Get to know iOS 10’s new lock screen
You can now interact with your iPhone or iPad without even unlocking it, reveals Caitlin McGarry
There are tons of changes coming in iOS 10, but the most dramatic, immediately visible change is happening on your lock screen. Nothing works the way it did before. Things are about to get weird, but we’ll get through it together.
Raise to Wake
If you have a new iPhone – 6s, 6s Plus or SE – the changes will appear instantly. When you pick up your phone, your screen will wake to display the time. It’s a small change, one already in use on the Apple Watch (and on Android phones), but it eliminates the pain point of having to press a button just to see the time.
Relearning how to swipe
The launch of Touch ID made Slide to Unlock, a now-quaint feature that delighted audiences when the iPhone debuted, a little unnecessary. Slide to Unlock was still essential in rare cases when Touch ID failed (if your hands
were damp or you were wearing gloves), but now it’s gone. In iOS 10, you press the Home button to unlock your device with a passcode if Touch ID doesn’t work. It’s a little awkward to unlearn this ingrained behaviour.
Now when you swipe right, you’ll see a completely overhauled Spotlight section with customisable widgets where Siri’s suggested apps and contacts, nearby locales, and news headlines once lived. The smarter Spotlight section we were promised in iOS 9 comes to life in iOS 10. But more on that in a second.
You’ll also notice there’s no more Camera icon on the lock screen. Instead of swiping up from that icon to jump into the Camera, your new shortcut is a swipe left on the lock screen. It’s just as easy, but again, it’s a new behaviour to learn.
Swiping down on the lock screen is still the way to jump into your Notification Center, but you can
Design and interface
Looking side by side at iOS 9 and 10 in general use, you may not be able to tell them apart – although this depends on which area of the OS you’re looking at. Apple has redesigned the lock screen, the search/notification page reached by swiping from the left of the lock screen, and the Notification Centre. Other than these, it looks the same.
In landscape orientation the lock screen has the time and date set to the left instead of justified
centrally (which we think looks nicer), and Apple has added useful large-type battery charge information to this text block as well – it sits under the time, and after a moment is replaced by the date. (Charge is still listed at top-right, but having it in the main text makes it easier to see at a glance.)
You’ll also note that the text cue > slide to unlock at the bottom has been replaced by Press Home to open, and indeed the way you wake up the device has changed. (Most people with reasonably up-to-date devices will still use Touch ID, we expect.) And the small camera icon previous sited at the bottom-right has got smaller still and now sits bottom-middle. This is intended to convey the fact that you don’t need to swipe upwards from the camera icon to jump to the Camera app any more; you just swipe in from the righthand edge of the lock screen.
In portrait orientation, the lock screen looks more familiar – the text is justified centrally once again – but the functional differences remain.
More obvious visual differences can be detected when we swipe in from the left of the lock or Home screens, summoning the screen that, for lack of official alternatives, we’ve grown to call Proactive. We used to have suggested contacts and apps on the Proactive screen, as well as shortcuts to Maps searches for nearby business of various kinds and summaries of recent News stories. Those things remain, but they are (in our opinion) much more attractively laid out, in two columns, and accompanied by an editable array of widgets, which have been moved from the swipe-down Notifications Centre.
Notifications themselves continue to become more interactive with each generation of iOS. Most of them can be 3D Touched, if you’re using an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, to get a quick glance at the vital information; and iOS 10 enables live updates within the notifications themselves, so you can open an iMessage notification, then carry on a conversation there and then, with live replies appearing as they’re received, without having to open the Messages app.
Bear in mind that iOS 10 is still at the developer preview beta stage, and its interface may yet evolve in ways we can’t anticipate. But right now, we’re happy.
When we compare generations of iOS, the features section tends to be a walk-over: the newer version of the operating system will get a bunch of new features (which in most cases you can ignore if you don’t like them) and might ditch a couple that Apple doesn’t think have worked out. If it were just a case of comparing features, iOS 10 would win this comparison at a canter. Yet there are downsides to upgrading, which you’ll find in other sections.
iOS 10 brings a raft of new features: well over a hundred, by Apple’s count, although most of these are minor tweaks. In this section we’ll talk about our highlights.
1. Raise to Wake
This handy and largely self-explanatory feature (which currently works on the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus and SE only, sadly – it requires an iPhone with an M9 coprocessor) means that, like the Apple Watch, an iOS 10-equipped iPhone will light up its screen and show you the lock screen when you lift it up. Which makes particular sense given Apple’s greater focus on lock-screen information and interactivity – you’ll actually see the lock screen on your iPhone now, rather than blasting through to the unlocked home screen thanks to superfast second-generation Touch ID.
There’s one other watchOS-esque feature in iOS 10 that we’d like to mention in passing: the ability to clear all notifications with one tap. It’s a tiny but crucially convenient feature – our watches used to get utterly clogged up with uncleared notifications (particularly wicket notifications if England had been batting that day) until we discovered the old hard-press-to-clear-all trick.
2. Maps destinations
Maps in iOS 10 uses artificial intelligence and everything it knows about your habits to proactively suggest destinations it thinks you’re likely to visit at a given time. We love this idea. Setting out on a car journey is almost always preceded by a fiddly period of postcode-searching and route-checking on the old satnav, and a bit of smart assistance would be much appreciated – if it works well. Also, Maps will automatically remember where you’ve parked, which is a lovely bit of lateral thinking.
Messages gets a huge overhaul, and now features a wide range of visual – often animated – effects and gimmicks.
Now, we like only a small proportion of the effects (invisible ink, which scrambles messages and images you wish to render mysterious until the recipient swipes them with a finger, is one of the
nice ones), but that’s not quite the point. Most of this stuff is aimed at younger users, for one thing (particularly the emoji stuff ), and Apple’s opening up of Messages to third-party apps means a wave of additional features should follow, catering for every possible taste.
Apple’s finally ready for the internet of things, and Home is the portal app that iPad and iPhone owners will use to control their array of HomeKitenabled smart-home appliances.
The mere fact of having a universal HomeKit device controller app on iOS is something to celebrate, but it looks great and seems well thought out. We’ve mentioned elsewhere how much we like the execution of Scenes, an admittedly obvious but neatly designed feature that groups together settings for multiple appliances under a single button: “goodnight”, for instance, might dim the lights, lower the thermostat, close the curtains, switch on security cameras or motion detectors and so on.
5. The ability to delete preinstalled apps
This is something we’ve looked at in far more detail elsewhere (How to remove, delete or hide any app on iPad or iPhone) but yep, iOS 10 will allow you to ditch Stocks and lots of other Apple-made apps if you don’t want them clogging up your Home screen.
It’s not quite the concession you might think: the app isn’t deleted as such, although associated user data is deleted, ties to the app from Siri and so on are severed, and the icon is removed. And we’ve still not seen how Apple is going to resolve the ‘default app’ arrangement if you delete an app like Maps or Mail and then tap on an address or mail link on a website. But it’s a partial victory that we’ve been seeking for many years.
6. Advanced predictive typing suggestions
QuickType, the predictive-text system used by iOS’s keyboard to offer words it thinks you’re in the process of typing, is getting cleverer. It can now access location or contact information held elsewhere on the system and roll this in with the rest of its suggestions, responding, for example, to messages saying, “Where are you?” or “What’s Donald’s email address?” with its best guess at the correct answer.
We don’t use QuickType much – generally only when we’re typing a word that’s really long and our fingers get tired halfway through. (Oddly enough, the often annoying forced corrections of TextEdit have ended up a far more integrated aspect of our working routine.) But things like this could make it genuinely useful.
7. Third-party shenanigans: Siri, Messages apps
Apple went against type and talked about ‘openness’ at the iOS 8 keynote in 2014, and iOS 10 continues the company’s increasing coolness with the user or their third-party software developer friends customising the way iOS behaves.
Siri has been opened up to third-party development, which means you’ll be able to ask non-Apple apps to do their thing - Uber was one that Apple highlighted in its keynote. And Messages and Maps will also allow developers to work within the system: iMessage apps could allow users to book takeaways and play games within message threads, and you’ll be able to book a ride with Uber (and pay for the ride using Apple Pay) without leaving Maps.
Apple is always at its best when it sheds the straitjacket and allows third-party devs to (with careful supervision in order to safeguard security and privacy) mould the user experience. Apple’s huge developer community is its greatest strength.
Compatible iPads and iPhones
We’ll get to our verdict on iOS 9 and iOS 10 in a moment, but you may have already detected that we feel pretty well-disposed towards the new update and its new features and interface tweaks. It’s in this section that we talk about the potential down sides.
iOS 10 is Apple’s most demanding mobile OS yet. Some of you will discover that your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch isn’t rated as iOS 10-compatible, and you’ll have to either upgrade to a newer device or miss out. Potentially worse, however, is the situation faced by those who just squeeze on to the list of iOS 10-ready devices, make the update, experience noticeable slowdown and then find themselves unable to downgrade to the older OS. In the past Apple has sometimes been overgenerous in its compatibility lists, allowing updates by devices that aren’t up to it.
The following devices are officially rated as capable of running iOS 10:
iPad 4 iPad Air 1 and 2
9.7in and 12.9in iPad Pro iPad mini 2, 3 and 4 iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus and SE iPod touch (sixth generation)
But if you’ve got one of the older models in any of these fields – if you’re on an iPad 4, iPad mini 2, or iPhone 5 or 5c – then we’d counsel caution. Wait until launch date and don’t update until you’ve got confirmation from a trusted source – a friend, colleague or media pundit – who explicitly tells you they made the update on exactly the same model as you, and that it hasn’t caused any loss of performance.
iOS 10 is stuffed to the gills with handy new features, fun little visual touches, smart interface tweaks and a couple of entirely new apps, and we’re having a great time trying it all out. Maps is about to get a lot more useful. (And if you don’t like it, you can remove it, and a bunch of other presintalled apps, from your Home screen.) Messages is more fun. Raise to Wake is a great idea. The new Home app is neatly designed and a pleasure to use. Swift Playgrounds (which we didn’t even get round to discussing) is a great way of nurturing the app developers of tomorrow.
At time of writing iOS 10 is still in its earliest publicly testable form. As such, it’s too early to give a definitive verdict. Features may be added or taken away, bugs may be discovered or removed, design changes may be made or reversed. But at the moment it’s looking pretty much essential.
The Spotlight screen in iOS 9 (left) versus the overhauled screen in iOS 10 (right)