iOS 11 introduces hundreds of changes to the operating system, from a redesigned Control Centre to accessibility features that have been added to the beta that went unmentioned during Apple’s keynote announcement.
In the Settings app, there’s now a single tab for Siri and Search. There are also options for toggling on Siri suggestions for each individual app that’s downloaded on a device. Siri has also been improved with a more natural voice and appears to be a bit smarter. With the exception of the English Siri voices, the English VoiceOver languages seem to have remained the same.
Type to Siri
There’s an Accessibility feature that enables Type to Siri. With this option toggled on, when Siri is accessed via a Home button press, it brings up a keyboard where you can type something to Siri.
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. It’s quite similar to the Dark Mode that users have been hoping for, but it doesn’t extend to all UI elements.
The Lock screen has a new look with a bolder font for the passcode numbers and lighter circles that don’t feature a white outline which may be helpful to low vision users.
Apple showed off the new single-page revamped Control Centre on stage during the keynote, but what wasn’t mentioned is that the Control Centre is customizable. Users can select what’s displayed in Control Centre using the Settings app, and there are a huge range of options including Accessibility Shortcuts, Guided Access, Text Size, Magnifier, Screen Recording, and more.
Throughout the operating system, there are bolder text labels and starker, bolder looks for many apps like Phone, Contacts, and FaceTime.
For those using VoiceOver on their devices that were use to resetting their device by pressing the Sleep/Wake button five times, you may want to note the following. There’s an Emergency SOS option in the Settings app that allows users to turn on an “Auto Call”feature that will immediately dial 911 when the Sleep/Wake button is pressed five times.
On the iPhone, there’s a new option for a one-sided keyboard that can be enabled by pressing down on the globe keyboard button. It moves the keyboard to either the left or right side of the device.
When it comes to accessibility sometimes the best advocate is yourself. What better way to show an app developer of any accessibility concerns then a video. There’s a Control Centre option that will automatically capture a screen recording of what you’re doing on an iPhone or iPad and stores the with the rest of your personal videos.
Currently, iOS 11 is limited to developers, but Apple plans to make a version available for public beta testers sometime in late June.
The iPhones that are compatible with iOS 11 include the iPhone 5s, SE, 6 Plus, 6, 6s Plus, 6s, 7 Plus, and 7.
The iPads that are compatible are the new fifth-generation iPad, the iPad Air, the iPad Air 2, all iPad Pro models, and the iPad mini 2 and later. iOS 11 essentially works with all devices that include an A7 or newer chip.