iOS 11 Screen Broadcast: Live Streaming Features Coming To iPhones?

When Apple announced the iOS 11 at WWDC about a month ago, it didn’t mention a feature that would allow users to live broadcast whatever is on their iPhone screen. The third beta of iOS 11, released a couple of days ago to developers, brought a series of refinements, bug fixes, speed improvements, and more. Hidden in the developer beta is an iOS 11 screen broadcast feature that would allow users to let others watch in real time.

iOS 11 Screen Broadcast and Live Streaming
Image Credit: 9to5Mac / YouTube video (screenshot)

What does the iOS 11 screen broadcast do?

The iOS 11 beta is highly unstable and full of bugs. The third beta has a new “Start Broadcast” button, which would possibly enable live streaming of your iPhone or iPad screen. It is unclear whether the final version of iOS 11 would still have this feature. But it makes sense for the Cupertino company to offer the ability to live broadcast screen recordings and even integrate it with third-party apps, says The Next Web.

In its current state, the button doesn’t do much. If you have installed the latest beta, you can access the iOS 11 screen broadcast by enabling the screen record function in the Settings app and long-pressing the record button in the Control Center. If you tap on the “Start Broadcast” button, it merely captures the screen, just like the screen recording button. It then saves the video files to the camera roll.

Is Apple bringing its own live streaming service?

What has the iPhone fans excited is the word “Broadcast,” which hints at a native live streaming option. It would be interesting to see how the feature evolves in the future beta versions. Only time will tell whether Apple will integrate it with third-party apps such as Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook. The tech giant is unlikely to start its own broadcasting service because the market is already crowded. If Apple wanted to bring its own broadcasting service, it would have announced the service at WWDC.

Many believe that the feature might be intended for AirPlay. However, as The Next Web points out, Apple already has an AirPlay mirroring button in the Control Center. It makes little sense to add it to the screen recording feature. Also, Apple might have used the AirPlay logo if it were indeed related to AirPlay. The iOS 11 screen broadcast is most likely for live streaming your screen to apps such as YouTube Gaming.

YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch are all betting big on live broadcasting. These platforms are looking for innovative ways to capture the attention of users. According to Business Insider Intelligence, live streaming on mobile devices is emerging as a popular medium for person-to-person sharing as well as for B2B and B2C communications. Live streaming data usage is estimated to grow at an annual rate of 108% between 2016 and 2021.

What’s new in iOS 11 beta 3?

Screen broadcast is not the only feature in iOS 11 beta 3. Apple has now restored the swipe to close gesture in iPad App Switcher. Previously, users had to hold down on the app and tap “X” to close it when using the App Switcher. The latest beta has also added Dropbox and OS X Server to the Files app as new Locations. In the Notification Center, users no longer have to swipe a second time to check the “Earlier Today” notifications.

The iOS 11 beta 3 lists Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Verizon Fios, and many others as new TV providers in the Settings app. The new providers support Single sign-on. Note that the latest beta is only limited to developers. Apple is expected to push out a second public beta later this week. The upcoming public beta should be similar to the third developer beta.

By far the biggest feature of iOS 11 remains the ARKit, which would bring augmented reality applications to iPhones. AR adds a virtual layer of information on real world scenes, dramatically changing how you interact with your device. These videos show the potential of augmented reality, which would debut with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7S in September this year.