What's new in Control Center in iOS 11: design, functionality, customization

With its launch in 2013, iOS 7 brought more than just a radical visual redesign to Apple's mobile platform. It also added tons of functional, practical tweaks to iOS, Control Center being a prime example of that. With a simple swipe up from the bottom of the screen, it provided iPhone and iPad users with easy access to various settings and controls from any screen.

Fast-forward to 2017, and iOS 11 is now introducing the biggest Control Center overhaul we've seen yet. We're now about to walk you through it, but before we proceed, a disclaimer is due. The visuals below were made using an early preview of iOS 11 running on an iPhone 7 Plus. There's still a chance that Control Center might undergo slight changes, both in terms of how it looks and how it works, by the time iOS 11 is publicly released in the fall. With that out of the way, let us explore the new Control Center in iOS 11.

How is the new Control Center accessed?

Basically, Control Center works as it did before in this respect: you just swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access it and swipe back down to make it go away. It is accessible from any home screen, from the lock screen, from your widgets screen, and even while you have an app opened. As usual, you should be able to access Control Center even while playing a game, but you have to swipe up twice – a solution intended to prevent you from opening it unintentionally while gaming. 

What has changed in Control Center?

In iOS 10, Control Center was a multi-screen experience – you had your toggles and shortcuts on a primary screen, and a swipe to the side brought up a second page dedicated to audio controls. This arrangement worked fine, but it wasn't perfect. For instance, it was not impossible to move the volume or display brightness sliders by accident when you only wanted to switch between screens.

With iOS 11, Apple is putting all of Control Center's functionality on a single screen. You have your music controls in the upper right corner, while the brightness and volume sliders are underneath. The connectivity toggles are on the upper left, and the familiar shortcuts are in their usual spots at the bottom. Yes, the new Control Center does look... different, but it is a change we can get used to. 

One thing worth noting is that the volume and brightness sliders are now controlled vertically, not horizontally. This might be intended to address the aforementioned issue with moving the sliders by accident. However, we can still see a slider being tweaked unintentionally when trying to close Control Center. Perhaps iOS 11's final release will address this.

Also of importance is the fact that Force Touch is heavily implemented. For example, hard-pressing on the panel with connectivity toggles displays more of them. Using Force Touch on the music panel displays song info and more controls. Below are some visual examples.

Can I customize Control Center in iOS 11?

Yes, you definitely can! Some of the elements, such as the connectivity and audio panels, as well as the volume and brightness sliders, are fixed in place, but you can rearrange the shortcuts at the bottom to your liking. By default, the shortcuts set are for accessing the flashlight, calculator, timer, and the camera. You're free to remove and rearrange these shortcuts, as well as to add many more to the list. You can add ones to your wallet, notes, alarm clock, stopwatch, and many, many more. That's a full list below.



1. thetruthhasbeenspoken

Posts: 82; Member since: May 02, 2017

In Apple's words: Revolutionary

4. ahmuzencab

Posts: 192; Member since: May 12, 2017

I don't think they said that yesterday.

6. thetruthhasbeenspoken

Posts: 82; Member since: May 02, 2017

I don't think you know sarcasm

14. peace247 unregistered

cellular data toggle?!! finally!........

16. Flash

Posts: 1972; Member since: May 19, 2017

Looks functional. Far more functional than the Hub.

17. Nopers unregistered

Dare I say, more functional than the Android equivalent?

18. vincelongman

Posts: 5654; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Can you add shortcuts from third party apps? That's one of the things I love about Android's equivalent

19. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

You'd be stupid to do so. Android quick toggles, serve more than an on/off switch. They also serve as a link to the advanced settings for he toggle itself. A quick tap on the toggle, brings up a short menu with a few quick settings, a longer press takes you to the advanced settings if needed. The toggle son the control center take you nowhere. On Apple Center, you have to into settings to even customize it. That a whole different screen. On Android, you can make the changes without even leaving the screen. Apple's way is not better, no matter how much you even try to claim it is.

20. joevsyou

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

i completely agree i used a iPhone 7+ for 2 weeks while my phone was getting repaired. I found myself holding down a few times on the Bluetooth and wifi and was like wtf? i really gotta go find the settings app and open it up then scroll to where ever and open that and then do this. Just blows my mind how far IOS is behind and all these people with iphones have no idea what they are missing

2. cmdacos

Posts: 3974; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Sooooo it's turning into an app drawer and a cluttered mess. Very non-Apple like. Get rid of the dinosaur home screen interface and incorporate true on screen app widgets

7. der_damo

Posts: 213; Member since: Sep 16, 2014

Widgets are dead.

8. Podrick

Posts: 1284; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

Yes and grapes are sour too. File managers were useless too until yesterday..

11. xperian

Posts: 417; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

They still are. At least on a phone.

3. palmguy

Posts: 974; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

It looks confusing to me.

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 30904; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The one thing I find pretty cool in iOS 11.

9. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Ah! New control center, eh? Looks like someone is the iOS designers team was really inspired by Windows Phone tiles...! It looks way too ugly than the simplistic 'CC' on previous iOS versions and just doesn't look right on a so called 'premium' mobile OS... And I can say the same about the swipe-up notifications shade which has now transformed into a Lock Screen of sorts...! Funny... It's very funny to think that a few years ago; I had the same feelings when I demoed a Galaxy S4 at a mall... It was an absolute ugly duckling; despite the Full HD resolution which was a 'bombshell' back in the days... It felt absolutely childish and 'immature' compared to iPhone of that time; The iPhone 5S with iOS 7...! Now, my Galaxy S6 on Android Nougat looks WAY superior, cleaner and minimalistic than this iOS... Now, the iOS is looking childish and immature...! Funny how times change, eh? Oh well, G'Day!

10. KingSam

Posts: 1403; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Is that a MOBILE DATA TOGGLE. Finally apple, it took you long enough. Prepaid users know the struggle.

12. Valdomero

Posts: 662; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

I think they don't want to cheaply copy Android's toggles, but I think Android's feels more natural to me. Having to change from a Nexus to iPhone has made me miss the liberty of Android, I feel imprisoned in iOS. The only thing that I liked is that you can add and remove toggles ala Android, and show more info when you hard-press the icon.

22. joevsyou

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

"cheaply" OKAY

13. kbalthom

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 06, 2017

finally apple learn from android how to make their ios more open and customizable.

15. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

About time! Apple, once again, does it's traditional u-turn on stuffs they dismissed to be useless in the past.

21. joevsyou

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

that thing is UGLY! but at least its fully customizable to a degree... Most customizability apple has given it's users

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