The good, the bad & the unnecessary: iOS 11

A rundown of how Apple's newest software will actually effect you

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Supplied via Wikipedia

Last week, Apple released the iOS 11, the iPhone's newest operating system and it’s been slowly creeping its way onto most of our home screens ever since.     

For all my iPhone users out there, you’ve probably watched the shiny announcement video and heard rumblings about the new big features. But how will the iPhone's software changes actually affect the day-to-day phone use of a university student? Let's break it down.

The good

Remember your control center? You know, that thing you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to turn your Wi-Fi on and off? Well, it appears iOS 11 time-travelled to 2050, stole the control center of the future and brought it back to us. Every previous function — brightness, volume, airplane mode, etc. — is now simplified to be accessed by a much smaller and rounder button rather than swiping up your screen. You can also customize your shortcuts to include a low power mode button, screen recording, alarms and more. Now that these features are right in front of you, maybe you’ll finally remember to turn on tomorrow’s alarm for that 8:30 before you hit the hay.

Another useful feature is the new scanning feature tucked away into the Notes app. If you create a new note and click a button titled “plus”, you’re able to scan any document into a note that you can send anywhere. This feature does a surprisingly good job of making your scans look professional — I used it to send my friend notes and he thought I used a real scanning machine. With endless lecture notes and loose-leaf sheets being tossed our way in classes, having this scanning feature is a life-saver to the frazzled student longing for some organization.

An extremely important feature hidden in the Settings app is the Emergency SOS option. When turned on, this feature will call 911 after you rapidly click the lock button five times. This addition allows instant access to emergency services in situations where timing is key and can also provide feelings of increased safety knowing that help is only a few clicks away. If you ever feel unsafe while walking home at night — whether you’re on campus or in the middle of Kingston — keeping your thumb on the lock button as a precaution until you feel safe could be a game changer.

Some other helpful updates include a QR code, barcode and URL scanner in the camera app, new photo editing filters and translating capabilities for Siri.

The bad

As with most early iOS versions, many iPhone users have reported their phone batteries drain much faster with the iOS 11 than before. Numerous users are also reporting an issue with sending emails from Microsoft or Exchange email accounts — which any @queensu.ca email would thus be affected by. That being said, Apple has already addressed both concerns and are working on releasing solutions to both problems as soon as they can.

Since downloading iOS 11 onto my phone a few days ago, I can also personally report that my phone is a lot slower. Apps that have yet to update to iOS 11's new standards, such as the Amey's Taxi and Via Rail apps, open slowly and crash randomly. My Music app also appears to be very confused by the update, as any time I move a song into a new playlist it will magically transform into practically any other song. This proves especially frustrating when you’re trying to get into your running zone at the ARC and a forgotten, slow-paced Maroon 5 song plays instead of Kendrick.

The unnecessary

For no good reason, you now must swipe down on your lock screen — instead of up — to reach your notification center. You can also apply filters on the camera app while you take a photo, which is fun I guess? But by far the most confusing aspect of this entire update is that the Notes app changed the letter 'a' into an ‘α’. It will drive you crazy.

After weighing the pros and cons, I’d advise any readers to wait to update their software to iOS 11. Apple always sends out bug fixes pretty soon after they release new software. If you can resist the temptation of downloading and wait until Apple straightens out the iOS' kinks, sure, you’ll miss out on speedy scanning abilities but you’ll save yourself a lot of agonizing over your non-existent battery life.

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