iOS 11 was unveiled by Apple at its WWDC 2017 keynote on 5 June, with big improvements over its iOS 10 predecessor. Here, we bring you everything we know so far about iOS 11, including its release date and new features.
Apple also used WWDC 2017 to unveil macOS 10.13 High Sierra, watchOS 4, new MacBook Pro models, new iMac models, a new iMac Pro, new iPad Pro models and an all new speaker called the HomePod. It was a busy keynote, that’s for sure. You can recap the whole thing here.
iOS 10, the most recent version of Apple’s mobile operating system first shown off at WWDC 2016, followed by its release alongside the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in September.
It’s been updated throughout the year so far, including the latest update numbered 10.3 which added Find my AirPods and a new file system, and Apple has now revealed that 86% of iOS devices have updated to iOS 10 since its release.
Now, though, iOS 11 is coming. But when will iOS 11 be released? What new features will it gain? You can find out the answers to those questions and more right here.
When is iOS 11 coming out?
Apple’s most recent full-version update of iOS, iOS 10, was released to the public in September 2016 having been previewed at WWDC 2016 in June and released to developers just hours after the event.
Apple has followed the same custom this year, with iOS 11 set to become available for developers now.
You can expect an iOS 11 beta to become available to the public this summer, followed by a September 2017 final release of the update with new iPhones, the iPhone 7s and/or iPhone 8.
So far, Apple’s confirmation for the final iOS 11 release date is simply “Fall” (or Autumn for us here across the pond).
Both betas will be steadily updated for testing, allowing developers and early adopters to trial the software before it’s made available to the general public.
Updating to the final public version of iOS 11 will be straightforward and free; downloading and installing one of the beta versions will be a little more difficult, and setting up a developer account costs $99 per year. For information on both processes, see How to install iOS 11.
What new features does iOS 11 have?
Apple’s WWDC 2017 saw a huge number of new features unveiled for iOS 11, it was hard to keep up! Here, we’ve got a summary of each of the biggest, but there are plenty that we’re sure we’ll discover as the week goes on when developers start playing with it.
Arguably the most exciting iOS 11 update is a whole new design for the App Store.
It starts with a new tab called Today to help people discover new apps that are appearing. It shows you collections, a new Daily List centred around particular themese and more.
A second new tab is dedicated to Games, which features both new and popular games, as well as in-app purchases that are available to view right there in the App Store. You’ll see previews, tips and gameplay videos right there in the Games tab too.
Apps also gets its own tab for the rest of the content available on the App Store.
You’ll see new features on the App pages themselves, too, including new previews, quotes and “stories”.
Apple will now be approving apps more quickly once they’re submitted by developers, and will be introducing phased releases.
One of the headline features of iOS 11 is Control Centre. It now packs all of the features into one page, and has new sliders. It also has 3D Touch to allow quick access to more settings and features, which looks like it’s going to make life a lot easier.
iOS 11’s Messages app have been updated with a new app drawer, and there’s new Messages in iCloud that’ll automatically synchronise all of your conversations across all of your iOS and macOS devices.
Also updated is Apple Pay, which will now be able to pay people. Person-to-person payments let you pay people directly from Messages as an iMessage app (found in that aforementioned app drawer).
It uses the TouchID fingerprint sensor, and money recieved will go into your Apple Pay Cash Card, which you can use for further Apple Pay payments, or to transfer money back into your account.
Siri has a new, more natural male and female voice, as well as a new visual interface.
Siri also has a new Translation feature, which supports Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish to start with, but will grow in the months to come according to Apple.
Siri can already predict what you want to do next, but in iOS 11, Siri uses on-device learning to learn more about you to improve these predictions, and those predictions are now synched across all devices. It looks like it’s set to be a lot more intelligent and will be able to understand the context of even more of your actions to speed up everything you do on your device.
For example, if you’re looking at a particular place or topic in Safari, Siri can suggest related words etc in Mail, Messages and other apps.
For developers, SiriKit is coming to bring its capabilities into more apps.
The camera software also has lots of improvements, including improved image quality. Portrait Mode in the iPhone 7 Plus can be taken with Optical Image Stabilisation, True Tone flash and HDR, for example.
A new Depth API is being released for developers, which means they’ll be able to add the iPhone 7 Plus’s camera to add more depth information to their app.
Apple has also added a new technology called High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) that reduces the file size of your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus photos.
You can watch Memories in both Landscape and Portrait, and you can also do lots more to Live Photos.
You can now chose just the frame you want from a Live Photo to make your Key Photo. There are also new ‘Effects’ available. You can create seamless, infinite loops, or have the clip play and then reverse when editing Live Photos in iOS 11.
And a really cool feature means you can combine Live Photos to create a Long Exposure effect, perfect for waterfalls or city shots, for example.
Lock Screen and Notifications
Lock Screen and Notifications have now been combined into one screen.
Maps of airports and shopping malls are coming soon, and we’re also about to get information about your speed, and lane navigation.
iOS 11 will bring Do Not Disturb While Driving, too. When activated, it’ll send people trying to get in touch with you a note to say that you’ll see the message when you arrive at your destination.
A new AirPlay protocol brings lots of new features for speakers including multi-room support, and there’s an AirPlay 2 audio DPI for develpers.
You’ll be able to see what your friends have been listening to in Apple Music thanks to new public profiles. Plus, developers will get access to a new Apple Music API to introduce its library to other apps such as Nike+ Run Club and Shazam.
Which iOS 11 features are exclusive to the iPad?
For the new iPad Pro, Apple has introduced lots of new features to iOS 11.
The new Dock in iOS 11 for iPad means that you’ll be able to access your favourite and most frequently used apps or files quickly and easily from any screen.
Additionally, multi-tasking is further improved thanks to a redesigned app switcher.
Plus, there is now new Slide Over for iPad in addition to Split View to make things easier still.
Plus, system-wide Drag and Drop means you can move pretty much anything between any app for much quicker and easier ways of working.
As per the rumours, iOS 11 features a new app called Files. Like the multi-tasking features, it’s designed to make life easier for power users.
Files will keep all of your documents in one easy-to-use place. You’ll be ale to drag and drop attachments from Mail or any other app into a particular folder, or create folders to help stay organised and find what you’re looking for faster. It’s going to make multitasking so much quicker, and brings the iPad Pro a lot closer to an alternative to a laptop.
For iPad Pro models, the Apple Pencil has become better than ever thanks to new integrated support for inline drawing, and a new Instant Notes feature that lets you open the Notes app directly from the Lock Screen with a simple tap.
Which iPhones & iPads can get iOS 11?
The devices that’ll be able to update to iOS 11 are:
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 5s
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd Gen)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch
- iPad Pro 10.5-inch
- iPad Pro 9.7-inch
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air
- iPad 5th Generation
- iPad 4th gen
- iPad mini 4
- iPad mini 3
- iPad mini 2
- iPod Touch 6th gen
Plus any new iOS devices that are released between now and then: the iPad Pro 2, for instance, and the iPhone 8.