With WWDC underway, we can expect a ton of changes to all of their major platforms. We already covered what is new with macOS High Sierra, and now it’s time to move onto iOS 11, which has a ton of major changes. Here’s everything you need to know.
The first thing that Apple’s senior VP of software Craig Federighi demoed on stage during the keynote address is synchronized conversations across iCloud, iOS, and macOS. Essentially, Messages is moving to iCloud. For instance, if you erase a message on your iPhone, it’ll also be deleted on your iPad and your Mac as well. Previously, you’d have to delete the message twice, once on each device. All of your conversations are stored on iCloud, making it easier to retrieve on future devices, but could also raise some security concerns.
Apple is also adding the option to have person-to-person payments through Messages. iOS 11 now has an Apple Pay Cash Card, where users can store received funds from peer-to-peer transactions. The money received can then be transferred over to your personal bank account.
With almost every WWDC keynote since Siri was announced, there have been added improvements that make the virtual assistant a lot easier and more productive to use. This year is no exception, with Apple improving the assistant’s voice to sound more natural when responding to users. It’ll also be able to perform translations from English to Chinese, French, German, Italian, or Spanish.
Suggestions are also getting improvement on Siri, thanks to “on-device learning.” On-device learning is synced across all of Apple’s devices but “kept completely private, readable only by you and your devices.” According to Apple, on-device learning lets Siri give you suggestions “based on the usage of Safari, News, Mail, Messages and more. For example, as Siri learns topics or places a user is interested in while browsing Safari, they will be suggested when typing in Mail, Messages, and other apps.”
The camera got some useful updates in iOS 11, with the option of letting users take portrait pictures with a flash, or in HDR. There is also a new Loop and Bounce mode that is applied to Live Photos, which is essentially Apple’s take on Instagram’s Boomerang mode. Apple is also using a new High-Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) which will shrink the amount of storage that photos take up on the device.
One thing to get a major overhaul in iOS 11 is Control Center, which has now relocated all of the quick settings into one tall panel, versus two smaller panels that users can slide across to choose; one being quick settings such as WiFi, Bluetooth, etc and a separate panel for Music controls. The new design should make it easier for users to quickly access settings and controls.
With the announcement of the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, Apple is also making some changes to iOS that will make the tablet more productive to use. One of them is making the dock on the home page reflect that on macOS, with the option of letting users add more apps to it for easier access. There is also a new drag and drop feature, which lets you quickly move info or media from one split-screen app to the other. Drag and drop can also be used with apps on your home screen or dock, as well. iOS 11 can also keep app pairings when you’re switching between apps. This feature is essentially the equivalent of macOS’s Spaces offering, but it’s now on the iPad.
Apple is also finally bringing over File management in iOS 11. However, it is only for the formerly mentioned new iPad Pro. The app was leaked prior to its official announcement, and it gives a simple view of all the files stored on their device as well as files stored on cloud services such as iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive and more.
Apple Maps was also updated with indoor maps for airports and shopping centers in select cities such as Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Jose, Tokyo, and Washington DC. Over 20 major airports have indoor maps, including both US and international locations.
Maps also have lane guidance and displayed speed limits when you’re navigating unfamiliar roads. Additionally, there’s a new safety measure: Do Not Disturb While Driving gets rid of potential distractions when you should be focusing on the road ahead instead. An example of removing distractions is now allowing text messages to be shown via default, although users do have the option to reply with “urgent” in some use cases.
Craig Federighi also announced that iOS 11 will support multi-room audio streaming across iPhones, iPads, and a ton of third-party speakers. This feature is what makes Sonos and their product line of connected speakers popular, so they will now have some intense competition on their way.
Apple Music also has a new social element, with the option to see what your friends are currently listening to on the service. This is much like what Spotify offers. Additionally, just like Spotify, users can opt-out of that social feature if you’d like to listen to your music in private.
One of the biggest changes to iOS 11 is the App Store, which is getting its biggest makeover since its debut. For starters, there’s a new “Today,” tab, which showcases notable releases, and the Games section gets its own dedicated tab. Additionally, developers can directly list in-app purchases in the App store page – rather than having users hunt for them within the app itself.
Apple is also previewing ARKit, which lets developers implement augmented reality directly into the core if iOS. Stuff that is included in iOS 11 that didn’t really get much attention includes screen recording, a one-handed keyboard mode, FaceTime live Photos, password autofill in apps, and a ton more.
iOS 11 will be available sometime in the fall and can be downloaded on the iPhone 5s and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad fifth generation, iPad Mini 2 and up, and iPod touch sixth generation. However, Apple Pay will require the actual NFC hardware to work.