With every new version of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system comes a stack of new and exciting features to improve communication, photography, entertainment and productivity.
While the most interesting and useful new features get the lion’s share of the announcement address, there are literally dozens of ‘hidden’ features that can change your life in a variety of ways and lift your tech status among your friends to ‘power user’.
From improving security, faster one-handed typing or the personal touch of sending a handwritten message, here are the best hidden features of iOS 11.
Increase storage space
A lifesaver for those with limited space in their iPhone memory. Go to Settings > General > and select iPhone Storage. Here you will see options to delete apps, message conversations, attachments and any media you no longer use or need.
If you prefer to use your iPhone with one thumb only, you can now move the keyboard to the left or right accordingly. Hold down the emoji key to reveal the keyboard pop-up menu, then select either the left-sided or right-sided keyboard.
Check flight status in Safari
Easily keep track of flights and get detailed information by typing the flight number into the search box of Safari. To enable, switch on Safari Suggestions in Settings > Safari.
Send handwritten emails
Why type an email when you can send a handwritten note?! Simply long press in the body of an email, then scroll through the copy’n’paste menu that pops up to Insert Drawing – now scrawl away with your finger, stylus or Apple Pencil.
Share Wi-Fi without sharing your password
If you want to give another iPhone user access to your Wi-Fi network without sharing your password, just bring your two handsets close together and select your network on your friend’s handset (Settings > WiFi > choose a network); a pop-up will appear on your iPhone asking if you “want to share the Wi-Fi password” for your network. Now select Share Password.
Use Siri for instant spoken translation
Use Siri while traveling or simply to show off in restaurants by using its instant spoken translation tool. For example, just speak the phrase, “How do I say ‘I would like a coffee, please’ in Spanish?” and Siri will give you a written and spoken translation.
If you want to silence a friend who constantly messages you without wanting to put your entire handset on silent, in Messages, scroll to the message thread in question, then gently swipe to the left to reveal further options and tap Hide Alerts.
Secure passwords with Face ID
If you own an iPhone X, you can keep website login details even more secure with Face ID. Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > turn on Safari AutoFill. Face ID will now ensure it’s actually you before automatically entering username and password details into websites.
Watch faces from photos
For Apple Watch users, personalise your watch face directly via the Photos app. In Photos, select the Camera Roll, tap Select (top right), then select the photo you like, then tap Create Watch Face (at the bottom) and select the face you prefer from the options.
QR code scanner
That funny, square code you see in magazines, on bus stop posters and even in museums is actually a gateway to further content and information, all accessed via your iPhone. Go to Settings > Camera > and switch on Scan QR Codes. Now use your camera to take a photo of the code to reveal its secrets.