Apple shows off iOS and MacOS updates at WWDC

Apple at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference this morning took the wraps off iOS 11 and MacOS High Sierra, the next major revisions of its mobile and desktop operating systems.

Apple took the wraps off the next major revisions of its mobile and desktop operating systems at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference this morning, offering up speedier web browsing, person-to-person payment transfers via iMessages and Apple Pay, popular MacOS features for the iPad, and more.

iOS 11

iOS 11, coming this fall, will include a raft of new features. A revamped iMessage app in iOS 11 will include a drawer to easily find your iMessage apps and stickers. iMessage users will also be to use Apple Pay to make person-to-person payments in a message, much as you can send and receive money in Venmo or a recent update to Gmail. Apple Music will gain social features, letting you share playlists and see what friends are listening to. Apple Maps will offer floor plans for malls and major airports. Photos will do a better job of discovering and displaying Memories. And navigation will include lane guidance and display current speed. You will also be able to turn on a do-not-disturb setting while driving. And a remodeled App Store will break out games into their own dedicated space, letting you browse game genres, see new releases, watch video, and see gaming tips.

The biggest changes to iOS, however, will be for iPads, where Apple is bringing the MacOS Dock to its tablet, giving users quick access to apps and files. iOS 11 will also borrow Spaces from the Mac, letting iPad users easily move between apps or pairs of active apps. Users will also be able to drag and drop items between apps. Perhaps the most longed-for feature is Files, which will display all your files and attachments in a grid or list view, letting you browse and search for files, and work across major cloud storage services, including iCloud, Box, Dropbox, OneCloud, and Google Drive.

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Apple also announced augmented-reality developer tools to let game and app developers build AR apps for iOS 11.

Although its shipping this fall, if you can't wait, you can sign up out a public beta to try out the new features.

MacOS High Sierra

Called High Sierra, the upcoming free update to MacOS will focus on under-the-hood improvements, swapping in Apple File System, the modern file system used in iOS. Apple said the goal for the new file system is to bring a safe, secure, and responsive experience to Mac users. Other improvements include a big update to Photos that will bring improved navigation and more powerful image-editing tools, and a speedier Safari that will also stop autoplay media from playing and manage and block tracking data that websites use to track users. Apple will build support for VR in High Sierra letting developers build VR apps and games for the Mac.

High Sierra will be available as a public beta this month. Because it is a beta and especially because it uses a new file system, make sure you have a good, current backup of your primary drive. And consider installing the High Sierra public beta on an external drive or a separate partition, not on your primary Mac drive.

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tvOS and watchOS

For its other platforms, Apple said Amazon Prime Video is coming to tvOS this fall. WatchOS 4, also coming this fall, will gain new activities and monthly fitness challenges and a Siri face that will display relevant information based on on time or location.

For a complete look -- including on the upcoming Apple's HomePod home speaker and new iMacs, MacBooks, and iPads -- see CNET's ongoing coverage of WWDC.

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About Clifford Colby

Clifford Colby follows the Mac and Android markets for Download.com. He's been an editor at Peachpit Press and a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWeek, MacUser, and Corporate Computing.