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The Good and Bad in Apple iOS 11 for iPhone and iPad

September 20, 2017, 1:38 PM UTC

Apple’s iOS 11 made its debut on Tuesday, and already, millions of iPhone and iPad owners are believed to have downloaded the software to try out the company’s new operating system.

Anxious to see what iOS 11 delivers, I downloaded the software to my Apple devices. And so far, I can tell you that your mileage may vary. If you’re an iPhone owner, you won’t see much of a change in Apple’s (AAPL) operating system experience. But if you have an iPad, put everything down and download iOS 11 right now.

Here’s my look at some of the good and not-so-good features in Apple’s iOS 11:

Good: No Learning Curve

One of the first things you’ll notice after downloading iOS 11 is that not much has changed. If you’re comfortable using iOS 10 and you know your way around the operating system’s gestures, you should feel at home with iOS 11.

The operating system is extremely stable and I’ve experienced no problems with iOS 11 or third-party apps crashing.

Bad: No Learning Curve

There’s another side to that learning curve—or lack thereof.

Apple has largely played it safe with iOS 11, especially on the iPhone. Apple’s new operating system delivers only minor upgrades to its built-in apps like Mail and Messages, and the design has been tweaked ever so slightly.

Granted, iPad owners are enjoying some big improvements (more on that in a bit), but it’d be nice to see Apple take some more chances with its iOS design concepts and blow us away with something new.

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Good: Control Center Matters

I didn’t often find much value in Control Center in iOS 10. I felt it was too anemic on the feature side and its design was rather boring.

Control Center in iOS 11, however, is far more useful. For one, you can customize Control Center to put there the shortcuts to apps and features you use most often. It’s really handy. It’s also much easier to control Apple Music, and getting the option to decide whether to turn off just your cellular connection, just your Wi-Fi, or everything in a traditional Airplane mode setting is a small but welcome addition.

Already, I’m using Control Center far more than I had in the past.

Bad: Some Features Aren’t Yet Ready

Unfortunately, there are some features that Apple has been touting that you won’t see until later this year. Chief among them is peer-to-peer payments, a new option built inside Apple Pay that will let you quickly and easily send money to your friends and family. It’s not a deal-breaker, but having access to all features at launch would’ve been nice.

Good: iPad Lovers, Rejoice

The iPad owner really wins here with iOS 11.

Apple has dramatically improved the iPad experience with iOS 11 by expanding the size of the Dock to get quick access to more apps. Apple’s iPad Pro owners will be able to do more out of the box, including the ability to digitally scan and sign files with Apple Pencil. And speaking of Apple Pencil, it really does work better in iOS 11.

But the most important additions to iOS 11 on the iPad come in the form of multitasking features, like the ability to quickly switch between apps or use two programs at once. I’m a much more productive—and happier—iPad owner with iOS 11’s support.

Good: An Outstanding Camera App

When I opened the iOS 11 Camera app, I was surprised by how much of an improvement it is. The app’s filters are outstanding and the revamped Portrait option is something you need to try.

Apple’s Camera app was a little behind on the feature front, but in iOS 11, the company has caught up. And I think you’ll really like what you’ll find.

Final Thoughts

Apple’s iOS 11 isn’t perfect, but it’s an outstanding operating system. Apple’s software is robust, reliable, and although there aren’t many on the iPhone side, the improvements Apple has made are the right ones that ultimately make for a better mobile experience.

If you’re on the fence about whether to download iOS 11, don’t be. It’s good. It’s really, really good.