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It took me 8 months to try out this fantastic iOS 17 feature

The iPhone 15 Pro Max with Standby mode on the Anker MagGo Wireless Charging Station.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It has taken me quite a while, but I’ve recently had a chance to try out a feature in iOS 17 that, until now, I had forgotten even existed. I’m talking about StandBy mode, and I feel a bit silly for having passed it by for so long, as it’s really good.

Why haven’t I used it until now? It turns out I just needed the right piece of hardware to come along.

What is StandBy mode?

The iPhone 15 Pro Max with Standby mode on the Anker MagGo Wireless Charging Station.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If, like me, you’ve forgotten about StandBy mode, here’s a quick reminder about what it is. Introduced with iOS 17 in September 2023 after being previewed at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2023, StandBy turns your iPhone into a basic smart display when it’s on charge. Think of it like a simpler version of the Google Nest Hub or an Amazon Echo Show. It shows the time, photos, or various widgets in landscape orientation, so it’s suitable for the bedside or an office desk. It can also be augmented using certain apps.

Like many of the best iPhone and Apple Watch features, it activates automatically when the conditions are right. In this case, the phone needs to be placed on a charging stand so it’s angled and upright and in landscape rather than lying flat on a surface. Provided the phone is locked, Standby activates immediately, and if it’s in a dark environment, the display glows red, just like the special Night Mode on the Apple Watch Ultra 2’s Wayfinder and Modular Ultra watch faces.

Siri on the iPhone 15 Pro Max in StandBy mode.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Until recently, I’ve charged my iPhone overnight using the official MagSafe charging puck, which is small and convenient. I’ve also used a Google Nest Hub on my bedside table for smart home and assistant duties.

However, as I move away from Google’s smart home to Amazon’s smart home, the Hub has become superfluous. Then the Anker MagGo Wireless Charging Station — a portable MagSafe charger for the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods — arrived. And with it, my first experience with StandBy mode.

Anker’s charging dock

The unfolded Anker MagGo Wireless Charging Station.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I’ve used various charging docks for the iPhone and Apple Watch over the years, but many are quite big, or in some cases, the charging block or system generates some unwanted noise from the electricity flow or a fan. These irritations soon stopped me from using them. The Anker MagGo Wireless Charging Station is very compact and, so far, completely silent, making it ideal for a small bedside table.

It charges the iPhone using MagSafe-compatible Qi2 technology at 15 watts, and the magnets are strong enough to support the iPhone 15 Pro Max in a Casetify case. A 5W charging pad behind the angled MagSafe section charges your AirPods, and there’s a fold-out 5W Apple Watch charging puck at the back. It means the puck doesn’t have to be on show if you don’t own an Apple Watch, but it’s there if you ever decide to get one.

Folded up, the Anker charging station is barely larger than my palm (the company compares its size to a pack of playing cards) and is very light, so it’s also perfect for travel. While it’s not the most attractive charging dock I’ve seen or used, the compact, lightweight, multifunctional design keeps it out of the way without compromising on features. I don’t really need my charging dock to be a design feature in a room — I just want it to charge my phone and smartwatch.

What it’s like using StandBy mode

The iPhone 15 Pro Max with Standby mode in Night Mode on the Anker MagGo Wireless Charging Station.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Anker charging dock introduced me to StandBy mode. It was a happy coincidence, too, as StandBy is on by default in iOS, so it popped to life once my docked phone locked itself. I don’t need notifications or my calendar view overnight, so I’ve stuck with the map-style option that takes up the entire screen. It’s just bright enough in Night Mode to see the time, but not so much that it lights up the entire room with a spooky red glow.

But the biggest change for me has been to abandon my Nest Hub and rely on Siri to perform any additional smart home and assistant features I may need. Siri happily turns lights on and off, and interacts with my smart thermostat too. Most of the time, this is all I want, but I sometimes also want to check the weather forecast, and it happily helps me out. I noted how much Siri had improved when I reviewed the iPhone 15 Plus, and it continues to effectively listen and understand commands.

I like that the combination of Siri, Anker’s charging dock, and StandBy mode negates the need to have a dedicated smart speaker or display in the bedroom. I was considering an Amazon Echo Pop rather than the Nest Hub, but the iPhone and Siri perform almost the same tasks. Seeing as I charge my iPhone overnight anyway, this is an elegant, simple solution, and one less device always drawing power can only be a good thing.

Getting the right dock

StandBy mode on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Anker MagGo Wireless Charging Station has been my introduction to StandBy mode, but it’s not the only option if you want to try it out. We’ve got a selection of different docks and also enjoyed using Belkin’s unusual Auto-Tracking Stand Pro recently, along with Nomad’s Stand One Max. Provided the charging dock works with MagSafe charging and supports the phone in an upright landscape orientation, StandBy mode will work.

If you like the idea of the folding, travel-friendly MagGo Wireless Charging Station, it costs $110 and comes with the dock itself, a USB-C cable with an angled connector at one end, and a 40W wall charger — making it a good overall value. It works with every iPhone model released since the iPhone 13, all AirPods with wireless charging cases, and all Apple Watch models since the very first. StandBy mode requires iOS 17.

Yes, it has taken me many months to try out StandBy mode, but it came along at exactly the right time, just as I reorganized my smart home system. And it took the right piece of equipment to remind me that it existed. If, like me, you have also forgotten about StandBy mode, give it a try soon, as you may find it just as helpful.

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Andy Boxall
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
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