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

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

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.

3. Mes­sages

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.

4. Home

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)

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