26 Hidden Features You Probably Haven’t Found in iOS 10

Apple made sure that iOS 10 is a must-download upgrade, whether you have an iPhone or an iPad, a recent device, or one that’s a few years old. The release has its problems and quirks, of course. But overall, it’s a solid update that brings a variety of interesting features that make your iOS devices more capable.

Some of iOS 10’s new features are pretty obvious. You can’t miss iMessage’s new animations, or the fact that you can download apps to equip messages with new features. It’s also probably pretty obvious that Apple redesigned Maps and Photos, along with News and Music. And you can’t miss Siri’s new capabilities, or the operating system’s more capable notifications.

But there are plenty of iOS 10 features that you may not have run into yet. Features that will make the tasks you complete on your phone or iPad much simpler or more enjoyable. Ahead, you can check out the best hidden features of iOS 10. You might be surprised by how many you’ve missed. Going forward, you won’t want to go without them.

1. Get help from Siri when you’re using third-party apps

woman texting and drinking coffee

Get a little help from Siri | iStock.com/DragonImages

Siri can do a lot more in iOS 10, and that includes interfacing with the third-party apps that you know and love. Once you’ve downloaded iOS 10, you’ll be able to use voice commands to Siri to complete a variety of tasks in a whole lot of different apps. Just open the Settings app, tap Siri, and select App Support to see which apps have the functionality enabled and to set up the integration. 

2. Use Siri to find the photos you’re looking for

Woman on her smartphone in a cafe

Siri can help you find photos | iStock.com/anyaberkut

If you take tons of photos or videos on your iPhone, it’s probably a hassle to scroll back through all of your photos to find photos from a specific date. But if you know the approximate date that you’re looking for, just ask Siri to find the photos for you. You can tell the assistant, “Show me photos from January 1,” or, “Show me photos from last month.” If the photos you’re looking for were taken at a specific place, you can even ask Siri, “Show me photos from Montreal” to automatically view all of the photos that you took on vacation. Or, you can ask Siri to find photos of your cat, since the assistant can recognize a variety of objects in your photos.

3. Search your photos with keywords

Woman holding in the hand iPhone 6 S Rose Gold in cafe

Use key words to search your photos | iStock.com/Prykhodov 

Another easy way to find the exact image you’re looking for? Open the camera app, navigate to All Photos, and then take advantage of the search option in the upper right corner of the screen. From there, you can enter a keyword, like “kitten” or “plant,” to find all of the relevant images that you’ve taken. It may not be a foolproof method to find what you’re looking for (especially if you take tons of photos of your pets, for instance). But it’s a faster way to find what you need than scrolling through all of the photos you’ve ever taken.

4. Use multiple languages with the iOS keyboard

businessman with headphones travelling to work

The iOS keyboard isn’t just in one language | iStock.com/Halfpoint

With past versions of iOS, you could only use one language with iOS’s default keyboard — which is a bummer for multilingual users who write or message in two or more languages. Open the Settings app, navigate to General, and tap Dictionary to select multiple languages. Then, head back to the General screen, hit Keyboards, tap Keyboards again, and hit “Add New Keyboard” to add more languages. From there, you’ll be able to switch languages by tapping the globe icon in the keyboard.

5. Find the right emoji in Messages

young woman's hand typing a text message on her smartphone

It just became easier to find the perfect emoji | iStock.com/Ridofranz 

Many of us love emoji, but aren’t always sure which ones to add to a conversation. (After all, there’s a pretty overwhelming variety of options in iOS.) But once you upgrade your device to iOS 10, Messages can offer you a little bit of help with your emoji selection. When you type out a message, you’ll see suggestions for related emoji that you can add. And once you’re done typing a message, you can tap any word that’s in orange to see potential emoji replacements.

6. Search for images or GIFs in Messages

Woman holding in the hand iPhone6S Rose Gold in cafe

You can search for GIFs in Messages | iStock.com/Prykhodov

Before iOS 10, you had to download a GIF keyboard if you wanted to have a GIF or image search at your fingertips when you’re texting with friends. But no more with iOS 10! When you’re writing a text in Messages, just tap the App Store icon. Then swipe over to the images tab. You’ll be able to search for an image. Or, you can pick a category to find the perfect GIF. Adding some fun to your conversations just got a whole lot easier.

7. Turn on Read Receipts in iMessage

young black woman sitting on floor at home with smartphone

Let your friends know you’ve seen their messages with ease | iStock.com/m-imagephotography

When you’re talking with somebody on iMessage, there’s an easy way for you to let them know whether you’ve actually seen their message (which is a pretty convenient way to prevent some people from sending way too many follow-up texts). Just tap the “i” at the top of the thread, and then toggle on “Send Read Receipts” if you want to activate the feature.

