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iOS 11: How to get the most out of the new Control Center

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Learn to master and customize Apple's quick settings

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

One of the biggest changes in iOS 11 for most users is the new Control Center, which Apple has completely overhauled with a new design that puts everything from the old, multi-pane system in one central location.But the biggest addition might be the fact that after years of waiting, Apple is finally letting users customize parts of Control Center.

Confused by the new design? Crippled by choice with all the options? To help out, we’ve put together some of the best ways to make the most of the new Control Center.

The basics

First things first, you’ll want to get to know your way around the Control Center. There’s basically two halves to the new menu. The top part contains wireless connectivity settings, music controls, volume and brightness sliders, an AirPlay menu, and toggles for rotation lock and do not disturb mode. The bottom part is where the customizable options are. No matter what you choose to do with the bottom section — and more on that in a minute — the top part is the same for everyone on iOS, and can’t be changed.

Some of the controls can also be expanded to bring up further options; for example, the music panel pops up more granular playback and wireless audio functions, and the connectivity panel offers more options. But all the buttons that are visible on the un-expanded version also work, so if you just want to pause a song or turn off Wi-Fi, you don’t have to dive into the deeper menu.

As a final note, it seems that Apple has intentionally changed the way the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles in Control Center work in iOS 11. Toggling them off will disconnect you from Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices while still leaving those radios on, so if you want to truly turn things off, you’ll have to go into the Settings app and do it manually.


New in iOS 11 is the ability to customize Control Center. To do that, you’ll want to head to Settings -> Control Center -> Customize controls.

There, you’ll be able to add, remove, or reorder additional toggles and application links for your Control Center. Options include:

  • Flashlight
  • Home (for HomeKit)
  • Low Power Mode
  • Alarm
  • Calculator
  • Camera
  • Timer
  • Apple TV Remote
  • Accessibility Shortcuts
  • Do Not Disturb While Driving
  • Guided Access
  • Magnifier
  • Notes
  • Screen Recording
  • Stopwatch
  • Text Size
  • Voice Memos
  • Wallet

That’s a ton of stuff that you can add, although adding everything will make your Control Center look kind of ridiculous (and confusing), so consider how sprawling a list you’ll want to have to go through before just adding every single button.

Tap and hold (or 3D Touch) everything

Everything that you see in Control Center is tappable: the brightness and volume sliders, the Wi-Fi switches, and the shortcuts to various apps will all work as you’d expect. But for many (although not all) of the buttons and toggles, you can get an additional useful expanded menu or option by tapping and holding (or on newer devices, pressing down with 3D Touch) on an icon or menu.

For example, the connectivity panel can be expanded to show additional options for AirDrop and personal hotspot by holding down. Or the timer button, where a long press will pop up a slider that lets you start timers directly from the Control Center without opening the app.

So no matter what you choose to go with for your customizable toggles, make sure to try long pressing everything — it’s the best way to discover new Control Center features.