Like any self-respecting Apple fan, I eagerly awaited the release of iOS 10, almost exactly one month ago. Now that I’ve been living with it for a while, I thought I’d summarize my favourite things about it – plus one glaring issue I’m genuinely surprised about and hope gets fixed!
There are many subtle (and some more bold) improvements. My favourite: Lift to Wake. The moment I saw Craig Federighi do this one thing during the WWDC demo, I was ready to mark my calendar for this update!
It’s almost like this is a solution to a self-created problem of Apple’s when they added Touch ID. Until now, if you had that enabled, there was no way to wake up your iPhone without also automatically blowing past all the notifications that might be on your lock screen. I want to see those, and not have to swipe again for them. A little research turned up an inelegant solution, but the only effective one: use your fingertip or nail to wake your iPhone, which prevents Touch ID from kicking in. But now with Lift to Wake, the problem is solved and it’s one less physical interaction required. Brilliant.
Lift to Wake combined with the multi-page nature of the lock screen also makes the camera easier then ever to get to: just lift, then swipe left. Boom! Camera is ready to go.
Something else where I felt Apple almost knew what I was thinking, is the new colour highlighting of active Control Center items. Control Centre is the area that appears with a swipe up from the bottom of your screen – with brightness and volume controls (now separated into two screens). But there’s also icons for Airplane Mode, wi-fi on/off, and – the one I use most – locking the screen to vertical (for those sofa or bedtime reads). But the icons were grey when deselected, and white when “on” – which, in a row of grey/white icons, simply was not always that obvious a cue.
So they added colour when any icon is enabled. Now, “lock vertical” turns a nice bright red! Absolutely clear if it’s on or off.
The Music app, meanwhile, is better in many ways but also is the source of the one utter “fail”.
Text has been made much larger – and far more appropriate for a small touchscreen than before. Music used to require some precise tapping to hone in some very-small headlines, such as to get to all your Recently Purchased songs. It’s a whole new experience now and much easier. Plus, for iPhones with “press-touch” ability like the 6s, 6s plus and 7, features that used to live under a three-dot “more” icon are now accessed with a firm press. Nice.
Alas, the Music app is also the source of one BIG iOS 10 fail: whose bright idea was it to completely remove “Recently Played”? Formerly, if you tapped the “list” icon next to whatever was currently playing, you got a nice list of what was coming up AND what had been played prior to the current song. Discovering this was a revelation and gave me a feeling of truly having a “big picture” view of my listening – and it was a boon when playing “DJ” and wanting to return to something I knew I’d played not long before.
Now, it’s gone. Now, when you tap to show the currently paying song (it appears at the bottom of all other Music screens), you have a sort of “card” that appears slightly “on top” of the main interface. You can slide it up to reveal extra functions and info. This is where the “Up Next” list lives. But… that’s all you can get. Previously played songs are gone. And you can’t toggle it to show them. This is a bizarre and arbitrary decision on Apple’s part, and I hope they restore it.
There’s a lot more in the way of improvements, and I’m discovering more all the time, but they’re generally more subtle. Those I’ve written about here are the ones that most jumped out at me. I’m looking forward to continuing to explore my iPhone with iOS 10 to uncover further delights (and hopefully not discover any glaring removals of favourite features!).
Got a favourite iOS 10 feature? Wondering where something went? Let me know in the comments!