Perhaps the most visible change in iOS 11 is Control Center. It has a new look, and you can customize it more to your liking by adding and rearranging buttons. You can even remove a few of the default buttons.
To open Control Center in iOS 11, swipe up from the bottom of the screen on an iPhone or iPod touch (on the new iPhone X, swipe down from the top right of the screen). On an iPad, swipe up from the bottom of the screen—swipe up slightly to see the Dock and keep swiping to see Control Center at the right.
Some Control Center buttons, like Do Not Disturb, are simple toggles. Others, like Calculator, launch apps quickly. And a few, like Brightness, are actually sliders. You can press and hold some of them to reveal additional functions. For example, pressing and holding on the Brightness slider reveals a Night Shift button and a bigger brightness slider.
Customizing the Buttons
To change which buttons are available in your Control Center, go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. The Customize screen is split into two sections: Include lists buttons that are in Control Center, and More Controls lists inactive buttons that you can add. (The only buttons you can remove from Control Center’s default display are Flashlight, Timer, Calculator, and Camera.)
Here’s how to switch things up:
- Add a button: Tap its green plus button. It moves to the Include list. You can add as many buttons as you like.
- Remove a button: Tap its red minus button, and tap Remove. The button moves to More Controls.
- Arrange buttons: For any button in the Include list, drag the grab handle on the right side up or down.
On an iPad, some buttons may appear in Control Center at the upper right—they wrap up there from the bottom of the main stack of buttons.
Here are our favorite new buttons, and what to expect from them:
- Clock Options: Need to keep track of the time? Three buttons—Alarm, Timer, and Stopwatch—each open their corresponding screen in the Clock app so you can complete a timing task quickly. Timer is the most useful because it has a press-and-hold option that lets you start a timer without switching to the Clock app.
- Text Size: This button brings up a slider for adjusting the size of the system font—this is the text in places like the Messages app and the Settings app. Slide your finger up to make text larger or down to make text smaller.
- Magnifier: Tapping the Magnifier button takes you to a camera-like app designed to zoom in on something in the physical world so that you can see it better. It’s helpful for seeing tiny type, such as serial numbers on electronic devices.
- Voice Memos: Found only on the iPhone, this button opens the Voice Memos app when you tap it, but if you press and hold instead, you can start a new recording immediately or access recent recordings. If your yoga instructor doesn’t mind, recording a class is a handy way to recap workout instructions.
- Apple TV: This button opens an Apple TV remote control that can replace your Siri Remote. It’s especially useful when you need to type a search string or password into the Apple TV (see Run Your Apple TV from Control Center in iOS 11).
- Notes: Tap to start a new note in the Notes app. Or press and hold to bring up a menu of choices, such as starting a note with to-do list formatting already applied or taking a photo that will be inserted into a new note.
Only Apple can provide new buttons for Control Center right now, so you won’t find any options for working with independent apps. But who knows—as with Siri, perhaps Apple will let developers create useful controls for Control Center in the future too.