iOS 11 beta: top 25 new features

There's a lot more to iOS 11 than Apple let on during its announcement. Here are a few of the features we found, As Apple continues to update the public beta and nears the full release of iOS 11, we will continue to monitor the following features along with new ones and update this post.


  1. View older messages - A swipe down from the top of the screen reveals your notifications, just as it has for some time now. However, a new Cover Sheet has replaced the Notification Center of old. It's confusing, mainly because it looks just like your lock screen, but it's not the lock screen. And on top of that, only a couple of notifications are displayed unless you swipe up to view older alerts. It's weird and will take some getting used to.

  2. Do Not Disturb... while driving - Apple is doing its part to eliminate distracted driving. Your iPhone can now detect when you're in a moving vehicle and can, if you want it to, automatically enable Do Not Disturb While Driving.

  3. Insert a drawing in Mail - There are times when the best way to explain something is to draw a picture. When composing an email, long-press and then select Insert Drawing from the pop-up. Draw, sketch or play tic-tac-toe and send it on its way.

  4. Begone, annoying volume slider - With iOS 11, Apple is finally moving the volume control that used to take over the screen when you were watching a video. Instead of showing a giant, annoying volume graphic, Apple tucked the volume indicator into a corner of the screen. Woo!

  5. Apple Music gets social - Apple is once again trying its hand at a social-oriented service with Apple Music profiles. The first time you launch Apple Music after updating to iOS 11, the app walks you through setting up your profile and privacy settings. In the future, you can find your profile and the same settings in the For You tab with a tap on your profile icon.

  6. FaceTime screenshots are a thing of the past - Instead of your trying to capture a precious moment during a FaceTime call by taking a screenshot, iOS 11 will let you take a Live Photo of the call. The toggle is in Settings > FaceTime. Tap the new shutter button while on a FaceTime call to take a FaceTime Live Photo. Pretty sweet, right?

  7. Emergency SOS - The Apple Watch is no longer the only Apple device with an Emergency SOS mode. Your iPhone can now call local authorities and contacts of your choosing if you simply press the power button five times. Depending on your preferences, which you can set in Settings > Emergency SOS, your phone will either prompt you to complete the call or will do it automatically.

  8. Take notes from the lock screen - You can now add a shortcut to the Notes app in iOS 11's revamped Control Center, and access the Notes from the lock screen. Hidden in Settings > Notes is an option to set the amount of time you want to go by while you can still access the last note you were in.

  9. Handoff has a new look - It's a small change, but the look of Apple's Handoff feature to open apps and web pages from a nearby Apple device has been slightly tweaked.

  10. Mark up all the things - A new sharing option has been added to iOS 11. It's called Markup as PDF and it lets you do just what it says. When viewing a web page, a photo or a file, tap the Share icon and select Markup as PDF, and iOS will convert it to a PDF. You can then use the iOS markup tool to draw, sign or add text to the document before saving or sharing it.

  11. Never talk to Siri again - A new Accessibility feature does away with the need to talk to Siri. Instead, you can type to Apple's digital assistant. Open Settings > General > Accessibility > Siri and toggle Type to Siri to the On position. Now, whenever you hold the home button to activate Siri a keyboard will pop up for use.

  12. A new Shut Down button - If your power button breaks, you can still turn the phone off with a new Shut Down option in Settings > General. Although, it's not clear how you will actually turn the phone back on if that is the case. But the option is there.

  13. Photo, Video format options - Apple is using a new photo and video file format starting with iOS 11, but if you'd rather not mess with it or are running into compatibility issues, you can revert back to the older format. Open Settings > Camera > Formats to set your own preference.

  14. Finer Background Refresh conrols - You can now decide whether you want apps to refresh in the background based on your device's connection type. Open Settings > General > Background App Refresh > Background App Refresh and select from Off, Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi & Cellular Data.

  15. Forget recent apps - The iPad's new app dock has a section that displays recently used apps, but if you're not a fan of the constant suggestions you can disable it. Open Settings > General > Multitasking and turn Show Recents Off.

  16. One-handed keyboard! - Apple has added a one-handed keyboard option to the iPhone. There are two ways to activate it:

    • Settings > General > Keyboards > One Handed Keyboard
    • Long-press on the emoji or globe icon on the keyboard

    You can select a right- or left-handed keyboard, and switch back to a full keyboard following the same steps outlined above.

  17. Universal notification control - Instead of having to go through each and every app's notification settings to set your privacy preference, iOS 11 now has a universal setting for message previews. Go to Settings > Notifications > Show Previews. There you can select the default setting for all apps.

  18. Storage - At a glance, you’ll get suggestions for deleting old messages and pictures, as well as apps that you don’t really use. The menu also shows you all the videos and attachments you can remove to free up space, and lets you act on it. If you’re still on a 16GB iPhone, this trick will certainly come in handy.

  19. Moveable 'Slide Over' Apps - A feature called Slide Over makes it possible to view a second app in a column along one side of the screen. But with iOS 11, Apple is providing more flexibility by allowing users to move that sidebar to either side of the display.

  20. Better Drag-and-Drop - With iOS 11, shuffling files between apps is easier and faster. Just hold your finger over a photo to select it, then drag it over the app you'd like to move it to. Dragging a photo over the Mail app icon, for example, will automatically open a blank message for sending.

  21. Select Multiple Files at Once - Those who often send photos in batches to friends and family members will appreciate this addition: To select multiple files at once in iOS 11, drag one file and then tap the others to add them to the bunch.

  22. Screen Recording - One new option for the Control Center is a button that allows you to record what's happening onscreen. Simply tap the icon to start recording, and then tap again to stop.

  23. A Bigger Dock - When iOS 11 launches, iPad owners will be able to pin more apps to the dock, enabling quick access to apps without having to sift through home screens. The new iPad dock supports up to 13 apps (and up to 15 on the 12.9-inch iPad), plus three more suggested by iOS, and you can swipe up to access the dock on any screen, including from within apps.

  24. An Easier Way to Manage Split-Screen Apps - Those who use their iPad primarily for work may find Split Screen mode helpful to keep their email inbox in sight while browsing the web or working on a document in Google Drive. Apple is making it easier to jump into those routines with the new app switcher in iOS 11, which preserves your app pairings. This means if you exit both apps to return to the home screen or launch a different app, you can open both of those apps again with a single tap from the app switcher.

  25. Design Changes - Before iOS 11 was unveiled, rumors suggested it would see design changes. We didn't get a complete overhaul to the design language, but there are indeed subtle design updates throughout the operating system. Many built-in apps have been refined with darker lines and bolder fonts, with Apple moving away from the thin fonts that have dominated since iOS 7. Some apps, like Phone and Calculator have new designs with darker fonts and round buttons sans borders, while others, like Reminders and Calendar, remain entirely unchanged. Still others, like Messages, Podcasts, and Apple News, feature smaller design tweaks.

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