Update: iOS 11 release date is here, at least for public beta testers who want to install it on their iPhone and iPad in these early stages.
What's it like? Is it worth the hassle of testing unfinished software? We've added our updated thoughts on each and every new iOS 11 feature below.
We've heard word that the second public beta of iOS 11 has been release and we're busy testing it out. Be on the lookout for an update coming soon.
- iOS 11 is great. Also great is our Amazon Prime Day deals list
iOS 11 is transforming your iPhone and iPad, and Apple's update is either out right now or just a few months away, depending on who you are.
It's an especially big upgrade for the iPad. Apple's tablet becomes a possible laptop replacement (for some people) with revamped iOS multitasking. Both the iPad and iPhone get a much-needed Control Center reorganization, too.
There are new camera modes, Siri is smarter, and iOS 11 (finally) thrusts Apple to the forefront of augmented reality innovation. The iPhone 8's AR rumors are all but confirmed at this point.
Here everything you'll experience in the iOS 11 beta that's now open to the public.
iOS 11 dock makes iPad multitasking easy
iOS 11 includes a dock just like a Mac computer, and it follows you from app-to-app along the bottom. It's hidden, but you can always swipe up to access it.
The bottom app dock also shows up in the multitasking menu, which is now laid out in a grid. It's so much easier to jump between apps now, like on a MacBook.
TechRadar's take: This is the most important iOS 11 change if you own a newer iPad. We found that the new dock and multitasking grid menu less like siloed app switching and more like a multi-window-friendly computer. That's important for the growing number of people who use the iPad Pro as a laptop-replacement.
Drag and drop comes to the iPad
Drag and Drop also debuts on iOS 11, and instantly launches apps into split-screen mode when you drag them to the side of the screen.
You can also transport items across a halved screen: text, photos, hyperlinks and files. This – not the iMac Pro – is Apple's answer to a touchscreen computer.
iOS 11 makes the iPad feel closer to a laptop than merely a super-sized iPhone, and it's something that no Android tablet, not even the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, offers today.
Drag and Drop for iPhone may be a possibility in the future, but according to beta testers, it's currently disabled in the ongoing developer beta.
TechRadar's take: This removes several unnecessary steps when using an iPad for productivity purposes. In our testing, we were relieved to no longer be forced to copy and then paste simple text and photos between a split-screen menu. It's all right there. You should be able to drag and drop, we thought for the last two years. Now we can.
iOS 11 release date
Now that all of the iOS 11 news is out there – and before we get to the rest of the changes – let's stop to tell you when the iOS 11 release date happens.
iOS 11 will launch this autumn, according to Apple, but developers enrolled in Apple’s developer program can download iOS 11 now, at least in its early form.
You can test it out, too, as Apple just launched the iOS 11 public beta on June 26, 2017 and it works on both the iPhone and iPad.
TechRadar's take: Should you download iOS 11? We've done it (clearly). For the most part, it's been an amazing upgrade, but some apps that rely on Bluetooth –like our smart door lock – can be problematic. It's up to the developer to sort this out, but that may not happen until September with the rumored iPhone 8.
iOS 11 features hint at iPhone 8 AR
iOS 11 gives Apple the largest AR platform in the world – overnight, thanks to so many iPhones and iPads out there. It's an instant boon for augmented reality fans and developers alike.
That's why the developer-focused Apple ARKit is a big deal for everyone, not just app makers. It hints at the biggest features to come from the iPhone 8 three months from now. Get ready for a futuristic life in augmented reality.
What is Apple ARKit on iOS 11 exactly? Developers will be able to place virtual objects into the real world using your iPhone or iPad and its camera.
It's like a really advanced version of Pokemon Go, but with many more possibilities.
In fact, Pokemon was one of several AR demos Apple showed off. But we were even more impressed with what Peter Jackson's studio Wingut AR demoed.
Its complex AR showcase involved a battle between an outpost and spaceships, and it all happen on an otherwise peaceful, empty living room table.
Speaking of tablets, Ikea is reportedly a launch partner for the iOS 11 AR feature, letting you place imaginary furniture in rooms down to the millimeter.
Apple just created a new playground for million of existing devices and put the Microsoft Hololens and Google Tango on notice.
TechRadar's take: Don't expect a whizbang augmented reality experience if you download the iOS 11 beta right now. These are developer tools meant to craft an AR future for the iPhone and iPad. That said, we're very hopeful for Apple's big AR push given how many iOS devices there are out there.
iOS 11 puts Apple Pencil to the test
Apple Pencil is a great little tool for the iPad Pro series, but our one complaint in our iPad Pro 9.7 review was that you can't use it everywhere you'd like to in apps.
That all changes with iOS 11. Instant Markup lets you draw on PDFs and photos and Instant Notes lets you jot things down ASAP – right from the lockscreen.
All of your Instant Notes on the lockscreen are saved in Notes, so don't worry. And drawing on Notes near existing text cleverly now moves the text out of the way.
Document Scanner in Notes defeats the need to painstakingly scan important documents that you need to sign.
It scans, crops edges, removes tilt and glare and lets you fill in the blanks or sign away with an Apple Pencil.
TechRadar's take: This is another significant update for the iPad Pro series. We're not saying the Apple Pencil was useless, but the scenarios for it were very limited (hello, artists). Now, iOS 11 makes it a productivity tool and it goes hand-in-hand with the wizardry of Apple's document scan.
New iPad keyboard shortcuts
Apple is making a big productivity push with the iPad Pro 10.5-inch, and iOS 11 is doing its part with tweaked keyboard shortcuts.
It combines letter keys with numbers, symbols and punctuation marks (normally reserved on the second keyboard layer) and accessed by a new flicking gesture.
Flicking these secondary numbers and symbols downward is easier than having to switch back and forth between the two layers. We kind of wish it were coming to the iPhone 7 Plus, too.
TechRadar's take: This is one of the smallest iOS 11 changes, but also one of the most important. Not having to flip back and forth between keyboard layers saves you a step, which results in about half a second of saved time. Add them up over the course of the day, and you've got more time on your hands a less stressful means of typing out an real email that's longer than one line and filled with typos. We really like this new iOS 11 feature.
Apple Files opens up your many clouds
Apple is debuting a new Files app in iOS 11 that lets you sort through all of your files. Your can browse, search and organize them all in one place.
Apple Files not only has recent files from your iPad, but on other iOS devices, in iCloud Drive and from other services, including Box, Google Drive and Dropbox.
TechRadar's take: This move, like announcing the Apple Pencil two years ago, goes against what we expected from the company. However, it's a welcome change with iOS 11. You may not use files right away, but as you rely on the new remote document and photo repository more and more, it'll become essential to your device.
iMessages won't take up your storage anymore
iOS 11 is making iMessages even better than it already is with seamless iCloud syncing across your iPhone, iPad and Mac.
That means two things. First, when you delete a conversation bubble on an iPad, it'll also disappear on your iPhone and MacBook Pro. Great.
Second, it frees up all of your iMessage storage, a real problem for rabid texters who have been with Apple since iMessage first launched.
Whether or not you know it, iMessages take up a bunch of space in your iPhone and iPad. It's all of that 'Other' storage in yellow if you ever look in iTunes.
Soon, with iOS 11, you'll be able to back up all of your iMessages to iCloud as they get archived to Apple's secure internet servers. That's a big relief.
TechRadar's take: The fact that iOS 11 syncs iMessages between devices via iCloud may be a bigger change than all of the cosmetic, sticker-filled additions we got with iOS 10. Why? Because even though it's a great texting app, especially since you can message people on a Mac and iPad (something that's not easy to do natively on Android), messages can get out of order or remain on your other devices once you delete them. The fact that it frees up a lot of storage from the yellow 'Other' mystery bar is a bonus.
Apple Pay payments to friends
Apple Pay is expanding to include person-to-person payment features when you upgrade to iOS 11. It's exactly what Venmo and PayPal do right now, but via an app-free solution.
Apple Pay payments use Touch ID for authentication and iMessages to send between friends or other contacts who owe you money.
With so many contactless payment options on iOS right now, including Gmail and Facebook, there's no reason avoid paying back your friends.
TechRadar's take: This is Apple's me-too attempt to expand Apple Pay into a Venmo rival, and it's overall a good thing. Whether or not most users will get a lot of use out of it remains to be seen. It's hard to drive awareness to this new iOS 11 feature, even if it can be handy in everyday life with friends.
