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iOS 11: New features, release date and everything you need to know

Apple's iOS 11 update is coming at the end of 2017, adding some seriously smart new features to your iPhone and iPad. Here's all you need to know about iOS 11, including the biggest changes, which devices are supported and how to download the public beta right now.

If you're rocking an Apple phone or tablet, you can already look forward to the big iOS 11 update coming later this year.

Designed to replace the current iOS 10, Apple's software upgrade is absolutely stuffed with dozens of new features and worthy updates to existing apps. Here we'll explain what iOS 11 is, reveal the best improvements and also discuss the release date - as well as compatibility with older iPhones and iPads.

Update: Apple has just released the public beta of iOS 11, so anyone with a mobile device can download and check out the latest software for themselves. Read on for all you need to know.

Check out our summary of What Apple launched at WWDC 2017, and head to our comprehensive WWDC hub for all you need to know about Apple's new software and hardware.

What is iOS?

iOS is the mobile operating system that runs on Apple’s mobile devices (in other words, iPhones and iPads).

If you're not sure what an operating system is, it's basically the most important software, responsible for all kinds of stuff. iOS allows you to download and use apps, for instance. It manages your phone's storage and memory, protects your data and does plenty more besides. Without the OS, your shiny Apple phone or tablet would basically just be a very expensive paperweight.

If you want to know more about Apple's mobile OS, check out our complete guide to iOS. All of your questions will be answered there.

Read next: What will Apple launch later in 2017?

What is new in iOS 11?

Apple is packing the new iOS 11 with all kinds of great features. The new iPad dock, for instance, is a great way to access your favourite apps in an instant. Lots of existing features have been upgraded in iOS 11 too. For instance, Siri has been improved, the Control Center has been completely redesigned, Apple Pay is much easier to use and even the camera software has been overhauled.

Head over to our best iOS 11 features round-up for a complete breakdown of those new bits.

When will iOS 11 be released?

Existing iPhones and iPads will most likely be updated to iOS 11 in September or October 2017. This will coincide with the global release of the new iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus, which will be launched with iOS 11 pre-installed.

How can I update my iPhone or iPad to iOS 11?

This update will happen automatically, so you don't need to do a thing.

Your iPhone or iPad regularly checks online for any waiting updates, all on its own. If an update is found, a message will pop up on-screen to tell you so. You can then hit 'download and install' to get the update.

If you want to check manually, just head to the settings menu on your iOS device. From here tap General, followed by Software Update. Your iPhone or iPad will search for the iOS 11 update and tell you if Apple has released it yet.

Will my iOS device support iOS 11?

Not all iPhone and iPads will run iOS 11, sadly. Older handsets and devices will struggle to cope with the latest software, so Apple has released a compatibility list to show exactly who should and who shouldn't install this update.

Will my iPhone be compatible with iOS 11?

Apple reckons that every iPhone from the iPhone 5s onwards can run iOS 11 successfully. Here's the full list of compatible handsets:

  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 5s

Will my iPad be compatible with iOS 11?

Apple says that the new iPad, both iPad Air models and all of the iPad Pro models can run iOS 11. Additionally, all of the Mini models can handle the latest iOS, with the exception of the original. The full list of compatible iPads with iOS 11 is below:

  • 12.9‑inch iPad Pro (1st and 2nd generation)
  • 10.5‑inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7‑inch iPad Pro
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad Mini 4
  • iPad Mini 3
  • iPad Mini 2

What is the iOS 11 public beta?

Can't wait until October time before trying out all of the cool new iOS 11 features? Well, the good news is that Apple has just launched the public beta. This is a pre-release version of the software which is being distributed for testing purposes, so any lingering bugs can be smashed before the proper rollout later in 2017.

Check out our iOS 11 public beta feature for all you need to know.

How can I download the iOS 11 public beta right now?

Thankfully downloading the public beta is rather simple (and completely free), so you can enjoy Apple's latest iOS ahead of time on your iPhone or iPad. All you need to do is sign up for Apple's Beta Software Program and enroll your chosen device. This unlocks the OTA update for your handset or tablet.

Have a look at our full updating your iPhone or iPad feature for in-depth instructions.

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