That day is here. Apple’s latest software for your iPhone and iPad, iOS 10, is now available to download by the general public.
How to update
There are two different ways to update your iOS device. First, you can do it over-the-air directly on your iPhone or iPad. Head to Settings, General, Software Update and then follow the instructions. You can also do it directly from iTunes on a Mac or PC.
Just to note, make sure to backup your iOS device before upgrading. That can be done through iCloud, or more preferably through iTunes.
The update is compatible with the following iOS devices:
- iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch, iPad Pro 9.7-inch, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2
- iPod touch 6th generation
Here are some of the top new features.
Welcome to a new Home screen
The home screen has received a number of updates.
Exclusive to the newer iPhone models including the iPhone 7/7 Plus, iPhone 6s/6, and iPhone SE, the Raise to Wake feature makes it easy to quickly view the notifications on your lock screen. The gesture is much like the Apple Watch feature that turns on the screen with a raise of the wrist.
It also solves an issue with those newer iPhone models. The second-generation Touch ID sensor on those handsets was so fast to recognize a fingerprint that many times users weren’t able to view their notifications before the device unlocked.
Speaking of unlocking, one of the most iconic iPhone gestures – Swipe to Unlock – is officially being retired with the latest version of iOS. Taking its place is Press Home to Open. That’s a significant change, especially for anyone without a Touch ID-enabled device.
If your device has Touch ID, just place your finger on the Home button to authenticate. You’ll need to press one more time head to the homescreen. It may throw some users for a loop, but the features added to the lock screen easily make up for that hassle.
One of the features I’ve really enjoyed so far are the rich notifications on the lock screen. For example, if you receive a Message, just 3D Touch it to bring up the entire thread. You can quickly and easily respond without needing to fully unlock the device. Users can also view photos and videos.
A general notification bubble has also been redesigned and now stands out more on the lock screen.
Quick access to your Camera has also changed. Instead of a swipe up, you’ll need to swipe to the left.
A right swipe will bring up the a new widget screen. It shows all of the widgets housed in your Notification Center.
Swiping down from the lock screen will show you any missed notifications. With a 3D Touch, you can finally clear all notifications with one button push.
That deserves one huge “finally” as I can’t tell you how much time I previously wasted clearing notifications from each and every app individually.
From the lock screen, you can swipe up to view Control Center. There are three different and distinct tiles to swipe through – the main screen you’re used to, a Now Playing tile, and a window dedicated to the Home app and your smart home accessories.
Anyone with a 3D Touch-enabled iPhone can touch the Flashlight, Timer, Calculator, and Camera icon for some additional features. My favorite is the ability to select a low, medium, or high intensity beam from the flashlight.
I’m still disappointed Apple doesn’t allow users a way to further customize what appears on the Control Center, but the additional features are welcomed.
Stickers and more.
One of the most used parts of iOS – Messages – is getting a great makeover with a huge number of new features. My colleague Sandy Stachowiak has the complete lowdown here.
Say hello to Siri, once again
Apple’s capable virtual assistant Siri is also learning a bag of new tricks – thanks to developers.
With iOS 10, the Siri API has been opened up to certain types of third-party apps. It will work with six different types of apps including ride booking (like Uber), photo search, messaging, starting a workout, VoIP calling, and sending/receiving cash.
For example, users will be able to request an Uber, send money with Square Cash, and more with a simple voice command.
Home sweet Home
The built-in Home app may finally take HomeKit devices into the mainstream.
After opening up the new Home app, you’ll be taken directly to the home screen that shows your favorite accessories and scenes. Selecting the “+” sign on the top right corner will bring up options to add a new HomeKit accessory or scene.
Selecting the scenes will toggle each on and off. When you select an accessory, a quick tap will turn it on or off. A longer hold, or 3D Touch on newer iPhones will bring up a fullscreen controller.
With compatible lights, there’s a full brightness slider. Choosing the Color button will bring up a number of different selections. Select the Edit button to hone the presets to your liking.
The next major part of the app can be found under the Rooms tab. Here, you can further organize the accessories by creating a number of rooms. Each Room screen will show any accessories and scenes.
Using Automation, users can customize different accessories to perform actions based on certain criteria like your current location or the time of day. For example, you can create an automation that will turn certain lights on at sunset and off at sunrise.
The Home app is also available on an iPad. But more importantly, the tablet has taken on an interesting new role.
Previously, users needed an Apple TV to act as a hub and operate accessories when you were away from a home Wi-Fi network. Now, as long as an iPad is using iOS 10, connected to Wi-Fi, and plugged in, it will take care of the duties. That’s an important addition, and should allow more users to take advantage of HomeKit.
Not surprisingly, the Home app is also available on the Apple Watch with watchOS 3.0. The app on the wearable device is mainly relegated to acting as a remote control for your different smart home devices or different scenes. Users can turn their lights or other devices on and off along with controlling brightness.
You’ll also be able to select from a number of preset colors for Hue bulbs. Anything more complicated will require using Siri.
You can search for specific people or things in a photo.
Apple has also made the Photos app even better with a big dose of machine learning. The biggest new feature is the Memories tab. It will automatically show you some cherished events and help you create a movie with them in just a few clicks.
Along with facial recognition to help categorize photos, you’ll be able to search for people or things in the photo. Want to see all the pictures you’ve ever taken on a merry-go-round? Now you can. There are thousands of other objects you can search for like a football game, dog, dolphin, and many, many more – 4,432 to be exact.
Apple does 11 billion computation per photo to detect what is in each. And unlike other services, all of the work is done on your phone so there’s no need to worry about privacy.
Music, Maps, and News
Apple Music's "For You" feature is getting even better.
And Apple hasn’t forgotten about other parts of iOS like Apple Music, Maps, and News.
Maps now includes traffic incidents on your route and intelligent suggestions. Apple is also opening up Maps for use to developers.
News has also gotten a fresh coat of paint with an improved design. It also automatically creates topics based on what you’ve previously read. Two other additions include subscriptions and breaking news notifications on your lock screen.
In Apple Music, you’ll also notice a new design and additional features including an update “For You” section. During last week’s keynote, Apple announced that the subscription music service now has more than 17 million subscribers.