iOS 11 Feature Focus: Control Center

Posted on September 26, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in iOS with 16 Comments

iOS 11 Feature Focus: Control Center

In iOS 11, Apple has completely revamped Control Center into a full-screen and customizable experience.

The basics, of course, are the same: Control Center provides quick access to frequently-needed system tools like Airplane Mode, Rotation lock, display brightness, volume, and so on. And yet, in a way, everything has changed.

For starters, Control Center is now a full-screen experience. In previous iOS versions, this interface was a panel that appeared at the bottom of the display. And you could swipe to the right to access additional controls for media playback and home control.

On an iPad or iPad Pro, Control Center joins the App Switcher as part of a new full-screen display. But it works similarly to Control Center on an iPhone.

On an iPhone, you still access Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the display. (And you dismiss it by swiping down or by pressing the Home button.) You can also display Control Center on an iPad or iPad Pro by swiping up from the bottom of the display if you are currently on the Home screen. But if you are in an app, you will need to swipe up from the bottom of the display twice: The first swipe displays the Dock and the second displays the App Switcher/Control Center screen.

(The iPhone X, which lacks a Home button, also adds a layer of complexity to Control Center. With that device, you have to swipe down from the top right corner of the display to access Control Center. Makes sense.)

The various controls on the Control Center work much as they did before. And on devices with 3D Touch support, you can press and hold on many controls to display a quick action menu. For example, if you press and hold on Brightness, a full-screen Brightness display appears, providing more control. Flashlight and Volume work similarly.

One of the best changes here is that Control Center can now be customized: If you navigate to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls, you will see toggles for various controls that can sit at the bottom of this display, including a number—like Apple TV Remote, Do Not Disturb While Driving, Magnifier, and many, many more—that are not displayed in Control Center by default.

This is nice because you can personalize Control Center so that the controls you want/need are always available. And you can determine their on-screen position. (Though these customizations only pertain to the icons at the bottom of Control Center.)

Initially, I was a bit taken back by the visual changes here, but I’ve come to really appreciate the design and feel that Control Center in iOS 11 is vastly superior to that in previous versions. The customization features, too, are quite nice.

But as I noted in iOS 11 Arrives Today … And it is a Mess, Apple’s mobile OS is suffering from some creeping complexity, and the inconsistent way you access this interface across different device types could be confusing to some.


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