iOS 11: New iOS Rumors, Release Date, Beta Program, and What We’re Wishing For

Over the years, I think we’ve come to expect less and less excitement from new device releases. We follow the rumors, hoping to be wowed when Apple finally debuts the latest iPhone. But have you noticed that new iOS updates have become slightly (a lot) more interesting? As with iOS 10, iOS 11 is poised to improve our daily experience with our devices. WWDC is just around the corner, which makes the next iOS update feel close. Soon after WWDC, users will be able to sign up for the iOS 11 beta program. When will the new update for iPhones officially come out? Keep reading to learn more about iOS 11 release date, iOS 11 rumors, and what we’re hoping to see when the new update for iPhone goes public.

This year is the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, which is why rumors are flying regarding the rumored iPhone 8. I think users are looking for a major upgrade this cycle, and iOS 11 is inevitably going to be a big part of that. Apple has done a decent job of keeping the majority of iOS 11 rumors and leaks at a minimum, but as WWDC approached, we’re starting to see a few more glimpses into our possible iOS future. Here’s everything I’m going to cover regarding iOS 11:

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iOS 11 Debut & Release Date

Starting on June 5, Apple will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. As per usual, on the first day of the conference, Apple will hold a keynote event. During the keynote event, we’ll get a preview of all the iOS updates, which will be released during the Fall. Not only will we get a sneak peek at iOS 11, it’s likely we’ll get to see the latest watchOS 4, tvOS 11, and macOS 10.13.

Quick Review: iOS 11 will debut June 5 at WWDC. The iOS 11 beta program will open within a month of WWDC. The public iOS 11 will be available sometime in Fall, within a month after Apple debuts the rumored iPhone 8 (or iPhone 7s, who knows).

iOS 11 Rumors

At a Glance:

Dark Mode

With iOS 10, the Clock app showed us the first signs of Dark Mode on iPhone. Basically, you’d be able to turn Dark Mode on with iOS 11, which would shift your whites to black and change any other colors needed so that they’re equally as visible regardless. While Dark Mode won’t be everyone’s first choice, it will likely make browsing on your device slightly easier on the eyes. This is a consistent enough rumor that I expect we will indeed get Dark Mode with iOS 11 on iPhone and iPad.

Group Facetime Chat

You’ve always been able to have conference calls (audio call with three or more people) on iPhone; but with the new iOS update, it looks like we’ve finally be able to have multi-use Facetime chats. That means you’d be able to see multiple friends on your iPhone screen while you catch up. I think this is an obvious win that should and likely will be included in iOS 11.

Default Facetime Audio

Another iOS 11 rumor regarding Facetime is the potential of Apple switching calls to default to Facetime audio. The reasoning is multi-faceted. First, a lot of people aren’t even aware that Facetime audio is a thing they can use. In general, Facetime audio is much crisper and clearer than your cellular connection. Another aspect of this is that Facetime audio would use Wi-Fi, unless Wi-Fi isn’t available, in which case it will use your data plan. Your cellular connection, on the other hand, uses your minutes. So if you have a plan with limited talk-time but unlimited data, this will be great for you. But if you have a cell plan with unlimited talktime but minimal data, you may want to turn this feature off.

Overall, I think it’s a positive shift. It’s expected that we’ll have the option to turn the feature off, for those who don’t see it as a win. I expect Apple will include this feature in iOS 11, simply because it’s such a specific rumor.

Screenshot Alert? (Please, no)

If you send a friend an image or text via Snapchat or Instagram that is supposed to disappear after you view it, users are alerted when someone takes a screenshot of said media that was supposed to disappear. But Apple better not take this too far. The rumor, in short, is that users would be notified if someone took a screenshot of a message they’ve sent or received. This rumor had the people of Twitter freaking out, and I was on that train with them. Don’t do this Apple. Sometimes I need to send screenshots of a stupid conversation to my girlfriend so I can vent to her and not take it out on the person you want to alert. Apple don’t start unnecessary drama. Don’t do it.

New Apple Music interface (again, again)

Ah yes, the ever-evolving Apple Music interface. If this rumor is true, it will be the third iteration of the Music app’s design. And with iOS 11, it’s expected that there will be a new dedicated section to video. For example, Apple Music users would get access to concerts and other segments, such as “Karaoke Carpool”. I’m fairly certain that this rumor is true, but I sure hope they do a good job. Personally, I expected the Apple Music iOS 10 upgrade to be more significant than it was. I hope the Apple Music iOS 11 version brings the service together in an elegant interface with better internal navigation and features.

Major Siri Upgrade

Siri is expected to speak more naturally with iOS 11. Siri is also supposed to become better at understanding other accents, a major current problem with the AI. With Amazon Echo and Google Home both gaining traction, I fully expect Apple to jump into the ring with its own home automation speaker. And in order to do that in a big way, Apple will need to upgrade Siri to not only meet the competition, but supercede it.

