What You Need to Know About the iOS 11 Release

September 19, 2017

1:30 pm

Apple’s 2017 suite of devices is officially known: You can feast your eyes on the specs for the Series 3 Watch, iPhone 8, and iPhone X. But they all need software to run on, which is why Apple’s newest operating system, iOS 11, released today.

And with it are coming massive changes that every other iPhone owner should be aware of.

To update your phone, go over to Settings > General > Software Update and then follow the instructions. But before you do, take a look at this rundown of the most meaningful tweaks and their impact on you.

ARKit’s Augmented Reality

Apple’s new AR features were a huge part of their special event this month, as demonstrated by the variety of Animoji users can create with their own facial muscles, as well as the AR game app that was demo’d live. That’s all thanks to their ARKit, which debuts with iOS 11, and the built-in camera, processors and motion sensors of iPhone 8 and iPhone X help the ARKit run smoothly.

And since Apple has such a large network of users, that makes it now “the largest AR platform in the world,” as Apple’s Craig Federighi was quick to point out.

Apple Pay in Messages

The update will also let you pair up two functions for the first time: With iOS 11, you can now send money through Apple Pay to your friends within the Messages app. If anything can get people to stop pulling out their physical credit cards to split a bill, this one might: After all, everyone takes the path of least resistance and now they don’t even need to download a bill-spitting app.

No More 32-Bit Software

Apple has been phasing out 32-bit apps in favor of 64-bit apps since the 2013 release of iOS 7, and now the day is finally here: iOS 11 won’t run any 32-bit apps. The upshot of this decision: 200,000 old apps may vanish, never to be seen again.

That’s ten percent of the App Store’s goods, so it’s a significant culling. However, the result should be more secure as well as more streamlined: Apple hasn’t been supporting the 32-bit apps since 2015, so their security is likely shoddy by now.

A “Do Not Disturb While Driving” Function

As driving laws in many cities continue to crack down on those attempting to double fist a smartphone and a steering wheel, Apple is trying to get ahead of the problem by encouraging drivers to put down their iPhones with a new setting. But you won’t be turning this setting on manually.

“The Do Not Disturb While Driving option for the iPhone can detect when users are driving and automatically silence notifications to keep the screen dark,” TechCo reported earlier. “For those sending text messages, users can have an auto reply to contacts listed in Favorites to let them know they are driving and are unable to respond at that time. If you can’t see or hear a distraction from your iPhone, then all you have to do is drive.”

You’ll have to find the Control Center in your Settings in order to turn the function on.

An App Store Redesign

While many users might not notice, one tweak will have massive repercussions for the gaming app developer community: In iOS 11, apps and games will get separate locations in the App Store rather than remain lumped together. In addition, the Top Grossing chart is being removed.

Check out an interview I ran with Glu Mobile’s Chief Revenue Officer, Chris Akhavan, if you’d like to learn more about the effects of these changes. The bottom line: The redesign is a net positive for users and developers both, but mean that app developers will have a learning curve to overcome.

And More!

With iOS 11, you’ll also be getting a new file system with its own app, “Files”; a new iPad Dock function; drag and drop UI; and an improved version of Siri. Still need to know more about iOS 11? Then check out the The Complete iOS 11 & Swift Developer Course, available now.

Read more about Apple’s latest news here at TechCo

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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