- Convinced? How to get iOS 11 on your iPhone and iPad today
Welcome to the new App Store
We didn't get an iTunes refresh at WWDC 2017, but iOS 11 is giving us a brand new App Store on the iPhone and iPad.
The Today tab leads things off by refreshing its app picks daily and telling stories behind the top apps. The format feels very much like what Apple did in Music last year.
Don't worry, every app will still have a product page, but iOS 11 is putting a lot of focus on the new 'Games' and 'Apps' tabs to spotlight the best in those areas.
Apple says the new App Store on your mobile devices is 'designed for discovery' and is a way to make app downloading exciting again, like it was nine years ago.
TechRadar take: We've looked around the new App Store on iOS 11 and like what we see for the most part. The updates tab isn't as streamlined due to more white space among menus and larger text that spans more lines than before, but everywhere else that's a benefit. It's about time things changed for this app.
iOS 11 for better lossless audio
It's not confirmed, but it's been hinted that iOS 11 could support lossless audio, all thanks to the new Files app.
Apple's FLAC lossless audio support on iPhones and iPads would finally give us a way to listen to uncompressed without convert everything to its ALAC standard.
It's a small, but meaningful change for Apple's formerly music-driven portable audio player and for its future with AirPlay 2 and the Apple HomePod.
TechRadar's take: We haven't been able to experience this iOS 11 feature just yet, we it's a promising change for audio lovers. We're also excited by the prospect of iOS 11 allowing us to control multiple speakers individually or all at the same time – even if they're from different manufacturers.
Siri is smarter and sounds different
Siri is getting a more natural-sounding voice with the iOS 11 update, and you're able to pick between female and male voice options.
To make Siri sound like AI from the future, Apple gave it a way to say the same word with different tones. It's not always the same robot-like pronunciation.
Siri is boosting its contextual learning, too, going as far as surfacing different word suggestions after you read a specific news story in Apple News or Safari.
Did you just read a news about Iceland and are starting to type in a word like Reykjavik? Let Siri finish up that forthcoming typo of yours.
Siri is on 375 million devices, and is in more languages and more countries than any other personal assistant. So Apple is taking advantage of that with iOS 11.
It uses deep learning for quick translations like we haven't seen before. Want to order an authentic dish in Chinese? Just have Siri say it for you.
TechRadar's tech: iOS 11 beta proves that Siri isn't only smarter, but sounds more human in this version of the operating system. Whether or not it can answer more contextual questions (understanding 'it' and 'they' when asking a second question based off the first) like Google Assistant can remains to be seen in the final version.
iOS 11 revamps Control Center
iOS 11 gives Control Center a complete overhaul with an all-in-one look to put quick controls at your fingertips – without having to swipe between menus.
Everything is combined now: system controls, app shortcuts and music controls. Just pull up from the bottom of the screen and there they are.
It's a lot different than before, so the design will force you to get used to the new arrangement (you'll probably hate it on day one, love it on day two). Of course, it'll be easier and faster once it becomes second nature.
You'll also be able to disable Control Center in apps. This is helpful for games where swiping up may be a means to control on-screen characters or maps.
TechRadar's take: Don't let Control Center's unrefined, button-filled looks fool you. It's a great new addition to the iOS 11 feature list. We've been asking for custom shortcuts in this menu since it first launched, and now we finally have them (at least for a lot of first-party apps and settings). it still doesn't have a fast way to connect to new Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals – you'll need to go to the settings app for that. But everything else is a step in the right direction compared to the multi-pane Control Center from years past.
Lockscreen and notification center are now one
Lockscreen notifications and notification center are joining forces in iOS 11, and that makes it easier to see which older alerts you've missed.
Swiping up on the normal lockscreen will display notifications from earlier in the day, essentially giving you access to notification center from the lockscreen.
Meanwhile, the usual notification center gesture (swipe down from the top of your iPhone) brings up the new lockscreen/notification center menu.
TechRadar's take: Remember how getting rid of slide to unlock in favor of using the Touch ID button really threw you in last year's update (and many people disabled the press down means of lockscreen entry). This is one the same level. It takes some time to get used to. It's helpful, but we're used to swiping notifications left or right on the homescreen, which now leads to the Today menu or the camera app, even if you're overtop of a notification. This is requires more of a muscle memory retraining than anything else.
