I’ve been running the iOS 11 developer beta since the WWDC keynote. The new features in iOS 11 have been generally fun to play around with, especially the iPad multitasking features. Some of them have left me scratching my head, one, in particular, has left me frustrated.
Apple still has 3 months before the final iOS 11 release this fall. I hope they take this time to iterate on the new features, adding polish and fixes wherever necessary.
1. Control Center Design
The new Control Center in iOS 11 is a welcome change. A return to one page should help curb confusion. Apple is even letting users add extra controls. Hallelujah! But right now, Control Center has some major design issues.
To start out, Control Center doesn’t look as polished as it did in iOS 10. That is fine. It’s actually refreshing to see Apple prioritize function over form.
But there are readability and iconography problems. For example, the user needs to 3D Touch the Now Playing tile to bring up the option to change audio outputs. And even then, its hard to read the text. The icons for some controls, especially accessibility ones aren’t obvious. Apple needs to tweak them before release so users aren’t confused.
2. 3D Touch App Switcher
Right now, the 3D Touch App Switcher gesture isn’t available in iOS 11. You can no longer 3D Touch the left edge of the screen to bring up App Switcher or to go to the most recent app. While this might not be used by everyone, it is a useful feature, especially on the Plus models. We hope Apple brings it back before the fall release.
3. OS Wide Drag and Drop on iPhone
Drag and Drop is one of the biggest features in iOS 11. It’s going to change how we work on the iPad. While Apple hasn’t publicized it, drag and drop does work inside apps like Files on the iPhone.
And now, developers have found the code that enables it on the iPhone. All I hope is that Apple can figure out how to make it run well on the iPhone before the iOS 11 release and it’s not pushed to iOS 12.
An inter-app drag and drop feature on the iPhone would be really helpful. And it would negate the need for share extensions. Just select stuff from one app, hold it with one finger, use another hand to open a different app, release the finger to drop the files. It’s natural and intuitive.
4. Unified Notification Center Mess
When I first heard about Unified Notifications, I was happy to see Apple finally taking steps towards fixing the broken notification system in iOS. But after using the feature, I’m convinced that it’s a step backward. They’ve managed to make it worse somehow.
Here’s what they’ve done. In iOS 11, both the Lock screen and Notification Center are the same thing. When you swipe down the Notification Center, you’re essentially bringing down the Lock Screen on top of whatever you’re doing. Right now, it even has the “Press Home to Unlock” text in the bottom. You can even swipe left to open the Camera.
The Unified Notifications part is more confusing. Apple will show the current notifications when you swipe down. But if the notifications are older, say from the day before, you now need to swipe up once again, on both the Lock screen and the Notification Center, to view them. Plus, you can no longer swipe left on the notifications to reveal contextual buttons. You have to 3D Touch or long press on a notification.
Maybe this is something we’ll get used to. Maybe not. I hope Apple takes some time to polish the UI for this new feature, at least making it more obvious how to view the earlier notifications.
5. UI Inconsistencies
As this is the first beta, there are small UI problems across the OS. The main being in the apps that have been redesigned. Podcasts app has a lot of alignment issues for example.
And in the new design language, Apple has added huge headers for app sections that don’t really belong there. Messages header in Messages app is the biggest culprit. The text itself takes up a lot of space, plus there’s wasted space around the text. Apple should iterate on this design to use less space and to make things tighter in general.
What Do You Think Apple Should Fix before Release?
Overall, iOS 11 is a solid refinement update. Do you have something that’s bugging you about iOS 11? Something you hope they change before the release? Share with us in the comments below.
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