Apple’s new iOS 10 software is anything but an Earth-shattering update. Instead, it’s a release that’s packed full of refinements and new features that enhance Apple’s existing apps. That said, there are a few changes that impact fundamental iPhone and iPad functionality, and some of those changes have been received better than others by iPhone users with access to the public and private iOS 10 betas. For example, everyone seems to love the new lock screen in Apple’s latest iOS software, but the new gesture used to actually unlock the phone had been widely criticized.
As it often does, Apple listened to users and made a change earlier this month in iOS 10 beta 2 to address the “issue.” But after switching back and forth, I actually think that Apple got it right the first time.
In the first iOS 10 beta, Apple replaced its tried and true “slide to unlock” gesture with a new directive to press the home button to unlock. Why? With the arrival of Touch ID, Apple has allowed users to unlock their iPhones and iPads simply by touching the home button. A quick fingerprint scan later, and the phone was unlocked and ready to go. But in iOS 10, Apple changed it so that the user actually has to press the home button in order to unlock the phone.
It seems like a minor issue, but users were angry. In fact, the change has even been called “iOS 10’s most annoying feature.”
Initially, I agreed that the change was annoying. It made sense, of course, since Apple wanted people to utilize the new enhanced features on the lock screen. With touch-to-unlock enabled, the iPhone typically unlocks as a user picks up the phone before the lock screen is even visible, since his or her thumb is on the home button. Now, the iPhone wakes automatically when you pick it up so you can see the lock screen, and then a press on the home button unlocks it.
In iOS 10 beta 2, Apple added an option in the Accessibility menu for “Rest Finger to Open.” When enabled, it restores the old behavior so that simply touching the home button will unlock the phone. I was relieved when the option came back but after just a couple of hours, I disabled it and went back to requiring a button press to unlock the phone.
The new lock screen in iOS 10 is awesome. Notifications are far more interactive. You can message people right on your home screen without even leaving the lock screen, for example. And third-party apps will have access to these enhanced features as well. With “Rest Finger to Open” enabled, that entire portion of the iOS 10 experience is passed by.
Apple made the right choice by listening to users and offering both options. But once third-party apps start taking advantage of all the new notification features that will be made available right on the lock screen, disabling “Press home to unlock” will mean missing out on some terrific new functionality.