My Top 5 Favorite Features of iOS 11

Author: Jonny Hatch
Service Technician for Allgaier Consulting

At precisely 10 AM in Cupertino, CA, iOS 11 became available for iPhone and iPad. As a wannabe-technical-nerd, I wanted to be one of the first to download it. By the time dinner came around, I installed the update, tested many features, and was ready to tell my wife about all the awesome updates. Here are 5 of my favorites:

One-handed Keyboards

As a full-time student, most of my days are spent with my phone in one hand, and my pen in the other. Either a pen, or a bag of fruit snacks… 

The one handed keyboard offers flexibility that I didn’t have before. To access simply (a) hold down the Emoji icon, the (b) select the keyboard you wish too use. You can choose to orient the keyboard to the right side, or the left side of the screen, depending on which hand is free at the moment.


Customizable Control Center

The Control Center has always been one of my favorite places. It’s the last place I visit before my head hits the pillow! Because I decide nightly if I want run at 5:30 the next morning or catch a few extra z’s and sleep until 7, I set my alarm every night. In the past, you had to go through the Control Center, then the timer, to get to the Alarm Clock. The customizable Control Center makes it a one-stop go-to for my nightly routine.

Now, you can switch out different options on your device. Navigate to SettingsControl CenterCustomize Controls

At this point, you will have the freedom to add or remove the features that will be most useful to you. I’ve been testing out different combinations and arrangements. Currently, I have the typical Flashlight, Camera, and Calculator. Then, I’ve added a Notes icon, to quickly make a new note; the screen recording, to record your screen for another person to see; and of course, my trusty alarm clock, no explanation needed!

Other handy features include the ability to toggle data usage, device hotspotting, and more.


Do Not Disturb While Driving

Gertie, my wife’s 2003 Toyota Camry with 190,000 miles, is a thing of beauty, but she doesn’t have CarPlay! Hence, I receive texts and phone calls while driving all the time. Such texts tempt me to peak and send a quick response. Fortunately, iOS 11 helps in this quest. 

With “Do Not Disturb While Driving,” your phone will sense when you are driving, lock your screen, and even send automated responses. The default message from Apple is: “I’m driving with Do Not Disturb While Driving turned on. I’ll see your message when I get where I’m going.”

iOS 11 will help you set this up when you start your phone for the first time. If you choose to set it up later, here is how: Navigate to SettingsDo Not DisturbDo Not Disturb While Driving. Here, select to activate automatically, when connected to car bluetooth, or manually. Under “Auto-Reply To” you can select to reply to your favorites, your recents, or to all your contacts. You can also customize the message on the “Do Not Disturb” Screen

Note: This feature is disabled when CarPlay is in use.


Immediate Screen Shot Editor

In the past, screenshots were saved directly to your photos. Now, once you snap your screen, you can immediately edit it. This is handy for making pointing out important segments of BioChemistry notes, drawing mustaches on pictures of younger siblings, or making comments on what you like about the designs you’ve seen at the Parade of Homes.

Updated Notes App

Notability, OneNote, and Evernote are a college student’s “must-haves.” Others use them as well for religious studies, business meeting agendas, etc. Up until the release of iOS 11, the Notes app has been largely text, lists, and little more. This release ups the ante.

Now, you can draw, write, add tables, scan documents directly into your notes an more. One of my personal favorites is the ability to change colors of your stylus, then cut out different parts and move them around the screen.

In the attached screen recording, you can see the new functionality of the notes drawing features, how the screen-recording feature works, and how a water molecule acts as a base to de-protanate an acid (not sure how interested you would be in that last point…)


As a bonus, check out some of my other favorite features of iOS 11...

Emergency SOS: Press the Sleep/Wake Button 5 times and send a distress signal to local emergency services, and to contacts you designate.

Improved Siri Voices and Abilities: Siri can now translate from English to Spanish, German, French, Italian, or Mandarin. Siri also is capable of more advanced machine learning to guess what you need depending on when and where your talk to her.

Guided Access: Honestly, this came out in previous version of iOS, but I just discovered it and you can now add it to the control center. Guided access allows you to lock your phone in it’s current app for a certain amount of time, or until you enter your passcode. This is good for keeping your kids in one app, or for helping yourself not get distracted or off task.


Apple created new environments to explore and to expand into with iOS 11. My notes focus mainly on the perks of iOS 11 for the iPhone. The benefits are even larger in the iPad. iOS 11 has huge opportunity for growth in areas I barely skimmed, such as Machine Learning and Augmented Reality. If you think you might want to try iOS 11 out, do it. There will be a learning curve, but as always, Apple has created a beautiful, simple interface to work with and live with.

Posted on September 22, 2017 and filed under How To, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Opinion.