Peer-to-peer Apple Pay

It’s about time. Apps like Venmo and Square Cash are already popular for their allowing users to send money to each other. Even Facebook and Snapchat have a feature that allows users to send money to each other. So it only makes sense that Apple Pay would also allow iPhone users to send some money to one of their contacts.

Intuitive Low Power Mode

Low Power Mode works great on iPhone, but it’s not adaptive. With iOS 11, it’s rumored that your iPhone will pay attention to your charging habits. That way, Low Power Mode will automatically turn on when your iPhone thinks you’ll be away from a power charging cord for an extended period of time. It’s also rumored that it may get a place in Control Center for easy access to turning it on and off.

Video App (Another Snapchat copycat?)

Can someone tell me why this is such a huge thing now? Snapchat was the first social video app that made it big, and it is a great app. I hear the kids love it. But then Instagram decided to add Stories, which, let’s be honest, is just adding Snapchat features to Instagram. And, of course, since Facebook owns Instagram, Facebook adopted these disappearing stories as well. Where does it end? Hopefully before iOS 11. This rumor contends that Apple might debut a new video app with Snapchat-like features that allow users to send and share pictures and videos that would automatically disappear after a certain amount of time. Just, no.

Augmented Reality Ready

One of the big rumors regarding the potential iPhone 8 is a camera that has built-in functions for Augmented Reality. This, to me, is very likely since the rise of AR and VR continues to spike and will probably continue to grow. Which means that iOS 11 will need to be ready for Augmented Reality as well. In short, this would enable your camera to recognize objects and give you information on said objects. Or, it would allow you to hold up your camera when getting directions and see the route laid out before you.

Updated Messages app

What if you could check all of your interactions you have with a person on various platforms in one place? That’s what the rumored Messages app would do in iOS 11. So you’d be able to open up a message thread with a contact and see the iMessages along with your interactions on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. It would bring it all together in the Messages app. Along with this iOS 11 Messages app rumor is another rumor that iMessage may be coming to Android. This would surprise me, since Apple likes closed-systems. But we’ll see.

Finger-detecting keyboard?!

This is easily the coolest iOS 11 rumor I’ve heard. The idea is that when you’re typing on your iPad, the screen would recognize where you’ve placed your fingers, allowing you to type anywhere on the screen, instead of having to tap the exact key. Of course, it would have to work very well and be consistently accurate, or users would quickly become annoyed with the feature. This rumor was started because, apparently, Apple has a patent to do this. But Apple has a lot of patents, so we’ll wait and see. But it would be super awesome.

Any rumors I missed? Let me know in the comments! Politely, please.

Signing Up for The iOS 11 Beta Program

When the time comes, we’ll have a complete how-to published for users that want to sign up for the iOS 11 beta program, along with the pros and cons of doing so. After WWDC, you can check this page (LINK) to see if Apple’s beta program for iOS 11 is open yet. But I expect we’ll have to wait until sometime in July before getting to test it out.

iOS 11 Wish List

Now we’ve covered when, what, and how to get it. But we’ve yet to dive into what we want to see! Half the fun of following Apple rumors is speculating what feature you want to have on your device. Let us know what you want in iOS 11 in our poll below. Here’s what the team at iPhoneLife are hoping to see:

Conner, Feature Web Writer (Me!):

  • Apple Music app upgrade with much better music discovery options.
  • That Finger-detecting rumor (above) sounds rad.

Donna, Editor-in-Chief:

  • Improved Messages and Mail search!
  • Text message scheduling (some Android phones have this so you can type up a message that pops into your head in the middle of the night and schedule it for some decent hour).
  • Improved Home app that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to set up hub and Scenes, etc.

Sarah, Senior Web Editor

  • Bicycle navigation.
  • Syncing between the Faces feature on Mac Photos and People in iOS Photos and better facial recognition overall.

Raph, Chief Technical Officer

  • I would love multi user but I'm sure that will never happen. True multi user / account switching so I could set up profiles of different games, etc for my son separate from my own, and also restrict photos, data, apps, etc. based on the user.

What Devices Will Be Compatible with iOS 11?

AppAdvice has a great chart on their website showing each device compatible with iOS 10 and their estimate for whether or not each device will be compatible with iOS 11. I’ll include the chart below for an easy look, but here’s a quick list of iPhones and iPads that we expect won’t be able to use iOS 11:

  • iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini 2. And possibly, iPad mini 3.

The chart above differs a bit since it’s AppAdvice’s estimate. Now, there’s a little bit of gray area where the old meets the new. Before now, it hasn’t been called into question whether or not the iPhone 6 will be compatible with iOS 11. And while the chart below says it will, I’m not entirely convinced. Depending on the features Apple chooses to include in iOS 11, the iPhone 6 may not be able to handle it. But in general, I think chart will give you a good idea of what devices will likely be able to use iOS 11.

What do you want to see in iOS 11? Leave your wish list of features in the comments below!

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Conner Carey holds a bachelor's in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and resides in Fairfield, Iowa. When she's not writing, you can find her singing jazz or watching anime. Her personal blog can be found at connerleecarey.com; you can also follow her on twitter @connerleecarey.