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iOS 11: Tips and tricks for mastering Apple’s new software

by Brandon Russell | October 6, 2017

It’s been a few weeks since Apple released iOS 11, the company’s big new software for iPhones and iPads. While many of the changes are obvious, like redesigned App Store a more natural Siri, there are other features that fly under the radar. For example, did you realize the auto brightness setting has been moved?

In addition to that, Apple has introduced several other small changes in iOS 11 that improve the everyday experience. We’ve rounded up a list of tips and tricks (11, in fact) to help you get the most out of Apple’s newest software.

Access Auto Brightness

It’s probably not a feature you fuss with all that often, but Apple moved the auto brightness toggle deeper into settings. Instead of being under Settings > Display & Brightness, Apple has moved the toggle to General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations. According to Apple, turning auto brightness off may affect your iPhone’s battery life.

Force restart (iPhone 8 and iPhone X)

Previously, performing a force restart on your iPhone was done by simultaneously holding the power and volume down buttons. With the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, things are a little different. To perform a force restart using one of Apple’s new smartphones, press the volume up key, followed by the volume down key, then press and hold the power button. Consider it Apple’s homage to the Konami Code.

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Move multiple icons at once

Arranging and rearranging your iPhone’s home screen has always been an arduous process, even when using iTunes. Apple’s latest update makes it super easy to move multiple icons at once.

To drag and drop multiple icons at once, follow these instructions:

  1. Tap and hold an icon to invoke the wiggle.
  2. When holding the first icon, drag it slightly and tap another icon you want to move. The icons will then be stacked, allowing you to move all of them at one. You can move numerous icons at once to a folder or another home screen altogether.

The action can be performed inside of folders, too, making the process or moving app icons that much faster. It sure beats doing it one by one.

Record your screen

Whether you want to film a tutorial for a loved one or record a let’s play, iOS 11’s built in screen recording feature is useful for many reasons. The shortcut can be enabled through Control Center, with settings available to mute or record your microphone audio. Whatever you record is immediately saved to your Camera Roll, which you can then send to someone through iMessage. It’s not a feature you’ll use everyday, but it can be invaluable when showing someone how to use the many features in iOS 11.

Silence conversations

Have you ever wanted to mute a conversation? You can in iOS 11 by following a few easy steps. With your Messages app open, swipe from left to right on a conversation, and you’ll see a new feature to “hide alerts.” Toggling the feature will mute notifications for a specific conversation—something that’s especially helpful for group messaging. To unmute a conversation, simply perform the same action and tap on “show alerts.”

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Try the built-in document scanner

The App Store in littered with document scanning apps, but in iOS 11, Apple decided to bake that feature into Notes. To access it, open a new or existing note and then tap the + button. A menu will come up, including one for scanning a document. After that, it’s pretty straight-forward. Simply position the document you want to scan in the camera’s viewfinder and Apple’s technology will take care of the rest.

Switch to high efficiency image format

Have you ever encountered a warning from your phone saying you’ve run out of storage? It can be especially frustrating for users who take a lot of photos. Apple wants to mitigate your storage woes by adopting a new image format known as HEIF (high-efficiency image format). Apple says images captured in HEIF should take up half the storage of JPEG, allowing users to take twice as many photos with the same amount of storage available.

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New Live Photos effects

Live Photos has always been a great part of iOS, and the arrival of iOS 11 makes the feature even better. Now, users can edit Live Photos into a Loop, Bounce, and Long Exposure. Simply navigate to your Photos app, tap on a photo and then swipe up. You’ll see a row of the new effects, which you can then tap on to edit the photo. Apple says the new effects make Live Photos “more expressive, creative, and just plain fun.”

Wi-Fi password sharing

Having guests over means sharing your Wi-Fi password. But rather than typing it into their phone or sending it through a message, iOS can easily log people into your network with a simple tap. When trying to join a network, hold your iOS 11 device near an unlocked iOS 11 device or Mac that has the password. The unlocked device will see that you’re trying to join the network, and can send the password over-the-air, automatically populating the password field and logging you in. It’s a seamless, painless, and convenient way of logging guests into your network.

One-handed keyboard

In addition to tweaking the layout of the keyboard in Messages, Apple also added a one-handed mode. With the keyboard up, tap and hold the globe or emoji button. A new popup menu will come up with a row of icons to indicate how you want your keyboard to be laid out. Choosing the right or left options will squish your keyboard to that side, making it easier to type with one hand while your other hand is occupied.

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Customize your Control Center

You may have noticed Control Center in iOS 11 looks completely different. But did you know that you can customize it to your liking? By going into Control Center’s settings, you can add and delete whatever controls you want, from a shortcut to alarms to voice memos. You can even change the order of how shortcuts show up, too, making it easy to make Control Center look exactly how you want.


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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...