Apple’s iOS 11 update serves up the biggest benefits to iPad owners, with a whole bunch of great new features implemented. These include the handy apps dock for quick navigation, as well as more use for the Apple Pencil. Our tips and tricks guide shows you how to get started with iOS 11 on your iPad, whatever model you own, with a run-down of some of the best new and hidden features.
The iPad is getting better and better with every passing year, and not just because Apple keeps throwing out new models with beefier processors and upgraded hardware. Every September we’re treated to a new version of iOS, which serves up fresh new features too.
In 2017, Apple pushed out iOS 11, its best software to date. This latest release is especially lovely news for iPad owners as the tablet has received a lot of attention, with a revamped interface to help speed up everyday operation.
Here’s our complete tips and trick guide to show you the best new bits.
What is iOS 11?
Apple’s iPad tablets run software of the company’s own design, known as iOS. This is responsible for everything you do on your iPad, from running apps to fiddling around with settings and connecting to other devices.
iOS 11 is the latest version of iOS, released in September 2017 by Apple. This delivers a whole bunch of great new features, which we’ll show you how to use in the following guide.
Not sure if you’re on iOS 11, or want to know how to get all of these snazzy new bits? Check out our guide to updating your iPad for full instructions.
You can also head over to our complete iOS 11 hub for all of our guides and features about Apple’s iPad software.
Best new iOS 11 features and how to use them
Apple made a lot of changes with iOS 11, many of them little tweaks and polishes to existing features. However, you’ll also find a lot of shiny new features buried away in there, some of which are very useful indeed.
How to use and customise the iPad Dock
Skipping between your apps is now a much simpler affair in iOS 11, with Apple’s nifty MacOS-style dock.
No longer do you have to double-push the home button and scroll through the massive list of open apps, or back out to the desktop and search for what you need. Now the dock at the bottom of the screen holds shortcuts to the stuff you’ll most likely need at any given time.
On the left side of the dock you’ll see shortcuts to your favourite apps, while the right side holds those apps you’ve used most recently. Therefore it’s pretty easy to jump between two apps quickly, or call up something you use fifty times a day.
To configure the dock, head to General and then Multitasking & Dock. From here you can tweak some features, including the ability to split-screen by dragging app icons from the dock. More on this feature later.
You can also change which apps show up in the left side of the dock by tapping and holding your finger on any of the app icons. All of your apps will then begin to shake. You can now drag and drop your preferred selections to the dock, while removing any you don’t need.
How to multi-task with the Split View mode and use two iPad apps at once
If you’re using an app, the dock is by default hidden from view. However, you can drag the iPad dock back onto the screen simply by swiping your finger up from the bottom edge of the display.
Using the dock you can quickly jump to another app, simply by tapping its icon. Alternatively, you can drag and drop an app icon from the dock onto the main screen, which opens Apple’s Split View mode.
Drag an icon to the far left or the far right of the screen and you’ll get a clear divide between the two app, with a central reservation that can be dragged in either direction to expand or reduce your view of each app.
Alternatively, if you drag and drop a dock icon to the middle of the iPad’s screen, it will open in a draggable window. This can be moved from one side to the other by holding the very top edge, or you can drag that top edge up to enter a proper split-screen view.
How to use App Switcher mode and the new Control Center
Double-tap the home button and you’ll enter the new and improved App Switcher mode. This shows you all of your open apps like before, this time with a stacked design that’s easier to navigate. This even saves any split-screen app sessions you’ve been using, so you can call up both apps side-by-side again with just a quick tap.
You’ll also spy those handy Control Center options, tucked away on the right side. Handy for controlling your media, toggling settings like Bluetooth and WiFi and adjusting the screen brightness.
Note that you can also access the App Switcher mode by swiping your finger from the bottom of the display towards the middle of the screen. Exactly how you used to call up the Control Center, in other words.
You can also tweak which app shortcuts appear in the Control Center by heading to your iPad’s settings menu, then tapping Control Center followed by Customise Controls.
The iOS keyboard just got even better in this latest update, thanks to the handy QuickType feature. All you need to do is swipe down on a key and then lift your finger to type the secondary character; for instance, the numbers and punctuation marks. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s faster and more convenient than having to tap that shift button first.
Get organised with the new iPad Files app
The all-new Files app is a handy addition to any iPad. This appears in your dock by default and is a great way of quickly accessing your recent documents, plus all of your other files.
From Files you can browse your iPad’s storage, ordered by your apps, as well as accessing everything stashed away in your iCloud. Performing a search will not just scan your local files, but also those stored online. You can also pin your favourite folders to the side bar, simply by dragging them there.
Helpfully, the Files app also stores away any recently deleted files – giving you a chance to restore them if the culling was a complete accident.
Drag and drop between apps
Apple seems to finally be embracing drag and drop, which is an absolute blessing. Load up two apps side-by-side and you can highlight text and then long press your finger on it, before dragging to the second app. This will immediately be copied across. You can do the same with photos and other bits, and this even works with non-Apple apps such as the Google Chrome browser.
Need to quickly scribble down someone’s phone number, an address or some other vital piece of info? Now all you need to do is whip out your Apple Pencil and tap the tip to your iPad’s lock screen. You’ll see a new Note immediately pop up, ready for whatever you want to jot down.