Apple Releases iOS 10, Bringing a Range of Enhancements and New Features

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released iOS 10, proudly claiming this latest iteration of the software to be “more personal, more powerful and more playful”:

Everything you love is now even better with iOS 10, our biggest release yet. Express yourself in bold new ways in Messages. Find your route with beautifully redesigned Maps. Relive memories like never before in Photos. And use the power of Siri in more apps than ever.

The New Features That We Think You Will Like

Messages Now Lets you be More Creative and Personal

The Messages app has been significantly redesigned and gained features intended to bring it more in line with those available on other popular messaging apps. These include background animations, bubble effects, rich links, sketching, handwritten notes, hidden "invisible ink" messages, quick "Tapback" replies and a choice of emoji sizes.

The Messages App now also has its own dedicated App Store, accessible through the Messages app itself. Until now, this has been limited to apps from Apple—but it is likely that we will see a number of third-party apps released in the coming weeks as developers begin to explore and take advantage of the opportunities that the Messages App Store offers. Likely to be the most popular are themed “sticker” packs, but Apple has also hinted at Messages apps which allow you to make payments; collaborative dinner orders; and even Messages-based games.

One minor new feature in Messages, but one that’s likely to be very popular, is the ability to set read receipts on a per-person basis rather than globally.

Lock Screen Notifications, the Control Center, and Widgets

iOS 10 features new designs for the Lock Screen and Control Center, as well as a new location for the widgets previously found in the Today section of the Notification Center.

A new "Raise to Wake" feature activates the Lock screen of your device (iPhone 6s/6s Plus and later) when picked up, displaying all information on the screen without the need to put a finger on the Touch ID Home button. This can be disabled by going to Settings>Display & Brightness.

The default behavior of Touch ID from the Lock Screen has also changed. Previously, Touch ID used to simultaneously unlock a device and open it to the Home screen when a finger was placed on the Touch ID Home button. Under iOS 10 a physical press is now required as an extra step. However, if you prefer the previous behavior, a “Rest Finger to Open” option is available in Settings>General>Accessibility>Home Button.

A three-finger swipe right on the main Lock screen will take you to a new Widgets panel containing a number of the Widgets previously found on the Today tab of the Notification Center, as well as a few new built-in widgets including Mail; Maps; favorite contacts; Music; Notes; and Photos.

A three-finger swipe to the left on the Lock screen now brings up the camera.

You can now do much more with notifications on the Lock screen. Use the VoiceOver Actions Rotor to explore what each type of notification offers.

If any of this raises security or privacy concerns, you can limit what’s accessible on the Lock screen in Settings>Touch ID & Passcode.

The Control Center has a new design and new 3D Touch shortcuts for the Flashlight, Timer and Camera. The Control Center also now features three separate screens, with music controls now having a dedicated screen and another for controlling HomeKit devices.

Siri Support Expands to Some Third-Party Apps

Apple has introduced a SiriKit SDK in iOS 10, which allows developers to integrate Siri with certain types of third-party apps

Siri integration is currently only available for six different kinds of functions: ride booking, messaging, photo search, payments, VoIP calling, and workouts. We won’t know for certain which apps are taking advantage of this and how until app updates start to appear after today’s release of iOS 10, but WhatsApp, Skype, LinkedIn, WeChat, Pinterest, Vogue Runway, Pikazo, Square Cash, Monzo, Slack, Looklive, Lyft, Fandango and The Rollr are amongst the first to be known to be taking advantage of Siri integration.

