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iOS 11's best features for iPhone and iPad

iOS 11's beta is here, and these are the things you should try first.

Scott Stein
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Scott Stein
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Apple iOS 11 beta tricks you need to try on the iPhone and iPad

The best features of iOS 11 beta: Some are big, some are small and some you should just check out.

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The new Control Center is one panel, jam-packed with useful functions. It's easier to use, too.

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Some areas have additional pop-outs, like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings.

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Extra Control Center buttons can be added from a limited list in Settings. It can balloon to a weirdly large set.

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Live Photos can now be edited: This is better than you think.

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Live Photos can be turned into GIF-like loops with forward-reverse effects. Or, a new long-exposure effect works nicely with some motions.

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The best part is that any shot in Live Photo can be turned into the key image to share with others.

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One-handed keyboards squish everything to the right or left for easier one-hand access.

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Enable this at the bottom of the keyboard, by pressing in on the Emoji button.

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Scanning documents into Notes is a built-in feature now: It's helpful for receipts.

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Screen recording can capture whatever you're doing, and add voice-over for instant how-to videos.

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Siri is updated. She/he sounds different. It's strange!

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Apple iOS 11

Siri also can translate into certain languages, for on-the-fly help speaking French, Italian, Spanish, German or Mandarin Chinese (but Siri doesn't always listen properly).

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The new App Store has a News-like redesign, complete with articles. Meh.

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The new App Store seems to value layout over discovering lots of apps at once.

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iOS 11 on the iPad is a bigger set of changes. All of the above (except one-handed keyboards) work on the iPad, plus other big additions.

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A new dock almost looks MacBook-like, and can hold way more apps (roughly 13-15, depending on your iPad screen size).

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Apps can be dragged in and out as needed. The right-side set of three apps are Siri suggested based on recent use and what's open on your iPhone.

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Other apps can be viewed in a Spaces mode that's also Mac-like. It replaces the stacked view of open apps in iOS 10.

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Apps placed side-by-side in Split View mode can be kept together and picked again by swiping up.

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The new Control Center is on the right side, complete with the same features as the iPhone.

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Added Control Center buttons make it a more helpful alternative to visiting Settings.

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Still, even more customization and control would be great.

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Apps can be placed side by side, and new apps can be dragged into their place from the Dock.

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If you really want to get crazy, a third app can be placed on top of the others on an iPad Pro.

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Dragging and dropping files between apps is possible, but not always easy.

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Photos can be dragged over and web links work. It doesn't work for every app, though.

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Pencil-supported modes have grown a lot in iOS 11. Now it's easy to annotate a web page as a PDF.

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Any screenshot can be turned into a markup-friendly file.

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You still need to charge Pencil from the side of the iPad, though.

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It's great for quick highlights and notes, but there still aren't ways to convert handwriting into text or make edits in documents.

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A new Files app consolidates attachments and other files both locally and in cloud accounts. But it's not quite as versatile as a Mac or a PC.

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The built-in on-screen keyboard has a clever swipe-down way of typing numbers and punctuation now, no Shift key required.

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A quick flick types the top number or character.

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The new App Store doesn't feel massively improved.

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Will iOS 11 make the iPad a whole new experience? Maybe not, but it's a solid set of steps forward for Pro users.

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