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Get the most out of iOS 11's revamped Control Center

Gone is the three-pane view, and now you can add or remove shortcuts.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Control Center was designed to be your one-stop tool for controlling various aspects of an iOS device. However, it quickly turned into a mess. You had to swipe among three different panels that offered different actions and tools, and using it was more inconvenient than anything else.

With iOS 11, Apple has totally redesigned the Control Center. Aside from a few permanent buttons, you can completely customize Control Center to work better for your needs.

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In addition to the standard toggles for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, airplane mode, media controls, brightness, volume, rotation lock, do not disturb and AirPlay, there are 18 additional controls you can add to Control Center.

Add, remove options

control-center-optional-controls

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

To customize Control Center, open Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. A list of various options will show up, each with a green "+" or red "-" sign next to it.

Tap on the green icon to add an option, or the red icon to remove an option. Use the familiar three-line handle on the right side to rearrange the options. You can swipe up from the bottom of the screen at any time to view your changes, and then make further adjustments as needed.

The complete list of optional controls you can currently add to Control Center is:

  • Accessibility Shortcuts
  • Alarm
  • Apple TV Remote
  • Calculator
  • Camera
  • Do Not Disturb While Driving
  • Flashlight
  • Guided Access
  • Home
  • Low Power Mode
  • Magnifier
  • Notes
  • Screen Recording
  • Stopwatch
  • Text Size
  • Timer
  • Voice Memos
  • Wallet

As you can see, this goes well beyond the standard music playback and device connectivity settings as previously accessible in Control Center.

If you add more controls than can fit on your iOS device's display, you can scroll down to view more.

Long-press or Force Touch

ios-11-control-center-additional-controls

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Of course, the new shortcuts are welcome additions. However, Apple has added even more functionality to Control Center than a simple app or settings shortcut button. Regardless of whether you have Force Touch, most Control Center shortcuts offer added features if you long-press or apply pressure to the display.

For example, if your device has Force Touch, press on the Timer control to quickly create a timer for a set amount of time. Or long-press on the Brightness control to make an adjustment and control Night Shift.

Pressing on the connectivity box, for lack of an official term, will reveal AirDrop and Personal Hotspot settings.

In other words, when you add a shortcut to Control Center, don't just take it for what it is. Use Force Touch or long-press on an icon to reveal even more settings.