iOS 11 was released on September 19, 2017. Apple announced a number of new features and changes at WWDC 2017 this year. From improvements to Messages and Apple Pay to powerful multitasking and file management on the iPad, here are the best new features.
The Messages app has a redesigned app drawer to make iMessage apps and stickers more discoverable and easier to use. These apps were added in iOS 10, but were hidden behind a button, which was kind of annoying. The new layout makes things much more accessible.
Your messages will now be stored in iCloud, too. All of your conversations will be synchronized between your devices when you sign in with your iCloud account. That way, you can delete a message on one device and it goes away everywhere. Messages remain end-to-end encrypted, even while stored in the cloud.
This also allows Apple to optimize device storage. Since your messages are stored in the cloud, they don’t have to all remain on your device. This means more free space and smaller and faster device backups.
Apple Pay will now allow person-to-person payments. It’s integrated right into Messages as an iMessage app, making it easy to send money while chatting. Money you receive goes into your Apple Pay cash card and you can send it to someone else, make a purchase with Apple Pay, or transfer it to your bank account. You’ll have to authenticate with Touch ID before sending money, just as you do when making purchases.
It’ll even try to detect when you want to use it. If you receive a message in iMessages saying you owe money, for example, the keyboard will automatically suggest Apple Pay as an option and automatically fill in the amount of money.
Lastly, 50% of US retailers will be accepting Apply Pay in the US by end of 2017, according to Apple.
Siri’s voice is being upgraded: Apple has used “deep learning” to create a more “natural and expressive” voice. Siri has both a male and female voice, and it can even say the same word in different ways for a more realistic conversation experience.
Apple’s virtual assistant is gaining built-in translation features as well. Siri will speak the translation aloud for you, so you know exactly how to pronounce it. It’ll support translation from English to Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish initially.
In addition to suggesting apps, and when you should leave for work based on traffic, Siri will use on-device learning to understand more about topics of interest to you. Siri can suggest news topics you might be interested in, more easily respond with your location in messages, or make calendar events after you book hotel reservations in Safari on the web, for example. The keyboard will learn words you might want to use based on what you read. This is all done on your device, and not in the cloud.
iOS 11 will use HEVC video encoding, which means videos you capture are up to two times smaller in storage size. Apple is also switching photo capture from JPEG to HEIF for up to two times better compression as well, so photos you take on your device will use up to two times less space. You can still share those photos with people on other devices.
The Memories feature in the Photos app can now use machine learning to identify activities like anniversaries, memories of your children, your pets, or sporting events. It uses computer vision to identify photos and automatically pick the best videos and photos. It can also work in portrait mode as well as landscape mode, so you can watch in whatever aspect ratio you prefer.
There are improvements for live photos, too. You can now more easily edit live photos, trimming them and marking any frame of the photo as the “key photo” in the live photo. It can also turn a live photo into a seamless loop using computer vision technology.