Apple’s yearly developer conference is set to kick off later today, and that means one thing: A new version of iOS. Here’s everything we know about iOS 11 so far, including its likely release date, expected features, and how you’ll be able to download the beta.
What’s going to be new in iOS 11? Here’s a look at the more reliable rumours, plus some of our own wishlist features. Alternatively, scroll down for the like iOS 11 release date and a rundown of the devices that will be compatible with Apple’s new mobile OS.
IOS 11 FEATURES: WHAT’S NEW IN IOS 11?
1) Group FaceTime calls
Easily the most rumoured new addition to iOS 11 is a new group chat feature, similar to Hangouts and Skype, that should be coming to FaceTime. This will allow multiple faces to join a single call; which seems like an obvious missing feature.
2) System-wide Dark (or Night) Mode
This seems to be one of the few nailed-on certainties for iOS 11, as we’ve seen a Dark Mode referenced in early betas for iOS 10.
This would change native apps from their stark white background to something a lot darker, helping a lot with nighttime visibility.
Such a feature would also make sense if the rumours about an OLED screen toting iPhone are true, as OLED screens display inkier blacks and use less power.
If you needed any more proof that this feature is coming, just look at the Apple TV. Apple’s set top box has its very own Dark Mode, and it looks rather fantastic.
3) iMessage for Android
Many hoped this would come with iOS 10, especially as Apple had finally released a proper Android app with Music.
But, it didn’t and we’re still waiting for Apple’s great messaging service to go cross-platform. Considering iMessage’s popularity it seems a no-brainer that Apple would want to get it onto as many phones as possible.
4) Improvements to Apple Maps (again)
A report last year – from the very reliable Mark Gurman, no less – said that Apple was to begin using drones and indoor navigation technology to improve its still flailing Maps app. The report said the drones would be used to offer up more reliable data in the app; something it still desperately needs.
5) Automatic low-power mode
The low-power mode on the iPhone is a nice, if limited, way of stretching your battery life. But there are rumours suggesting the next version of iOS will introduce a deeper mode that intelligently adjusts your battery depending on your needs and location.
It could also automatically switch on when certain factors are met, like when you get home and connect to your Wi-Fi network.
6) Some big design changes
Usually-reliable Apple leaker Mark Gurman recently revealed Apple will launch iOS 11 with a ‘refreshed’ UI; which could mean basically anything. Still, interface changes have been few and far between in recent years so we’ll take whatever.
IOS 11: OUR WISHLIST
1) A new home screen layout
You can’t really compare the hardware in current iPhones to that of the original, but the same can’t be said for homescreen layouts.
The regimented icon look might be iconic, but it’s getting a bit dull, and we’d love Apple to switch things up in iOS 11. How could they do this? We’re not so sure.
We’ve never been too impressed by ‘smart’ home screens that switch up the look depending on your locations, and we can’t imagine Apple taking the Android route and letting users place icons anywhere they want.
2. More emphasis on the iPad
iPads have always felt left out in iOS software updates, with the tablet rarely getting anywhere near as many features as the phone.
We’d love to see an update to the way the tablet deals with multitasking, with a strong focus on the frustrating app picker that becomes a chore to use.
We’d also just like to see the iPad become less like an enlarged iPhone, with a more bespoke UI that’s a bit more like a laptop.
We highly doubt this will ever happen, though.
3. A deeper camera app
The iPhone 7 camera is great, but its app is ridiculously basic. Aside from the exposure controls, there aren’t really any settings to alter to get a more personalised photo.
Most Android phones offer deeper control over the white-balance, focus-points and so on, all of which are nice features for getting the most out of the sensor.
Yes, there are third-party apps that can do this, but we’d love them to be built-in.
4. Smart Unlock
One of our favourite Android features is Smart Unlock, which removes your passcode when the phone is paired to a Bluetooth device like a smartwatch or pair of Bluetooth headphones.
Simply put, if you have an Apple Watch or a pair of AirPods connected to your phone, you would be able to bypass the lockscreen without any hassle.
5. Set default apps
In iOS 10, Apple finally let iPhone users delete apps they never used. Stocks, Tips, and Find My Friends could all be ditched – even Mail and Music weren’t locked down. But, if you deleted the Mail app, you wouldn’t be able to replace it with the Gmail apps.
Setting your default apps has been a mainstay on Android for a long time, and it really needs to come to iOS.
IOS 11 RELEASE DATE: WHEN DOES IOS 11 COME OUT? CAN I DOWNLOAD THE BETA?
The software that runs all the iPhones and iPads gets a refresh every year, with the initial unveil set for June 5 at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in California.
Once Apple’s brass have told us how iOS 11 will change the world, the company usually makes the software available in closed beta form.
That means developers are able to get their hands on it for testing and bug reporting purposes, but unlike chief rival Google, Apple’s Developer Program isn’t free to enrol in, so curious members of the general public can’t brick their phone fiddling with pre-release software for nought.
However, where there’s a will (and, in this case, a credit card), there’s a way, and we’ll be providing a full guide to downloading the iOS 11 beta as soon as its release is confirmed.
The first stable public release? That normally drops around September, after months of betas, in line with the launch of the latest iPhone, so most of us won’t be using iOS 11 any time soon.
IOS 11 PHONES: WHICH IPADS AND IPHONES WILL GET IOS 11?
Apple has, in the past, been very good at keeping even older phones constantly updated with the latest version of iOS.
Take iOS 10 for example, which is available for the three-year old iPhone 5, iPad mini 2 and 6th-gen iPod Touch. We’d make a guess Apple will try and make the same devices suitable for iOS 11, but there’s always the chance the iPhone 5 will get cut.
Apple has also finally stopped selling the iPad mini 2, so that could be chopped too.
That’s all we’ve got for now, but stay tuned for all the latest developments, and of course, our full iOS 11 review later in the year.