Apple Ships a Public Beta of iOS 11

Posted on June 27, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in iOS with 28 Comments

Apple Ships a Public Beta of iOS 11

As promised, Apple has made a public beta version of iOS 11 available to the public. The big question: Should you install it?

Based on my experience with the previous two developer beta releases, the answer, for now, is no. I recommend waiting at least a week or two and seeing what the feedback looks like. Betas are betas, I know, but in my experience—across three devices, too—this is the buggiest iOS beta yet.

But that sort of makes sense. After mailing it in for the most part over several releases, Apple is finally delivering the revolutionary update that many of us have been waiting for. And that is especially true on iPad.

I’ve written about what Apple said about iOS 11 at WWDC. And I’ve provided a few quick hands-on articles about the first developer betas, especially on iPad. Here, I’ll focus on those new features and other changes that I think you will want to explore first on iPhone.

Control Center. The iOS Control Center has been updated significantly with a new, single-screen UI that looks, to me, a bit like the old Windows phone Start screen. It is fully-configurable now, works differently on iPhone and iPad, and some of those panels even offer sub-screens now. There’s a lot going on here.

One-handed keyboard. This is the type of thing other platforms have had for years, but it’s nice to see: You can press and hold the emoji key on the iOS virtual keyboard to enter a new one-handed mode. You can place it on the right or the left, too.

Files app. For power users, the new File app represents a big shift from past Apple strategies, and this is especially true on iPad, where new productivity scenarios become possible. But Files works on iPhone, too, and you can add third-party services already. Including, yes, OneDrive.

Do Not Disturb While Driving. This excellent feature doesn’t rely on you configuring the iPhone via Bluetooth, as I had expected. Instead, it seems to just work as you drive, perhaps via some speed/movement detection. Really nice.

App Store has a new design. After experimenting with a new app look and feel with Apple Music and Apple News, iOS 11 is going all-in on this design. And the App Store is perhaps the best example. I really like this look, which uses a 1990’s-style Microsoft font as the header.

If you’re interested in trying out the iOS 11 public beta—or other public betas for tvOS 4 and macOS High Sierra—you can learn more at the Apple Beta Software Program website.


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