New camera modes and photo storage
The iOS 11 camera app debuts new modes that further chip away at the need to always bring a high-end DSLR with you. It's that advanced.
Apple's Live Photos take on Instagram's Loop app with its own Loop and Bounce options. Either play them in a loop or have them rock back and forth endlessly.
Long exposures are going to let you capture still photos with proper motion blur. Think: waterfalls, car traffic tail lights, stars moving across the night sky.
New filters are also coming to iOS 11, with Apple promising that portrait photos will be expressive and skin tones more natural in the end.
It's also changing the way we store videos and photos with new standards, HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format) and HEVC (the High Efficiency Video Codec).
The good news here is that these next-generation compression technologies won't take up nearly as much storage – and you'll never even notice.
TechRadar's take: Live Photos have been fun, but they're never perfect, especially if you have a cool motion photo that ends with you pointing your camera down toward the ground because you thought the moving photo would have stopped recording by then. Now you can trim them and loop them for better effects.
Driving without distraction thanks to iOS 11
You shouldn't be driving and texting anyway, but Apple is literally driving that point home with a new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature in iOS 11.
It'll shut off notifications just like Do Not Disturb, but do so automatically if you are behind the wheel. Apple concedes not everyone has Apple CarPlay just yet, which it argues is a safer, hands-free solution. But this feature allows you to drive safely without it. It will even shoot a text over to those who try to contact you with a message saying that you will get back to them shortly.
What if you're just a law-abiding passenger? It's easy to confirm that, so you can continue to ignore the driver by looking at important cat GIFs on your iPhone.
What if you really need to get in contact with someone? You can enter the word "urgent" to break through the Do No Disturb feature.
TechRadar's take: We have already found this useful driving in our car. It turns on automatically and asks us if we're the one driving, just in case we're not. You do have an out as a passenger. We also found there's an automatic text reply that can optionally be sent to anyone who messages you while you're driving. Another step-saving iOS 11 improvement.
Apple Maps goes indoors, adds lane assist
One less distraction comes with Maps, which is getter smarter on the road and even indoors as of the iOS 11 update.
Lane assist and speed limits are coming to Apple Maps, which is handy for safe driving in all ways. Maps has come a long way since its disastrous inception.
And while Apple isn't done improving Apps outdoors, it's going indoors, too with detailed maps of hundreds of airports and malls around the world.
This is the future: finding out which restaurants are past security at LAX or which stores are on level three of the multi-story mall is possible with iOS 11.
TechRadar's take: Apple Maps has only become reliable in the last year, and it's starting to give Google some competition with these new features. It's playing catch-up with lane assist, but we're intrigued by the possibilities of indoor mapping in the final iOS 11 version. That's not really a thing other mapping apps do, and that may still be the case come September.
Your music just got better with iOS 11
Apple is expanding its already leading presence in Smart Home control with new iOS 11 multi-speaker controls and further tweaking the Apple Music design.
This is great news ahead of the Apple HomePod launch.
AirPlay 2 will let you control your several speakers throughout your house with a new Apple Home menu. Everything can be in sync on all of your home speakers
Apple Music is getting equally exciting changes. You'll be able to amass better playlists by consulting with your friends – without ever having to ask them thanks to shared playlists, albums and stations.
Siri is getting in on music curation, too, with Apple promising that as of iOS 11, its virtual assistant knows sounds you love and can answer band trivia.
TechRadar's take: Multi-room audio, whether or not you have Apple's new speaker, is a great addition to iOS 11. it remains to be seen, however, if your existing speaker will be able to upgrade to support Apple's AirPlay 2 standard. Everything else about the Music app changes we like, especially the ability to curate playlists based on what friends are listening to.
More iOS 11 features to come
The official iOS 11 release date is still three months away, but developers are sure to discover new features in between now and then.
You may be able to unearth additional features from the public beta that just launched. If that happens, let us known and we'll add it to our iOS 11 guide.
Read on for everything we heard about iOS 11 ahead of WWDC 2017!
