iOS11 - My Thoughts

Apple recently released their 11th iteration of their ‘famed’ phone OS, meaning that everyone with (a supported) iPhone can now update. This is just going to be a quick post to outline my thoughts around it. This will primarily be what I like, what I don’t like, what annoys me, and what I find some of the best new features.

As usual, these are my personal opinions, let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below. Just for reference, I have an iPhone 7 Plus, so my views and opinions are based on that hardware. I ran all the betas of iOS11, and also did a fresh/clean wipe/reinstall, and manually reloaded all my apps when the official build came out, no restore from backup, so I believe I am running the OS ‘as intended’ without having other bugs introduced by restoring from backups. I am also now running iOS 11.0.1 since release.

What I like:

Let’s start with the good stuff, what I like most about the update. For starters, I actually like the new control centre and cover sheet, unlike most.

The cover sheet can be an entire article on its own, however I like that Apple has managed to consolidate two disconnected parts of their OS, into one piece which unifies the notification experience. I have found the cover sheet makes notifications on the iPhone a cleaner experience, as they are all consolidated in one place, instead of being disconnected in two ‘areas’ of the system, one when the phone is locked, and one when the phone is not.

I find the new control centre to be a better experience than the last, (though I do have my gripes with it) as it is larger and easier to distinguish, this makes quick setting toggles much easier than before. I also find that Apple has built 3D touch into the entire control centre, which I actually find myself using here, whereas I don’t think I have ever used 3D touch anywhere else on my phone (frequently that is).

A less noticible improvment in this latest OS is the improvements that Apple has made to many built in apps. Stupid things which you would imagine existed in default apps for years, such as easily filtering by unread in the mail app. Yes, Android fans, before you say it, we understand, Android has had these features for years, but us iPhone users are glad we can finally breathe that sigh of relief. I find a lot of these changes have been helpful in day to day operation, allowing me to perform quicker actions in areas that would usually take me at least an extra tap or two to achieve in iOS10.

If you are a close watcher of the finer details in iOS11, then you’ll probably notice that quite a few of the animations, such as when opening apps, closing apps, and even locking the phone, have changed in the latest release. I find the new animations refreshing, as they give the OS a more refind and fluid feel, the animations in iOS10 always seemed ‘unfinished’ to me.

What I dislike:

There are a few things that it seems EVERY single post seems to detail and have issues with, so I am going to try and exclude those here.

My primary issue with iOS11, is that there seems to be a vast number of graphical bugs in the OS. I frequently see items out of place for a second when switching apps, which granted does shortly correct itself. I also see jerky animations when opening certain apps from the home screen, but only the first time the app is opened. Subsequent times the animation appears smooth. (clearing out an app from the switcher and re-opening it has the same effect seemingly). Let me know if you also experience these? I’d be interested to know if there are others out there with the same.

It seems to me that Apple is having issues maintaining the high standard they used to have when releasing new versions of their OS. Granted, I have not (yet) had a proper crash (to the point where the phone reloads the springboard, on iOS11) however these ‘small’ graphical bugs annoy me just as much.

Moving on to something which a lot of people have spoken about, the big title/heading bars that Apple seems to be in love with. They are bringing it into almost every stock app, Mail, Messages, Music (where it seemingly started) all have this big bold heading at the top when the app is opened. I have very mixed feelings about this, I see where Apple is going here, trying to unify the design across their apps, and titling their apps to look more complete from a user perspective, however I strongly dislike just how big and bold these headings are.

Simply put, they take up so much space, that the extra screen space that I have due to having a plus model, is nearly null and void at this point. While a lot of UI design is going the way of simplicity and screens are getting higher and higher resolution, you would imagine Apple would scale these headings to allow as much content to be displayed on a single screen as possible. Clearly, this is not the way Apple is going, adding bigger headings, and larger spaces between rows (especially in Settings).

Next in line, is something that has irked me since they changed the design in iOS10, the music app. There is such a long list of gripes here, outlined by so many people, I decided I am only going to outline a NEW problem I have with the app in iOS11. Bluetooth music.

I frequently (and by frequently, I mean every time I get in my car) play music via bluetooth, using the native Music App. Previously in iOS10, this worked as seemlessly as I would’ve wanted. In iOS11, there seems to be a number of issues here:

  1. There seems to be a larger delay in skipping tracks via Bluetooth, probably about 2-3 seconds, sometimes worse, sometimes slightly less. In fact sometimes it gets so bad, my car gets confused and automatically mutes the audio because it takes so long. I have tested this across multiple bluetooth outputs and they all seem to exhibit this same delay. And I don’t see it documented anywhere! Am I going crazy? Is no one else having this issue?
  2. Smaller, but still annoying, I often have the song time indicator stuck on 0 while a track is playing, this reflects on the indicator on my car also, and does seem to resolve itself temporarily when I skip to the next track, or even restart the current one.
  3. It seems that the indicator for the name of the bluetooth device on this new widget, does not update the first time the phone is unlocked. Try it! Play something via a bluetooth device, then lock the phone, unlock and look at the top of the widget (it will say ‘iPhone’) then unlock and lock again, where it said ‘iPhone’ will now say the name of the Bluetooth device. Surely this cannot be that hard to fix apple?

Phew, did you get all of that? I’m going to stop here. That seems to be a fairly comprehensive list of the gripes that I am currently having with the new software.

Final Thoughts:

Let me keep this simple.

Do I like iOS11 as a whole? Yes, I think that in terms of the evolution of iOS, it is a step in the correct direction.

Do I think you should update to iOS11 right now? If you are as annoyed as I am by small problems, then possibly not, but for the most part, yes, I have not experienced anything in the OS that has been deal-breaking, so I would say primarily that the update is safe.

As always, I say the above with caution, I did clean wipe when I installed this, and that is probably the single biggest suggestion I can give if you have the time. It did seem to erradicate most of common bugs that people are having (including the awful battery life!)

My feeling about iOS11 right now, is also very similar to how I felt about iOS10 on its release day. It’s good, there are not any deal breaking bugs that I can find, but I do think that the bugs that do exist will be ironed out by Apple in future iterations (such as iOS 11.1 and 11.2). Upon those bugs being ironed out, my feeling is that iOS11 will be one of the most appealing OS’s Apple has ever released.

If you managed to read this far in the post, and you know iOS11 pretty well, you’ll see that I haven’t detailed quite a few of Apple’s “highlighted” new features on iOS11. This is because there are tons of articles on that!

Thanks again for reading! This was a totally different type of post, please let me know what you thought in the comments below, and let me know your opinions too!

–Devin

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