CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

25 features that will make you want to upgrade to iOS 11

iOS 11 has the features you've been craving plus some you didn't know you needed.

Alina Bradford
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford
1 of 26 CNET

iOS 11 officially dropped Tuesday, Sept. 19. Haven't got it yet? Here are 25 features that will get you hyped for your iPhone's new operating system, including a brand-new Siri, new creative tools and awesome new photo options. 

2 of 26 Jason Cipriani/CNET

iOS 11's Control Center is simplified

The new Control Center gives you, well, more control. The three panels have been shrunk down to just one and there are sliders and toggles that make tapping a breeze. Here are some Control Center features you'll love.

3 of 26 Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Siri is better than ever

Big changes have come to Siri. The interface now looks more like Google's "cards." It also now has a type to Siri function. Instead of asking her out loud to do something, you can type it. This is great for all of those people whose commands seem to confuse the poor mobile assistant (shyly raises hand). 

4 of 26 Matt Elliott/CNET

Awesome new camera features

So many new and wonderful camera advancements have been added to iOS 11. Now your device can take low-light portraits with optical image stabilization and HDR capabilities. Plus, videos can be compressed, looped, trimmed and edited.

5 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Grab photos from video

The Live Video feature lets you never miss a great shot again. You can choose the perfect moment and save it as a primary photo.

6 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Record your process

Showing friends how to use their phones has never been easier with the new screen recording feature. You can record whatever you're doing on your phone -- complete with voice-over commentary -- and share the video.

7 of 26 Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The format has changed, too

There's a new photo and video file format. This could cause compatibility issues. No worries. You can revert back to the older format by opening Settings > Camera > Formats and then setting your file preference if you have problems.

8 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Keyboard changes

I have small hands, so I love this new feature. Now the keyboard can be positioned to the right or left for easier typing with one hand.

9 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Swipe the numbers

Another keyboard update is the ability to access numbers without touching the Shift key. Just swipe down on the top row to reveal a number. Punctuation can also be accessed by swiping downward on letters.

10 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Begone, annoying volume slider

OMG, thank the fruit-named tech gods. That annoying screen-stealing volume control is gone. Now when you're watching a video, the volume indicator is located in the corner of the screen. Go ahead, hug your tablet. We won't judge.

11 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

iPad gets layout changes

iOS 11 on the iPad features a new dock that can hold around 13 to 15 apps, depending on your iPad screen size. The apps can also be dragged and dropped to where you need them.

12 of 26 Matt Elliott/CNET

The view is new, too

Apps can be viewed in Spaces mode, too, which is a change-up from iOS 10's stacked view.

13 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Side by side always

If you like using Split View, good news! Apps placed side by side in Split View mode will stay together. You can pick them up again by swiping up.

14 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Three's company

You can even place three apps side by side.

15 of 26 Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Share with Apple Music

Apple Music is getting more social with its profiles. You'll need to update your privacy settings, but Apple Music will walk you through that after the iOS 11 update. 

16 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Scan, bam, thank you, ma'am

Now you can scan documents, receipts and more directly to Note. Note, overall, is a lot more useful, too.

17 of 26 Jason Cipriani/CNET

The Cover Sheet is here

The old Notification Center is out and the new Cover Sheet is in. It looks just like your lock screen. It shows the two newest notifications and hides the rest. To view the other notifications you need to swipe up on the screen.

18 of 26 Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Be creative and add a drawing

You can add a drawing to your emails with a swipe of the finger. Just long-press and select Insert Drawing from the pop-up. 

19 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Drag and drop

With iOS 11 you can drag and drop files from app to app. Of course, this is a little awkward and doesn't always work, but it's a start.

20 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Doodle on screenshots

Since I often need to add notations to my screenshots, this feature is super handy. You can mark up any screenshot with various pen sizes and colors or highlight areas you want noticed.

21 of 26 Matt Elliot/CNET

Your files, but better

The iCloud Drive app is gone and now there is a Files app. The new Files app will get your attachments and other files organized both locally and in cloud accounts. 

22 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Markup as PDF

You can also use the new Markup as PDF feature to turn any webpage, file or photo into an editable PDF. Just tap the Share icon, select Markup as PDF and it will get converted to a PDF. 

23 of 26

Do not disturb

Driving just got a little safer. iOS 11 has a Do Not Disturb While Driving feature that automatically detects when you're driving. It blocks notifications and sends an Auto-Reply message to people who message you.

24 of 26 Matt Elliott/CNET

Go dark

The new 11 iOS has a hidden dark mode. You can turn the background black by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Invert Colors. Then, toggle on Smart Invert

25 of 26 Jason Cipriani/CNET

Do the AirPod double-tap

iOS now interacts differently with your AirPods, too. When you double-tap the left AirPod you can play or pause your music. Double-tap the right one to go to the next track.

26 of 26 Jason Cipriani/CNET

No more password blues

Ugh. Passwords suck. Thankfully, you never need to tell your friends the Wi-Fi password again. They can just send you a request and you can approve it from your device.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos