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Opportunities for Libraries with Apple’s Latest Operating System

by on December 5, 2017

On September 19th, 2017, Apple released a new operating system iOS 11 for newer model iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. With Apple devices widely used by both the public and library staff, libraries are invariably affected when changes occur. Consider what the implications may be for our organizations.

Basic Instruction for Library Patrons:

This is an opportunity to continue to provide technology instruction to our patrons. Introductory courses in any recent version of iOS will cover the basics, such as turning a device on and off, connecting to WiFi, downloading apps, managing notifications, and other essential features. iOS 11 has made changes that could require some explanation for current users updating their devices. The App Store has been revamped, including a partition between apps and games. The Control Center is now customizable and has merged with the lock screen. Siri has received an upgrade and is now capable of more intelligent searches. These changes both structural and cosmetic could prove disorienting for the non-techie.

Improved Picture Taking:

Apple has once again improved on the ability of their phones and tablets to take photos. iOS 11 has improved the Live Photos option, allowing three new editing choices loop, bounce, and long exposure.[1]  With a little instruction, library patrons can use these features to great effect–an ambitious librarian could host a digital art show. On the staff side, the improved Live Photos can be used to create simple but engaging content on library social media platforms–particularly Instagram and Facebook.

New & Improved Utilities:

One new utility that should see heavy use is a new document scanner built into iOS 11’s Notes app. Documents can now be easily scanned and exported as PDFs, without needing to install 3rd party apps of dubious origin![2] Couple this feature with wireless printing and you have the opportunity to further empower your patrons. Siri can now translate English to French, German, Italian, Mandarin, and Spanish. While not an ideal option, it may provide assistance during reference transactions with non-English speaking patrons.

Planning for the Future:

Aside from what was already mentioned, there are new, emerging features that libraries should plan to take advantage of. iOS 11 has begun rolling out an indoor maps feature for shopping malls and airports. One can hope this feature will continue to evolve and expand to include other (read libraries) locations! Apple has also introduced ARkit, a platform that will allow developers to build augmented reality features directly into their apps.[3] Libraries that have created their own app and have used a third party developer, should begin to consider how augmented reality might improve upon the patron experience.


[1]“Inside iOS 11: Live Photos gets new photo effects!” YouTube. July 06, 2017. Accessed October 17, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPsTniFGkhA.

[2]“IOS 11.” All New Features, Screenshots, Available Now. October 16, 2017. Accessed October 17, 2017. https://www.macrumors.com/roundup/ios-11/.

[3] Ibid.

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