7 of the Best iOS 11 Features You’ll Actually Use
iOS 11 includes many new features and a variety of subtle changes, but we’re going to highlight some of the best features available in iOS 11 for iPhone and iPad that you will actually use.
From the ability to scan documents with your camera, improving the Control Center, to less distracted driving, better file handling, the new one-handed keyboard, automatically ditching dusty apps, and a wealth of improvements to the iPad multitasking capabilities, read on to learn more.
Obviously you’ll need to get the iOS 11 update in order to gain access to these features, so if you haven’t done that yet you’d want to do so before trying them out. Or perhaps you’re on the fence about updating, and maybe these new features will sway you to update your iPhone or iPad. In any case, let’s get to it!
1: Document Scanning in Notes
You can now scan documents directly into Notes app by using the iPhone or iPad camera, without any additional software.
The feature is very easy to use, simply launch the Notes app and create a new note or go to an existing note, then click the little + button and choose “Document Scanner” and point the camera at the document you wish to scan. Crop it, adjust the color as needed, and save. The document is now scanned and stored in the Notes app.
Document scanner apps have always been some of the more useful third party apps available on iPhone and iPad, and now that same capability is built right into iOS.
2: Control Center is Customizable
Control Center has been redesigned, and best of all it’s now customizable. The appearance change may take a little getting used to, but most importantly you can now choose what you want in Control Center, and what you don’t.
- Go to “Settings” and then to “Control Center” to customize what is available in Control Center of iOS 11
Control Center has always been useful as it offers quick access to many features and settings toggles, but now Control Center is better than ever.
3: Offload Unused Apps
How many of us have handfuls of unused apps sitting around taking up space on our iPhone and iPad? Now iOS 11 has a neat housekeeping feature that you can enable which will automatically delete those unused apps to help prevent storage getting too low.
- Open “Settings” and go to ‘iTunes & App Store’ and turn on “Offload Unused Apps”
4: One Handed iPhone Keyboard
Larger screen iPhone models are great for increased screen real estate and viewability of information, but a trade off for many users is that typing requires two hands on the bigger screen devices. But now iPhone in iOS 11 has a One Handed Keyboard mode, which shifts the keyboard keys over to the left or right portion of the screen, putting the keys easily in reach of a single thumb.
- Open Settings > Keyboards > One Handed Keyboard > Choose “Left” or “Right”
Also if you have Emoji enabled or another keyboard enabled, tapping the Globe/Emoji button on the keyboard gives you quick access to the One Handed Keyboards.
If you miss the days of one-handed texting on 3.5″ iPhone screens, you’ll likely really enjoy this feature.
iPad doesn’t have one-handed keyboard mode, but it does have some other interesting keyboard features like the ability to flick down on a key to access numbers and other special characters.
5: Files App
The Files app offers file access and a file system of sorts for iPhone and iPad, giving you easy access to iCloud Drive and files stored in apps on iOS and elsewhere in iCloud.
You’ll also have all the familiar file system actions available in Files app, including drag and drop support on the iPad (with a tap and hold), the ability to copy and delete files, create new folders, sort by date, name or file size, tag support, and more.
It’s much more rudimentary and simplified than Finder on the Mac so don’t expect that level of features, but nonetheless Files app on iOS is a great start to having improved file access on iPhone and iPad.
6: Do Not Disturb While Driving on iPhone
The iPhone has gained a new variation of the excellent Do Not Disturb feature which detects when a user is driving a car and then places the device automatically into a Do Not Disturb While Driving mode.
- Open “Settings” > “Do Not Disturb” > Look for “Do Not Disturb While Driving” > tap to Activate then choose “Automatically”
This prevents notifications and alerts from coming in and distracting you while you are driving a car. You can even set custom automatic replies when the feature is enabled, letting contacts know you are driving and will get back to them when it’s safe to.
Do Not Disturb While Driving is a great feature which has the potential of reducing distracted driving and other traffic issues, so let’s hope everyone uses for the sake of safer roadways!
Oh and by the way, you can add a Do Not Disturb While Driving toggle into Control Center on iPhone if you want quick access to the feature.
7: iPad Multitasking Improvements
iOS 11 is really most notable on iPad, where the new Dock, app switcher, drag and drop capabilities, and multitasking capabilities make a huge impact on iPad workflow.
There is much to explore with the iPad multitasking changes, and the new additions of the improved Dock, App switcher, along with the ability to Drag and Drop between apps, all work great with other iPad multitasking capabilities like Split View, Slide Over, and Picture in Picture video.
Do you have any favorite iOS 11 tips or tricks? Share them with us in the comments!