Apple has released the second beta of the upcoming iOS 11.1 to developers, and one of the most notable features is the return of the 3D Touch app switcher gesture which disappeared with the initial release of iOS 11. The gesture allows users to quickly call up the app switcher by pressing down hard on the left edge of an iPhone that supports 3D Touch, and then swiping to the right. It was a convenient way to flip between apps with a single swipe rather than double-pressing the Home button, and a number of users protested online when they discovered that it was gone in betas of iOS 11.
However, it emerged after the final release of iOS 11 that Apple had only temporarily removed this feature with the intention of bringing it back. Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi responded to a frustrated user’s email, expressing regret and citing an unspecified “technical constraint” that forced the removal of the feature. Federighi, who often presents new products and features on stage at Apple’s famous keynotes, went on to state that the gesture would return in a future iOS update, but didn’t provide any timeline or further details.
The email exchange was verified by Macrumours.com, and now it seems as though users won’t have to wait much longer. iOS 11.1 will also include a huge number of new and redesigned emojis based on the Unicode 10 specification, better emoji suggestions, and a few new UI icons and animations, plus the inevitable bug fixes and security updates. Apple is also expected to allow users to send each other money using Apple Pay Cash and graduate the Portrait Lighting feature out of beta in future iOS updates, though these aren’t confirmed for iOS 11.1.
Apple has also just released fresh betas for its other platform operating systems. macOS 10.13.1 High Sierra beta 2 supports the new emojis, but most of the other changes have to do with bug fixes and security improvements that users can’t see. watchOS 4.1 beta 2 adds Wi-Fi and cellular streaming for Apple Music and a new Radio app, plus support for the same new emojis as iOS 11.1 and an improved Control Centre. tvOS 11.1 beta 2 also has no changes visible to users, and also focuses on bug fixes. There is no official release date yet for the final versions of all four platform updates.