IOS 11 is here and it promises to transform the iPad from a consumer device into a genuine laptop replacement. Rarely for me, I took the plunge and upgraded my iPad as soon as it was available. Since then I’ve been using the device as my main means of working, browsing and consuming.

What follows are the issues, quirks and problems I’ve come across as I’ve being using it, together with some of the fixes I’ve found.

Moving Files with Apple Files

The Apple Files app is supposed to allow you to manage files on multiple cloud systems seamlessly. It sort of works some of the time, but trying to bulk move files, or move them from one cloud drive to another, is a bit hit-and0-miss.

When I’ve tried to move files from iCloud to Google Drive I can’t move them (in spite of what the UI says), only copy. Once the copy has taken place you need to check it has really happened, then delete the original.

I say “really happened” because sometimes it doesn’t. This seems to affect larger files, maybe 40MB and bigger, but I can’t be sure. It also affects bulk moving groups of files. All that happens is you tell Files to make a copy, which it then stops doing at random without any kind of notification to say it’s stopped.

The fix:¬†for bulk moves do it from a desktop. For individual files I suggest making the copy, checking it’s gone over in the cloud drive’s native app (so OneDrive, Google Drive etc) and then delete the original.

My iPad doesn’t charge

This is a big one. Twice I’ve left my iPad to charge only to find it hasn’t. For someone who works on the move this is a big issue as I could be left powerless with important work to be done.

It appears this is a reappearance of a bug from the beta phases. For whatever reason the device doesn’t recognise a connector has been plugged in, so the recharge cycle isn’t triggered.

The fix: Forums suggest plugging the connector into the iPad before connecting it to the USB charger. So far this has worked for me

Update: 29/9/17 Looks like this might be one of those “pigeon dance” moments. I’m keeping an eye on it though.

Is Bluetooth really off?

In IOS 10 the control panel had a button to turn Bluetooth on and off. This was good from both a power management and security perspective. With IOS 11 this has been changed. There is still what appears to be an on/off switch, but all this does is disconnect you from any devices you’ve connected. Bluetooth is still switched on.

The fix: to turn Bluetooth off completely you need to open Settings and turn it off using the toggle switch.

Does the iPad disconnect from Wi-fi?

A great power saving tip is to turn off Wi-fi when you’re not using it. As with Bluetooth, using the control panel doesn’t turn it off, only disconnect you from the current network.

The fix: Open Settings, go to Wi-fi and toggle it to off

iOS 11 eats battery

I usually start the day with an hour of writing. I’ll have a fully charged iPad, use a Bluetooth keyboard and connect to my TV via Apple TV mirroring. In the old world this would typically consume about 10% of my battery.

New world this is more like 12%.

The difference is significant as I’ve lost about an hour of battery life over a day. Where the drain is coming from I’m not sure, although Apple News has consumed a quarter of my power since my last charge and I haven’t used it for more than 20 or 30 minutes. It does seem to be “always on”.

This is one I’m keeping an eye on.

Apple Files is a disappointment.

I’m not impressed with this app at the moment. I’ve written elsewhere on this and the problems I’ve had.

Podcast episodes play one at a time

The podcasts app has been updated so it plays a single episode at a time. This is great news for my nighttime routine where I listen to a single episode to lull myself to sleep. It isn’t so great when I’m driving.

In the old world I tapped an option that played podcasts for a certain period of time, or until the current episode ended. In the new world I don’t have this control.

The fix appears to be to queue the episodes you want to listen to in advance. I won’t begin to describe how annoying this is.

Smart quotes are enabled by default

It’s a small thing, but one that annoyed me. Given I write predominantly for the web, having “smart quotes” (the curly ones that are different at the start and end of an enclosed sentence) is a nuisance. Not all browsers can read them and they’re bad for code. By default they’re switched on, but you can switch them off.

The fix: Open Settings and access General, then Keyboard. The option to toggle off is “Smart Punctuation”.

The On-Screen Keyboard is better

A big complaint I had from the previous iteration of iOS was the on-screen keyboard. It was far too sensitive given the speed I type and had issues where it would randomly select words or entire sentences and then delete them. It still happens, but far less often than before. A marginal slowdown on my part means I don’t have to carry my Logitech Keyboard with me all the time if I’m on the move and just want to take occasional notes.

That said, the first version of this post was written entirely with the on-screen keyboard.

Overall impressions

I am liking iOS 11. It isn’t a leap forward as is being claimed, but it is making my iPad easier to use as my main computer in some subtle ways. There are issues, not least in power management and file management, but these feel more like niggles than show-stoppers.

Give it a few months and I think Apple will have cracked the problem of how to turn the iPad from a consumer grade device into a full blown laptop replacement.

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Who is Ross A Hall?

I'm a freelance designer and writer. My clients have included Fintech startups, publishers and digital agencies. You can read more about my work here.

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