The top new features in Apple iOS 11 that travelers will love

October 11, 2017 Mark Dauner

Apple's new iOS 11 was released a few weeks ago and users are starting to get accustomed to its changes and updates. The new mobile operating system has a number of great features that business travelers in particular should find appealing, as they add more function to the iPhone and iPad - in some cases even making your device comparable to a PC. Should you leave your laptop at home on your next business trip? You can decide that for yourself, but perhaps some of these features will help.

One-handed keyboard

Need to send of a quick message from the airport gate but you’re holding a heavy bag in one hand? You are now no longer required to be able to palm a basketball in order to use the iPhone with one hand. This new feature in iOS lets you slide the keyboard over to the right or to the left so that you can more easily access the keys with only one hand. It’s still a little awkward on the iPhone 7 or 8 Plus models but on the standard size it should work great. To access the one-handed keyboard, press and hold the globe or emoji (depending on the number of keyboards you have) icon and you’ll get this:

Select they keyboard that matches your hand preference and start typing! Repeat the press and hold step to put the keyboard back to normal.

File System

Although it’s always been a feature on Android devices, this is something that many iOS users have been asking for since the original iOS. IOS 11 comes with a file system that is similar to what you’d see on a regular desktop OS like Windows or Mac. You’ll find it in an app that’s called Files as well as in the options of most apps, and you’ll be able to save files of all kinds there and share them between apps. You can also connect a number of popular cloud storage accounts to the system like iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Sharefile and OneDrive and access them all from within the Files app. This feature, coupled with the next one in our list, finally gives you the ability to use your iOS device – and particularly your iPad – like you would use a laptop.   

Drag and Drop

The Files app is great, but it’s only a novelty without this. Yet another feature that users have been clamoring for, drag and drop finally comes to iOS and it works in a really cool way.

Drag and drop is most useful on the iPad, where you can easily drag files of multiple types from one app to another, you can drag them to and from the Files app or you can drag them within folders in the Files app – including in between cloud storage accounts (like your Dropbox and Sharefile accounts, for instance). There are plenty of other things you can do and this video from Apple Insider shows you most of them:

Here’s a video from 9to5Mac that shows you how to drag and drop multiple apps and folders on the iPhone:

Do not disturb while driving

Distracted driving is a significant issue on roads and highways throughout the world. iOS 11 has now addressed that by allowing users to activate the popular Do Not Disturb feature automatically when it detects you’re in a vehicle. Your iPhone can even be set to send a message to certain contacts automatically letting them know that you’re driving and to expect a delayed response. If your phone is connected to your car via Bluetooth you can still make and receive phone calls hands free. Again, this is a feature that has been a part of other mobile operating systems for awhile and certain apps have tried to help with this too, but hopefully its appearance as a native feature in iOS will help it to really take off. Nobody needs to be sending texts or emails so urgently that it can’t wait until you’ve stopped driving! Here’s a video from MacRumors that walks you through this feature:

The Dock and Split Screen

On the iPad, iOS 11 now has a dock that is similar to what you might see on a Mac. It allows you to store a lot more frequently accessed apps at the bottom of the screen and it even has a place for the most recent apps you’ve used. That’s great, but where it really comes in handy on the iPad is for split screen. With one app open, you can access the dock and drag another app up to the left or right to put the two into split screen mode. It will even remember your favorite split screen configurations so you’ll be able to return to them in the future. I like to have my email and Slack on screen at the same time, for instance.

This video from the Wall Street Journal shows several different features of iOS 11 but I think it does a great job of demonstrating how the dock and the split screen views work:

There are a ton of other features in iOS 11 that you might want to take a look at. This article from iMore shows you a lot of them. What features have you found or recently started using in iOS 11 that you really love as a business traveler? Are there any that you don’t like? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!



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