8. Access the camera quickly from the lock screen

Surfing the net before the flight

The camera is easily accessible | iStock.com/gpointstudio

Let’s be honest: Something you probably do everyday, multiple times a day, is open the camera app and snap a few pictures. But with iOS 10, Apple changed the way that you access the camera from the lock screen. Confused? All you have to do is swipe left from the right side of the lock screen, and the camera app will launch You’ll be able to choose whether you want to take a slo-mo, a video, a photo, a square photo, or a panorama. And you can use all of the features that you’re used to in Camera, including toggling Live Photo on or off.

9. Use your camera as a magnifying glass

Female hands holding new iPhone 6s

There’s good news for those who struggle to see tiny fonts | iStock.com/RossHelen 

If your eyesight isn’t so great, or if you routinely find yourself dealing with annoyingly tiny type or details, iOS 10 has your back. Just open the Settings app, hit General, select Accessibility, and then tap Magnifier. Toggle the setting on to be able to use your device’s camera to magnify things. You’ll just need to triple-click the Home button to launch the Magnifier feature.

10. Automatically download albums in Apple Music

Woman holding mobile phone with empty black screen

Apple Music just became a lot more helpful | iStock.com/grinvalds

Downloading albums in Apple Music is a great way to make sure you have your favorite music with you all the time — even when you don’t have Wi-Fi or cell signal. But before iOS 10, you had to download every album manually. iOS 10 eliminates that tedious task. Just open the Settings app, navigate to Music, and then scroll down to the Downloads section. From there, you can toggle “Automatic Downloads” on to download anything that’s added to your Library.

11. Keep your music from eating up all your storage

Man holding iPhone in his hands

Your music doesn’t have to take over your storage anymore | iStock.com/Prykhodov

On the topic of music downloads, iOS 10 adds an easy way to keep your downloads from using up all the storage space on your device. While you’re in the Music section of the Settings app, scroll down to Downloads. Then, tap the “Optimize Storage” option. Toggle the setting on, and your device will automatically remove music that you haven’t played in a while when you’re getting low on space. Additionally, you can decide how much storage space you’re willing to dedicate to music, and iOS will take things from there.

12. Use 3D Touch to get more options in Control Center

female texting on an Apple iPhone while smiling

3D Touch gives you greater access to your phone | iStock.com/Reimphoto

iOS 10 brings a number of changes to Control Center, perhaps the most useful of which is the ability to access even more options from the four buttons across the bottom with 3D Touch. Press the flashlight icon, and you’ll get to choose whether you want a bright, medium, or low light. Or, press the timer icon and you’ll get quick access to common increments, including an hour, 20 minutes, five minutes, and one minute. Press the calculator icon, and you’ll have the option to copy the last result. Or press the camera icon, and you have a quick way to take a photo, record a slo-mo, record a video, or take a selfie.

13. Use Control Center to control music playback

Asian woman reading text messages on her smartphone

The Control Center got an upgrade with iOS 10 | iStock.com/DragonImages

Apple revamped the Control Center with iOS 10 — which you may have noticed the first time you went to control music playback and didn’t find the controls where you expected them. Just swipe up from the bottom of the screen, and then swipe from the right side of the screen toward the left to reveal the buttons to control what Music is doing. You can pause or play music, go back or forward a track and control the volume — all without even unlocking your phone.

14. Filter messages in Mail

hands of a young woman using mobile phone

You can now filter through your Mail messages | iStock.com/imtmphoto

If your email inbox is always out of control, iOS 10 might be able to help. You can filter the messages that you’re looking at (or frantically scrolling through) by tapping the filter icon in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. Then, you can tap the “Filter by” text in order to choose how you want to filter messages. You can look just at those that are unread, or take a look at the messages that you’ve flagged. Additionally, you can look at messages that have attachments, or only those sent from VIPs. It’s a handy way to find exactly the message you’re looking for — all without scrolling through your inbox or wading through search results.

15. Unsubscribe from mailing lists in Mail

brunette using a phone in a stylish house

Say goodbye to annoying mailing lists | iStock.com/nd3000

Another neat featurs that Mail gains thanks to iOS 10? A fast option to unsubscribe from mailing lists (which, let’s be honest, we all sort of wonder how we ended up on in the first place). Just open one of the messages in question, and at the top of your screen you’ll see the message, “This message is from a mailing list. Unsubscribe.” Then, you’ll see a box that explains that Mail will send a message from your email address to unsubscribe you from the mailing list. It’s not a perfect method and may not work every time — but in most cases, it does.

16. Use Clock to get your sleep schedule under control

An Apple iPhone 6s displaying the alarm clock application

Your alarm clock is now smarter than ever | iStock.com/Jlende

Surprisingly enough, iOS 10 brings an easy way for you to try to get to bed and wake up at the same time everyday. Just open Clock and hit the Bedtime tab at the bottom of the screen. From there, you can set the time that you want to go to bed and the time that you want to wake up. You’ll be able to choose how many hours of sleep you aim to get each night, and you’ll be able to see data on how much sleep you’re getting in the Health app.

