Apple made iOS 11 official while at WWDC 2017, way back in June.
As is customary for new versions of iPhone and iPad software, iOS 11 was pushed out to customers via an over-the-air update a few days before the new iPhones were due to land on store shelves in September 2017. There are updates to Apple Maps, the Control Center, Siri, Apple Pay, Music, and more. Here's everything we know about iOS 11 so far.
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What is iOS 11?
Apple's mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad is called iOS, and iOS 11 is the next major update to iOS. It brings a host of new features and improvements. Like all other software updates from Apple, iOS 11 is free to download and use.
When will iOS 11 be available?
The short answer is: now. Apple released the final public version of iOS 11 to customers on 19 September. Check this list to see if your iPhone or iPad supports the new software. Developers and consumers happy to use a beta software were able to get their hands on iOS 11 fairly soon after the initial announcement was made in Summer 2017.
What's new in iOS 11?
Siri has a new look in which your results will appear more like Google's "cards". Siri also has a male voice and some new voice tones for its female version. Other new features include suggestions for follow-up questions you can tap on, multiple results for a search topic, the ability to translate languages (English to Chinese, French, German, Italian, Spanish), and more.
Siri will attempt to learn what you're interested in, or need, based on your location, or information you've already asked for, and it'll suggest topics you'll want to know based on what you're doing, like a news item. It can respond to a message with your location or make a calendar appointment based on a reservation you booked, for instance.
When you sync to another new device, such as an iPhone, iCloud will automatically sync all your conversations (or it will at some point in the future - this feature hasn't arrived yet). So, if you delete a message on the iPhone, it'll delete on your laptop and iPad, etc. iMessages also has an app drawer now, which will make it easier to find stickers and more. You can also now use Apple Pay, with TouchID authentication, so you can quickly send payments via iMessage.
Control Center ditched the three-pane layout and is now a single panel so you can to get sliders and toggles right away, and it incorporates 3D Touch so you can access more specific, granule controls with a long press on the screen. You can even add more controls to suit the way you want to use it.
Apple also made the lock screen and notification center into one, meaning the lock screen will be able to show all your notifications. All you have to do is scroll up from the lock screen to see your notifications. You can still swipe left and right to get to widgets. This move should feel more convenient, as it give you the ability to quickly glance at alerts.
Apple Music now lets you play music in multiple rooms through different speakers, thanks to the new AirPlay 2 protocol. Multiroom audio will also work with third-party apps. You will be able to make and share public playlists with your friends, too, in the form of Shared Up Next playlists. Oh, and third-party apps, like Shazam, can automatically add songs it identifies to your collection.
Maps is adding 3D maps that help you navigate around indoors. You'll see detailed airport and mall floor plans, for instance, but only in major cities at first. And when on the road, you can to watch your speed, because speed limits are coming to Maps, along with guidance to tell you which lane you'll need to change into next. Apple has also introduced a one-handed zoom option.
When you look at your iOS device screen, you'll be able to interact with virtual items overlaid in your real world. In other words, you'll be able to place items like a cup on your table. Apple is launching the developer platform ARKit, which will allow them to take advantage of an iPhone or iPad’s camera, sensors, gyroscopes, and other hardware in order to offer AR experiences.
Apple said video and images take up less storage space now due to new compression technology, while low-light portraits will take advantage of optical image stabilisation and HDR. You can also loop a live photo to make a movie, or edit and trim it or save a still frame from a Live Photo. There's also a new long exposure effect. And finally, videos in "Memories" will now play in Portrait mode.
You'll now get an option to turn on Do Not Disturb while in Driving mode. It'll mute notifications, and there's an auto-response function you can use. The feature automatically detects when you’re in a moving vehicle, locks down your phone, and serves up a blank screen.
The App Store has a cleaner, simpler look on phone with separate Music app-style tabs separating content. There is an all-new Today tab, which shows new games and apps recommended for that day only. You can also see other days' content just by scrolling down. There are also new tabs for Games. It will showcase a selection of the latest games and present gameplay videos and tips.
It will also list popular games and in-app purchases. Apps also gets its own tab. Every app and every game gets a new product page on the store with all new features and a friendly design. The idea here is that the redesigned App Store should make it easier to find new apps. But we won't know for sure until we've had time to test it out.
There are iOS 11-specific features just for the iPad. The new app dock has space for more apps, and you can open them by pulling them up from the dock. A new App Switcher supports drag and drop for text, images, multi-select, etc. And a new Files app will house all files and folders to help you find everything on your iPad. Apple also added deeper support for Apple Pencil so you can mark-up anything.
The Notes app supports in-line drawings, search, and handwriting recognition with Apple Pencil, for instance. And lastly, a new QuickType functionality allows punctuation, alternate characters, and numbers to be accessed from one keyboard by simply via small gestures on a key. You can basically flick keys to access these other characters without having to switch views.