The iOS 11 release date therefore has tremendous hype surrounding it, and we'll get a chance to check out the first iOS 11 features in the new developer preview, out now.
Here's all the iOS 11 news and rumors that we found prior to the OS' official unveiling, along with features we hoped topped Apple’s priorities list.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next version of iOS
- When is it out? Likely June 5 announcement and September launch
- What will it cost? iOS 11 will be free to download
iOS 11 release date
The official iOS 11 release date is likely mid-September, along with an iPhone 8, according to Apple's scheduling history.
Good news: you should be able to download iOS 11 beta as soon this week, as it's expected to be unveiled at the WWDC keynote today.
Apple's WWDC keynote is where Apple previews the first iOS 11 features. Just don't expect iOS 11 to be completely finished by Monday morning.
With iOS 11 beta (including a iOS 11 public beta in July), we'll see several iterations over the course of three months until the final public release.
Again, this is all based on past iOS releases rather than any news or rumors, but there’s no reason to think Apple will change its rock-solid schedule.
iOS 11 Siri upgrade
iOS 11 is expected to have Siri graduate from voice assistant to full-blown a AI bot thanks to a new version of Siri, according to multiple rumors.
The big iOS 11 change is due in part to the Apple Siri Speaker release date and news we expect at WWDC. Siri will finally rival Google Home and Amazon Echo.
Siri in 2017 is supposed to learn your habits and change how it treats you based on what you've done in the past. We may also be able to type to Siri in iOS 11. That's great news for anyone who wants to turn to Siri in noisy environments.
Not only is Siri expected with answer your questions more quickly, it's poised to anticipate how you'd act. It's geared toward "What's your next question?" and having that answer prepared, too.
Major iPad changes
We're already anticipating a 10.5-inch iPad Pro announcement on Monday, and WWDC conference may give us new software too.
If iPads are the future of mobile computing, we need to see Apple create software that takes advantage of its Apple A10 Fusion processing power.
It's time to break out of those 1:1 video calls and, with iOS 11, invite the whole group to your FaceTime chat – or at least do a 3-way FaceTime call.
Apple is reportedly a Group FaceTime feature, something that's long overdue, as already a part of Google Hangouts, Skype and Facebook Messenger.
It's still an iOS 11 rumor, but we fully expect to see this logical feature launch in the post-WWDC 2017 beta or, more likely, in the final software this autumn.
FaceTime Audio takes over phone calls
Prepare to make more FaceTime Audio calls because that's supposed to be the default of future iPhone-to-iPhone phone calls – like iMessages, but for calls.
FaceTime Audio will become the normal calling mode between Apple devices, according to a now-deleted post from Reddit user cyanhat.
Replacing cellular calls and saving your once-precious minutes would have been ideal ten years ago when unlimited data plans and limited minutes existed.
Now, data is more precious than minutes in most countries, so we'll see if Apple makes with a Wi-Fi only change when iOS 11 is announced on June 5.
An official sleep tracking app
Apple could make quick use of its acquisition of Beddit, an app company that's been described as the 'Fitbit of Sleep tracking.'
iOS 11 could get an official sleep tracking app – though we don't expect to see such an app launch right away in the iOS 11 beta.
Apple could save the feature for the Apple Watch 3, but there's bound to be some sort of iOS 11 integration in order to display your sleep score and graph.
Apple Pay with friends
Apple Pay is already in 15 countries, including the US, UK, Australia and most recently, Taiwan. Italy will make the 16th soon.
The next big step for the iPhone's contactless payment system may have Apple taking a direct shot at popular mobile payment iOS apps like Venmo.
Peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments will be a part of an Wallet app update, notes to the same Reddit post. It's said to have a social feed and iMessage integration, too.
More from Apple Clips
Apple was also rumored to be working on a new video sharing and editing app, similar to Snapchat. We got that with Apple Clips (so far, everything rings true).
But we could see the filtered video app get a proper spotlight and new features with the iOS 11 launch, maybe right inside the default camera app.
After all, Apple really needs to redesign its barebones camera app (Why can't you switch resolutions in the camera app instead of in the settings menu?).
The company's tipped to make sharing and connectivity with contacts a system-wide feature, and it may consolidate communications to a single optional menu.
