Top iOS 11 Tips & Tricks

Thanks to iOS 11, your iPhone and iPad just got a lot more powerful. With each new release, Apple focuses on improving old features as well as delivering new ones. So whether you’re looking to kickstart your productivity by scanning documents in the Notes app or train yourself to be a safer driver with Do Not Disturb While Driving, this guide is your T go-to source for all that and more. 

Related: iOS 11 Draining Your iPhone Battery Life? Here's 10 Ways to Fix It

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Customize Control Center

With iOS 11, you can finally customize Control Center on your iPhone. This allows you to remove functions that you might never use and replace them with something better (like Low Power Mode or Screen Recording!). To customize Control Center, go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. To remove a control, tap the red circle next to the feature you want to remove. Under More Controls, tap the green circle to add a feature to your Control Center. Under Include, tap and hold the three horizontal lines to the right of each feature to rearrange the order in which they show up in your Control Center. 

Turn on Do Not Disturb While Driving

A new feature Apple designed for distracted drivers blocks notifications when you’re on the road. To enable this feature, go to Settings > Do Not Disturb and tap Activate under the Do Not Disturb While Driving heading. From here, you can select Automatically, When Connected to Car Bluetooth, and Manually. To ensure safer driving, select Automatically. From the previous page, you can also set up Auto-Reply to send a default text to people who try to reach you while you’re in transit letting them know you’ll get back to them.

Automatically Answer Calls

With the latest update, you can now allow your phone to automatically answer calls after three rings. If you’re the type of person who’s always near their phone but sometimes takes too long to answer, or if you find the swiping-to-answer motion annoying or difficult to do, then you can turn on this setting. To do this, go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Then scroll down to Call Audio Routing. Tap Auto-Answer Calls, and toggle it on. You can choose the duration of time your iPhone will ring before it automatically answers the call.

Enter Punctuation on iPad

Typing using the iPad’s on-screen keyboard can be a challenge, but Apple has added a punctuation tool with iOS 11 that eases the process. Instead of having to switch to a whole new keyboard to add punctuation, you can now enter a key’s secondary entry by simply pressing the key, swiping down, and releasing to enter the punctuation mark associated with that key. This makes life a lot easier when typing on your iPad! Give it a try!

Scan Documents with Notes

A great new functionality of the Notes app is the ability to easily scan documents. To use the scanner, open a note, tap the plus icon along the bottom of the screen, and tap Scan Documents. The camera viewfinder will appear. Tap the three-circle icon for the following options: Grayscale, Black & White, Photo. Choose Black & White if you’re scanning text-only documents, like receipts. If you need more light, tap the flash icon to enable flash or to set it to Off or Auto. The feature will automatically straighten the document into a rectangle for you. Tap Keep Scan when you’re happy with your selection.

Use Siri to Translate Languages

A new translation feature allows you to ask Siri to translate English to several languages including Mandarin, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. If you ask Siri for a translation for a sentence, Siri will speak the translation aloud as well as show it on your screen. You’ll also see a Play button that lets you tap to repeat the translation. If you’re not hearing the translation aloud, check to see if you have the Silent switch turned on.

Use Flyover to Explore Cities

Apple’s Flyover feature—which uses 3D satellite imaging to let you explore cities with your iOS device—has just gotten a lot cooler. Thanks to ARKit, you can now control your point of view using the positioning of your screen. To use this feature, enter in a destination in Apple Maps, such as New York City, and tap the Flyover option to the left of Directions. From here, swivel and tilt your iPhone screen to view your surroundings from every angle and direction.

Free Up & Optimize Storage

With iOS 11, you can save space on your device by optimizing your storage. To do this, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. At the top of the page, you’ll see a full breakdown of what’s taking up all your space. Below that, you’ll find optimization choices, including the option to delete old text threads and message attachments. You can also offload apps, a new option that allows you to remove storage-heavy apps but keep any personal data (like game scores) intact. Enable Offload Unused Apps to automatically delete apps you haven’t opened in a while, or scroll down to and tap on apps from the list below to offload apps manually.

Use the QR Code Reader

QR codes are bar codes for smartphones that you can use to transmit data. Now with iOS 11, your iPhone’s native Camera app can read QR codes in order to launch apps, visit websites, or join Wi-Fi networks. To test this feature out, launch your Camera app and point your camera at the QR code on this page. A notification banner should pop up at the top of your screen asking if you’d like to visit iPhoneLife.com. Tap on the banner to trigger the action.

Get Help with Emergency SOS

Emergency SOS lets you call an emergency service by pressing the Sleep/Wake button five times. This feature reveals your location to your local emergency service. After speaking to an emergency dispatcher, you’ll have the option to notify the emergency contact you’ve specified via your Medical ID card in the Health app that you’ve used Emergency SOS. For a limited time, your emergency contact will be notified of changes to your location.

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Rheanne Taylor is the associate editor of iPhone Life magazine. In her spare time Rheanne is an avid iPhoneographer who loves trying out the latest apps and gadgets for her iPhone camera. She recently graduated with her BA in literature and writing from Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.