iPhone’s StandBy Mode Do and How to Use It

iOS 17 introduced some cool features, like the ability to create stickers from photos, contact posters, interactive widgets, and the popular StandBy mode. If you’re looking to learn more about StandBy mode on iPhone, read on. This guide explains what StandBy is and how to use it.

What Is StandBy Mode on iPhone?

StandBy mode is a new feature introduced with iOS 17, exclusively for iPhones and not for iPads. It converts your iPhone into a smart display (kind of), a digital photo frame, or a bedside clock, based on the selected screen when connected to a charger.

When StandBy mode is active, you will see useful information on your iPhone’s screen from a distance. That includes enlarged and actionable widgets, like a clock, calendar, reminders, etc., Even the notifications will appear larger.

If an alarm starts playing on your iPhone in StandBy mode, your iPhone will be converted into a big alarm clock as well. You will see big buttons for Snooze and Stop.

Iphone Standby Alarm Clock Mode

StandBy can also be used as a night clock, where the mode adapts to low light and shows everything in red color. Enable or disable it from Settings -> StandBy -> Night Mode.

Tip: check out the best smart alarm clocks.

Standby Mode Compatible Devices

The iPhone’s Standby mode will work on all iPhone models that support iOS 17, including:

  • iPhone 15/ 15 Plus/ 15 Pro / 15 Pro Max
  • iPhone 14 / 14 Plus / 14 Pro / 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 / 13 mini / 13 Pro / 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation, 3rd generation)
  • iPhone 12 / 12 mini / 12 Pro / 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11 / 11 Pro / 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS / XS Max
  • iPhone XR

However, there’s a catch. Standby will remain active only on devices that support Always-on mode. And that would be just the iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max for now.

On other iPhone modes, Standby mode will turn off automatically after 20 to 30 seconds, practically making the entire feature somewhat useless. You can activate it again by tapping the screen, slightly moving the iPhone, or shaking the stand/table.

Tip: to keep StandBy mode always active on supported devices, make sure the Always on toggle is turned on in Settings -> Standby.

How to Set Up and Enable StandBy Mode on iPhone

StandBy mode is enabled by default on the iPhone. It will be activated automatically on your iPhone when it meets the following three conditions:

  • Your iPhone is connected to a charger. It doesn’t matter whether it’s wired or wireless. However, make sure you are charging it from a compatible charger like MagSafe, Qi-based wireless charger, or a Lightning cable.
  • The iPhone should be kept in a horizontal (landscape) orientation and positioned slightly at an angle. Do not keep it on a flat surface. It will be activated automatically, even when Portrait mode lock is active. You don’t need to turn off the Orientation lock from Control Center.
  • Your iPhone must be locked.

Once it meets the above requirements, StandBy mode will be activated automatically on your iPhone after a few seconds. If StandBy mode is not turning on, make sure it’s enabled by going to Settings -> StandBy. The toggle next to StandBy should be enabled.

Iphone Standby Enable

How to Edit or Customize StandBy Mode on iPhone

When StandBy mode shows on your iPhone, you will be greeted by a screen with a clock widget on the left side and a calendar on the right. These are the default widgets for the first screen of StandBy Mode.

There are two additional screens or panels in StandBy mode. Swipe left on the screen to go to the Photos screen. Swipe left again to see the third panel with a large clock. Each screen is customizable. Swipe up on any screen to see other options available for that panel.

Below, we show how to customize the StandBy mode screens:

Widgets Screen

The first screen that you see in StandBy mode consists of two interactive widgets. Swipe up on the widgets on either side to scroll through the other available widgets.

Iphone Standby Widgets

Long-press any widget to add or remove widgets from StandBy Mode. Press theicon on the widget to remove it from the list. Or, tap on + at the top to add a new widget. You can also enable or disable Smart Rotation of widgets.

Iphone Standby Widgets Customize

As mentioned, the widgets are interactive. Use them via the screen, or tap on them to open the associated app after trapping on the arrow indicator at the top.

Tip: the default time for the Clock widget may be set to Cupertino. Long-press on the widget, then on the clock widget. Tap on the city name, and choose a different city.

Photos Screen

The next screen shows featured photos and memories by default.

Iphone Standby Photos

Long-press on the screen to select the album with photos you want to show by tapping on the + icon. Select multiple albums separately, then switch between them by swiping up or down on the Photos screen in StandBy mode.

Iphone Standby Photo Add Album

Tap on the time to see the date the photo was captured. You can also go to the photo directly from StandBy mode by tapping on the View in Photos button after tapping on the time.

Iphone Standby Photos Date

Tip: learn how to edit photos on an iPhone.

Clock Screen

This screen essentially turns your iPhone into a large digital clock. You can switch between different clock styles by swiping up or down. The clock screen also shows an upcoming alarm.

Iphone Standby Clock

The clock colors can be customized. Long-press on the clock, then tap on the white circular icon on the bottom right, to choose a color.

Iphone Standby Clock Mode

What Happens to Notifications in StandBy Mode

New notifications will be shown in full screen when StandBy mode is active on your iPhone. For instance, you will see the name and the content of the messages in StandBy mode.

Thankfully, you can either disable the notifications completely from showing up in StandBy mode, or have your iPhone show the notification preview only when you tap the screen. Both of these settings can be found in Settings -> StandBy.

Iphone Standby Notifications

Tip: know how to silence notifications on your iPhone.

How to Fix StandBy Mode Not Working on iPhone

If StandBy mode doesn’t work on your iPhone, make sure you are running iOS 17 on your iPhone. Also, the iPhone should be locked, connected to a charger, and kept in a horizontal position. You should also ensure that StandBy mode is enabled in Settings -> StandBy.

There is plenty you can do with the lock screen, even when you are not in StandBy mode. Learn how to customize the lock screen on an iPhone or iPad and how to use live activities.

All images and screenshots by Mehvish Mushtaq.

Mehvish Mushtaq

Mehvish is a tech lover from Kashmir. With a degree in computer engineering, she’s always been happy to help anyone who finds technology challenging. She’s been writing about technology for over six years, and her favorite topics include how-to guides, explainers, tips and tricks for Android, iOS/iPadOS, Windows, social media, and web apps.

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