This way, you'll be able to see all your SMS messages, emails and social network interactions with a given person on a single screen.
iOS 11 low-power mode
Apple needs a small rethink on the great, but unrefined low-power mode. That could very well happen in the iOS 11 update.
Rumors point to a more intelligent low-power mode that will learn your habits battery conserving habits and try to create a schedule to automatically put itself into low-power mode, according to cyanhat.
It's also said to be geographically adaptive, so if you want to be in low-power mode whenever away from your house, iOS will automatically make those changes for you.
The other change we're hoping to see is bringing low-power mode out of its settings menu confines and into the Control Center. My, my, that giant Night Shift button is mighty big. Low-power mode could easily fit in half of Night Shift's Control Center real estate.
One thing we’re expecting to see soon from iOS is a Dark Mode, which would make backgrounds black, so you don’t strain your eyes when using an iOS device at night or in other dim environments.
Resources for the feature have already been found within iOS 10, so it’s probably something that Apple plans to add imminently.
Of course, there’s already a Night Shift mode, but that’s a bit different, as it reduces the amount of blue light rather than making the display darker.
What we want to see
That can't be everything from the iOS 11 update, so we're diving into theories about other features ahead of this week's WWDC announcement.
Here's our wish list for addition iOS 11 features.
1. Customizable Control Center
Control Center is a handy shortcut to a number of quick settings, but it’s not customizable, meaning that for certain options, such as music controls, you must swipe to the second tab – an annoying extra step for anyone who listens to a lot of music or podcasts on their device.
Worse, some actions, such as GPS, don’t have Control Center toggles at all, so we’d like to see the ability to customize both what options are displayed and which tab they appear on.
2. Always-on display
Samsung impressed us with the always-on display of phones like the Galaxy S7 – giving you a constant clock and a window onto your notifications, and we’d like to see a similar option built into iOS 11.
Raise to wake makes it quicker than ever to view the lock screen, but if we just want to check the time we'd rather not have to even raise the phone, and an always-on display would be a solution.
3. Home screen widgets
Apple’s lock screen widgets are handy, and help stop the home screen getting too cluttered, but we’d still like the option to put widgets on our home screens.
It’s not just about having quick access to apps and information, but also about customizing devices to make them our own, whether that means having a big custom clock and weather forecast on our main home screen, an overview of upcoming calendar events, or whatever else.
4. Smarter Siri
Siri is getting better all the time, but there’s still room for improvement, especially as in many ways Google Assistant has it beat.
We’d especially like to see improvements to Siri’s context awareness – so for example reliably being able to answer follow-up questions without you having to clarify the subject again.
5. Grouped notifications
Everyone likes to be loved, and there's nothing better than your WhatsApp blowing up – until that is, you take a gander at your lock screen or notification bar.
Currently, iOS seems unable to group messages from the same contact, or message group, together, giving you an almost never-ending stream of notifications.
Come on Apple, give us "19 new messages from 2 chats" and the ability to expand to see more if we so desire. Pleeaassssseeeeee.
6. Clear all background apps
Being able to hop quickly between different apps is handy, but sometimes we like to clean up the multi-tasking panel and start fresh. Thing is, on iOS 10 that involves swiping each individual app to close it.
For iOS 11 we’d love to have a “clear all” option, allowing us to shut all the background apps with a simple tap of an icon.
7. Easy video resolution changes
iOS is often thought of as simple and intuitive, and for the most part it is, but glaring usability issues sometimes emerge, and one of those is the inability to change video resolution from the camera app.
Instead you have to dig down into the main settings screen, which takes time, isn’t intuitive at all and could leave some users unaware that it’s even an option.
This should be an easy fix, so hopefully with iOS 11 Apple will add a video resolution toggle to the camera app itself.
8. Improved Mail app
Apple's Mail app got a bit of love in the iOS 10 upgrade, but the new look isn't overly slick. Scrolling through an email conversation feels clunky, and rival apps such as Gmail feel better put together overall.
In iOS 11 we'd like to see a cleaner, slicker and more user friendly Mail app, and if Apple wants to take a few pointers from Google's Gmail offering we won't complain.
Also, we want to be able to insert hyperlinks into anchor text with the Mail app. Yes, that's still not possible today, resulting in Long URLs for all links you send.
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