iOS 11 release date, news and rumors

Apple's iOS 11 update announcement expected on June 5

Update: The iOS 11 update for your iPhone and iPad is almost here, and like clockwork, we expect to see it next month. What's new? We've seen rumors about smarter battery life, peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments and FaceTime Audio overtaking standard calling between Apple devices.

iOS 11 is going to be a big deal. Here's the latest on the update.

Apple's iOS 11 update marks the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, and it's poised to grace a completely redesigned iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

The iOS 11 release date therefore has tremendous hype surrounding it, and we should see the first iOS 11 features this summer in beta form.

Apple's still refining iOS 10 with the recent iOS 10.3.2 beta update, but we're already looking forward to the iOS 11 Developer Preview at WWDC 2017.

Here's all the iOS 11 news and rumors that we've found, along with features that we hope are at the top of Apple’s priorities list.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next version of iOS
  • When is it out? Likely June 5 announcement and September launch
  • What will it cost? Nothing!

iOS 11 release date

The official iOS 11 release date is likely mid-September, along with an iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, according to Apple's scheduling history.

However, we expect to see iOS 11 unveiled at WWDC on June 5, 2017 at Apple's big keynote in San Jose. That's when we believe Apple will preview the first iOS features.

Just don't expect iOS 11 to be finished by then. With betas (including a public beta every July) there are several iterations over the course of three months.

Again, this is all based on past iOS releases rather than any news or rumors, but there’s no reason to think Apple will change its rock-solid schedule.

iOS 11 Siri upgrade

iOS 11 is expected to have Siri graduate from voice assistant to full-blown a AI bot thanks to a new version of Siri.

Siri in 2017 is supposed to learn your habits and change how it treats you based on what you've done in the past. It should rival Google Assistant.

Not only is Siri expected with answer your questions more quickly, it's poised to anticipate how you'd act. It's geared toward "What's your next question?" and having that answer prepared, too.

This goes along with the rumored Apple Siri Speaker announcement at WWDC and even some Apple patents that suggest this is iOS 11 will head.

Facetime Audio takes over phone calls

We hope you like FaceTime Audio because you may be seeing a lot more of it in the future – if you call other iPhone and iPad users, that is.

More audio, fewer pictures

FaceTime Audio will become the normal calling mode between Apple devices, according to a now-deleted post from Reddit user cyanhat.

Replacing cellular calls and saving your once-precious minutes would have been ideal ten years ago when Unlimited Plans and limited minutes existed. 

Now, data is more precious than minutes in most countries, so we'll see if Apple makes with a Wi-Fi only change when iOS 11 is announced on June 5. 

An official sleep tracking app

Apple could make quick use of its acquisition of Beddit, an app company that's been described as the 'Fitbit of Sleep tracking.'

iOS 11 could get an official sleep tracking app – though we don't expect to see such an app launch right away in the iOS 11 beta.

Apple could save the feature for the Apple Watch 3, but there's bound to be some sort of iOS 11 integration in order to display your sleep score and graph.

Apple Pay with friends

Apple Pay is already in 15 countries, including the US, UK, Australia and most recently, Taiwan. Italy will make the 16th soon. 

The next big step for the iPhone's contact's payment system may be in your pocket, with Apple taking a direct shot at popular iOS apps like Venmo.

Peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments will be a part of an Wallet app update, notes to the same Reddit post. It's said to have a social feed and iMessage integration, too. 

More first-party app revisions

Apple was also said to be working on a new video sharing and editing app, similar to Snapchat. We got that with Apple Clips (so far, everything rings true). 

But we could see the filtered video app get a proper spotlight in the camera app with the iOS 11 announcement. 

After all, Apple really needs to redesign its barebones camera app (Why can't you switch resolutions in the camera app instead of in the settings menu?).

Apple is also apparently working on enhanced social features, according to sources speaking to Bloomberg.

The company's tipped to make sharing and connectivity with contacts a system-wide feature as well, and may consolidate communications, so you can see all your SMS messages, emails and social network interactions with a given person on a single screen.

iOS 11 low-power mode

Apple needs a small rethink on the great, but unrefined low-power mode. That could very well happen in the iOS 11 update.

