There’s a lot going into the iOS 10 update that is going to shake up your daily iPhone and iPad routine and make the operating system a bit easier to use.
Siri is smarter, several key apps have been redesigned and the entire interface is full of more shortcuts. It doesn’t have everything we wanted, but very close to the ideal phone and tablet update.
In fact, there’s so much to iOS 10 that it’s hard to piece everything together and determine which feature updates are significant and which are afterthoughts.
That’s why we put together a list of what we think are the best iOS 10 updates, according to what we see at WWDC 2016.
QuickType suggestions current location
Apple loves to kill things off, including USB ports, CD drives and Floppy disks in hardware – to a lot of controversy. But the archaic thing iOS 10 may do away with should have everyone’s full support.
“Where are you” is the most annoying question when you’re on your way and don’t have time to answer in full. The Siri-influenced QuickType keyboard is ready to solve that.
It immediately adds a “Current Location” button to the suggestions bar above where you’re typing, when that bar is usually reserved for predicting your next word.
Your current location pops up with a GPS-linked map, and that’s so much easier than explaining in detail your exact coordinates in a much longer and more time-consuming text.
Apple Maps is less terrible
It doesn’t take a lot of work to make Apple Maps a whole lot better, and that’s what iOS 10 does with a bunch of design tweaks that address is biggest flaws.
The ability to pan and zoom along the route is one of those essential changes that just needed to happen. Before the iOS 10 update, moving about the map would spring you back to your dot. Why couldn’t I see ahead? Who designed that?
Traffic has also been added and new nearby points of interest make it ready to compete with Google Maps – or at least start to make a dent into Google’s best app.
We also really liked the fact that apps like Uber are integrated into Google Maps, allowing users to request, follow and pay for their ride without ever leaving Apple Maps. It’s getting there.
Decluttered Control Center
Right now the swipe-up-from-the-bottom Control Center is a menu overlay that’s overloaded with shortcut buttons. It’s good, but has gotten a bit too crowded.
Apple addresses the issue in iOS 10 with fewer and bigger buttons, while shifting the music and volume playback controls to a new right pane within Control Center.
Once again, the bottom row of shortcuts is made up of four normal-sized icons (flashlight, stopwatch, calculator and camera) giving the iOS 9.3 Night Shift toggle its own space above.
It may be more controversial among people who have to make one extra gesture to slide to the music playback controls, but there’s definitely more room to breathe in the menu.
‘Widgets’ in the lockscreen
Sliding to the right of the lockscreen menu reveals a new place for Apple’s ‘Today widgets.’ Before iOS 10, it was coupled with notifications in the top pulldown menu overlay.
This makes it easier (and hopefully more useful) to access the widgets and get to your boarding pass or check your appointments, for instance, right from the lockscreen.
And hopefully with more use from iOS 10 users, more app developers will invest time and energy into making new widgets. It will hopefully snowball when the update launches to the masses.
It’s still not as customisable as Android lockscreen widgets because they’re relegated to an Apple-controlled sandbox, but it’s a new start for Today.
Messages is full of emojis and special effects
Messages, whether they’re standard texts or iMessages, was already a pretty great combination or SMS and data-sent conversations. However, Apple is sending the app over the top with iOS 10.
Emojis are now three times bigger and the app suggests replacing words you’ve already typed out with emojis as soon as you hit the emoji button. It’s just tap, tap, tap and you’re instantly annoying your friends with messages chock full of emojis.
There are also special effects that can animate the way chat bubbles appear and throw disco lights, confetti and fireworks into the background. “Invisible ink” that requires the receiving user to swipe overtop of a blurred out text or photo could leave to a few surprises (or shocks).
It’s all a little silly, but fun. The fun doesn’t have to stop there. It’s also taking cues from Facebook Messenger and other rival services with an app drawer that lets developers customize the messaging experience.
Finally! A Home app
The backend HomeKit app has finally graduated into a full user experience thanks to the new Home app that is pre-loaded into the iOS 10 interface.
It ties together all sorts of Internet of Things accessories that live in your home, from video doorbells, to security cameras to Philips Hue lights.
That’s been a major problem for smart home accessories – you have to download separate apps from all the different manufacturers to operate each device.
Apple Home for iOS 10 is poised to bridge that gap and even sets up “scenes” that let you determine the mood of your home (bedtime, sunset, waking up, etc) across all the different devices.
If you’re like us, you probably have tons of voicemails that have gone unlistened to within the Phone visual voicemail tab. It’s just too time consuming to listen vs calling someone back right away.
That’s why we’re all about the new voicemail transcription idea in iOS 10. It lists what’s said in a voicemail in text form so you don’t have to dial into your voicemail unnecessarily.
We’ve seen this before from services like Google Voice, and if it’s anything like that, it’ll be a bit like a Mad Libs fill-in-the-blank sheet in which it sometimes gets one or two words very wrong in a funny way.
Whether or not iOS 10 transcriptions are more accurate, it’ll be useful enough to determine worthy voicemails from time-wasters, and that’s important for clearing out our voicemail tab.
Siri third-party apps
Siri just got a whole lot smarter with iOS 10 thanks to the simple fact that developers, for the first time, have the ability to order around Apple’s personal assistant, too.
Asking her to send a WhatsApp message means you’re not limited to sending iMessages by voice anymore. That’s huge if WhatsApps or WeChat ae your prefered IM clients.
Calling up fitness apps like MayMyRun can be done through Siri, and when you’re too tired to finish a race, you can just ask Siri to call you an Uber, Lyft or (in China) Didi car. Hey, that’s another “shortcut.”
The best part is that not only does Siri understand way more apps, it recognizes what you’re saying in a variety of ways. Gone are the days of issuing strict voice commands.
Lift to wake
Lift to wake was the first iOS 10 feature shown off at Apple’s WWDC 2016 conference, and it may be the sleeper hit of the new software update. It solves a small, but widespread problem.
Lighting up the phone lockscreen as soon as you pick up your device means you don’t have to press on the home button anymore to see your lockscreen notifications.
As a habit, everyone hits the home button to wake their phone, with the introduction of Touch ID, blows past all the notifications they were trying to read. Almost everyone I’ve talked to has this problem.
With iOS 10, lifting an iPhone is akin to flicking your wrist to wake the Apple Watch. Apple is retraining the way your light up for device, and is doing it without the press of a button.