Apple has two brand new iPhones set to launch this Friday, and after reading all the early reviews, there’s precious little question that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are the best iPhones Apple has ever made. But you don’t need to shell out between $650 and $970 to experience “new,” because Apple is releasing a fresh new version of the iOS operating system on Tuesday.
That’s right, the final version of iOS 10 will finally make its way onto iPhones and iPads around the world beginning today, after a lengthy beta period that got users more and more excited with each new release. Not everyone was willing to jump on the beta train though, so in this post we’ll give you a heads up and show you the 10 biggest changes coming to your iPhone or iPad today with iOS 10.
DON’T MISS: iPhone 7 review roundup: Boring? Exciting? It’s time to find out
New lock screen
We’ll start at the beginning, right when you lift up your freshly updated iPhone for the first time.
Apple completely redesigned the lock screen experience in iOS 10. The phone will automatically wake itself right when you lift it up, and you’ll see all of your notifications on the main screen. A swipe to the right opens the redesigned widget panel, and a swipe to the left opens the camera.
New way to unlock your iPhone
You’ll notice that swipes no longer unlock the phone, so how does it work? Instead of swiping or, in the case of devices with Touch ID, simply touching the home button, iOS 10 requires you to press the home button to unlock your phone. Don’t worry though — if you want nothing to do with the new lock screen and you liked the old unlock behavior better you can go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Home Button and restore the old touch-to-unlock feature.
Notifications are much more feature-rich in iOS 10. For example, supported apps let you 3D Touch a notification to interact with it without the need to actually open the app. For example, press firmly on a notification from Messages and you’ll be able to reply right then and there, without having to open the Messages app.
Hide stock apps
Hate Stocks? Sick of seeing that Podcasts app on your screen when you don’t even listen to podcasts? You can now hide Apple’s pre-installed apps the same way you uninstall third-party apps. Note that you’re just hiding them, though. The apps will stay on the phone, but before you get angry it’s worth noting that they don’t take up much storage space at all.
Apple’s Messages app probably got one of the biggest updates in all of iOS 10. There are tons of new features like link previews, handwriting support and a new Digital Touch feature that comes over from the Apple Watch. There’s also a brand new Messages App Store that gives you access to free and paid iMessage extensions. Examples include sticker packs, apps that integrate with full third-party apps, and even an app that lets you send someone money right from within Messages.
To check out the new Messages App Store, open any chat and tap the button to the left of the text input field. Then tap the App Store icon.
Siri gets a massive overhaul in iOS 10, complete with tons of new features. Among them, the best and widest reaching is probably third-party app integration. As developers update their apps with Siri integration, you’ll be able to do things like order an Uber car, send messages in third-party apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, or even start tracking your workouts all using voice commands with Siri.
Do you even use Control Center on your iPhones? Well, you will now. Control Center has been redesigned in iOS 10 to include new features as well as 3D Touch support. For example, you can press firmly on the flashlight icon to turn the rear LED on with low, medium or high brightness.
And don’t worry, the media controls missing in the image above are still there — just swipe to the left for Control Center’s new second panel.
New Photos app
Photos has been revamped in iOS 10 to include intelligent new features like facial recognition, object recognition, automatic album generation based on time and location and more. A cool new “Memories” feature automatically creates highlight reels, similar to what HTC does on its phones.
Quick Type enhancements
Apple’s third-party keyboard support is still shaky at best in iOS, but its main keyboard saw big improvements in iOS 10. Integrated sharing features have been improved, there’s a new emoji recommendations feature, and suggestions have been dramatically improved thanks to Siri’s new context feature. For example, if someone asks “Where are you?” Quick Type will pop up a shortcut to share your location.
Apple Music sucks less
Apple Music is a great service that has been trapped beneath a pretty terrible Music app. With iOS 10, Apple’s Music app is far less terrible. The app has been redesigned from top to bottom so that things are arranged much more logically and the most popular features are more accessible. Social features have been hidden (on their way to being killed off completely) and the app makes it much easier to discover new music that you might actually enjoy.