Rumors point to a more intelligent low-power mode that will learn your habits battery conserving habits and try to create a schedule to automatically put itself into low-power mode, according to cyanhat. 

It's also said to be geographically adaptive, so if you want to be in low-power mode whenever away from your house, iOS will automatically make those changes for you.

The other change we're hoping to see is bringing low-power mode out of its settings menu confines and into the Control Center. My, my, that giant Night Shift button is mighty big. Low-power mode could easily fit in half of Night Shift's Control Center real estate.

Dark Mode

One thing we’re expecting to see soon from iOS is a Dark Mode, which would make backgrounds black, so you don’t strain your eyes when using an iOS device at night or in other dim environments.

Resources for the feature have already been found within iOS 10, so it’s probably something that Apple plans to add imminently.

Of course, there’s already a Night Shift mode, but that’s a bit different, as it reduces the amount of blue light rather than making the display darker.

What we want to see

We don’t know much about iOS 11 yet, but we know what we want from it. Check out our wish list below and let us know if there’s anything you really want to see.

1. Customizable Control Center 

Control Center is a handy shortcut to a number of toggles, but it’s not customizable, meaning that for certain options, such as music controls, you must swipe to the second tab – an annoying extra step for anyone who listens to a lot of music on their device.

Worse, some actions, such as GPS, don’t have Control Center toggles at all, so we’d like to see the ability to customize both what options are displayed and which tab they appear on.

2. Always-on display 

Samsung impressed us with the always-on display of phones like the Galaxy S7 – giving you a constant clock and a window onto your notifications, and we’d like to see a similar option built into iOS 11.

Raise to wake makes it quicker than ever to view the lock screen, but if we just want to check the time we'd rather not have to even raise the phone, and an always-on display would be a solution.

3. Home screen widgets

Apple’s lock screen widgets are handy, and help stop the home screen getting too cluttered, but we’d still like the option to put widgets on our home screens.

It’s not just about having quick access to apps and information, but also about customizing devices to make them our own, whether that means having a big custom clock and weather forecast on our main home screen, an overview of upcoming calendar events, or whatever else.

4. Smarter Siri

Siri is getting better all the time, but there’s still room for improvement, especially as in many ways Google Assistant has it beat.

We’d especially like to see improvements to Siri’s context awareness – so for example reliably being able to answer follow-up questions without you having to clarify the subject again.

5. Grouped notifications

Everyone likes to be loved, and there's nothing better than your WhatsApp blowing up - until that is, you take a gander at your lock screen or notification bar. 

Currently, iOS seems unable to group messages from the same contact, or message group, together, giving you an almost never-ending stream of notifications. 

Come on Apple, give us "19 new messages from 2 chats" and the ability to expand to see more if we so desire. Pleeaassssseeeeee.

6. Clear all background apps

Being able to hop quickly between different apps is handy, but sometimes we like to clean up the multi-tasking panel and start fresh. Thing is, on iOS 10 that involves swiping each individual app to close it.

For iOS 11 we'd love to have a "clear all" option, allowing us to shut all the background apps with a simple tap of an icon.

7. Easy video resolution changes

iOS is often thought of as simple and intuitive, and for the most part it is, but glaring usability issues sometimes emerge, and one of those is the inability to change video resolution from the camera app.

Instead you have to dig down into the main settings screen, which takes time, isn’t intuitive at all and could leave some users unaware that it’s even an option.

This should be an easy fix, so hopefully with iOS 11 Apple will add a video resolution toggle to the camera app itself.

8. Improved Mail app

Apple's Mail app got a bit of love in the iOS 10 upgrade, but the new look isn't overly slick. Scrolling through an email conversation feels clunky, and rival apps such as Gmail feel better put together overall.

In iOS 11 we'd like to see a cleaner, slicker and more user friendly Mail app, and if Apple wants to take a few pointers from Google's Gmail offering we won't complain.

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