iOS 11 Rolls Out Today — Here Are Its Most Useful New Features

Update: September 19, 2017: iOS 11 is rolling out to everyone today. If you don't see a pop-up notification, head to Settings > General > Software Update to download Apple's latest.
This article was originally published on September 6, 2017.
Advertisement
It's hard to say what more exciting: A look at the new iPhone, which Apple is expected to announce at an event on September 12, or a finalized release date for iOS 11. Though iOS 11 has been available for anyone to try out in beta, it has yet to officially roll out.
If my hesitation sounds crazy — who wouldn't pick seeing the latest iPhone over its operating system? — consider some of the features packed in to iOS 11. There's everything from special texting effects to document and image scanning, to live photo upgrades and speedy language translations, to name a few. Plus, while the new iPhone is rumored to cost your entire paycheck and then some (seriously, $1000?), iOS 11 will be available for iPhone users to download for free.
Ahead, a look at some of the most useful (and exciting!) tools in iOS 11.
1 of 9
Customize Your Control Center

Apple is finally giving you the keys to your Control Center, the shortcuts that appear whenever you swipe up from the bottom of the screen. With iOS 11, you can personalize these controls — removing some, adding others — by going to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls.
2 of 9
Create More Detailed Notes

Notes are the new documents in iOS 11. You can add graphs, change up the typeface, and create formatted checklists using the toolbar that appears above your keyboard. Want your roommates to know you signed your portion of the lease or picked up groceries? Tap the plus icon along the top of the screen to make your notes visible to select contacts.
Advertisement
3 of 9
Scan Photos & Documents

The most underrated feature in iOS 11 is the ability to scan documents and images. The annoying thing is that you can only access this scanner from the Notes apps. However, once you've saved your scan there, you can export it to another folder or save it as a PDF.

To use the scanner, open a Note, and tap the plus icon along the bottom toolbar. Select "Scan Documents" to open the camera. Hold your phone over the image you want to scan — don't worry about perfectly aligning the yellow box over it, since you can always readjust the crop after the fact. Take the photo and save your scan or retake it if you aren't happy with it. From there, you'll be able to mark up a document, so if you need to sign or add notes for others, you can do so then.
4 of 9
View Detailed Airport Maps

I'm a loyal Google Maps user and by force of habit, I don't see this changing anytime soon. However, I do like the small upgrades Apple is making to its own Maps, specifically the indoor maps for airports. If you aren't sure about the food options available beyond security, these maps will answer your questions — and keep you fueled up before your flight. Although Google Maps usually shows what's in a terminal, too, it's harder to see exactly where each store is located.
5 of 9
Use Siri As A Translator

In addition to a new, more natural-sounding voice, Siri has some serious language skills in iOS 11. It can translate your query to French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Chinese. If you want Siri to be your spokesperson while traveling, simply tap the play button that appears next to the translation — it will speak the translation aloud so you can use it to ask for directions or tell a cab driver where you're headed.
6 of 9
Make Your Message Stand Out

Useful? Annoying? iOS 11's new echo effect is a little of both. The effect, which has gotten its fair share of feedback, multiplies whatever emoji, words, or photos you send in a text so that they fill your recipient's screen. To use it, as well as the other new screen effect, Spotlight, press and hold the arrow to the right of the message field and toggle to "Screen."
7 of 9
Share Music With Friends

With iOS 11, you'll be able to share playlists with friends and see what they're listening too, too. Create a listening profile within Apple Music's "For You" tab and decide who you want to share with — just friends or everyone. Then, you'll see which of your contacts are on Apple Music and can decide who you'd like to follow.
8 of 9
Get Smarter News

Apple's News app has gotten an upgrade with a brand new Spotlight tab, where you'll find in-depth looks at trending stories. News is also working in sync with Siri to personalize the stories you see first. If you tend to search for a certain topic in Safari or ask Siri questions about it, you'll probably see it appear at the top of your list.
9 of 9
produced by Brianna Donnelly; produced by Sarah Lee.
Related Video
Advertisement