Apple released the next major software update for iPad and iPhone today, called iOS 11. While the main focus of the update is improving multitasking on the iPad, you’ll find hundreds of new features and improvements for both iPhone and iPad.
There are several things pilots should take into consideration when deciding when to update, and we’ll cover them here. We’ll also take a look at several new iOS 11 features that pilots should take note of after updating.
Should I update?
Pilots should always be cautious about updating to a brand new version of iOS version right when it is released, due to the importance of the iPad and aviation apps to our flying. While Apple and app developers test the software extensively months in advance, all new operating systems have undiscovered bugs that need fixing and may cause unexpected device or app issues.
So it’s important to check for guidance from your aviation app developer and GPS/ADS-B receiver manufacturer to see what they have to say on the topic. To help with this task we offer the iOS Green Light Program, which serves as your one-stop shop to determine if your favorite EFB app or accessory is compatible with the latest iOS release from Apple. We keep in touch with all the major app and accessory manufacturers to get their recommendations on whether or not to update, based on their extensive testing with each iOS release. The iOS Green Light page is updated regularly, so make sure to check back often to see when you’re safe to update.
When iOS 11 is installed, all older 32-bit apps will no longer launch. These are apps that have not been updated for several years, and Apple has discontinued support. Only 64-bit apps are compatible with the new update, so you may want to hold off on updating to iOS 11 if there are older apps you need to use.
As with most major updates, Apple dropped compatibility with iOS 11 for older devices, including the iPad 4, iPhone 5 and 5C. iOS 11 will run on:
- The iPhone 5S, 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, and 7 Plus
- The iPad Air and Air 2; the iPad Mini 2, 3, and 4; the fifth-generation iPad; and all iPad Pros
- The sixth-generation iPod Touch
How to update
When you decide you’re ready to update, the first thing to do is back up your device using iTunes or iCloud, following these instructions. Next make sure your device’s battery is charged and you are connected to the internet via Wi-Fi, and go to Settings > General > Software update, and tap the Download and Install button.
You’ll find that this update installs pretty quickly, thanks in part to the smaller file size of the download. The iOS 11 update size is approximately 2 GB (size depends on your device) thanks to advances from Apple in recent years. This is good news too for those that don’t have much free space on their iPad, eliminating the need to temporarily delete apps or aviation chart databases to make room for the update.
The newest version of iOS does not radically change the look and feel of the interface, but as in years past it adds hundreds of features and new ways to more efficiently work between multiple applications. It’s clear that Apple’s goal is to establish the iPad Pro as a true laptop replacement, and the new features incorporated in iOS 11 make that much more of a reality. The real focus of this software update is on the iPad, so we’ll first take a look at new additions available exclusively for tablets:
- Files App – The new Files app brings all your files together. You can easily browse, search, and organize all your files in one place. And there’s a dedicated place for your recent files. Not just the ones on your iPad, but also those in apps, on your other iOS devices, in iCloud Drive, and across other services like Box and Dropbox.
- New application dock – The new Dock will look very familiar to Mac users. It’s accessed at any time by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and allows you to open and switch apps instantly. And you can customize it with more of your favorite apps. The Dock also changes as you work. Intelligently suggested apps — like ones you opened recently and the last one you were using on your iPhone or Mac — appear in the right side of the Dock.
- Improved multitasking – iOS 11 makes it easier and more intuitive than ever to multitask. You can open a second app right from the Dock, and both apps remain active in Slide Over as well as Split View. You can drag the second app in Slide Over to the left. And you can get back to your favorite App Spaces in the redesigned App Switcher, which on iPad also includes a redesigned Control Center to adjust frequently-used settings.
- Drag and Drop – Drag and Drop comes to iPad, allowing you to move text, photos, and files from one app to another. And because it’s been designed for the large Multi-Touch display of iPad, moving them around is easy. You can touch and move just about anything — or things — anywhere on the screen.
- Quicktype keyboard – Letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation marks are now all on the same keyboard — no more switching back and forth. Just flick down on a key to quickly select what you need. Learn more about how to use the new Quicktype keyboard here.
- Document Scanner – The new Document Scanner in Notes automatically senses and scans a document, crops the edges, and removes any tilt or glare. Fill in the blanks or sign it with Apple Pencil, then save or share it easily.
And here’s a look at some of the features you’ll find useful on both iPhone and iPad in iOS 11:
- Customizable Control Center – The Control Center is customizable and there are options to include a wider range of settings. It’s no longer split across multiple screens, and 3D Touch integration has expanded, so you can do more without needing to open the Settings app.
- Redesigned App Store – The App Store in iOS 11 has been redesigned from the ground up to make it easier to browse and find new apps. The goal is to make this app more of a destination than just a utility, with hand-picked app suggestions from their new app editorial team, tips and tricks, daily app stories, enhanced search and more videos to show how an app functions before you download it.
- Siri Language Translation – Apple’s voice assistant Siri includes a new, more natural voice that can translate from English to several other languages like Spanish, French, German or Italian.
- Augmented Reality – iOS 11 introduces ARKit, a new framework that brings augmented reality to hundreds of millions of iOS devices by allowing developers to easily build unique AR experiences. By blending digital objects and information with the environment around you, augmented reality takes apps beyond the screen, freeing them to interact with the real world in entirely new ways. This could be a hot new feature for aviation apps in the future.
- Offload Unused Apps – In the Settings app, there’s a new option that will automatically uninstall apps that haven’t been used in a while to help free up space when needed. Documents and data for uninstalled apps will remain available in case the app is re-installed.
- Smart Invert – In the Accessibility section of the Settings app, under Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Invert Colors, there’s a new option for “Smart Invert.” Smart Invert reverses the colors of the display except for images, media, and some apps, which you may find at night with some aviation apps.
- Location Services – In iOS 11, a “While Using the App” location services privacy setting is available for all apps, instead of just “Always” or “Never”. In prior versions, app developers needed to manually offer this setting.
As with all major iOS updates, you’ll find hundreds of small updates throughout the various apps and settings the improve the usefulness of your devices. Here are a few highlights from the list:
- iPhone can now sense when you’re driving and prevent you from being distracted by calls, text messages, and notifications until later. People trying to reach you can automatically be notified that you’re driving.
- Maps have been updated to provide indoor directions inside shopping malls and airport terminals.
- Apple Pay allows you to send money directly to other people using the messages app.
- New Live Photos effects.
- Improvements to the Photos app, providing more control when taking pictures and better compression technology that takes up less space.
- New Siri voice, with advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence.
- Social features added to the Music app, to help you discover new music from your friends.
- AirPlay 2 allows you to control your home audio system and the speakers throughout your house. You can play a song in the living room and your kitchen at the same time and adjust the volume separately to different sources.