This Is What’s New in iOS 11

By Paul Riegler on 19 September 2017
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Apple released iOS 11 right on schedule on Tuesday and a trio of new iPhones including the vaunted iPhone X (the X, as you probably know by now, is pronounced “ten”) will follow by week’s end. We’ve tested the final version of iOS 11 for the past week and have this to report.

Keep in mind that, if you aren’t planning on purchasing one of the new iPhones anytime soon, you can still upgrade to the new mobile iOS, which is available as a free download.

The biggest changes in iOS 11 fall into three categories: interface changes such as the lock screen and Control Center, Siri, Apple’s intelligent personal assistant, and AR software. We’ll focus on the first two categories in this review.


Although Siri has lagged behind Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s assistance, some changes in iOS 11 will help close the gap.

Siri’s response interface now uses a card metaphor.   Ask for weather, and you get a weather report that looks as if it were out of the app; Siri is more verbose, provides more in-depth answers (with an option to continue, or not), and offers follow-on questions you can ask by tapping on them. Siri studied several languages over the past year and can now translate English into Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish and additional language translation support is planned.

The translation is delivered both spoken and on screen and the spoken translation has the appropriate pronunciation and accent. Ask Siri to translate something into English and she will say she can’t “yet” do that. Siri’s voice, which we tried in English with British, Australian, and American accents as well as in German, sounds more natural and refined as well.

Siri will suggest information such as a news story based on what the user is doing and can add a calendar appointment based on a reservation booked in the Safari browser.

Finally, Siri will start to work with third-party apps, which means you can summon a car service, pay a bill, and begin a workout all by voice command.


The Control Center has been completely redesigned and sits on a single screen instead of multiple panels you swipe through. It is somewhat daunting at first with the array of widgets and buttons but it works.

Some of the options on the Control Panel are simple toggles but others, such as Music and Homekit, can be expanded to provide more options using force touch.

Using force touch on the flashlight brings up a slider to change brightness, while force touching the networking panel brings up all of the device’s various radio buttons including one for Mobile Network (which was not an option on previous iOS versions). The networking panel will remember your selections so that it won’t turn off Bluetooth the next time you turn on airplane mode if that is your preference.

The Control Center is also customizable in terms of which buttons do and do not appear and you can reorder them at will. It isn’t yet possible to put anything on the Control Center from third-party developers.

Much remains unchanged. The lock screen will still show all notifications if so desired, swiping left will still bring up widgets and swiping right will get you the camera.


There are also some notable changes in the camera app. Videos consumes substantially less storage space thanks to newly-developed compression technology, while low-light portraits (using portrait mode) are able to take advantage of optical image stabilization and HDR to improve image quality. A new long exposure option allows for more creative picture taking and live photos can now be trimmed and edited.

Finally, iMessage has a new app drawer that makes it easier to find stickers and supports sending money to friends via Apple Pay. Apple Maps is adding highway speed limit information as well as detailed airport floor plans, and Car Play, which we plan to review separately, is adding a new do-not-disturb feature as well as an auto-responder that lets callers know you are driving.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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