The iPhone 7 is finally here, which means that the months of speculation about the new iPhone’s parts, models, and price are over at last. Perhaps more importantly for the millions of people who already own an iPhone or an iPad, that also means that the waiting is over for Apple’s iOS update to the much-awaited iOS 10. Unlike the iPhone 7, we’ve known exactly what iOS 10 would bring for months, and we’ve been excited about this iOS update ever since Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference over the summer.
During the keynote at WWDC, Tim Cook and other company executives took the wraps off iOS 10 as well as macOS Sierra. And as it turns out, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system (and to want to download this iOS update right away). Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, even told the audience at the keynote that iOS 10 is “the biggest iOS release ever” for users. And at the launch event for the new iPhone 7, Cook echoed that sentiment, adding that this iOS update is “jam-packed with new features” that change the way you interact with your iPhone.
Siri may have been the true star of the show at the WWDC keynote, since Apple is finally opening up everyone’s favorite digital assistant to developers. But iPhone and iPad owners will be excited to learn about all of the other new iOS 10 features they’ll gain access to when they download iOS 10. (Just make sure that you know how to back up your iPhone first before you download the update.) From redesigned apps to revamped notifications, better navigation to cleaner UIs, more interactive notifications to new privacy features, here are all the reasons to get excited about iOS 10 and to download this iOS update right away.
Messages is probably the app you use the most on your iPhone (unless you’ve switched to a third-party messaging app). So iOS 10 is going to make it a lot more like the other messaging apps in the App Store. The new iOS release adds rich links that enable you to see content and play media without leaving your conversation. You can also use bubble effects including “invisible ink” that hides a message until the recipient swipes over it. You’ll see full-screen animations like balloons, confetti, and fireworks, get automatic suggestions to replace written words with emoji, and see a new Tapback feature to respond to messages with a single tap. Additionally, iOS 10 “brings the power of the App Store” to Messages. Developers will be able to create new ways for you to communicate. So whether you want to add stickers to your conversations, personalize GIFs or edit photos, send payments, or schedule dinner, you’ll be able to do all of those things within Messages.
2. Redesigned Maps app
Apple has been steadily improving Maps with each iOS release, and iOS 10 is no exception. When you download this year’s iOS update, you’ll see that Maps has been redesigned to make it simpler to use. And, even better, developers can now create extensions to build more features right into Maps. An extension from OpenTable makes it easy to book a reservation, and an extension from Uber makes it easy to book a ride — both tasks that you can complete without even leaving the Maps app. With iOS 10, Maps is also getting smarter and more proactive, and will learn your routine or check the appointments on your calendar to give you directions to the location you’re most likely to want to go next. Once you’ve selected a route, you’ll be able to search along that route for a restaurant, a coffee shop, or a gas station. The app can even estimate how that pit stop will alter the length of your trip.
3. Revamped Photos app
Photos also get a major redesign in iOS 10. The most exciting new feature you’ll see after you install the iOS update is Memories, a tab that enables you to rediscover trips and occasions that you’ve documented in your photo library. Memories will find “favorite and forgotten” events, trips, and people and present them in a collection. Each individual “Memory” also includes a Memory Movie complete with theme music, titles, and transitions (which you can adjust for mood and length). The feature relies on computer vision and facial, object, and scene recognition to group the people, places, and things in your images into albums. All of this happens on your device, not on Apple’s servers, which protects your privacy.
4. Overhauled Apple Music and News apps
Both Apple Music and News are getting big redesigns with iOS 10. The iOS update brings a revamped design for Apple Music, which makes the app easier to use, simpler to navigate, and more conducive to discovering new music. It features redesigned tabs (Library, For You, Browse, and Radio), and a new Search tab to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. The News app also features a new For You section. It divides content into distinct sections for easier browsing, and supports both breaking news notifications and paid subscriptions. That makes it easy to read articles from your favorite magazines or newspapers right from your iOS device.
5. New Home app for HomeKit
If you own HomeKit-compatible smart home devices, you’ve probably wondered why Apple doesn’t have a Home app for you to control all your devices. With iOS 10, you finally get that Home app to set up, manage, and control your accessories. You can control each one individually, or group them into “scenes” that work together (and can be controlled with a single command, using Siri if you prefer). If you also have an Apple TV, you’ll be able to manage your smart home devices remotely, and they’ll be able to respond to the time of day, your location, or an action you take. If you’re a smart home enthusiast, that makes this iOS update worth the download all on its own.
6. Better navigation and notifications
Everyone loves a fast Touch ID sensor. But plenty of iPhone users have noticed that the fingerprint sensor on recent iPhones is so fast that it bypasses the lock screen altogether. A new iOS 10 feature called Raise to Wake will fix that problem. With the new iOS update installed, you’ll be able to just lift up your iPhone to see your notifications. Speaking of notifications and the Lock screen, both are dramatically redesigned in iOS 10. And that goes beyond a drastic change in looks.
New rich notifications enable fast and easy interaction with apps. Notifications better leverage 3D Touch, which enables you to interact with each app that’s sent you a notification without leaving the Lock screen. Further integrating 3D Touch, iOS 10 also adds app widgets that enable you to interact with an app without launching it. Additionally, a redesigned Control Center enables you to swipe over for music controls. You’ll be able to slide from the right on the Lock screen to access the camera, or slide from the left to access app widgets.
7. New Siri capabilities
The biggest Siri news with iOS 10 is that Apple is opening Siri up to developers. That means that by giving voice commands to Siri, you’ll be able to interact directly with apps like Slack, WhatsApp, WeChat, Uber, Runtastic, Runkeeper, and Skype. Developers can use SiriKit to enable the personal assistant to send messages, make calls, search for photos, book a ride, make payments, or start workouts in their apps.
Siri is also gaining more contextual awareness thanks to this year’s iOS update. “Siri intelligence” is integrated into the QuickType keyboard, where you’ll see contextual predictions and relevant information based on your location, your calendar availability, and your contacts. And speaking of the keyboard, a handy feature for bilingual or multilingual users is that predictive typing will support multiple languages without switching keyboards.
8. Apple TV remote app
Before even getting into the iOS 10 section of the keynote at WWDC, Apple announced an iOS app that every Apple TV owner will be excited to download. Eddy Cue told the audience, “A lot of our customers have told us they would love an app on their iPhone with the same capabilities as the Siri remote.” So Apple is releasing a new Apple TV remote app. The app features playback controls, touch navigation, voice control with Siri, the ability to enter text on your iPhone’s keyboard, and the capability to use the accelerometer and gyroscope to play games. Another great tie between iOS and tvOS? When you download an app on your iPhone, it will automatically show up on your Apple TV.
9. New Phone features (and updates for other built-in apps)
The integrated Phone app may not be the most obvious candidate for updates with iOS 10. But the iOS update adds some great features there, as well. iPhone is getting integration with third-party VoIP calls, a new voicemail transcription feature, and a caller ID extension that’ll make it easier to identify potential spam callers. Other built-in apps getting some great updates in iOS 10 include Safari, which gains a split view mode on iPad, and Notes, which adds collaboration features. Additionally, you’ll be able to use Apple Pay to make purchases on participating websites. And you can use the new “Bedtime Alarm” feature in the Clock app to set a regular sleep schedule and get reminders about when you should be turning out the lights. A final tidbit? Owners of multiple Apple devices will love the new Universal Clipboard feature coming in iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. That feature will enable you to copy text, hyperlinks, photos, or videos on one device and paste them on another.
10. New security and privacy features
Apple is making it clear that security and privacy are important parts of its hardware and software. Not only do iMessage, FaceTime, and HomeKit use end-to-end encryption, but iOS 10 places an emphasis on using on-device intelligence for tasks that other companies would offload to the cloud. The more advanced operating system you’ll install with this iOS update will use on-device intelligence to identify the people, scenes, and things in Photos. On-device computation also powers the suggestions you’ll see on the QuickType keyboard. Additionally, services including Siri, Maps, and News send data to Apple’s servers, but don’t use that data to build user profiles. Apple is also introducing a technology called Differential Privacy to discover usage patterns of a large number of users without compromising individuals’ privacy. In iOS 10, the approach will help improve QuickType and emoji suggestions, Spotlight deep link suggestions, and Lookup Hints in Notes.
iOS 10 release date
iOS 10 is available as a free update for iPhone 5 and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, fourth-generation iPad, iPad mini 2 and later, and the sixth-generation iPod touch. If you need a refresher on how to update an iPhone, remember that you can update either via iTunes or over the air. In either case, you should back up your device before installing the iOS update.