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The 5 best new features coming to your iPhone in iOS 10.2

Updated Nov 15th, 2016 7:33AM EST
iOS 10.2 Features
Image: Apple

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It seems like just yesterday that Apple released its hotly anticipated iOS 10.1 update, bringing Portrait Mode to the iPhone 7 Plus and pushing smartphone photography to the next level in the process. Believe it or not though, the company is getting ready to release yet another big iOS update that could come as soon as this week. In fact, it might even be released later today. We’ve covered bits and pieces of iOS 10.2 over the past couple of weeks as Apple has released new betas, but now that the software seems to be feature-complete, let’s take a look at all of the best new things set to hit your iPhone or iPad as soon as Apple’s iOS 10.2 update is released to the public.

DON’T MISS: Hey Apple, why are you trolling us?

New emoji

We’re obviously going to kick off this list with the most talked-about addition in iOS 10.2: new emoji. Apple’s upcoming new iOS update ships with Unicode 9.0 support, which adds dozens of new emoji. In fact, there are 72 new emoji headed your way in iOS 10.2, and that doesn’t even include all of the old emoji that have been redesigned.

Here’s a list of some of the more popular new emoji in iOS 10.2:

Click any of the links above to get more details on each emoji courtesy of Emojipedia, and you can check out this blog post for details on every single new emoji in iOS 10.2 and all of the ones that have been redesigned.

TV app

Apple unveiled a brand new streaming video aggregation service during its big Mac press conference last month, and it will be released to the public alongside iOS 10.2. Think of it as a next-generation TV guide that pulls in content listings from all your favorite movie and TV show streaming sites — well, except for Netflix, and we explained why last month — and makes recommendations based on popularity and your viewing history. Selecting a movie or TV show in the app will automatically bounce users out to the appropriate app, where they can begin streaming the content on demand.

New screen effect in Messages

We have talked to a whole lot of people who are already bored with third-party sticker support in iOS 10’s Messages app, but for some reason people still can’t get enough of Apple’s integrated message effects. You know, effects like “slam” and “invisible ink.” Apart from bubble effects like the two aforementioned ones, Messages also supports screen effects that take up the whole iPhone or iPad screen, and iOS 10.2 includes an awesome new one called “celebration” that fills your recipient’s display with sparklers accompanied by haptic feedback.

To use the new celebration effect, type your message, select a photo or insert a sticker in the Messages app and then 3D Touch (or long-tap on older devices) the send button. When the effects screen pops open, tab the “Screen” tab at the top of the display. The new celebration effect is the last one on the list.

Emergency SOS

While the three new additions above are all about fun and entertainment, this one is a different animal entirely. Apple’s new Emergency SOS feature is a simple shortcut that will dial 911 (or whatever the emergency services number is in your country) and alert any designated emergency contacts if you tap the power button on your iPhone or iPad five times in a row. This will initiate a three-second countdown so you can cancel the SOS if you triggered it by mistake, otherwise the authorities will be alerted.

The new feature will be available in 14 countries to begin: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, the UK and the US. It can be enabled or disabled by opening the Settings app and tapping on General.

New wallpapers

Last but not least, there are three new wallpapers available in iOS 10.2 for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Each one shows a single water droplet at the center of a black image, and available colors include blue, pink and yellow. Don’t worry, if you have an older iPhone you can still get the new wallpapers by downloading them from this post.

BONUS: This isn’t exactly a “new feature” so we’re not counting it in the list above, but we have good news. Remember how Apple has been trolling us by encouraging people to ditch wired headphones and switch to Bluetooth headphones despite the fact that its new iPhones are plagued with Bluetooth audio issues? Well guess what: iOS 10.2 fixes the awful audio clipping bug that we discussed in an earlier post, which had been impacting the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

UPDATE: Well, it looks like we spoke too soon — the audio clipping bug appears to still be present in iOS 10.2 as of beta 2.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.