Apple recently announced iOS 11 for the iPhone and the iPad and at least as of now, iOS 11 sounds like a bigger deal mainly for the iPad than the iPhone. I installed iOS 11 public beta on my iPad Pro (2016) 9.7” model and have been impressed much by it, so far. Apple now definitely realizes the importance of how powerful an iPad iOS needs to be and seems to be headed in the right direction. One of the significant changes that was announced in iOS 11 was the Control Center and this post is just a look ahead (not a review as iOS 11 is still in beta) of the Control Center iOS 11 beta.
Control Center iOS 11 beta - look ahead
Getting to the Control Center in iOS 11 beta is different from the previous iOS versions. Control Center is coupled into the multi-tasking screen in iOS 11. To get to the multi-tasking screen you either double press the home button (like before) or swipe from the bottom bezel of the iPad or the iPhone, up. While swiping from below the new iOS 11 dock shows up and then as you continue to swipe up without lifting your finger the iOS 11 multi-tasking screen shows up. The new Control Center for iOS 11 is on this screen to the right of it, as shown below. What is shown below is the default Control Center that comes with iOS 11. There are the usual elements like Airplane Mode, Wifi, Bluetooth and Airdrop in the upper section. There is the Music control in the section below. Below that are two newly styled sliders for volume and brightness, followed by a section for Airplay and then the last section has the other elements of the Control Center like the orientation lock, flash light, etc.
Press and hold for more options
So far the Control Center for iOS 11 though looks different has all the same bells and whistles as the previous version did. But what I like the most on the new Control Center is that you can press and hold or (3D touch on one of the new iPhones) and then more specific contextual menus pop up. This has been requested for a long time by a lot of iOS users, almost ever since the Control Center was first introduced and I am glad we have got it in iOS 11. For example if you press and hold one of the sections or one of the elements in the new Control Center that section or the element pops out as shown below. Here the same four elements get blown up a bit, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be nested further. In the sense I would have liked to press and hold again and see the list of available Wifi connections or press and hold the Bluetooth button to get a list of available Bluetooth accessories to connect to, etc.
All is not lost though
Though this zooming in feature does almost nothing useful on the top most section of the Control Center for other elements it adds functionality. For example,
- It shows metadata for the music that’s is currently playing if your press and hold the music section
- For the brightness slider, it becomes a bigger control and adds two more buttons for Night shift and True tone
- For Airplay, it shows the available devices that can be used for Mirroring or Airplay
- For the camera, it brings up options for taking a selfie, recording a video, slo-mo video, etc similar to what happens when you 3D Touch on the Camera icon in any of the latest iPhones
So there is some precendent to indicate that Apple might add such features to the top section of the Control Center as well, where like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, if you press and hold on the Wifi button, a list of available Wifi connections will show up. But we will have to wait and see if these features show up or not.
Customizable Control Center buttons
Another, very popular request for the Control Center has been the ability to customize the elements that show up on the Control Center. And this is finally available on iOS 11. If your go to the Settings section of the Control Center, there you can see the list of available elements that you can add to the Control Center on iOS 11. Once added, they shown up as an additional column and they behave pretty much the same way as the elements that I spoke about in the above section, i.e. press and hold to get more options. As of now the elements that can be added to the Control Center seem to be only Apple Apps and Utilities, whether or not this will be opened up to third party Apps, again, is just wait and see.
All in all, the Control Center on iOS 11 beta looks very promising and in my opinion one of the most important improvements to iOS, mainly on the iPad that I think will go a long way in making the iPad much more productive and powerful.