Apple’s iOS 11 Cliff Notes

Three weeks ago, Apple held their big developer conference showing off updates to almost everything from Macbooks to iPads to their new HomePod speaker.

Arguably the most important piece: iOS 11 — the software that runs iPhones/iPads —is now available as a public beta to be released in the fall.

Let’s run through the highlights:

Control Center

You know the pop up menu where you turn on the flashlight or adjust the brightness? It’s now totally revamped and customizable — so if you never use AirPlay or timers, you can simply hide these toggles. The best part: no more swiping left or right — its just 1 page! hooray.

iOS 10 on the left, iOS 11 on the right

The App Store

The app where you download NEW apps (rarely) and receive updates (constantly) has a whole new look and feel:

Aside from the fresh coat of paint, games and non-games are now divided up into their own sections. And each specific product page now has much richer descriptions and video previews.


If you’re a loyal Google Maps user… this may not convert you. For everyone else, Apple has upgraded it’s own Maps with some solid new features. There’s now indoor maps — think malls and airports, as well as lane guidance. Speaking of driving, there’s a new Do Not Disturb While Driving mode which does exactly what you’d think: keeps your phone from tempting you with texts, snaps, and “like” notifications while you’re behind the wheel.


If you have an iPad from the past few years, go ahead and start smiling. iOS 11 makes a huge difference. Those few apps on the bottom row have been turned into a consistent dock. Multitasking makes it easy to pull up side-by-side apps as well as drag-and-drop text or images from one app to another. And something small but really cool: all of the keyboard keys can be flicked down (a small swipe) to type a symbol/number instead of the letter on the key.

Document Scanner in Notes

This one may not blow your mind but is just super handy for those times you need to fax or markup a paper document of any kind. Simply tap the new button at the top of the Notes app and take a picture. The behind-the-scenes magic then crops the edges, removes any shadows/glare and then lets you sign/edit it and share.

Closing Bits

There’s definitely a lot more packed in. Siri has a smoother voice, iMessage stickers are less awkward to get at, and there’s a new 1 handed (squeezed to the side) keyboard. And you can use Apple Pay (inside iMessage) to send and receive money from your friends. Goodbye Paypal /Venmo.

One last thing: Apple may be well-positioned to bring augmented reality into the mainstream. How cool is this?

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