This year, Apple has filled its mobile OS with a vast list of features. iOS 11 is here. And you’re probably wondering whether you should upgrade or not. Here’s a list of my favorite features in iOS 11, which should help you prioritize your decision to upgrade, should you choose to do so. But if you’re apprehensive, go slow on the upgrade.
Capturing a screen just became convenient
For iOS 11, Apple seems to have put deep thought into photos, and the process of taking screenshot. Most of us tend to capture screenshots to share in conversations on messaging apps or social networking websites. Typically we just need the screenshot at the time of sharing. After we’re done sharing these image files, they typically lie on our device occupying storage space.
With iOS 11, when you capture a screen on your iPhone or iPad, iOS will prompt you to crop the image to highlight the relevant portion. Once you do that, the image can be shared directly to any app you wish. Once you’re done, iOS 11 also automatically prompts you to save, or delete the file.
To begin with, the Photos app has a new look and feel which is consistent across iOS 11. Even the new App Store has the same look and feel. It gives the feel of a magazine page, with a bold headline on the top. In this case, the menu title is in bold. So if you’re in Photos, you’ll see the word Photos in bold. Similarly, when you capture images, for instance Live Photos, you can add Live effects and do quick edits as well.
The Notification system has a new look on iOS 11. While I love the idea of making it more touch friendly from a UI point of view, there’s also newer notification styles such as persistent, where the notification stays on the screen like a sticker. Think of it like a pinned post to remind you of something important. So you could pin notifications from a workout app to stay persistent during your routine exercise duration.
I’m not sure what to say about the Control Center. It’s different. Some say it resembles the remote of an Apple TV. Some say just about any remote control. Some love it. Some hate it. I think the Control Center has always been left out of the design language of the rest of the system in iOS. To an extent, it’s visually been disjointed.
Functionally, it allows you more access to do things. You have 4 levels of brightness for the torch/flashlight. Volume and Brightness are two factors you can adjust by sliding your finger on two long button sliders. You can populate a whole long list of menu items for the control center.
Finally, a file manager app
This is a new app for the iPhone and iPad. It’s a long-standing need for Apple users. Although the Apple ecosystem hasn’t gotten any more open, it now allows you to enjoy a file manager.
Since the iPhones now come in multiple sizes, the onscreen keyboard doesn’t necessarily become a one size fits all solution. To help address problems arising out of different customer needs, Apple has made the onscreen keyboard rather flexible in iOS 11.
The Notes app in iOS 11 has several nifty features. For one, a built in document scanner that gives you PDF versions ready to share via email or your favorite app. Where it comes in useful is when you have a long list of receipts and documents that you need to save for your reference later. Simply hold the document in front of you, initiate the Notes app, tap on +, and then tap on Scan Document. The way this app works is similar to Microsoft Lens.
iMessage and emoji
Well here, other than some new emojis, which we’ve already spoken about, there’s not much you could enjoy with older devices. The iPhone X which has a face scanning system to track your emotions and present animojis would come at a cost. ALSO READ: World Emoji Day: Apple celebrates emojis by previewing iOS 11 emoticons
Similar to the Photos app, the App Store continues to have the same design language of a bold title, and a magazine layout. The App Store goes a step further. Every app now has a storified listing. You pretty much read a story about the app. If you like it, you could try it.
Siri got more human
I’ve finally found Siri useful. The ability to send WhatsApp messages came in iOS 10. But the process wasn’t as fluid and natural in interaction as it is in iOS 11. Since Siri is now more human, I feel I sound more robotic than Siri in this video.
Over the past year, machine learning has been a major focus area for tech companies. Even Google and Microsoft have been heavily focusing on that area.
The Apple Music service in iOS 11 emphasizes on its ability to learn your listening patters, and suggest music for the occasion. Similar to what memories does for photos, Apple Music can more effectively suggest music to listen to based on your preferences, current mood, and your query.
It’s only a matter of getting familiar with the commands that Siri understands, and the rest falls in place. For instance, when I tried sending a WhatsApp message to the BGR India group, Siri didn’t quite understand the query. But when I broke it down into bits, I was able to go forth with my objective. I began by saying WhatsApp message. The response is a query. Who do you want to send it to. I respond by saying BGR India. Siri understands that it needs to look within the WhatsApp framework. And it is able to find BGR India as a group. When I said Message BGR India, it failed to initiate anything because it didn’t find a contact by that name in my address book.
One of the biggest fundamental shifts undertaken by Apple in iOS 11 is ARKit. Last month, I had the privilege to meet some AR app developers first hand. And the kind of apps that I witnessed are here for you to see. ALSO READ: ARKit: A definitive leap towards making augmented reality mainstream
The App Store now has a dedicated section to showcase AR apps. As with any OS upgrade, initial teething problems get ironed out with gradual updates. Besides, the early days always have a surge in demand on the servers which slows down the whole process.