The Best New Features in iOS 10 (and How to Use Them)

iOS 10 is one of the biggest upgrades Apple has made to their mobile operating system. If you’re overwhelmed by all the new and upgraded features in iOS 10 you’re certainly not alone–but have no fear, we’ve been playing with it for months, and we’re happy to highlight all the really great features you should be using right now.
Let’s start with the first thing you’ll bump into after updating: the new lock screen.

When Apple introduced the iPhone and its clever swipe-to-unlock mechanism in 2007, the world was pretty impressed. Now, nearly ten years later, they’re so over swiping to unlock. Now, you use the Home button to unlock your phone (though if you preferred the way Touch ID worked in iOS 9, we’ve got you covered).

You can still swipe left and right on the lock screen, but instead of unlocking, you’ll find a couple new features. In iOS 9, you could access your camera by swiping up from the lower right corner of the screen (a maneuver that was a wee bit frustrating since it was easy to miss and open the Control Center instead). Now, you swipe left with one big unmistakable motion to open up the camera. It took us a day or so to get used to this tiny-on-paper but huge-in-real-life improvement.

That’s nothing compared to the biggest lock screen change, though: widgets. Now, if you swipe right in that old familiar unlock-the-phone motion, you’ll bring up a whole panel of app widgets, similar to the ones in iOS 9’s notification panel. At a glance, you can see the current weather, your to-do list, or any number of items. Never paid much attention to the widgets? Now would be the time to start. App widgets are more useful than ever in iOS 10, and we’ve got a handy tutorial to help you customize which widgets appear on your lock screen.

iMessage: Now With Tapbacks, Stickers, Invisible Ink, and More
Of any single app, iMessage got the biggest overhaul. What used to be a relatively spartan application is now a veritable Swiss Army knife of superficial and practical additions. What was once an enhanced version of text messaging is now a full out communication app loaded with bells and whistles. In short: move over Snapchat, here comes iMessage.

Health and Sleep Tracking: Better Identification and Logging Your ZZZs
Although the Health app isn’t new by any means, Apple’s clearly getting serious about people using it. The Health app not only sports a much simpler and easy-to-navigate interface, but it includes better focus on primary health areas: activity, mindfulness, nutrition, and sleep, as well as new categories to track like reproductive health. What used to be a very dense and not particularly user-friendly part of the iOS experience is now very easy to navigate and understand.

Camera and Photos: Minor Camera Tweaks, Major Photos Overhaul
The changes to the Camera app are subtle, but welcome. Like always, it has some general improvements (it loads faster, changing functions within the app seems much smoother, etc.) but there’s also some very concrete tweaks worth noting. First, that weird quirk in iOS 9 where opening the camera app would pause your music is gone (though the music will still pause during video recording).

In addition, Apple moved the camera switch button (aka the selfie button) from the top of the camera interface to right down next to the camera button. That’s a tiny but very useful interface improvement–it was awkward and impractical to try and switch from the front-facing to back-facing camera with one hand before.

Control Center: Freshly Rearranged With New Friends
The Control Center was one of iOS’ biggest improvements in recent years, and iOS 10 has made it even better. In iOS 9, the music controls were tucked right in the first Control Center panel, between the two tiers of shortcut buttons. Now, the music controls are on their own panel just to the right of the main panel. If you loved everything in one place, you’ll dislike this change. If you longed for bigger space for your music controls, it’s a pretty sweet upgrade.

Maps: Apple’s Most Improved Player
Apple’s stock Maps app has been bad for a long time–truly, remarkably, awful. Don’t take our word for it though. Back in 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook himself encouraged people to download Google Maps because Apple Maps was so bad.

Fortunately, the iOS 10 version of Maps distances itself from the blunders of previous releases in a wonderful way. Not only is the new version of Maps simply more polished overall–it’s brighter and cleaner looking, you can zoom without fussing with using multitouch pinch, and the menus are easier to access and more numerous–but it includes a host of big improvements that make it an app you’ll actually want to use.

Remove Apple’s Built-In Apps: So Long Tips ‘n Friends
If you read through the last section and you couldn’t care less about stickers, sparkles, invisible ink, or apps in your iMessage, then you deserve the joy this next feature brings. We all deserve the joy this next feature brings. You can finally remove Apple’s built-in applications from your home screen.


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