As promised, here is a short review of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra. I’ll also do a review of the iPhone X when I get one.
So far, my experience with iOS 11 has been pretty ok. Running on my iPhone 6, performance has been similar to that of iOS 10 with some animations sped up making it seem a bit faster. The scrolling in apps like Safari is noticeably smoother and feels more like scrolling using the fantastic trackpad on my Late 2013 Retina MacBook Pro. The new Control Center customization and long-press options (requires Force Touch’ing on later iPhones) are a welcome addition, however I do have some gripes. Not being able to directly switch off WiFi/Bluetooth is annoying since those controls only disconnect you instead of turning off the radio itself. You now have to go to the Settings app to do that. Secondly, the new interface for playing music is buggy, as I have had trouble with 3rd party apps like Amazon Music responding to the play/pause/skip controls. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future update. The new notification center is basically the lock screen view which is strange and doesn’t work as well as the iOS 10 notification center did. Speaking of the lock screen, having to tap “Use Passcode” when I don’t is annoying when I don’t want to use Touch ID. This is actually pretty often since my Touch ID sensor can be spotty at times. These are just some annoyances caused by having older hardware. All in all, it’s a ok update, nothing spectacular.
macOS High Sierra
This was a bit more eventful, mainly because things broke after installing. The install process was quick on my MacBook and slow as expected on my Mac mini. APFS doesn’t seem particularly faster than HFS+, but maybe I just haven’t noticed it yet. Apple did announce that spinning hard drives and Fusion Drives would be supported in a future update. Opening apps such as Safari have become a bit smoother likely thanks to Metal 2, since the window manager is now rendered directly by Metal. Overall UI is a bit faster and higher consistent frame rates. Now for the things that inevitably broke, one of which is a huge annoyance. The first thing was Outlook which refused to open, but this was easily solved by downloading the latest version of Office 2016 for Mac. The more pressing problem was my VPN client, Watchguard IPSec Mobile VPN, stopped working. This is a bummer since I use my VPN to work from home. Looks like Watchguard takes forever to update, and that breaking after OS upgrades is common, so it might be a while before there is support for High Sierra. If you happen to rely on this client, hold back on upgrading to High Sierra. If there is no update in sight within a few weeks, I might just buy equinux VPN Tracker, which supports connecting to Watchguard endpoints as well as yearly OS updates as long as you purchase the yearly subscription ($79/year). This might be a better option than paying once for Watchguard’s own client.
That’s all for now. I will update this if I find anything else broken or interesting about iOS 11 or High Sierra.
[UPDATE 9/28/17]: There is a workaround for WatchGuard’s Mobile VPN Client on High Sierra. Completely uninstall the client using the Uninstaller package included in the dmg for the latest version (2.05). Reboot after uninstalling, then re-install using the Installer package. You should be go to go now. WatchGuard is waiting on NCP, the original author of the client, to issue an update for full High Sierra compatibility.