Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 11 | iLounge Article


Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 11

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Apple’s Maps service is still playing catchup to Google Maps, which is not surprising considering how much of a head start Google’s mapping service has had. However, Apple Maps continues to have traction on iOS devices due to its native placement and tight integration with features like Siri and CarPlay.

This year’s marquee Apple Maps feature in iOS 11 is support for indoor maps for venues such as airports and malls — another feature that Google Maps has offered since 2013. The new feature provides detailed floor plans to help users locate key points of interest ranging from stores to facilities such as washrooms, boarding gates, security checkpoints, and more. Users can browse by floor or search for specific locations by name or category.

Several locations began appearing as far back as the early iOS 11 betas in June, and Apple promised that the initial release of iOS 11 should feature indoor maps for malls in eleven cities in the U.S., U.K., China, and Japan, plus airport terminal maps for 30 major airports worldwide, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto, and the Washington D.C. area, although as of this writing, not all of these locations appear to be included yet. Apple will naturally add additional locations over time, although oddly the company has yet to list any information on indoor maps on its iOS Feature Availability.

Apple Maps also borrows this trick from Google Maps, providing the ability to zoom in and out on a map view with a single finger or thumb by double-tapping on the screen and then holding and sliding your finger up and down on the second tap.

Maps in iOS 11 also gains support for speed limits and lane navigation, but only in a few specific countries for now; both features are available in the U.S., while users in China get lane guidance and users in the U.K. get access to speed limits.

The Flyover 3D Tour feature also now takes advantage of the iPhone accelerometer and gyroscope to let you “look around” the cityscape simply by moving your iPhone.


Safari gains a few enhancements in iOS 11 as well, most notably the somewhat controversial new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature. Represented simply by a single toggle switch in the iOS Safari Settings, the feature takes advantage of Apple’s new machine learning initiatives to intelligently and proactively protect user privacy by not only blocking third-party cookies — something that Safari has offered for some time now — but also intelligently and privately analyzing a user’s web activity in Safari to further limit cookies and other website data that may be collected without the user’s knowledge to track their browsing habits across multiple sites. This analysis is done entirely by Safari on the iOS device without submitting any data to Apple or other cloud providers.

In terms of user-facing features, Safari also now includes the ability to automatically engage Reader Mode, either on specific websites or across the user’s entire web browsing experience. Automatic Reader Mode can be engaged by pressing and holding on the Reader Mode button, in the address bar, which presents a pop-up menu offering the ability to enable Reader Mode for the current website, or across all websites.

Switching Automatic Reader Mode off is done in the same manner — press-and-hold on the Reader Mode button on a web site for which Automatic Reader Mode is enabled and the pop-up menu will provide the option to stop automatically using Reader Mode for that website. However, unlike Safari in macOS High Sierra, there doesn’t appear to be a way to access a list of sites for which Automatic Reader Mode has been enabled.

Password Autofill for Apps

While not a Safari feature per se, Apple’s new Password Autofill for Apps feature expands on the ability to autofill passwords into websites in Safari by extending it to third-party apps as well, allowing users to access credentials in their iCloud Keychain when logging into online services in other apps.

The concept actually isn’t a new one — Apple actually introduced this capabilty back in iOS 8, however the earlier implementation required developers to get on board, and of course few actually made the effort to do so. iOS 11 has now reworked the feature to make it available by default in most third-party apps — provided they’re not doing anything fancy with their login screens. Using the feature involves simply looking for and tapping the small key icon in the top-right corner of the keyboard, which presents a Touch ID authentication prompt and then attempt to display relevant passwords up top and let you search through the passwords saved in your keychain.


The Notes app continues to grow to the point of being a real contender against apps like Evernote. iOS 11 adds the ability to directly scan documents into the Notes app using the Camera, and notes can also now be pinned to keep them handy at the top of the notes list. iPad Pro users will also find the Apple Pencil to be far more useful when working with notes.

Scanning Documents

The Notes app in iOS 11 now includes an integrated document camera, which can be accessed by using the normal controls to add a photo, and then selecting Scan Documents from the pop-up menu.

Documents can be captured automatically or manually, and filters can be applied for color, greyscale, or black-and-white. On the iPad Pro, scanned documents can also be marked up or signed with the Apple Pencil.

Pinned Notes

Swiping to the right on a note in the notes listing now provides an option to pin a note. Pinned notes will appear at the top of the list of notes, under a “Pinned” header and separated by a thicker line from the rest of your notes. Notes can be unpinned in the same manner.

Handwritten Notes

iPad Pro users can use the Apple Pencil to scribble out handwritten notes in iOS 11 that will be completely full-text searchable. As with other machine learning features, Apple does all of the handwriting recognition directly on your device rather than relying on cloud services, so your private information also remains private.


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