The best hidden features in iOS 11, Apple's major software update for iPhone and iPad

IPhone XJustin Sullivan/GettyThe iPhone X is among the Apple devices that run iOS 11.

Apple’s newest major software update for the iPhone and iPad, called iOS 11, is now available for everyone to download.

The new software offers plenty of marquee changes, including wide support for augmented reality apps and other improvements to the camera software

But some of the most notable improvements are less apparent. They may not dramatically change how you use your iPhone or iPad every day, but they can help you make the most of your device.

Here are some of them:

One of the first changes you'll probably notice in iOS 11 is the new way notifications are managed.

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To clear all of your notifications at once, you just tap and hold on the 'X' button.

Another change you may notice is that Apple has hidden the ability to manually set the brightness of your screen.

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The option can now be found under General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations in the Settings app.

One of the biggest visual changes in iOS 11 is the new Control Center.

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Apple has stuffed more settings into the new layout, which can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

For the first time in iOS, you can also customise what shows up in your Control Center via Settings. That means you can finally add a shortcut to turn on low-power mode.

Apple made it easier to share WiFi passwords in iOS 11.

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When someone is trying to connect to a network for which you've already entered the password, a box will appear on your device asking if you want to share your password with the person via Bluetooth.

The Settings app shows more detailed information about how you can save storage space.

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Among the new features it includes is the ability to automatically delete unused apps.

IOS 11 includes a new one-handed keyboard for the larger, 'Plus' iPhones.

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The new keyboard should make it easier to type on the devices, which include the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone 7 Plus. To activate the keyboard, tap and hold on the emoji key, select one-handed typing, and the entire keyboard will move closer to your thumb.

You can interact with Siri by typing, not just talking to it.

Siri is smarter in iOS 11. It can now translate different languages for you.

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Maps also shows indoor directions, so you'll never get lost looking for the bathroom again.


In the Accessibility section of the Settings app, there's a new dark-mode setting.

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The setting is called Smart Invert, and it will make most of iOS 11 dark. Although it won't invert the colours of photos and videos, it may reverse the colours of some apps.

If you own a pair of Apple's wireless AirPods, iOS 11 lets you set a different response for each earpiece when you double tap on it.

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Using the new feature, you could configure your AirPods so that when you double tapped on the left one it would activate Siri and when you double tapped on the right one, it would pause your music. Previously, both earpieces would respond the same way when you double tapped on them.

If enabled, a new SOS setting will call 911 and your emergency contacts if you click the iPhone's sleep/wake button five times.

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You can share Apple Music playlists with your friends.


Your friends can follow your playlists and you can follow theirs.

The iPhone's camera app can scan now QR codes.

Previously, iPhone users had to use a third-party app, like Snapchat, to scan QR codes.

The Notes app now has a built-in document scanner.


The scanner turns paper documents into editable and searchable PDF files.

You can drag and drop pictures and other files between apps on the iPad.


iOS 11 is available now as a free update for the iPhone and iPad. You can download it in the Settings app.


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