Your iPhone's Control Center - dummies

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

In iOS 10, Apple split Control Center into a three-pane view. In iOS 11, Apple went back to a single view and a more fully customizable Control Center. As its name suggests, the iPhone’s Control Center is a single repository for the controls, apps, and settings you frequently call upon.

To access Control Center, swipe up from the bottom of the screen — any screen. The beauty of Control Center is that it’s always available when you need it. (The one exception is on the iPhone X, which was not available when this book went to press. You’ll surface Control Center on that model by swiping down from the upper-right corner of the screen.)

Take a gander at the following figure, and you’ll get an immediate handle on all the things that Control Center lets you get at right away.

Control Center pages are merely a swipe away.

Start your Control Center tour at the upper left, with the window that contains icons for airplane mode, cellular data, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Now press down on this window and apply a little pressure. Through 3D Touch, the window expands to take over most of the display, and you see two additional icons. One is for AirDrop, a way to share pictures, videos, and other files with folks who have their own recent iOS devices or Macs capable of receiving such files. The other icon is a control to turn on a Personal Hotspot feature, so you can share your iPhone’s connectivity with other devices via Wi-Fi.

Now move to the window on the top right. Here are play controls for Apple Music or whatever music or entertainment app is running. Apply a little 3D Touch pressure here as well, and the window expands to include a volume slider and an AirPlay control. With AirPlay, you can stream music, movies, and other content wirelessly through Wi-Fi from your phone to Apple TVs and to compatible Air-Play enabled speakers and receivers.

Drop down next to the screen’s orientation lock and the Do Not Disturb feature. Drop down again to see the screen-mirroring AirPlay control in its own window.

To the right is one slider that lets you increase or decrease the brightness of the screen and another to increase or decrease the phone’s volume. Just below, you see a row of controls for the flashlight, timer (part of the Clock app), calculator, and camera.

And finally at the very bottom is a control for HomeKit-compatible lights, thermostats, garage door openers, security cameras and other household accessories that you set up through the phone’s Home app.

Try 3D Touch on some of these controls to expand the size of the window and see the underlying capabilities. Press down harder on the flashlight icon, for example, and you can summon a slider for adjusting the light’s intensity.

If you apply pressure to the separate brightness slider, you’ll be able to turn on Night Shift, a feature that automatically adjusts the color spectrum of your display after dark, with the goal of reducing eyestrain and helping you get a good night’s sleep. Inside iPhone Settings, you can schedule when Night Shift kicks in and make other adjustments. But here in Control Center, you can turn on or off Night Shift manually.

The Control Center tour you were just treated to is all about the default layout of this handy repository of shortcuts and tools. By visiting the Settings app, you can customize and organize the controls that appear in Control Center more to your liking. You might, for example, want to add more controls, perhaps those that make accessibility shortcuts more readily available. Or maybe you want to surface controls for the Voice Memos or Wallet app.

In Settings, you’re also given the option to access Control Center (again by swiping up on the screen) from whichever app you may be using. Or you can choose to just access Control Center from one of your Home screens.

The point here, to paraphrase a since-discontinued Burger King advertising slogan, is to have Control Center your way. Meantime, we figure that you’ll be spending a lot of time with Siri, so kindly read on.