The 11 best new features in iOS 11

Apple's mobile operating system is getting its annual facelift. And this year, it's a biggie

Some years, iOS gets a relatively minor update: a few enhancements here, a bit of spit and polish there. Other years, it gets what amounts to a complete overhaul. And this year falls firmly towards the latter end of the spectrum.

iOS 11 is packed with new features to make Apple's mobile OS more powerful, more user-friendly and more all-round brilliant.

To list all the really important ones would take a Herculean effort... so that's what we've put in to bring you this here guide.

1) Siri sounds better, gets smarter

One of the biggest problems with smart assistants right now is that you know you’re talking to a smart assistant. Stilted speech and dodgy enunciation gives the game away every time.

Apple is trying to change that in iOS 11, with improvements to Siri’s voice so she (or he, should you prefer) sounds a lot more natural.

She’s also smarter than ever, with the ability to translate directly from English to Chinese, French, German, Italian or Spanish, and will serve up better suggestions too, thanks to new “on-device learning”.

This means Siri will learn the things you’re interested in based on your usage of Safari, News, Mail and Messages, and will put it to use in clever ways. Think better typing suggestions or the offer of adding in a calendar entry when you book something online.

Privacy concerns begone too – though the information will be shared across your devices, it’s yours and yours only. Apple won’t get a look in.

2) Apple Maps is playing catch up. Finally

Ever since Apple introduced its own Maps app, it’s been desperately trying to catch up with Google Maps in terms of functionality. In iOS 11, it takes another step towards that, by finally adding in-lane guidance, as well as speed-limit information.

There are also new indoor maps for major airports and shopping centres around the world. No word on which ones yet though. 

3) It'll keep your eyes on the road

Now, we know you’d never even consider looking at your phone while driving, but Apple wants to make sure that temptation is taken away completely. When it recognises you’re driving (which it detects based on Bluetooth or your Wi-Fi signal), it will offer to turn your screen off completely and stop any notifications getting through.

Anyone who messages you will get an auto reply that you’re driving, but there’s also a hack that’ll allow important messages to dodge the block; people trying to contact you can simply reply with “urgent” and the message will ping through.

4) The App Store looks slicker than ever

It’s been a while since the App Store has had a lick of paint, but iOS 11 gives it a rather Apple News-y feel, with a bolder, easier-to-use design and a whole lot more useful content in-between.

This means in-depth features and interviews with app developers, App Store editor picks, and tips and tricks for your favourite games. It’ll now be split into just three pages to keep things simple too – the Today page, which will be refreshed daily, alongside specific pages for Games and Apps.

5) Control Center's getting a makeover

Swipe up and you’ll see Control Center has had a massive redesign for iOS 11. It looks prettier, for a start, but there’s also more to play around with.

It’s back all on one page, but further controls from your regular switches and sliders can be accessed using 3D touch, bringing more functionality to your fingertips. It looks like one of the biggest changes in iOS 11 given how frequently most people interact with it.