With iOS 11 widely available either as a download for your current phone or pre-installed on new models like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, it's time to dig into all the major features we've been hearing about since last summer. Spend some time with iOS 11, and you'll discover that there's more to the update then what Apple featured during its developer conference.
iOS 11 is full of hidden goodies, including some pretty useful tools such as a one-handed keyboard mode, a new way to interact with Siri, and even new AirPods controls. Here are the coolest new iOS tricks to explore in iOS 11.
The latest of the many new skills Siri has picked up in iOS 11 lets you hear the latest headlines with the help of Apple's digital assistant. If you've upgraded to iOS 11.2.2, just say "Hey Siri, give me the news" or "Hey Siri, what are the headlines," and Siri will launch an audio report from NPR. That's just the default news source, though: you can ask Siri to switch over to headlines from Fox News, CNN or the Washington Post if you prefer a different audio report. The report launches in iOS 11's Podcasts app and was likely added in advance of the upcoming launch of Apple's HomePod speaker.
Users of iOS devices have to download often poorly-made third-party apps in order to read any QR codes, such as those used in membership programs at lunch spots. Apple's own Camera app will now feature its own QR-code scanner.
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If you live in a densely populated area, you're likely tired of your iPhone's attempts to join Wi-Fi networks every time it smells the faintest scent of connectivity. A new Auto Join setting, which stops your phone from automatically hopping onto networks with lesser signal quality, should put a stop to that.
Speaking of Wi-Fi, iOS 11 makes it easier to grant network access to your fellow iOS users without fumbling with passwords. When someone tries to join your network from a phone or tablet running iOS 11, you'll get a notification on your device asking you if you want to let them on the Wi-Fi network. Agree, and your encrypted network password will automatically fill in on your friend's phone, letting them easily hop on your Wi-Fi.
Apple's given iOS 11 users a new way to shut down their device. In the case that your iPhone's lock/wake button stops working correctly, you can open Settings, tap General, tap Shut Down and swipe the shutdown slider at the top of the screen. If this doesn't do the trick, and holding the lock button doesn't wake the phone, plug your iPhone into a power source and it will start up.
iPad Pro owners who use the Apple Pencil will become more efficient. In iOS 11, tapping on the locked tablet's screen with the stylus automatically opens the Notes app.
If there's a moment in one of your FaceTime conversations you'd like to capture forever, just tap that shutter button in the lower left corner of the video messaging app. You'll be able to take a Live Photo from the Mac or iPhone camera of the person on the other end of the line that's saved to your Photos library. (Worried that someone will snap a photo of you without your knowledge? Everyone on the FaceTime call gets a notification the photo was taken.)