If you have an iDevice, you have every reason to be excited about iOS 11 because it’s a major update! It is supported on the following devices: iPhone 5C and SE upwards; iPad 5/Mini 2/Air/Pro and above; and the lonesome iPod Touch 6th-gen. iOS 11 has a new look that will take a bit of getting used to, and tons of new features. If you’re reading this, you probably will be updating soon, or already updated.
I currently have mixed feelings towards it. I love the new features, but I don’t like the overall look of making everything look like Apple Music. If you go into Settings, Mail, Files, Messages, etc you will see this. It’s the way everything is written in a bigger font with a lot of white space around it; just not a fan. Other subtle changes is the network connection is now displayed with bars, the good old-fashioned way; gone are the dots. Don’t be alarmed, but the notification screen is now fused to the lock screen. It can get confusing in the beginning and take a while to adjust to because you think your phone is still locked. The keypad also looks different.
Here are some of the changes you can expect:
REVAMPED CONTROL CENTRE
When you slide from the bottom up, you will see a brand new control centre. It is customisable to a fair amount of what you’d like to see on there. Find it under Settings > Control Centre (boxed with Notifications and DND). I am most excited that I can now disable data so easily. When I’m on WiFi, I prefer keeping data off and where necessary when I don’t want to be disturbed. Shortcuts that you can add include Low Power Mode (it’s not hidden beneath a ton of layers anymore!), accessibility shortcuts, notes, voice memo, wallet, Apple TV remote, etc.
NEW LOOK APP STORE
The App Store has been designed from the ground up, so expect a brand new look. It’s got big icons that looks like a cross between a magazine style/Flipboard feed and Apple Music. Everything uses more space, so if you go into the “Updates” section, you will notice how spread out everything is, compared to before. It reminds me of the official Twitter app feed and how much space gets wasted. If you follow me on Twitter, you will know how much I despise it. I hate the waste of space. I prefer compact feeds that show as much as possible in the first glance/screen. Anyway. I am not a fan of the new design App Store.
iOS 11 brings a native screen recording feature, that is not unfamiliar to Mac users who’ve used the screen-casting feature. I used to make help videos on Mac once upon a time in 2010 for one of my work blogs, so this is nifty if you want to do something similar, or just show someone something from your handset. It is most convenient when located on the Control Centre for a quick start and end. Will this be the new way to capture stuff on Snapchat? Do people still use Snapchat?
DO NOT DISTURB WHILE DRIVING
Another really handy feature I’m already using is Do Not Disturb While Driving. You can add it to Control Centre, and you can choose how to activate it under Settings > Do Not Disturb and scroll down till you see it. I set my mine to activate when my phone is automatically paired to car Bluetooth so I don’t have to actively turn it on when I’m driving. You can choose an auto-reply message to go to All Contacts, Favourites, or Recents. The default message reads: “I’m driving with Do Not Disturb While Driving turned on. I’ll see your message when I arrive at my destination.” You can, of course, edit it.
I don’t know why this took as long as it did, but iOS 11 brings a Files icon to your homescreen, letting you access documents saved on iCloud. I make my desktop on Mac an iCloud desktop, so all my work gets saved to the (i)Cloud by default, which I can access access anywhere like my iPad, which is currently running a beta version of iOS 11. Now I can access anything from anywhere (on WiFi/data). About time. I just don’t like that you can’t view contents by type – I like having my folders appear first by default, so now I just make sure everything individual files are in a folder, and not sitting on their own. I must add though, the Files feature basically turns your iPad into a computer like view. It was created mainly to optimise iPad. And there are additional functionality for it but I am touching on iPhone for this post.
The Notes app is revamped and you can scan documents inside it. When you are composing a new note, there are five new controls available on the blank note, just go into the + sign. Your options are: scan a document, take a photo or video, photo library and add sketch. Once you select scan a document, you just place it in front of your camera lens, it automatically detects it, and takes a scan/pic, thereafter you can change it to greyscale, black & white, colour or photo. Once you’re done with edits, hit ‘save’. Go back to it to share to apps, markup (edits), create PDF, AirDrop, save to Files, etc. The scan gets sent as a PDF. What I don’t like is if you scan a business card or something smaller than your whole screen size, it adds the white blocks around it as if you were actually using a real scanner. Srsly.
You can get a colour coded graph view of your storage as if you are in iTunes on iOS. Go into Settings > General > iPhone Storage to view your files, and “offload” apps. This apparently deletes the app but saves your data. I have not tried it because I am always deleting stuff I don’t need and have 128GB of storage. I’m not there yet. But it will be especially handy if you have 16GB and always running out of space. On my list of apps by size, the actual “Phone” is my smallest, at 12KB. Because we never use our phones as a phone!
I don’t want to overwhelm you with features, I think these are some interesting ones that I’ve listed here but you can play around when you get it and discover stuff that way. There are some cool new retro Apple wallpapers to look out for, and a throwback to the original iPhone wallpaper that some of you may like. I think the notification/lock screen is going to be the longest to adjust to.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 14 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org