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Apple has replaced ‘slide to unlock’ with something really dumb

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:19PM EST
iOS 10 Swipe Unlock Press Home
Image: Chris Mills, BGR

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For years, Apple taught us to unlock iOS devices by swiping on the lock screen from left to right. The company even patented this technology, and gave Samsung and other Android device makers plenty of headaches over this method of unlocking a smartphone. But in iOS 10, Apple is killing the gesture, as it has other plans in mind for the lock screen and the phone unlocking mechanism. Slide-to-unlock is dead, long live Press-home-to-open!

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That’s the new gesture you have to learn: pressing the home button to open the iPhone or iPad. But as our Chris Mills discovered while testing iOS 10, you will encounter a rather silly behavior, at least in the first beta.

Ever since Touch ID was introduced, it was simple: place your finger on the home button, without pressing, and your phone will open. Simple, right? Well, not simple enough for Apple! In the new beta, if you’ve touched the lockscreen at all, using Touch ID will unlock the phone, but not open it. Instead, you first have to scan your finger, and then hit the home button to unlock your phone. It’s the opposite of what Apple has been training us to do for years, and it feels glitchy and bad.

So why is Apple killing the iconic iPhone slide-to-unlock? Because keeping it would only offer users a confusing experience in iOS 10.

See those dots below the “Press home to unlock” text in the image above? They suggest that additional actions are available on the lock screen by swiping left or right. Swiping from left to right brings up the widgets screen, but the gesture can’t do two things at once. That’s why you won’t be able to swipe-to-unlock. Swiping from right to left will bring up the camera app. In iOS 9, you need to swipe from the bottom right corner upwards to activate the camera app.

After so many years of swiping-to-unlock the iPhone, this change will probably annoy plenty of long-time users, at least at first. If, however, you’ve been relying on Touch ID to unlock iOS devices, the transition will be easier, provided you don’t have to press the button after your fingerprint is scanned to actually unlock it.

If you want to see these new iOS 10 lock screen features in action, watch Apple’s keynote starting at around the 50:00-minute mark.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.