17. Share notes with other people

Four friend hands texting on their smartphones

You can share your notes with your contacts | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

With iOS 10, you don’t have to search for an app that makes it easy to share a grocery list or collaborate on a note about plans for an upcoming party. Just open the note you want to share, and then tap the new Share button that you’ll find at the top of the screen. Then, you can select how you want to send the invitation to collaborate, enter the name of the contact you want to share with, and just hit send. Anybody you invite to the note will be able to work on it with you.

18. Avoid tolls or highways when getting directions in Maps

Female using app on a smartphone

Don’t want to pay for tolls? Enlist Maps for help with that | iStock.com/SolisImages 

When you’re getting driving directions in Apple’s Maps app, you now have more options to customize the route you take. Just enter your destination, and then scroll down through the different routes that Maps offers. Then, you’ll see a button for “Driving Options.” Tap it, and you can tell Maps to find you a route that avoids tolls or highways or both.

19. Use Look Up to find the information you need

Business lady texting and using laptop

Look Up can help you find just what you’re looking for | iStock.com/DragonImages

In iOS 10, you can highlight a word or a phrase, press, and then select Look Up to get a variety of results. You’ll see a definition from Dictionary. You’ll see results from Apple Music. Then, you’ll get suggested websites, a Wikipedia result, and related movies. Finally, you’ll also see related App Store results, and then you’ll also get a button that gives you an easy option to search the web.

20. Clear all of your notifications

Hand touching a digital tablet

Clearing your notifications just got a lot easier | iStock.com/aleepiskin

Some people are great at getting rid of notifications once they’ve read them. Others, not so much. If you fall into the latter camp, you’ll be happy to know that one of iOS 10’s most useful hidden features is the ability to quickly clear all of your notifications. Just swipe down from the top of the screen. Do you see the X at the top of the list? Just press that X, and it will offer you the option to clear all of your notifications. It couldn’t be any faster to get rid of all of them at once.

21. Close all of the tabs you have open

woman using smartphone and smilling

It’s easier than ever to manage your tabs | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

iOS 10 adds a Safari feature that we’ve probably all wished for at some point: the ability to have a limitless number of tabs open. But it also brings a quick way to close all of your active tabs (which comes in handy if you went down a Google rabbit hole, or figured out the answer to the question it took 20 websites to research). Just long press the tab view button, which is the lower right corner of your screen. Then, you’ll see the option to close all of your tabs or to open a new one.

22. On an iPad, use Split View to see two Safari tabs

Business man with digital tablet

Try using Split View on your iPad | iStock.com/LDProd 

If you have an iPad, you may find it useful to look at two Safari tabs at the same time. iOS 10 makes that possible with a feature called Split View. When you long press on a link, you can select “Open in Split View” as an option. Alternatively, you can long press the tab view button and choose “Open Split View” there. Or, you can drag a tab toward either side of the screen to activate the feature.

23. Prioritize app downloads and updates

Woman looking on social media applications on a brand new black Apple iPhone 5S

You can decide which apps you want to download or update first | iStock.com/Anatolii Babii

Whether you’re restoring an iPhone or just downloading a ton of app updates all at once, it can feel like it’s taking forever for the app you want to be ready to use. But you can tell your device to pause or to prioritize the process for a specific app if you have a device with 3D Touch. Just navigate to the icon of the app in question and press it. Then, you can hit “Prioritize Download,” “Pause Download,” or “Cancel Download.” The feature makes it easy to stay in control of what your device is doing, which is especially useful if your Wi-Fi is slow.

24. Delete Apple apps that you don’t want

A set of programs from famous brands of social networking

You can delete apps from Apple that aren’t useful to you | iStock.com/Prykhodov

With past versions of iOS, one of the biggest annoyances was the fact that you couldn’t delete Apple apps that you didn’t want or didn’t use. iOS 10 fixes that. Once you’ve updated to the new version of the operating system, you can delete any of Apple’s apps in the same way you’d delete any other app by pressing the app icon and hitting the little X that appears at the upper left corner of the icon.

25. Disable Raise to Wake

Apple iPhone 5S displaying iOS 8 homescreen

You no longer need to use Raise to Wake | iStock.com/Prykhodov

While iOS 10 brings a lot of features that you’ll want to take advantage of, it also brings a few that you may not be so excited about. A prime example is Raise to Wake, a feature that sounds great in theory, but can actually be more of an annoyance than it’s worth. You can easily disable it by opening the Settings app, scrolling to Display & Brightness, and toggling Raise to Wake off.

26. Stop having to push the Home button to unlock your device

Man hand with Apple Watch holding iPhone

You don’t need to hit the Home button to activate your phone | iStock.com/Prykhodov

Another iOS 10 feature you may want to roll back to the way it used to be? The Home button. iOS 10’s default settings require you to press your device’s Home button in order to activate it. If you find that annoying, you can get things to go back to the way they were by opening the Settings app, hitting General, and then choosing Accessibility. From there, you can select Home button. Then, at the bottom of the page that comes up, you can toggle on “Rest Finger to Open.” That setting will enable you to open your iPhone with Touch ID without having to press on the Home button.

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