iOS 11 New & Hidden features – The things you have to try

iOS 11 is the latest version of the Apple operating system for mobile devices and is available tomorrow (September 20) on a range of Apple iPhones, iPads and even the iPod touch.  We’ve been testing it for a few months and are here to tell you what’s new and what’s cool.

First and foremost, here’s the list of devices that support the new iOS 11:

iPhone iPad iPod
iPhone X 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2nd generation iPod touch 6th generation
iPhone 8 12.9-inch iPad Pro 1st generation
iPhone 8 Plus 10.5-inch iPad Pro
iPhone 7 9.7-inch iPad Pro
iPhone 7 Plus iPad Air 2
iPhone 6s iPad Air
iPhone 6s Plus iPad 5th generation
iPhone 6 iPad mini 4
iPhone 6 Plus iPad mini 3
iPhone SE iPad mini 2
iPhone 5s

Now that you’ve checked that, here’s what’s new and cool.

For iPad users this is the biggest update ever.  Never before have so many of the new features in an iOS update been dedicated to iPad usability and performance.  In this “post-PC era” the iPad has the chance to really be an alternative to a full computer or laptop, however it’s been held back by iOS – until now.

iPad:

There’s an all new dock for you to use.  Rather than a fixed dock on the bottom of only the home screens, the dock is now available to hover over any app.  A short swipe from the bottom brings it up over whatever you’re doing so you can switch to your favourite apps.

Plus, the dock also features the three most recent apps in the right hand corner, allowing a more “Mac-like” app switching concept.

 

Swipe up higher and you go into multi-tasking mode.  Recent apps are shown as large tiles, while control center buttons appear here too.

Multitasking is improved too – with compatible apps able to be placed over the top of other ones, or split side to side.  This is powerful when taking advantage of the all-new drag and drop functionality which means you can drop photos from your library direct into emails or documents – another very “PC-like” experience.

Then there’s the Files app – finally, Apple lets us look a little bit under the hood.

Think Windows Explorer, but limited to your “My Documents” folder.  At least it’s a start.  Cloud services like Dropbox will work here allowing you to seamlessly work between your folder and file locations.

And if you’ve got an Apple Pencil it really becomes more powerful. Annotations on web pages and screen shots, notes with handwriting recognition – yes, that’s right, scribble a note, then search for it in the universal search and that note will appear as a result.  That’s some magic stuff going on right there.

iPhone and more:

Most of these features are across all devices, though they are primarily going to be seen on iPhones.  For a start, Maps – we’ve now got lane guidance and indoor maps within Apple Maps.  Navigation integration with CarPlay means lane guidance is a must have and this is a big win.

The new Control Centre will freak you out.  Very different.  Unlike iOS 10 where its a swipe up then several “pages” swipe left and right, iOS 11 Control Centre is a single page.

You can customise in Settings what you want to appear there and you’ll need to dig around.

Pressing and holding in the “connections” area where Airplane Mode and WiFi are will show more, like AirDrop.  Press and hold the HomeKit button will bring up your devices.

The App store has had a huge overhaul.  A fresh new look brings it into line with the design cues from Apple Music for example and Apple hope it’s curation will serve up more great App ideas on the home page for you.

Siri is growing up and going to College, she’s a lot smarter now, offering translations on the go and is driven by an all new Artificial Intelligence engine so her voice sounds different too.

Hidden features you have to try:

These three are cool!

Do Not Disturb While Driving – you have to enable this in Settings > Do Not Disturb, but it can work whenever you connect to your car’s Bluetooth or when it thinks you are in a car.

Expect plenty of false positives on that, but no fear, if you’re not behind the wheel you press “I’m Not Driving” and all is well with the world again.

Notifications won’t appear, and your favourite contacts can get a text reply if you’re driving.  If they need you urgently those contacts  have an option to push their messages through.

Facetime Changes – Firstly the ringtone is different, more subtle, quiet, so enjoy that.  Secondly there’s a photo button.  So instead of taking a screenshot awkwardly, you can snap a pic which is saved as a moving “live photo” in your camera roll.

WiFi Password Sharing – if your mate is around your place, you no longer need to give him the password. Instead, you share your WiFi password via iOS 11 and a connection is sent to your mate without them ever seeing your password! Simple!

Augmented Reality

This requires a whole other article – honestly, it’s mind-blowing.  What’s coming today is crazy, I can’t imagine what’s coming in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Just check out IKEA, as well as the portal demo I’d done a month or so back.

Plus, young Yuma from Melbourne has created an Augmented Reality version of his hit game Let’s Stack!

Download now?

Yes.

Back in the day (oh, three years ago) it was risky early.  But in recent years Apple has conducted long public tests of the software.  As someone who tried it, I can tell you it was buggy, but that’s what trials are for.   It’s now stable and excellent, ready for you to install – so get to it!