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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Comments (28)

28 responses to “Apple Ships a Public Beta of iOS 11”

  1. MacLiam

    I will take your advice and wait. I am usually quick to jump on public betas of any OS, but I will let others do the early exploration this time.

    I did however just pull the trigger on the 10.3.3. public beta 4 update on my 6S+. I didn't have any problems with the first ones at this level and can't imagine serious new issues are very likely to show up now.

  2. SDreamer

    Driving mode works via movement/speed as well as wifi (it detects signal strengths at certain intervals to detect distance in a simple way to put it) if you aren't using bluetooth to automatically enable it.

  3. medwik98

    iOS 11 Beta really awesome. Use iOS 11 along side of AppValley VIP to customise your iOS device to gretest extent possible. All latest paid apps are available for free on appvalley vip

  4. Thayios

    iOS 10 was pretty buggy in the first public beta, but this one is far more loaded with them. I would advise waiting until the first patch.


    The new features are neat (I was after the DND when driving) but not worth it to risk stability imo.

  5. Jorge Garcia

    I feel like all three of the "big boys" are missing the mark when it comes to what kind of laptop would appeal to normal people. If people have gone out of their way to buy a laptop, it's because there is something inadequate about their mobile device; they want to be able to "type things out" and get some "real" stuff done, but that doesn't mean they don't want access to their mobile app ecosystem AS WELL.


    Apple: Setting aside the absurd price premiums, the iPad Pro with iOS 11 is hindered in a couple ways...yes, it has the app ecosystem that normal people want, but the way you access it is dumb. Since you can't perform traditional windowing, you can't keep a lot of stuff open on the screen at the same time. I feel a lot of people still very much enjoy the "desktop with the stacked deck of cards" multi-tasking that Xerox Parc engineers introduced us to (indirectly, of course :)). I see this all the time...people "working" on their macbooks with their iPhone right next to them, periodically switching between the two. How absurd is it to have to peck out a message on a tiny glass screen when you already have a fantastic keyboard open and ready to go in front of you! To solve this, Apple needs to make an iPad Pro that allows you to switch into a proper desktop mode, with proper mouse and trackpad support as well. This way, you can work on your word or excel document, but still have facebook, instagram and snapchat open on your desktop, ready to receive keyboard input. This product (which I'd personally call the iBook) would sell like hotcakes IMO, and app developers would rush to beef up their Mac-only apps to work on this fresh new iOS desktop. Also, the iPad pro features a lot of new gestures, but I feel that people aren't interested in learning all this new "stuff". People already know how to use desktop PC's, and they already know how to use mobile devices...I don't think they are too keen on learning brand-new, Apple device-specific ways of interacting with a computer.


    Google: Google is the one company that has all the ingredients to give people what they want, but (it seems) they lack the desire or vision to actually do it. Google COULD have made a desktop version of Android ages ago, but instead they bet the farm on ChromeOS. While ChromeOS may have been the smartest decision on paper, it is not what people actually want...something that works (mostly) like the Windows they grew up on/work on, but has all the apps they are used to on their mobile devices. Now Google has painted themselves into a corner and it is up to other companies like Samsung, Remix, and Phoenix to "hack" Android into something that is usable with a mouse and keyboard...but these are all niche, third-party solutions, so until Google itself does it, it won't go mainstream IMO.


    Microsoft: Ironically, Microsoft "gets it"...but they can't do anything about it. They learned the hard way that you CANNOT combine a productive interface and a consumption interface into one, and as such, they finally decided to have two distinct computing modes available - Tablet/Desktop. This is the right way, if you ask me, but unfortunately for them, they are stuck doing it in the reverse order of how people actually want it done. People want their beloved mobile computers to be able to perform like a desktop when called upon...they DO NOT want their terrible too- complicated dinosaur PC's to include a "tablet" mode just in case, ESPECIALLY a tablet mode that doesn't have ALL the apps they use on their phones....and that's why I am 100% sure MS is doomed in the regular consumer space moving forward.


    That is why if a non-techie relative asks me which laptop to buy, I recommend an absurd thing called an iView Gemini...it's a laptop, it runs Android, but it features a very Windows-like and usable desktop interface, and guess what...all the play store apps are right there too. Whenever Google gets around to offering this exact product to the masses, they will put the last nail in Windows for the home's coffin.


    Mind you, I use personally Windows 8.1 (+Stardock) every single day, and plan to for years to come...it is hands down the BEST OS for "real" computing, but it is abundantly clear to me that most people just don't need a "real" computer in their lives anymore.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to Jorge Garcia:

      Pervasive pointer support is the last thing iOS needs. It does need support for BT pointing devices so that they can be used in Remote Desktop apps, and so that if an RTS game isn’t developed, the dev hasn’t the option of enabling mousing!

    • Lars lalaa

      In reply to Jorge Garcia:

      “but it is abundantly clear to me that most people just don't need a "real" computer in their lives anymore.”

      That‘s the point, and the reason why a Surface Laptop will tank in sales while Paul, for example, predicted the best selling Surface device of all time. It‘s not a bad device, don‘t get me wrong, However, these are point of views from traditional computing dinosaurs.

      "they want to be able to "type things out" and get some "real" stuff done, but that doesn't mean they don't want access to their mobile app ecosystem AS WELL."

