With each release of iOS there’s obviously a lot of book updating to do. I very much hope I get my first edition out during iOS 11’s tenure — and then get updates out thereafter.
iOS 11 has made the iPad significantly more complex than it was, but the impact on the iPhone is smaller and generally positive. It continues to get harder to avoid two-factor authentication (how to disable it if you accidentally enabled). That’s a problem for Explorers because it makes Guide remote management harder — I’m going to have to figure out how to support the Guide role with two-factor enabled. (Apple, some help here would be appreciated!)
Restrictions haven’t changed much. There’s still room for a lot of improvement — particularly in control of cellular data use. There is a new restriction to lock “Do Not Disturb While Driving” — but very few Explorers will be driving a car.
The new Notifications review screen (pull down from top) now pulls down an image of a Lock Screen — with notifications overlying it. The image even says “Press home to open” even though the phone is actually … open. Nobody has been able to explain how this makes sense and I hope it will be quietly fixed in a future small update.
Sweeping down always shows Notifications, you then sweep right to see Widgets. In iOS 10 this screen defaulted to showing whatever was last used; the new behavior is consistent and easier to understand. If all Notifications are disabled and all Widgets removed the weird “not-lock” pulldown screen is only mildly confusing.
Sweeping up from the bottom shows the new Control Center. This is a real improvement! There’s no more left/right double pane, the background goes blank, and it can set it to only work from the Home Screen. Controls can be customized and many removed. (The behavior of the WiFi and Bluetooth Control Center controls has become more complex and confusing to expert users, but for Explorers the new “smart” behaviors should be fine.)
Siri is a bit harder to disable now. Instead of one switch there are three, but if all three are disabled it behaves the same way. Siri can also be disabled in restrictions along with voice dictation — that will be a better option for most Explorers. Of course some Explorers like Siri, so mileage will vary.
There’s a new setting for Emergency SOS that’s disabled by default. I suggest leaving it off. Accidentally activating emergency services can be traumatic for an Explorer — and may have legal consequences.
Which brings us to Messages.app. Messages.app is a key tool for Explorers and iOS 10 made it unfortunately more complex. Things are not better in iOS 11. Heaven help anyone, Guide or Explorer, who accidentally taps the Messages.app App Store button. There’s no setting to disable this danged thing — even though the mass of iPhone users is pleading for one. There’s also a new bottom button bar that lists almost entirely useless Message widgets. These can be individually removed from Messages, but to hide the bar one has to know to gently drag the gray App Store icon downwards. The button bar will return though if one accidentally taps the App Store icon.
These changes to Messages.app are not popular. There’s a chance Apple will fix some of this in a future version of iOS. I advise leaving a comment on www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html – I’ve read that Apple actually monitors those. I’ve requested they add a restriction for Messages App Store and a setting to disable the bottom menu bar in Messages.app Settings.