10 Essential Hidden Tips and Tricks for iOS 11

5 minute read

If you’ve already updated to iOS 11, Apple’s new operating software for iPhones and iPads, you’ve probably noticed a handful of changes.

Like: the App Store has been completely redesigned, Siri has a more natural new voice, and you can now fit about twice as many apps on the iPad’s dock as before. Those are only a few of the many new additions in iOS 11, which launched for Apple’s smartphones and tablets on September 19.

But not all of iOS 11’s new features are obvious ones. Here’s a look at some lesser-known tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of Apple’s recently released update.

Add your favorite shortcuts to the Control Center

One of the most apparent physical changes in iOS 11 is the new Control Center, which you can access by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. But this shortcuts menu not only has a completely revamped look that occupies the whole screen — it’s also customizable.

To swap out certain buttons and add new ones, navigate to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. From there, you’ll be presented with a list of options you can add to the Control Center, such as alarm, low power mode, the new screen recording feature, and many more.

Edit a screenshot right after you take it

When taking a screenshot in iOS 11, you no longer have to navigate to your iPhone’s camera roll to retrieve it. Immediately after the screen capture is taken, it will appear as a thumbnail in the lower left corner of your iPhone or iPad’s display. Tapping it will open the picture, which you can then mark up, annotate, and share.

Scan documents in the Notes app

If you frequently use Apple’s Notes app for organizing important information, you may find it useful to store documents there, too. In iOS 11, you can scan a document without having to leave Notes. In a new or existing Note, press the plus icon above the keyboard to pull up a new menu. Select the “Scan Documents” option and the phone’s camera will start identifying your document.

Make Live Photos look like GIFs

Those who own an iPhone 6s and later will now be able to create photos that look like GIFs directly from the iPhone’s camera. iOS 11 brings three new effects for Live Photos: Loop, Bounce, and Long Exposure. The Loop option, as its name implies, prompts the short video clip to repeat itself in a loop. After snapping a Live Photo, open the image in your gallery, and swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access the new effects.

Ask Siri for translations

Siri can now function as your own personal translator. For now, Apple’s virtual assistant can translate speech from English to French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Chinese. You can also replay a translation straight from Siri’s answer by tapping the play button, which could come in handy when traveling.

Automatically silence notifications while driving

Thanks to iOS 11’s new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature, you can set your iPhone to automatically silence notifications and keep its screen dark when you’re behind the wheel. The iPhone can tell that you’re driving by observing when it connects to your car’s Bluetooth system or by gathering data from the phone’s accelerometer. You can choose to turn on Do Not Disturb While Driving manually or have it kick in automatically when it detects you’re in the car. To do so, navigate to Settings > Do Not Disturb > Do Not Disturb While Driving.

Shift your iPhone’s keyboard to the left or right for easier one-handed typing

Apple is making it more comfortable to type with one hand in iOS 11. Press and hold the globe button on your iOS device’s keyboard and select one of the layouts at the bottom of the mini-menu. You’ll find options for sliding the keyboard to the right, left, or middle of your iPhone’s screen.

Type to Siri

When you’re commuting on the subway or in the middle of a meeting, you may not want to talk to Siri out loud. With iOS 11, you can now type a question or request to Apple’s virtual Assistant. Launch the Settings menu, then select General > Accessibility > Siri and make sure the “Type to Siri” switch is turned on.

See apps and data that are hogging up space

If you frequently record videos and download a ton of music, it’s easy to breeze through your iPhone’s storage capacity. Thankfully, Apple has made it slightly easier to manage the amount of space that’s left on your iPhone by having iOS 11 serve up suggestions for maximizing your storage.

It may, for example, offer to offload apps you don’t use very often, or automatically delete old conversations in Messages. Apple will also tell you exactly how much space you’ll save by doing so. To check out these recommendations, open the Settings menu, then head over to General > iPhone Storage.

Turn a website into a PDF in Safari

If you come across a document or website online that you’d like to save as a PDF, you can now do so without having to use any third party apps. When viewing a website in Safari, tap the Share button at the bottom of the screen. Underneath the row of apps, you’ll find a list of actions. Scroll all the way over to the “Create PDF” option, and you’ll be presented with a PDF of the current page which you can annotate, share, or save to a folder on your device or in the cloud. Previously, you could only save a website as a PDF in iBooks.

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