Introduction and initial release
iOS 11 was introduced at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address on June 5, 2017. The first developer beta version was released after the keynote presentation, with the first public beta released in late June, and a final version released for end-users with supported devices on September 19, 2017. Some countries received the update a day later, on September 20, 2017.
The lock screen and Notification Center are combined, allowing users to see all notifications directly on the lock screen. Scrolling up and down will either show or hide notifications.
The Control Center redesign unifies its pages and allows users to 3D Touch (or long press on devices without 3D Touch) buttons for more options. Sliders adjust volume and brightness. The Control Center is customizable via the Settings app, and allows more settings to be shown, including cellular service, Low Power Mode, and a shortcut to the Notes app.
The Siri intelligent personal assistant has a more natural voice and support language translation, with English, Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish available at launch. It will also support follow-up questions by users. Users will also be able to type to Siri.
Siri will be able to use "on-device learning", a privacy-minded local learning technique to understand a user's behavior and interests inside different apps, to offer better suggestions and recommendations.
A new "Do Not Disturb While Driving" mode lets users block unnecessary notifications as long as their iPhone is connected to a vehicle through Bluetooth. An auto-reply feature sends a specific reply to senders of messages to let them know the user is currently unavailable through text. Passengers can be granted full notification access to the phone.
A new "Smart Invert" feature, dubbed a "dark mode" by some publications, inverts the colors on the display, except for images, some apps, and some user interface elements.
Users get expanded control over apps' location usage, with every app featuring a "While Using the App" location toggle in Settings. This differs from previous iOS versions, in which apps were only required to have "Never" or "Always" location options.
Users can remove rarely-used apps without losing the app's data using the "Offload App" button. This allows for a later reinstallation of the app (if available on the App Store), in which data returns and usage can continue. Users can also have those apps removed automatically with the "Offload Unused Apps" setting. When an app is offloaded, the app appears on the home screen as a grayed-out icon.
Personalized suggestions will help the user free up storage space on their device, including emptying Photos trash, backing up messages, and enabling iCloud Photo Library for backing up photos and videos.
iOS 11 introduces several exclusive software features for iPad. The application dock gets an overhaul, bringing it closer to the design seen on macOS, and is accessible from any screen, letting users more easily open apps in split-screen view. Users can also drag-and-drop files across different apps. A new multitasking interface shows multiple apps on the screen at the same time in floating "windows". Additionally, through a combination of "slide over", "split view", and "picture-in-picture" modes, users can have up to four active apps on-screen at the same time.
Each letter on the iPad keyboard features an alternative background number or symbol, accessible by pulling down on the respective key and releasing.
The Control Center is visible in the multitasking window on iPads.
Running iOS 11, the 9.7 inch, 10.5 inch and the 2nd Gen 12.9-inch iPad Pros now have flashlight support.
iOS 11 introduces optical image stabilization, flash photography and high dynamic range for portrait photos.
Live Photos receives new "Loop", "Bounce" and "Long Exposure" effects, and uses High Efficiency Image File Format to decrease photo sizes.
Videos will be encoded in the new High Efficiency Video Coding video compression format, enabling improved quality while also decreasing size by half.
iOS 11 will introduce native support for QR code scanning, through the Camera app. Once a QR code is positioned in front of the camera, a notification is created offering suggestions for actions based on the scanned content. Twitter users have so far discovered that joining Wi-Fi networks and adding someone to the contacts list are supported through QR codes.
Third-party keyboards can add a one-handed mode.
Users will be able to record the screen natively. In order to record the screen, users must first add the feature to the Control Center through the Settings app. Once added, users can start and stop recordings from a dedicated Control Center icon, with a red bar appearing at the top of the screen indicating active recording. Pressing the red bar gives the option to end recording, and videos are saved to the Photos app.
When an iOS 11 device is attempting to connect to a Wi-Fi network, nearby iOS 11 or macOS High Sierra devices already connected can wirelessly send the password, streamlining the connection process.
The volume change overlay no longer covers the screen while playing video, and a smaller scrubber appears on the top right of the screen.
