Maxwell Barna talks us through the best features of the new iOS 10.
With the firebomb of shit thrown at Apple after its bombshell release of the iPhone 7 this month, the release of iOS 10 the following week really, really saved the day—or slowed the blaze, at least. One of the largest iOS updates in history, iOS 10 actually includes some pretty awesome features to enhance the Messages, Phone, Camera, Photos, Maps, Music and other components of the iPhone experience.
I’m an old man who’s terrified of change (kidding, I’m 26), so I was going to wait as long as I possibly could before updating. But, since everyone is talking about it, I figured a handy-dandy “How-To” guide would be appropriate.
Here’s a crash-course for (most of) the fun new things you can do with iOS 10:
New Collaborative Notes
The Notes app on the iPhones has never been something to write home about. It’s convenient at times, especially when I forget my EZ Pass account number or when I’m formatting an Instagram caption. But with the iOS 10 update, Notes can be made collaboratively between contacts and friends. You can even share the invitation on third-party apps like Facebook Messenger, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on.
The Addition of “Today View”
With iOS 10 also comes the introduction of apps and widgets like “Today View," which essentially allows you to access your favorite apps with a single swipe from the lock screen. Basically, it’s a more refined toolbar that provides easier access to the apps you use most. To add something to your Today View, press the app’s icon, and then tap “Add Widget.” To access Today View, just swipe right from the locked screen.
Maps Introduces Third-Party App Inclusion
Maps got a massive facelift with the iOS 10 update. Aside from being able to view gas stations and re-route to nearby restaurants without disrupting your destination location, Maps also now allows third-party app integration for programs like Yelp and OpenTable. If you have these apps integrated, when you search a location, you can look at important information like reviews, menus and even reservation information—all without leaving Maps.
In fact, a quick aside here: It looks like Apple has opened the entire phone’s API up to third-party app designers, which will better integrate the iPhone experience into everyday life. Sick.
Maps Also Receives a “Ride” Function
Another big update for the Maps app was the addition of a Ride function. Maps integrates seamlessly with the most popular ride share apps Uber and Lyft, and leaves the door open to integrate with other apps later on down the road. When you type in an address or search for a business, look at the bottom right corner and you’ll see the “Ride” button. It defaults to use Lyft, but so long as you’re using the updated version of Uber, you’ll be able to select your preference.
Editing Photos Is Easier than Ever
For as long as I’ve been using an iPhone, I’ve never used the onboard photo editing options. They were primitive, rigid and lacked the functionality I look for in a good editing program.
To edit a photo now, just go to the bottom toolbar and click the levels button. From there, you’ll have options to crop and adjust the photo, work with some filters (that actually don’t suck), light, color and black and white settings, and another new feature, called “Markup," which allows users to draw on or add text to a photo (a la SnapChat and Instagram Stories). It’s not revolutionary, but it’s still pretty cool.
Photo Searches Got a Whole Lot Better
Not to be left out of the action, the Photos section also gained some pretty interesting updates with iOS 10. First, something that’s actually pretty creepy but kind of cool, iOS 10 brings with it a whole new organizational structure to help make cataloguing memories easier. Rather than scroll through hundreds of pictures to find the one you’re looking for, you can now search for different locations, land marks, individual people, types of objects, etc.
To access the search function, go to your photo gallery. In the top right corner, next to “Select," you’ll see a magnifying glass. Click on it, and search away. The camera can use things like GPS location settings, facial recognition or even general object recognition to locate what you’re looking for. For instance, you can search for “horses,” and it’ll bring up pictures of horses that you’ve taken. It’s actually really cool.
Photo Memories are Introduced
Another interesting iOS 10 update is the introduction of “Memories.” Memories takes different dates, locations or people, and compiles them into a packaged slideshow—complete with a title and songs. There are a few ways to do it, and the simplest way involves going to you photos and selecting the “Memories” button in the bottom toolbar. From there, you can select random pre-made slideshows. You can also select specific dates, destinations and people from certain albums.
All you have to do is go to either the photos or albums section, click on a date, place, person, etc., and iOS 10 will automatically convert the photos into a random slide show. From there, you can perform basic edits by selecting the slides button at the bottom right corner (the same icon to edit photos), where you can adjust the title font/presentation, the music (you can select from a few pre-loaded ones, or even select individual songs from your iTunes), as well as select a total duration and total amount of photos to be included in the stream. I’ll be honest, this feature totally blew me away, and it seems like it could actually be quite a bit of fun.
Messages Gets a Complete Overhaul
Finally, last but not least, Messages. The updates for iOS 10 Messages can be considered nothing short of a complete overhaul. For basic texting, you’ll see that the auto-fill selections now utilize emojis to fill in for words. For instance, if you begin typing “beer," Autocorrect will give you the option of using the beer emoji. Additionally, pressing and holding the send arrow after typing a message will bring up a list of four effects to give your characters some character (Ha! #Dadjoke). Options range from “SLAM” to “LOUD," “GENTLE” and “INVISIBLE INK." They’re a lot of fun.
By clicking on the giant “A” icon (created by an intersecting paintbrush, pen and ruler), you’ll access everything from a searchable Giphy keyboard, to recent doodle drawings (which I’ll get to in a second), or even share your Apple Music favorites.
Again, I’m blown away by this feature. And speaking of doodle, iOS 10 finally makes it possible to make a hand-written note and “pass” it to your friends. Just open up a text message conversation as you usually would, and then turn your phone sideways. A whiteboard will appear that you’re free to scribble all the dicks you want on!
One of the newer (and more awkward) features for Messages is the Digital Touch options. Basically, you can make a couple weird things happen—from making a pair of kissy lips appear, to creating a small fireball, making a heart appear, laser sketching and even a broken heart. You can access them by opening a text message conversation and tapping on the heart with blue fingers on it—there’s a tutorial that shows you what everything and how each combination works. Why? Well, why not?
That about sums it up, I think. There are a lot of new features with iOS 10, and I’m sure I’ve missed something really cool. But, as far as my experiences with the new iOS update goes, I’m pretty optimistic about this very necessary walk in the right direction.
Will some of these surely fall by the wayside and be disregarded as simple novelties? Sure, absolutely. But you can also definitely bet that some of these are going to be some serious (and awesome) long-lasting adjustments to an already great UX.
For a complete breakdown, head over to Apple.com.
In related news, here's how much it costs Apple to make an iPhone 7.