Apple’s iOS 11 has been the public’s object of fascination ever since its debut. What makes it so much more exciting than its predecessors, you ask? Definitely the surprise element of secret features – there’re so many just waiting for users to chance upon.
Unless you’ve already been squeezing the internet dry for iPhone iOS 11 hacks, these 20 hidden/secret features will be handy guide. Have fun getting acquainted with kick-butt upgrades!
Note: The iOS 11 update is available for iPhones 5S and above, but has been reported to drain battery life twice as quickly. iPhone 8 and above are exceptions to this complaint.
Augmented Reality Kit (ARKit)
We all had fun with the Pokémon AR game awhile ago, but even that doesn’t come close to what Apple has just done. With a strong focus on AR technology, the iOS 11 encourages app developers to design AR-possible apps. It won’t be long before AR becomes commonplace in more games, retail, interior design and more!
To Enable: Open AR-enabled app (e.g. Houzz, IKEA, Converse) > hold up screen to view AR images
Automatic QR Code Detection
The Camera app now automatically detects QR codes. Neat, huh! You can finally bid adieu to those third party QR code-reading apps that have been taking up unnecessary (and precious) space!
To Enable: Open Camera app > capture QR code
Instead of sketching your ideas and notes through third party drawing apps, you can now draw directly within the composing section of Notes and Mail! Handwritten words in Notes are now made searchable by the search bar too. How cool is that?!
To Enable: Open typing platform (e.g. Mail, Notes) > press and hold in blank typing space > select Insert Drawing
Annotate PDFs & Screenshots
Need to quickly jot down some thoughts beside something you’ve just read? Simply screenshot the material if it’s not already a PDF file, and pull up the new Apple Pencil function! Choose from several kinds of colors, pen tips and brushes, and annotate to your heart’s content!
To Enable: Screenshot anything > tap on thumbnail in bottom left corner > edit
Zoom Out With Just One Thumb
If you’ve ever aggressively wondered why zooming out wasn’t as user-friendly as zooming in (pinching versus double-tapping), you’ll be pleased to know that the new iOS 11 offers a reasonable improvement to this inconvenience. It still takes a bit more effort than just double-tapping for zoom ins, but at least you can zoom out with just one thumb now!
To Enable: Open Maps app > double-tap on screen and hold, and move thumb up/down
Additional Net-Surfing Privacy
Not thrilled by ads following you from site to site? iOS 11 gives you the option to stop cross-site tracking, which the system will do to its best ability. No more excessive ZALORA ads tempting you to spend all your pay-day money on clothes and bags!
To Enable: Go to Settings > Safari > toggle Try To Prevent Cross-Site Tracking button
Customize Control Center
Add shortcuts to frequently used features such as Cellular Data, Personal Hot Spot, Low Power Mode and Do Not Disturb While Driving (more on that later). You can’t add third party apps for now, but even just including your Apple app services will mean a whole lot of newfound convenience for you.
To Enable: Go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls
Do Not Disturb While Driving
Easily distracted by new calls, texts and tweets when driving? This cool new feature could actually save your (and your passengers’) life. With iOS 11, your iPhone will automatically detect when you’re driving and switch your phone to an anti-notification mode, sending an auto-reply to your caller instead. You can also give the automatic detection a pass and opt for manual toggle.
To Enable: Pull up Control Center > Do Not Disturb
Backup Shutdown Button
Just in case your sleep/wake button has a wonky temperament, you now have this backup shutdown button to meet your needs.
To Enable: Go to Settings > General > Shut Down
Different Flashlight Intensities
Your eyes will finally be safe from the blinding rays when you wake up for your midnight toilet run! Switch light intensities from level 1 to level 4 depending on the darkness of your environment.
To Enable: Pull up Control Center > press and hold Flashlight icon > select intensity
Type To Siri
Siri doesn’t always get “accented” English (inserts roll eyes emoji), so that’s just too bad for some of us. Good thing though, you can now type to Siri instead of being forced to talk to her! Just make sure you enable to feature in Settings – a new keyboard will be added when you activate Siri’s services.
To Enable: Press and hold Home button > type to Siri
Siri just got a lot more intelligent overnight. With fluent linguistic abilities in English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish (we hope for more languages to be added), you’ll be able to converse with ease knowing that you have a personal translator in your bag/pocket!
To Enable: Press and hold Home button > say/type “How to say [phrase in one language] in [different language]
Auto App Removal
Automatically (and temporarily) delete apps that you don’t use as often when your phone is low on storage. All data and settings are saved, and will return when your storage is freed up. Beats getting 20 low storage reminders a day, if you ask me!
To Enable: Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage
Drag And Drop Text
Typing short stories (and WhatsApp essays) on your phone just got easier! The drag and drop function works within the same app and is very easy to master.
To Enable: Highlight a word/phrase > press and hold highlighted word/phrase > drag and drop to another location within same app
Take emojis to the next level with animated emojis, or animojis for short! The feature is attached to the iMessage function, and will track your facial expressions and record your voice into 12 different emoji faces (including the unicorn and poop faces!). Unfortunately this feature is only available on the iPhone X, releasing on November 3.
To Enable: Open any iMessage thread > tap App Store icon next to compose field > tap Animoji icon > select Animoji > tap Record button
Move Keyboards Closer To Your Texting Thumb
This is a major blessing for those who love texting with just one hand and/or have short thumbs! Flick the keyboard to just one side of your screen – depending on whether you’re right- or left-handed.
To Enable: Open any texting/typing platform (e.g. Notes, WhatsApp) > press and hold keyboard button > select one-hand typing keyboard
Quick Password Sharing
This is perfect for those who love inviting friends over but hate the overused question of “What’s the Wi-Fi password?”. If both yours and your friend’s devices are running on iOS 11, you can now synchronize the password with just a few clicks from your phone!
To Enable: With your friend’s connected device in unlocked mode, go to Settings > Wi-Fi > select same Wi-Fi your friend is using > check for Share Your Wi-Fi notification on your friend’s phone > press Send Password button from your friend’s phone
Don’t ignore this feature – it can potentially save you in life-threatening situations. You can quickly reach your emergency SOS hotline (depending on where you live), and alert your other emergency contacts with broadcasted auto-messages.
To Enable: Rapidly press sleep/wake button 5 times
GIFs were previously frozen in other iOS versions, which can be such a shame when you want to loop a hilarious GIF. iOS 11 now supports GIFs, and even automatically creates a specific folder for all your GIF needs.
To Enable: Save any GIF into Camera Roll > open Photos app to view
Improved Volume Slider
This technically isn’t a feature, but it’s just too good not to include. Apple has finally changed its obnoxiously large volume slider to a smaller one! Yay! Plus, it’s tucked away into a discreet corner of the screen. Rejoice!
To Enable: Toggle volume up/down buttons