After a user takes a screenshot, a thumbnail of the screenshot will appear at the bottom left of the screen. The user can then tap the thumbnail to bring up an interface that allows them to crop, annotate, or delete the screenshot.
The user's flight information can be viewed in Spotlight through a dedicated widget.
iOS 11 switches the top-left cellular network strength icons from five dots to four signal bars, similar to that before iOS 7.
A new "Automatic Setup" feature aims to simplify the first-time setup of new devices, with wireless transfer between the old and new device, transferring preferences, Apple ID and Wi-Fi info, preferred Settings, and iCloud Keychain passwords.
Similar to iPad, drag-and-drop file support will be available on iPhone, though with more limitations, specifically only supported within apps, not between.
Settings, Camera, Maps, iTunes Store, App Store, Clock, Contacts, Notes and Reminders, all get new, redesigned icons.
An "Emergency SOS" feature has been added that disables Touch ID after pressing the Sleep/Wake button five times in quick succession. It prevents Touch ID from working until the iPhone's passcode has been entered.
Where there is empty space in the Mail app, users can draw inline.
The Messages application synchronizes messages across iOS and macOS through iCloud, reflecting message deletion across devices. This feature was temporarily removed in the fifth beta release and will be returning in a future iOS 11 update.
Users can send person-to-person payments with Apple Pay through Messages, although Apple has stated that this feature will come in a future iOS 11 update.
A new app drawer for iMessage apps aims to simplify the experience of using apps and stickers, and an optimized storage system reduces the backup size of messages.
The Messages app also incorporates a "Business Chat" feature for businesses to communicate directly with customers through the app. This can be accessed through a message icon next to search results of businesses.
The Messages app on the iPhone X introduces face-tracking emoji called "Animoji" (animated emoji), using Face ID.
The App Store receives a complete redesign, with a greater focus on editorial content such as daily highlights, and a design described as "cleaner and more consistent" to other apps developed by Apple. The app's design mimics the design seen in the Apple Music app in iOS 10.
New lane guidance and speed limit features aim to guide drivers on unfamiliar roads.
The Photos app in iOS 11 gains support for viewing animated GIFs. Users can access GIF images inside an album titled "Animated".
Memories can be viewed while the phone is in portrait orientation.
The Podcasts app receives a redesign similar to the App Store, with a focus on editorial content.
The Notes app has a built-in document scanner using the device's camera, and the feature removes artifacts such as glare and perspective.
An "Instant Notes" feature on the iPad Pro allows the user to start writing a note from the lock screen by putting the Apple Pencil onto the screen.
Where there is open space in the Notes app, the user can draw inline.
A new "Files" app lets users browse the files stored on their device, as well as those stored across various cloud services, including iCloud Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive. The app supports organization through structured sub-folders and various file-based options. The "Files" app also includes a built-in player for FLAC audio files. The Files app is available on both iPad and iPhone.
The user's flight information can be found in the Safari app.
The Safari app can be viewed in landscape orientation on smaller iPhones.
A new "ARKit" application programming interface (API) lets third-party developers build augmented reality apps, taking advantage of a device's camera, CPU, GPU, and motion sensors. The ARKit functionality is only available to users of devices with Apple A9 and later processors. According to Apple, this is because "these processors deliver breakthrough performance that enables fast scene understanding and lets you build detailed and compelling virtual content on top of real-world scenes."
A new "Core ML" software framework will speed up app tasks involving artificial intelligence, such as image recognition.
A new "Depth" API allows third-party camera app developers to take advantage of the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X's dual-camera "Portrait mode". This will let apps implement the same depth-sensing technology available in the default iOS Camera app, to simulate a shallow depth-of-field.
A new "Core NFC" framework gives developers limited access to the near field communication (NFC) chip inside supported iPhones, opening potential use cases in which apps can scan nearby environments and give users more information.
32-bit–only apps are not supported or shown in the App Store in iOS 11, and users who attempt to open such apps receive an alert about the app's incompatibility.
The ability to trigger multitasking using 3D Touch was removed.
iOS 11 drops support for devices with a 32-bit processor: specifically the iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, and the fourth-generation iPad. It is the first version of iOS to run exclusively on iOS devices with 64-bit processors.