Apple’s latest update to its mobile operating system, iOS 11, has been in our hands for a few months now, giving power users plenty of time to explore its new functionality. What we found is that iOS 11 provides some groundbreaking iPad-specific features, as well as a number of useful tweaks to the iPhone. Many of the changes are reworks of previously cumbersome functions, while changes specific to the iPad help move it into Mac territory as a full desktop replacement.
Five of these iOS 11 improvements are particularly helpful in the workplace. By taking full advantage of these iOS tweaks, we can easily perform important tasks that were difficult to impossible in the past:
1. Utilize iMessage Apps
If you’ve never used iMessage apps before, you’re in the majority (yes, you read that correctly). Previously, they were too hard to access and use. It was really just easier to call. As part of the extensive reorganization of Messages, iMessage apps now appear in a dock at the bottom of Messages, where they can be quickly utilized.
While many of the iMessage apps are for fun, some are pretty useful. For out of the office meetups, the Who’s In iMessage app elegantly simplifies the often tedious process of deciding where and when to meet. And the ETA app can let coworkers precisely coordinate their arrival times for remote meetings.
2. Silence Individual Chat Alerts
We all have that friend or relative who just has to send out an endless stream of memes and random thoughts. While sometimes entertaining, these can be an unwelcome nuisance when we’re occupied with an important task.
iOS 11 makes it easy to silence an individual or group chat that has gotten out of control with Hide Alerts. When you’re ready to respond, you can even try to help them become more effective communicators. The Hide Alerts option now appears with a simple left swipe across a conversation. The “Read” receipt is not triggered when you silence a conversation in this way, which may help to stem the tide (but probably won’t).
3. Customize the Control Center
The Control Center has been completely revamped, allowing you to improve your workflow by organizing the settings for your most important device functions. This new version compresses the old two-page layout onto a single page, which at first seems cumbersome (requiring pinky-taps on smaller devices) until you discover the extent of the new Control Center’s customization. You are now able to re-arrange controls, remove unused ones and replace them with other customizable controls that are more useful to you.
4. Multitask With iPad Dock
The new Dock for iPad is probably the biggest game-changer in the iOS 11 arsenal. Those familiar with the original iOS X Dock will quickly recognize and appreciate the way Dock opens up multitasking on the iPad. Dock makes it intuitively simple to open an app in its own window using either Split View, Slide Over, or Picture-in-Picture.
Drag and Drop has become equally simple to use, allowing easy copying of text and images between windows. Add a keyboard case and you may be tempted to get rid of that older MacBook or iMac. We love this feature so much that drag and drop has a prominent placement in Anthony’s new iOS course.
5. Manage Your Files
Yes, we said files, something that Apple has tried to hide from mobile users — until now. The Files app not only shows us what’s really on our iOS device storage, it also seamlessly integrates with cloud services. iPad and iPhone users know all too well that for certain basic tasks, Apple had backed themselves into a corner with their lack of file management.
The Files app takes care of this, making it super easy to share files in messages or email, for example. Despite this new technical indulgence, the intuitive design of the Files app manages to preserve Apple’s hallmark of utility through simplicity.
The release of iOS 11 demonstrates that Apple pays close attention to the way that users interact with their devices. Their focus on improving ergonomics while adding Mac-style functionality reflects an evolution toward devices that are just as capable on our workplace desktop as they are during a night on the town.
Ready to explore iOS in depth? Watch Anthony Sequeira’s iOS 11 End-User Essentials course today.