Apple is changing the architecture of its apps.
Later today, Apple will release iOS 11, the latest iteration of the software on its iPhones and iPads. Here’s a quick rundown on what’s new, and what to look out for as you update:
New control center. Apple completely redesigned the control center in iOS 11, which is now customizable. You can change to add and remove toggles and links to apps that are more useful for you. For example, you can add buttons to turn on low-power mode, distraction-free driving mode, Apple Wallet, notes, timers, and tons of other features. You can also control your music (and what device you’re listening on) and what networks you’re connected to right from control center.
Apple Pay your friends. You’ll soon be able to link a credit card to iMessage, allowing you to text money to friends easily. It’s like Venmo, or other peer-to-peer payment apps, except built right into the phone’s operating system.
ARKit. Apple’s new augmented-reality framework will let developers build all sorts of apps that can easily overlay digital information on the real world. Here are a few examples we liked as developers tested out the technology over the summer.
New camera modes. The software on iOS 11 halves the size of photos on the phone (meaning you can shoot more and use less storage space), and brings new features to the camera, including the ability to take long-exposure photos, and looping videos out of the live photos you shoot.
New safety features. There’s a new do-not-disturb mode that can be activated when driving (which you can add as a toggle to the new control center), and a new function where if you press the power button five times in a row, the phone will show your emergency medical contacts and any medical conditions you’ve added to the phone, in case your loved ones need to be contacted.
How to get iOS 11
Later today, head into the Settings app, then tap General, then Software Update, to begin the process. But be warned: Make sure you’ve backed up your phone before downloading, and that your phone is at least 50% charged.
How to check if your apps still work
Apple is changing the architecture of its apps from 32-bit to 64-bit, which might mean little to you, but it means that some older apps will no longer work on iOS 11. Apple has been telling developers to switch over for years, so hopefully not too many apps will be affected, as The Verge notes. But to find out if any apps will be affected after you’ve updated to iOS 11, head back to the Settings app, and then tap General > About > Applications. You’ll see a list called “App Compatibility” which will show you which apps on your phone will no longer work. It’s probably a lot of old games, just like this one on my phone: