iOS 11: what we want to see

Will 11 be a big number for iOS?

iOS 10 only recently landed in its finished form, but you can be sure that Apple is already hard at work on iOS 11, ready for a mid-2017 unveiling. 

So far little is known about the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system, but there are a few rumored features and plenty more things we’re hoping to see. 

With that in mind we’ve collected all the news and rumors below, along with a wish list of what we’d hope are Apple’s top priorities.

Cut to the chase

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

iOS 11 release date

iOS 11 is likely quite a long way off, with an announcement at WWDC in June 2017 looking all but set in stone, given that it’s during this event that Apple typically unveils new versions of iOS.

However, it’s unlikely that iOS 11 will be finished by then, with betas (including a public one) likely to be made available soon after, and a final release probably in September 2017, alongside the iPhone 8.

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 schedule.

iOS 11 news and rumors

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.

The real question is whether Dark Mode will arrive with iOS 11, or as part of an iOS 10 update, as 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.

Apple is also said to be working on a new video sharing and editing app, similar to Snapchat. Supposedly this would include filters and the ability to draw on videos, and it may launch as a standalone app, rather than as an update to the camera app.

This wouldn’t necessarily be a part of iOS 11, but Apple is supposedly shooting for a 2017 launch, so it’s possible.

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.

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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