iOS 11: Everything You Need to Know

Can you run iOS 11 on your iPhone or iPad?

Apple introduced a bunch of important new features in iOS 11. From Augmented Reality to AirPlay 2 to Do Not Disturb While Driving and beyond, iOS 11 was a major upgrade for the iPhone and iPad.

Apple releases a major new, full-number version of the iOS — the operating system that runs the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch — once a year. This is a big event since new versions bring lots of cool new features and set the course for our devices for the coming years. (If you're curious about how past versions of iOS have shaped today's offerings, check out our article on the History of iOS.)

This article explains the history of iOS 11, some of its most important features, what devices are compatible with it, what to do if your device can't run it, and more.

iOS 11
image credit: Apple Inc.

iOS 11 Compatible Devices

iPhone iPod touch iPad
iPhone X 6th gen. iPod touch iPad Pro series
iPhone 8 series iPad Air series
iPhone 7 series 5th gen. iPad
iPhone 6S series iPad mini 4
iPhone 6 series iPad mini 3
iPhone SE iPad mini 2
iPhone 5S

If your device is listed above, you can run iOS 11. 

If your device isn't in the chart, you won't be able to run iOS 11. That may be a sign that it's time for a new device. After all, iOS 11 runs on the last 5 generations of iPhone and 6 generations of iPads. The oldest compatible models — the iPhone 5S and iPad mini 2 — were both released in 2013. These days, that's a long time to keep a gadget.

For more on upgrading to a new, iOS 11-compatible device, check out "What To Do If Your Device Isn't Compatible" later in this article.

Key New iOS 11 Features

Some of the most important and exciting features of iOS 11 include: 

Key iOS 11.3 Features

The iOS 11.3 update is the most substantial update to iOS 11, delivering both bug fixes and a number of major new features to iOS. Some of the most notable elements of iOS 11.3 include:

  • Battery Health: Lets users monitor the battery performance of their devices and disable Apple's "throttling" feature for older iPhones.
  • ARKit 1.5: Improves accuracy on non-flat surfaces and lets objects be placed on vertical surfaces.
  • New Animoji: A skeleton, lion, dragon, and bear are now available to be used as Animoji.
  • Business Chat: A feature that lets businesses offer customer support or Apple Pay-based commerce within the Messages app.
  • Health Records: A new tool to let patients from over 40 health systems view their medical records on their phones.
  • Other features including new privacy information, music videos within Apple Music, and numerous features for users outside the U.S. related to the Apple TV app, the Apple TV hardware, and Apple Pay. 

Later iOS 11 Releases

As of this writing, Apple has released 14 updates to iOS 11. All releases maintained compatibility with all devices listed in the chart above. While most of those updates were minor, fixing bugs or tweaking small elements of the iOS, a few were significant. Version 11.2 added support for Apple Pay Cash and faster wireless charging, while iOS 11.2.5 brought support for the HomePod.

For a full history of every major version of the iOS, check out iPhone Firmware & iOS History.

What to Do If Your Device Isn't Compatible

If your device isn't listed in the table at the top of the article, it's not compatible with iOS 11. While that's not the best news, many older models can still use iOS 9 (find out which models are iOS 9 compatible) and iOS 10 (iOS 10 compatibility list).

This may also be a good time to upgrade to a new device. If your phone or tablet is so old that it can't run iOS 11, you're not just missing out on new software features. There have been years' worth of major improvements to hardware that you're not enjoying, from faster processors to better cameras to more beautiful screens. Plus, there are many crucial bug fixes you don't have, which could leave you vulnerable.

All in all, it's probably time for an upgrade. You won't be sorry to have the latest hardware running the latest software. Check your upgrade eligibility here

iOS 11 Release Dates

  • iOS 11.4.1 release: July 9, 2018
  • iOS 11.4 release: May 28, 2018
  • iOS 11.3.1 release: April 24, 2018
  • iOS 11.3 release: March 29, 2018
  • iOS 11.2.6 release: Feb. 19, 2018
  • iOS 11.2.5 release: Jan. 23, 2018  
  • iOS 11.2.2 release: Jan. 8, 2018
  • iOS 11.2.1 release: Dec. 13, 2017
  • iOS 11.2 release: Dec. 2, 2017 
  • iOS 11.1.2 release: Nov. 16, 2017
  • iOS 11.1.1 release: Nov. 9, 2017  
  • iOS 11.1 release: Oct. 31, 2017
  • iOS 11.0.3 release: Oct. 11, 2017
  • iOS 11.0.2 release: Oct. 3, 2017
  • iOS 11.0.1 release: Sept. 26, 2017
  • iOS 11 release: September 19, 2017

Apple released iOS 12 on Sept. 17, 2018.

  • Does Apple still support iOS 11?

    No, Apple ended support for iOS 11 in 2018 when it introduced iOS 12.

  • Where is AirDrop in iOS 11?

    You can find AirDrop in the Control Center. If you don't see it, try long pressing on one of the connectivity icons, such as Bluetooth or Airplane Mode, to bring up a larger menu with more icons.

  • How do you update iOS?

    iOS should download updates and install them automatically as long as your iPad is plugged in. But, if you want to install an update manually, go to Settings > General > Software Update and select Download and install. You can choose to install the update now or update it at a later time.

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