With all the hubbub surrounding Apple in the past month (RIP headphone jack) it’s possible that you might be feeling uneasy about what they might do next. Fortunately, iOS 10 is a smooth dose of comfort after the fear of having to buy tiny, white wireless headphones in bulk. The update, which hits phones as far back as the iPhone 5 (a dinosaur!), shows what could be a new outlook from the Cupertino tech giant, emphasizing ease-of-use and a variety of options instead of mandatory apps with confusing interfaces. If you haven’t upgraded yet, we recommend doing so; no bad news here.
The biggest change is in how you’ll wake your iPhone. Taking a cue from the Apple Watch “flick to wake” feature, iOS 10 allows you to wake your phone by simply raising it off the table or your lap. It’ll take some getting used to (you might spend cumulative hours sitting there with your finger on the home button) but you no longer have to speed-read your notifications in two microseconds. After you “raise to wake” you unlock the phone by pressing the home button…if you want to. Lockscreen notifications are now “rich,” meaning they show you more than just a one-line summary of which app is doing what. 3D-Touch (essentially just a hard press on the notification bubble) lets you access a range of features. Hard-press a text to reply, or hard-press a calendar invite to accept or decline it. This works for some third-party apps as well, with more on the way; currently, Uber will show you where your driver is on a little map. Too many notifications? You no longer have to feel like Zorro swiping them all away. Just tap the little X and poof!
Really, “decluttering” seems to be the overall theme of iOS 10. Apple is notorious for forcing its first-party applications onto its users but, for the first time ever, they can be “deactivated.” Goodbye, iBooks! Control Center, which has been getting bogged down with buttons since iOS 9, has been simplified and divided into three pages: utility widgets (flashlight, stopwatch, etc.), Apple Home, and music playback settings. On the home screen, hard-pressing tiles enables you to “peek” at certain apps without opening them. Keeping track of a football game? “Peeking” the ESPN app shows you the score and shortcuts to watch or listen in. Our favorite? The FXNOW app can play a random Simpsons episode from its peek-menu.
It wouldn’t be a proper iOS update without some features being so smart it’ll freak you out. Siri is now omnipresent and all-knowing, even invading your text messages. Someone asks you, “Hey, do you have Roger’s e-mail?” and Siri will look through your address book for people named Roger and suggest them to you. See the right Roger? Tap it and the address is ready to send. The ubiquitous “Where are you?” text can be responded to, again with one tap, with a miniature map and a pin-drop, taking all difficulty out of finding your friends (while making it significantly more difficult to be dishonest…). Siri also gets to play with your photo albums, utilizing some impressive recognition algorithms to arrange your photos by the people, places, and things within.
There are sundry other changes, mostly streamlining, simplifying, and decluttering popular apps such as Music and Maps. Messages adds a lot of toys that let you have fun while chatting and add life to your conversations. The camera can now shoot RAW with third-party apps, so your #foodporn will be all the more gratuitous. And you can now read a transcript of your voicemail, for the rare times that you get one of those. Really, it’s rare that an OS update on any platform is so overwhelmingly…good. Apple seems to be listening to its consumers for once, easing its dominance over its users and even taking a harmless peek at what its competitors’ users are enjoying with their devices. We think it looks like a step in the right direction for the tech giant…but, at iFixYouri, we’re too busy buffing scratches out of glossy black iPhone 7s.