I Updated From an iPhone 7 Plus to an iPhone 11. Here’s What I Miss.

Apple’s new phone is incredible, but not every improvement works

iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 11
The iPhone 11 (r) is a vast improvement on the 7 Plus. Most of the time.

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The iPhone 11 is a fantastic phone. It’s extremely quick, the screen is beautiful, and I’ve never taken better photos. 

But as someone who doesn’t jump on a new iPhone model every year (sorry, Apple), I’m coming to the 11 from a three-year old iPhone 7 Plus. And in my first week of a new phone, I’m surprised that there are some characteristics of Apple’s older models I still miss.

I’ve detailed some initial likes and dislikes below. Note: On the 11, I haven’t used QuickTake video mode or slo-mo selfies. I’m also waiting on a new charger before I wirelessly power up and I haven’t customized much beyond the lock screen and the virtual home button (more on that below). 

As well, I don’t know off-hand how much the increased speed and dexterity of my iPhone 11 has to do with new hardware or with the just-released iOS 13 — and considering my benchmark is a three-year old phone that was losing battery power exponentially and also randomly rebooting, I couldn’t tell you how the 11 compares to a brand new 7 Plus with an updated operating system.  

LIKE: The iPhone 11 is smaller than my iPhone 7 Plus…

Yet the screen is somehow larger (6.1” vs 5.5”) and therefore easier to type and navigate with my chubby fingers. 

DISLIKE: I miss a visible home button 

The home button on the iPhone 7 Plus was my quick, tactile way to jump in and out of apps and generally navigate around (plus, it doubled as the Touch ID to unlock my phone, which is now gone but may return in next year’s phone.). On the 11, you have to go into settings, click on AssistiveTouch and and enable a “virtual” home button, which allows you to quickly access Siri and notifications (you can also customize available commands and move the button to the bottom or sides of your home screen). You’re getting more control over what the home button does and opening up a bit of screen space, but it’s less intuitive to find and use. 

LIKE: The camera is decidedly better, particularly at night

Night Mode has already changed my pic-taking habits. While I haven’t used the new “ultra wide-angle lens” (which offers a 120 degree view), I now take really detailed pictures in low light with little worry about using an external flash or fixing the images in post, as they say.

DISLIKE: Where’s my battery percentage?

Thanks to that ridiculous notch on top — which, admittedly yes, makes Face ID work so wonderfully — I have to either swipe down from the top right or add the percentage to my lock screen to see how long my phone will last. I’ve done both, and so far the battery life hasn’t been a problem, but it’s still something I should be to see the second I look at my phone.

LIKE: The red colorway

After years of buying white, silver or black iPhones — and wrapping them in black rubber or brown leather cases, negating any color choice I’d made — I’m happy to own a phone that’s a nice shade of red. While it does limit my protective case choices to “clear,” (and having just tried one, they’re rather ugly and I may forego one) it’s definitely the most eye-catching thing I have on my person every day. 


DISLIKE: The 11 ships with the standard iPhone charger

This is more of a “you didn’t do anything new when you easily could have” complaint. That little white 5W charging brick that came with my iPhone 7 Plus (and every other prior iPhone) has never been great, but it’s still here. Apple even saw fit to gift new iPhone 11 Pro users with an 18-watt fast charger. For iPhone 11 users, you’re going to want to shell out a few extra bucks for an updated wall charger (and compatible USB-C to Lightning cord) and a wireless charger. Thankfully, Anker’s PowerPoint III mini (your plug) and PowerWave charging stand (your wireless charger) are solid choices and pretty inexpensive. Still, Apple should be throwing these in if you’re spending $700+.

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