Tons of creatives have iPhones—and for good reason. They pull together everything in your life… and they (usually) get smarter with each new update.
iOS 10 is the latest big update from Apple. Unlike some updates before, there are TONS of noticeable changes—and some are bigger (or just niftier) than you might have realized.
In this post we’re showing you our 13 favorite iOS features, as updated (or created) in iOS 10. Pull out your phone and follow along!
1. Faster open and unlock
From the beginning, iPhone users have swiped right to unlock. Not anymore—now you tap the home button again. It’s small, but you do it 500 times a day—so you notice the change right away (and you might not like it at first). But this actually really smart! For one thing, Touch ID works “in rhythm” with the second press—meaning it opens (a bit) faster than before.
Think about this, too: if you’re carrying your phone with one hand, when are you most likely to drop it? Probably when you’re swiping your thumb across, right? So eliminating the swipe might mean fewer shattered screens. =]
2. Raise to Wake
Another thing when opening the phone: you can enable Raise to Wake so the screen automatically “turns on” when you pick it up. Then, it’s just one press and the phone opens. Small, but it’s intuitive and it adds polish to the user experience.
3. Expanded Text-Messaging Options
Apple is starting to stretch its muscles with iMessage—its alternative to traditional SMS messages (between people who have Apple IDs). Now, aside from near-bottomless text and Emojis, you can send 3D-touch-sensitive sketches, complete with fireworks and broken hearts and other frimfram. It’s also easier to include pictures—or take quick pics in response WITHIN the Messages app, instead of switching completely over to Camera.
4. Siri Gets Serious
Apple recently opened the Siri API for developers—which is a MUCH bigger deal than people realize. When you picture the future, where everything can be done hands-free, these are the specific kinds of improvements that get us there. (Quick techie note: Siri is one area where iOS has been lacking, esp. versus their Android/Windows “Cortana” counterparts.)
For example: you can now call an Uber or Lyft through Siri. We’re living in the future, guys—you can say a few words to your phone and a car shows up for you. Thanks iOS 10!
5. Improved Mail App
Frankly, Apple’s Mail game has never been strong. Their native apps are okay, but blasé and sometimes even buggy. There can always be new bugs—but Mail’s stronger than ever.
Aside from faster sorting and allowing you to see messages in conversation view—thanks for catching up, Apple—they’ve added an Unsubscribe button. Because so many people use Apple’s Mail app(s), and this is now a feature, Apple just lashed email and marketing lists everywhere.
6. Improved Apple Maps
From what we can tell—around Austin, at least—Siri still provides somewhat spastic direction. (Frankly, a lot of us prefer the Google Maps app.) But little work-ups still count, and they’ve done a couple here—aside from a more intuitive UI with bigger buttons, there are some passive perks. For example, Maps now remembers where you park—so no more wandering the lot after that festival or big meeting.
7. Auto-Transcribed Voicemails
Voicemail is annoying. We might leave them, but we never like listening to them. And now we don’t have to.
If you can’t hear/listen to your phone and you NEED the transcription—or if you’re just lazy and want to skim—Apple writes it out for you. Not perfectly, mind you, but enough for you to get the idea.
8. Apple Pay in Safari
For those of you who haven’t set up Apple Pay, we encourage it—it’s fast, futuristic, and useful whenever you’ve left your wallet in the car. Now, whenever you’re browsing in Safari and make a purchase, you don’t have to stop and pull out your credit card; you can pay straight from the info saved to your phone. (Don’t worry; you have to enter your Touch ID or password before it goes through.)
9. Unlimited Safari Tabs
If you’re like us and you always have tabs open to read—but especially on your phone, where you don’t think to close them—they pile up. Eventually, you run out… then you have to do maintenance. Not anymore. Keep as many tabs open as you want.
Just use this feature at your own peril. Remember, you probably won’t read them all—and unless you’ve got an iPhone 7 with the new chip, you might start to wear the processing or battery this way.
10. Ability to Remove Stock Apps
We get it, Apple—you’ve got an app for literally everything. That’s cool. But that’s a problem when we don’t have Apple Watches, when we don’t read the news through your app, when we don’t follow stocks, and when we don’t care about our daily step count. Those functions all have apps that get in our way—until now. Once you’ve got the icons shaking their little dance, you can eliminate even the ones most precious to Apple. After all, it’s your phone (in theory).
11. The new Bedtime alarms
For the sleep-conscious (as we all should be), you can tell your iPhone when you’d like to go to bed and wake up each day. Just go to the Bedtime tab in Clock, next to Alarms—once you answer a few questions, it’ll remind you towards bedtime and have a recurring alarm wake you each morning. Yet another way technology can help us help ourselves—and like a lot of things, it’s a small and simple addition.
12. 3D-Touch Timers
Now, whenever you use the Timer button on the quick menu at the bottom, you can 3D-touch to pick from a handful of quick options. We use timers a lot—to keep us focused, to keep track of things, to play games—so being able to start them without opening an app is handy.
13. Storage Optimization
Say you’ve got a lot of music and a small iPhone hard drive—which is common. But we don’t listen to all music, all the time. So now, if you need your iPhone to help manage its space smartly, you can specify how much space to allocate for music. Then, it automatically removes songs you don’t listen to and frees up space for other things you need. Set it once—but as generously as you can—and you’ll be good until your next phone.
Technology—we're always happy about it, but we're rarely happy with it. Sure, iOS isn't perfect, the iPhone isn't perfect, and Apple isn't perfect. But they keep improving—and one step at a time, we get closer to "futuristic" for the present day.
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