iOS 11 Updates: All the Exciting New Features from WWDC

Now that Apple has held its WWDC 17 Keynote, we can now confirm some of our iOS 11 predictions and share additional updates to the newest version of Apple's mobile software. From a massive Siri upgrade to augmented reality, we’ve rounded up everything you’ve been itching to know about iOS 11 and the exciting changes it will bring to your iPhone and iPad. While iOS 11 won’t officially be available until the fall, the public beta will be available for download at the end of June. Read on to learn more about iOS 11’s most exciting features.

Related: Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 17: HomePod, iOS 11, 10.5-inch iPad Pro & More!

New Apple Music Interface

The iOS 11 rollout will bring us the third iteration of Apple Music app’s design. The Music app will introduce a long awaited sharing feature, allowing you to view what your friends are listening to and control your own visible content. This sharing feature makes it easier than ever to curate your favorite songs, accept recommendations from friends, and even add your own songs to party playlists through the new Up Next feature.

Starting this fall, you’ll also be able to enable multi-room audio through Control Center and the Home app on your iPhone, allowing you to listen to songs or podcasts on Bluetooth speakers around the house, thanks to Apple's new AirPlay 2 protocol. 

New App Store Interface

Sit back and relax with Stories on your Today tab in the newly redesigned App store. The iOS 11 App Store will host daily Featured Apps and Editor's’ Picks as well as How-To Guides of your favorite apps. Apps and Games will have their own distinct categories, allowing for easier navigation of the content you prefer. Product pages have also gotten an upgrade, enabling designers to get feedback faster and allowing users to access reviews, videos, and screenshots in a more streamlined and easier-to-read layout.

Safer Navigation and Multi-Lane Guidance

iOS 11 makes driving safer with new features which can be accessed even without a CarPlay-enabled vehicle. Do Not Disturb While Driving allows users to redirect calls and notifications while on the road. Your iPhone will automatically detect when you are in transit and suggest Car Mode so that you can drive distraction free. You’ll be able to allow exceptions for that important phone call or text while filtering out unnecessary notifications. Car Mode will even send automated messages back, letting your contacts know that you’re driving and unable to respond.

Multi-lane Guidance and speed limits are now included in navigation. You’ll be able to see which lane you’ll need before you get to a busy intersection. You’ll also be able to check your speed even when there are no signs posted on the side of the road.

Maps is also making your shopping and air travel easier by including interactive multi story maps of most large malls and major airports.

Major Siri Upgrade

As predicted, Siri’s been taking some speech lessons. Thanks to Apple’s machine learning magic, Siri sounds better than ever. With multiple inflections for key words, both the male and female voice options sound more natural. Siri’s also a much better listener. As you surf on Safari, chat in Messages, search for restaurants on Maps, or select new music from friends, Siri will learn from your activities and use that information to streamline your experience. Siri will be able to remember the names of places to offer autofill suggestions across multiple apps. You’ll also notice changes to how your appointments are scheduled to Calendar as Siri will make smarter recommendations for events. Need a quick translation from English to Mandarin? Ask Siri and it will repeat your translation back in the selected language. Your international trips just got a whole lot easier! 

Peer-to-Peer Apple Pay

Apple Pay is indeed expanding its horizons to allow peer-to-peer payments. Siri will remember conversations from synced contacts through Mail and Facebook Messenger and will recommend amounts in Apple Pay. You’ll be able to pay your friends directly through Facebook Messenger, either with amounts recommended by Siri or your own custom amounts. You’ll be secure with Touch ID so that you can confirm all your peer-to-peer payments before finalizing your transactions.

Updated Messages app

In addition to peer-to-peer Apple Pay integration, Messenger’s iOS 11 update will include a more easily accessible app drawer for your favorite stickers and Messenger apps. Your messages will now also be synced across all your devices. You’ll be able to delete messages and save content across all devices at once, allowing you to seamlessly search, save, and share past conversations.


Earlier this year our Senior Web Editor Sarah Kingsbury, made a wish for better facial recognition by syncing Faces in Mac Photos with People in iOS Photos. We’re excited to announce that Apple has granted her wish. Syncing will be enabled, allowing you to more easily curate your photos and find the memories you cherish.

Speaking of memories, the Memories feature of Photos has been enhanced as well. The machine learning API is better at tracking and categorizing special occasions like sporting events and weddings as well as broader categories like pets, specific family members, and your favorite vacation spots. Memories will use its learning algorithm to select the best photos and videos from each category, allowing seamless enjoyment of all your best moments.

Live Photos is also getting a performance boost. You’ll be able to trim your live photos and select key frames as well as loop your images to create unique GIFs. You’ll also be able to set long exposure time, allowing you take complicated live photos and create scrolling textures.


Alongside the improved Photo app, iOS 11 will include a new image format called the HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format) to replace the standard JPEG. Video will film in HEVC which offers two times the compression speed of HD. Portrait Mode will make low light photography better than ever with true tone flash.

Control Center Redesign

iOS 11 brings us a more compact version of the Control Center. Brightness and volume will be adjusted by larger slider bars. Your notification center will be easier to access and navigate from the top of the screen. 3D touch enhanced docks will include the Music app, allowing you to jump into your favorite playlists. Other utility functions have been brought front and center for easy access such as your orientation lock, camera, calculator, and flashlight.

Augmented Reality Ready

The rumors are true, and Apple’s AR looks even better than we’d anticipated. iOS 11 will include a new family of augmented reality features, called ARKit. The new ARKit tools combine to create a better experience in games like Pokémon Go, with characters and graphics that interact more believably with the environment.

ARKit includes motion sensors, upgrades to the camera to enable room capture, and powerful processors to give you a smooth AR experience. Dynamic shadow rendering enhances the AR experience, casting realistic shadows from ambient lighting.

Updates for Chinese Users

Alongside the expected updates, iOS 11 includes a string of updates specifically for its Chinese users including a 10-key Pinyin Keyboard, QR code support, SMS fraud extension, and the ability to use your phone number as your Apple ID.

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Author Details

Tamlin Day's picture

Author Details

Tamlin Day

Tamlin Day is a feature web writer for iPhone Life and a regular contributor to iPhone Life magazine. A prolific writer of tips, reviews, and in-depth guides, Tamlin has written hundreds of articles for iPhone Life. From iPhone settings to recommendations for the best iPhone-compatible gear to the latest Apple news, Tamlin's expertise covers a broad spectrum. 

Before joining iPhone Life, Tamlin received his BFA in Media & Communications as well as a BA in Graphic Design from Maharishi International University (MIU), where he edited MIU's literary journal, Meta-fore. With a passion for teaching, Tamlin has instructed young adults, college students, and adult learners on topics ranging from spoken word poetry to taking the perfect group selfie. Tamlin's first computer, a Radioshack Color Computer III, was given to him by his father. At 13, Tamlin built his first PC from spare parts. He is proud to put his passion for teaching and tech into practice as a writer and educator at iPhone Life.

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