I know I criticized iOS 10 for not being a significant update, and I still stand by it. iOS 10 was half-baked - the pagination of the control centre caused more havoc than expected, the Music app had a standout new design that didn’t match with the rest of the OS, the Health app didn’t show steps until you tapped into the ‘Activity' section, and the animations were old and boring.
iOS 11 corrects many (if not almost all) of iOS 10’s mistakes, making it an update worthy of a positive review.
The All New Control Center
- You can (finally) toggle on and off cellular data and personal hotspot in the Control Centre
- You can customize the Control Centre to some extent to add additional toggles
- There is a 'record screen' toggle that finally makes screen recording on iOS a reality
- The Apple TV toggle has a full remote accessible through 3D Touch
Those are just a few, but there are plenty more great enhancements (and some small tweaks) that make the new Control Centre more useful.
Refined Animations + Improved Design
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The new animations in iOS 11 give the OS a layered feel - the cover sheet (R.I.P. lock screen) slides up when you unlock the phone, and apps open with a smoother animation that pushes them forward while the home screen moves backward. The multitasking panel opens up differently from the left. Because the new animations are well refined, they give the oldish design of iOS a fresh, new feel.
There are some strange shortcomings though. The biggest one is that you can no longer 3D Touch on the edge of the display to enter multitasking on iPhone 6s and above. This was initially said to be a bug in the developer betas but has been confirmed that it is a deliberate change.
Also, the iOS 10’s Music app theme is now all across iOS - from Messages to App Store. While I initially disliked the bold font design of the Music app last year, I got over it pretty quickly, and it now seems to be a natural part of every iOS app. The App Store is a stunning refresh - and I kid you not, the ‘Today’ page is convincing enough to make me want to purchase every app that is featured. Featured apps usually have accompanying write-ups about how they can be used or how they showcase a particular category of apps. For example, the Today page shows “Five tips to get more out of VSCO” to feature the VSCO app. The checkout process (Touch ID scan) on the App Store and across Apple Pay has a slick new interface.
iOS 11 has a unified lock screen and Notification Centre. Together, it is called 'Cover Sheet'. The cover sheet is where all your notifications and widgets live, and even from the cover sheet (locked or unlocked) you can swipe up to view your old notifications and 3D Touch to respond to individual notifications. The swipe to reply/open the app from the lock screen is gone, but you can now do the same using 3D Touch or long press.
Another new feature is Do Not Disturb While Driving - and it is a very useful safety feature once activated. Either by using GPS or by connecting via Bluetooth to your car’s stereo, your iPhone will know when you are driving and stop sending you unimportant notification alerts.
iOS 11 for iPad
Here’s a video by The Verge that covers some of the features:
Should you upgrade to the Public Beta? I’d say yes - and no. If you are doing it on an iPad that isn't given too much attention, you should do it, because it is worth it. On the iPhone though, be ready to experiences some camera crashes, battery drain and overall slowdown. Or maybe you can wait for a future beta release before hopping on the train!
You can try out iOS 11 here for free, officially, via Apple’s Public Beta program: https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/
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