      Why don’t get an iPad Pro stand from Amazon for about $19 with over a thousand five star reviews, pair it with something like the Anker Bluetooth Ultra-Slim for $18 and you have a great typing experience. At the same time all the benefits of mobile computing. Take the iPad with the smart cover on the go. Great experience. At least for me :) A10X already outperforms an i5 in some benchmarks. Professional photo editing is no problem at all. Desktop class software is available with Affinity Photo and many other productivity tools.

      IMO it would be the worst possible decision from Apple to implement mouse support and other relict into iOS. Maybe they can do it when the transition from traditional computing to mobile is completed. At a time when it doesn’t bother many users anymore, just to pick up the last dinosaurs or people who still believe they need a high performance PC to get basic workloads done. A desktop on the other hand is still necessary, for really heavy workloads. As a hub in offices or similar use cases. 


  6. MikeGalos

    Of course the problem with implementing Do Not Disturb While Driving is that it has to be manually configured to not turn on when you are the passenger and turn on if you are the driver.

    The only realistic default requires that it default to ON when moving at car speeds since a passenger can safely turn it off where a driver can't safely turn it on while driving.

    And, perhaps it's just me but that Control Center is just plain hideous. It looks like it was done by a developer to get a quick and dirty, first pass UI in place so they could test their code and nobody remembered to give it to the UX professionals for clean-up.

    • PincasX

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      I was fiddling with the iOS implementation of DNDWD and the options to enable are manually, when connected to a car via Bluetooth and Automatically. None of those solve the particular problem you are referencing but the Bluetooth option comes pretty close. Rarely do I connect to a car via Bluetooth when I am the passenger and rarely am the driver and not connected to Bluetooth. So that actually comes really close to solving the problem.

  7. Narg

    Ok, waiting is for the weak... ;) Yeah, yeah, I said I would wait. But my blood flows new tech. So, installation happened shortly after 5:00pm last night. As with any of the more recent iOS updates, this one is evolutionary and not so big. Most of the features I used right away, including the cool screen capture ability to annotate and forward. I do like the new control panel, but it will take some learning to use best. And, I love the changes to the Store. Camera changes are OK, but I still prefer the quality of photos that MS Pix provides. I'll never use the one sided keyboard. And weren't they supposed to put symbols and numbers on the keyboard now? I guess that's later.

    My iPhone has crashed hard once since yesterday, and I've seen a few app crashes. But it does run smooth for all the log file writing it is doing. Some noticeable lag, but not as much as I've seen before from Apple. And, yes battery life is less as expected. So, as Paul and others state, don't go here unless you just enjoy bleeding edge tech, or love suffering.


    P.S. here's a great video on almost every single small change to iOS 11. 30 mins long https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy1JEyxRzIc

  8. Locust Infested Orchard Inc.

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

    For one's sanity, one should never be faced with the dilemma of whether to install a new build of iOS, beta version or not. For owning any iDevice is a curse of Cupertino upon the iSheeple, whose mesmerizing spell is broken upon cleansing oneself of such futile and impotent iDevices.

  9. Martin Sjöholm

    They are up to the eleventh (!) version of the OS, and still no support for multi user accounts

  10. bassoprofundo

    Interested to hear how the DnD feature works... Seems as if anything that relies on speed/movement is going to think you're driving when you're a passenger, whereas anything that relies on you to engage it manually is already DOA. This has been my issue with any solutions up to this point.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to bassoprofundo:

      There’s a huge button “I’m Not Driving” to let it know. Kinda like in “Pokémon Go.”

    • eeisner

      In reply to bassoprofundo:

      I had an old Moto Droid Razr that had some smart actions app built in - you could configure it to act on if-then, so for example "If aux cable is plugged in, launch Google Play Music" or "If connected to xxxx WiFi network, disable data connection" ... they had a few presets - work mode, home mode, and driving mode. I had driving mode configured that when I connected bluetooth to my car, it would disable all notifications, auto-reply to texts, and launch the built-in driving app (turned phone into a screen similar to a cars GPS, with a few large icons for GPS, music, phone etc).

      Surprised Apple hasn't gone this route. Doesn't have to be that complex, just somewhere in settings "Check known bluetooth connection to enable DNDWD" (terrible name, btw). Then the phone would detect connection to bluetooth + movement speed.

  11. Informed

    iOS 11 will not convert photos previously taken as JPG to HEIF (https://www.cnet.com/news/apple-ios-boosts-heif-photos-over-jpeg-wwdc). But what about editing old JPG photos, is the edited version then saved as .heic in iOS 11?

  12. Informed

    I know that when sharing .heic photos iOS may automatically convert to JPEG as necessary, but what about when physically connecting the iPhone to PC via USB? I presume all the new photos will show as .heic when plugged into computer and that's what you're stuck with if you want to copy and paste to PC. (Not good for PCs where image size is no concern. I imagine Paul will say use cloud storage, but there are actually people that prefer local storage and manual backups instead of perpetually paying for cloud storage.)

    The big question is if .heic photos will be viewable in Windows applications like Windows Photo Viewer and Microsoft Paint by the time iOS 11 is released. HEIF is only about 2 years old and I don't even see it listed in the long list in Default ProgramsSet Associations.

  13. Informed

    Is there a way to copy individual notes to PC without uploading to cloud storage?

    With the new Files app, are notes made with iOS Notes now exportable?

  14. arikan

    Now i am able to run very tough games smoothly on iOS 11 beta update. Thanks guy's. If you are wondering ways to get those crazy games then ill surely recommend this AppValley for iOS for your devices. It's the best to get apps to your iOS 11 device.

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