Other Changes in iOS 10

  • More native apps now support 3D Touch.
  • A completely new Home app allows you to manage and operate all of the HomeKit-enabled devices in your home from a single app.
  • You can now search your photo library by the people or things in them, like a beach, a football game, or a puppy. Photos is currently able to recognize in excess of 4,000 different items across a wide variety of categories.
  • The native Mail app now offers a threaded conversations view which displays all of the messages together in a single page. You can choose the sort order of messages or turn threading off completely if you prefer the traditional view.
  • The Music app has been redesigned to make it easier to discover new content and listen to your favorite songs. When listening to a song, the app can now show its lyrics.
  • Apple Maps now offers proactive suggestions for routing and allows you to search for things along your route. You can also book a table through apps like OpenTable, and a ride with Uber without leaving Apple Maps.
  • The native News app has been redesigned to make it easier to find articles that are likely to interest you and also now offers push notifications.
  • A new ‘Universal Clipboard’ makes it easy to copy and paste content between iOS 10 and macOS Sierra devices which are linked to the same iCloud account.
  • You can now type in two languages at the same time without having to switch between onscreen keyboards.
  • Many native Apple apps have now been moved to the iOS App Store as standalone downloads, allowing them to be deleted from your Home screen, but to still be available for re-download if you decide that you want them back. It’s worth noting that this process doesn’t actually delete any files from your device, so you should perhaps best think of this as a way of removing app icons from your Home screen.

For a more complete list of what’s new in iOS 10, MacRumors offers a good overview.

And What About Accessibility?

For more information about accessibility-related changes in iOS 10, read our other posts elsewhere on the site:

What’s new and changed in iOS 10 Accessibility for blind, low vision and deaf-blind users
A list of new accessibility-related bugs that we believe to have been introduced in iOS 10
A list of longstanding accessibility-related bugs that we believe to have been fixed in iOS 10

In addition, Thomas Domville has recorded a podcast in which he explores many of the changes and new features in iOS 10.

How to Update to iOS 10

iOS 10 is compatible with most iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models capable of running iOS 9, with exceptions including the iPhone 4s, iPad 2 and 3, original iPad mini, and fifth-generation iPod touch.

iOS 10 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) or via iTunes on a Mac or PC.

Before updating, we strongly recommend making a full and complete backup of your device (either in iTunes or iCloud, depending on personal preference). This will ensure that, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong during the update process, you will have a current backup of your phone on hand in case a device restore becomes necessary. Also, if using OTA update, we recommend plugging your device into a power source for the duration of the download/installation process - so as to prevent the unlikely event of your battery going dead during the update.

More information on how to update the software on your iOS device is available on this Apple Support page.

As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on this update.

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Submitted by JeffB on Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hi can you hide that digital touch thing? I can't find anything to let me do that and I know I'm never going to use that.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, September 13, 2016

There are some options regarding the home button under Accessibility. Perhaps what you are looking for might be under that?

Submitted by JeffB on Tuesday, September 13, 2016

This is in messaging the ability to draw. Saddly I don't think you can hide this it be nice if you could as it it is kind of just in the way.

Submitted by Maya Pureseva on Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hi everyone, I've recently noticed that one can have an unlimitted amount of apps per folder, and have just arranged my games folder and there are 21 apps in it now. I remember before one couldn't drop more than 12 apps into a folder. Has it changed in IOS 9 or it's also new for IOS 10? If it was around before, I apologize.
Thank you.

Submitted by Orko on Thursday, September 15, 2016

I'm still waiting to hear how iOS 10 performs on an iPhone 5s. I have been considering a possible upgrade to an iPhone SE, especially with the loss of the earphone jack in the 7 series, but only if iOS 10 runs sluggishly on my 5s. I'd rather not have to spend the money on the SE if I don't have to.

Submitted by Fatima.Hamoud10 on Thursday, September 15, 2016

In reply to by Orko

iOS 10 works fine for me on my iPhone 5S. I am not having any problems with the update.

Submitted by JeffB on Thursday, September 15, 2016

@Maya Pureseva I've been able to have 40 some now 50 apps in my games folder on my 6S since like March or April I don't think this is new in 10.

Submitted by Orko on Thursday, September 15, 2016

That's great that it runs OK on a 5s, but does it seem at all sluggish, like the phone is under powered?