iOS 11 is the latest in Apple’s widely-used mobile OS, providing improvements to go alongside the release of the iPhone 8 and upcoming iPhone X. iOS 11 features a number of tweaks and additions that make using your iPhone and iPad easier and more ergonomic. If you’re a big user of the Apple ecosystem, many of the changes here will be welcome, though some might slip under the radar. Here’s our pick of the 10 best features iOS 11 brings, from simple UI tweaks to big overhauls.
Customisable Control Centre
The new control centre is now almost completely customisable and features a whole new look. Whilst the old Control Centre used to be a small box at the bottom of the screen, the new one fills the screen when you swipe up, meaning it can fit more shortcuts than before. Features such as Night Shift (Apple’s Blue Screen night mode) are now accessible from here, as well as settings such as Low Power Mode, Notes, Text Size, Wallet, Screen Recording and more.
WiFi Password sharing
One neat little feature that Apple hasn’t shown enough of is the new WiFi Sharing function. This allows 2 iOS devices running in close proximity to share a WiFi password, so that one doesn’t have to type it in. This means that if your iPhone is connected to the WiFi but you need to use your iPad, you can get browsing without having to re-type the (often complex) password. Handy if you’re working on the train.
New camera settings
iOS 11 brings with it a whole host of camera settings that improve the experience alongside the more powerful camera of the iPhone X. These include built-in QR code support, meaning you can ditch the wonky third-party apps when scanning in QR codes and a levelling tool that allows you to line up your shots perfectly when taking a photo of something directly below you. Most important, though, is the new live photo editing, which allows you to change the look of your photos before you’ve even taken them, with long exposure, bounce and loop effects available.
When you take a screenshot on your iPhone or iPad with iOS 11, you’ll now be given the option to launch a separate editor where you can write on the image, crop it or add other effects. Simple, but handy if you’re big on showing your mates screencaps in your Whatsapp group.
Do Not Disturb for driving
Apple’s Do Not Disturb mode has been handy for those who don’t want their phone going off in the middle of the night, with iOS 11 allowing you to set it when you’re driving too. With this feature turned on, your phone will detect when you’re on the road and automatically be set to Do Not Disturb, so you won’t be tempted to glance at a text when you’re driving. This is a safety measure that more phones should utilise in the future and one of the few features that iOS has over Android.
A feature that iPads have had for a while, one-handed keyboard finally makes its way to iPhone with iOS 11. When typing a message, simply hold down the globe keyboard button and the keyboard will change into a mini version which can be moved to either the left or right side of the screen. This is handy if you want to use your phone with one hand and still type and has become especially prevalent considering the large size of the newer iPhones.
Apple Music improvements
Apple Music has been given some neat changes with iOS 11, making it a more social version than ever before. Users will be able to construct a profile that allows you to share playlists with friends and see the playlists they’ve created too. This “For You” section of Apple Music allows you to see any friends you follow and what music they’re listening to as well as suggestions for what to listen to next.
Apple Pay received a big update for iOS 11, allowing Peer-to-Peer payments for the first time. This means that you’ll be able to send money to your friends via Apple Pay, with users even able to do this via the Messages app via fingerprint authentication. You’ll also be able to pay into a new Apple Pay Cash Card, that sits alongside your other registered cards and works with any Apple Pay-compatible payment system. This is ideal if you want to keep some money aside for Apple Pay-specific purchases and it works a bit like PayPal in that respect.
New App Store
The biggest visual redesign of iOS 11 has been given to the App Store, which has improved its look to be cleaner and more usable. Games have been finally split up into their own section, so that it's easier to search for game apps and standard apps separately. The new “Today” tab features suggestions of apps you might like as well as App of the Day and Game of the Day highlights. Individual app pages have also seen a big overhaul, with a bigger focus on reviews and picture examples of the app. With hundreds of thousands of apps clogging up the App Store, these improvements are welcome.
Smart Invert Colours
Finally, this smaller improvement to the Invert Colours function wraps up the highlights of iOS 11. This function makes using Invert Colours more like a standard dark mode on other phones and tablets, with app icons and pictures in their standard form, where before they’d be inverted too. This makes Invert Colours actually viable now, as you’ll be able to keep it on without having to switch back to look at photos.