As iOS 10 gets ready to drop, here are 5 new things to expect

12 Sep 2016

With the iPhone 7 incoming, Apple is preparing to release its latest operating software, iOS 10. But what will be noticeably different from the last time?

Following the launch of the iPhone 7 last week, the iOS 10 release date was set as 13 September and with it will be thousands of people willing to withstand the crawling download speed typically experienced during each new iOS launch.

While much of the focus of the launch was on the iPhone 7 and its lack of a headphone jack, what will those of us with past-generation iPhones encounter when using iOS 10?

Messages now a useful tool

With the rapid adoption of messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Apple’s own Messages platform has been left standing in the lurch with the app relegated to dealing with SMS and Apple-to-Apple iMessages.

Now, in an effort to bridge that gap, Apple is giving Messages a complete design overhaul, adding the ability to scrawl your own handwriting, or even send a ‘hidden’ message that only reveals itself when the receiver swipes it.

There is also the ability to respond to a message with one of six pre-selected responses that are quite similar to Facebook’s own revamped ‘like’ button.

If you’re a fan of emojis, you can also write out a message and ask Messages to replace all the corresponding words with emojis.

Messages app

Image via Apple

Home is where the app is

With the internet of things (IoT) deciding the future success of modern gadgets, the launch of a new Home app on iOS 10 aims to bring iPhone owners a slice of that 21st century life.

Through the app, users can operate the myriad connected tech in a home, controlling everything from the refrigerator to the alarm system.

With a number of companies already signed up to be Home-compatible, you can also divide the devices into different room subdivisions and curate different ‘scenes’ depending on your requirements.

You can now delete Apple apps

While various Apple default apps can be useful, there are now over a dozen apps on the iPhone home screen that cannot be deleted even though they may never be used.

For example, the Apple Watch app will sit there for an eternity, despite the fact you may never purchase the smart timepiece.

Now, in a move many will welcome, Apple has quietly added the ability to delete its own apps from the home screen, just like all the others you have downloaded.

If you delete them but suddenly find that you want some of them back, they will now be added and available from the App Store.

Apple apps

Grouping Apple apps to hide them from the home screen

Smart notifications and pick up to wake up

Your lock screen is about to get a whole lot smarter with an overhaul of how you receive notifications.

Much like what Android is doing with Nougat, notifications will no longer just be the starting point to access one of your apps, but will support the ability to expand or interact with it, too.

For example, you can reply to a message received on WhatsApp straight from the lock screen.

Another neat little feature is that you can now ‘raise to wake’. That is, when you wake up in the morning with your iPhone beside you, simply lifting it will trigger the screen to turn on and display notifications.

In essence, it is a next step in the evolution of the ‘do not disturb’ feature, which prevents notifications coming through as you try to sleep.

Man beside iPhone bed

Image via Shutterstock

Photos app gets a timeline

Using the power of machine learning and AI, the Photos app will categorise your photos into albums as it gradually pieces together information based on facial and object recognition.

This will also help you search for old photos so that by putting in a word like ‘beach’, the software will look back through its automatically generated tags and find all the photos with a beach in them.

Photos iOS 10

Photos and its object recognition at work. Image via Apple

How to get iOS 10

While it is due for release tomorrow (13 September), iOS 10’s release time will vary across the world, depending on the time in California when Apple gives the go ahead for its launch.

The easiest way to download the update is through the phone itself, which should notify you when it is ready for download.

Otherwise, it can be accessed through iTunes for download and transfer.

For those with older-generation iPhones and not much storage, it would be best to check how much space is required before beginning the download as any restrictions could lead to frustrating problems later on.

While it hasn’t been confirmed what file size the OS will be, it is likely to at least be over 100MB, based on previous iOS launches.

Also, unless you feel that you must have the new operating system as soon as possible, it might be worth holding off for at least a day. Apple’s servers will likely be overwhelmed, resulting in a painfully slow download speed.

Apple devices image via Aimee M Lee/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic