Apple introduced iOS 10 at WWDC 2016 last month. They called it the “biggest update” to iOS since the first iPhone came out, but we get a feeling we’ve heard this “biggest update” bit too often by now. Unlike iOS 7 that three years ago changed the way iOS looked top-to-bottom, iOS 10 doesn’t depart too much from the visual theme, while making some interesting modifications to design and function. It is no doubt a major update, mainly for those who are on iPhone 6s or the 6s Plus. While devices as old as the iPhone 5 and upwards will receive the update with the redesigned Lockscreen, Control Center as well as Apple applications like Music and News, you only begin to notice big behavioural changes when you are on iPhone 6s, as the update seemingly focuses on 3D Touch heavily. So here are things that we feel may have escaped your eye or just generally our observations about iOS 10 beyond what Apple talked about at the event.
Disclaimer: We used iOS 10 for a good five days on the first Developer Preview version on our iPhone 6s Plus. There is a possibility that post the feedback, Apple will change some of the things we talk about. Also, we are refraining from complaining about any apparent bugs simply because, they are expected in the Developer Preview.
Raise to Wake is Not Always Available
iOS 10 brings a feature where you can raise your device when it is locked, to glance at your lockscreen. It is a feature that Android users of devices like Moto X or the new Nexus devices have had for a while. But Apple’s motivation to add it was because of the fast Touch ID on the newer iPhones that whiz past the lockscreen, when you’re just trying to wake it up. Raise to Wake will only work on iPhones with M9 chip, so only iPhone 6s, 6s Plus or the SE will be getting the feature. It is rather a bummer that devices like the iPhone 5s, the 6 or the 6 Plus do not get the feature despite having an always on motion co-processor. It isn’t coming to iPads either. Raise to Wake can actually be annoying when you’re in a theatre or a dark room, where even a little movement of the device turns the display on. If you find it annoying, you can always turn it off. Simply go into Settings -> Display & Brightness -> Raise to Wake and turn the toggle off. Not to forget, this will save battery too.
Apple News Could Come to India Soon
If you see the default widgets that are activated on iOS 10, you will see the Apple news widget there as well. The app isn’t available for Indian users, since Apple did not announce Apple News here. However, if you are in a foreign country, you will see that the news articles are taken from the big publications from that particular region. When you click on the news article, it opens the article in Safari successfully. With Apple curating local content, we hope they’ll to bring the News app experience worldwide. Publishers like Indian Express, NDTV as well as Zee News are already present in this beta for Indian audiences.
Apple Wants You to Learn Too Much
The new ‘Press Home to open’ your iPhone is too steep a curve to learn. We have been used to using our iPhones with a slide to unlock since 2007. The number of malfunctioning home buttons is huge, and it is no wonder that a lot of users use Assistive Touch instead of the Home Button to reduce wear and tear. If you have a phone with Touch ID, you are so used to gently placing your finger on the capacitive ring, than pressing the button. In fact, doing it several times each day just feels like that you are performing an action that was so unnecessary. Also, although the notifications are a bit more context heavy, it is hard to go inside an app right from the Home Screen. You swipe from left to right on the Home screen and unless you very explicitly do on the notification, you end up on the Widget screen. This is a major issue with say a larger iPhone like the 6 Plus or the 6s Plus, if you are trying to go into the app by swiping one handed. The number of times I ended up launching the camera instead of clearing the notifications is already in double digits. This entire restructuring is just one step too much to learn. Remember the time when people used to praise Apple devices for being simple because of their consistency? Here is the thing, Apple wants you to just reset everything you learnt of using them in all these years and go back to square one.
We get the whole reason, why it is necessary to bring pressing the home button to unlock the phone, as sliding either ways now brings up the camera or the widgets. For older devices, this is even worse because it also brings with it the problem of accidental unlocking. We have all left our phones in bags, but thanks to a capacitive display, it was next to impossible for the swipe to be registered accidently, therefore unlocking the phone. Now, there is every possibility if you have no passcode setup on say an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5c, the button will be pressed twice and the phone would be unlocked.
You Can Calibrate The Colours on Your iPhone
One feature that we really liked, something that did not get a lot of attention was changing the overlaying colours on the display. You can go into Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Display Accommodations and turn that on. You can now not only invert the colours, but also set a colour filter of your choice. This is really useful if you have a vision issue with some colours or just want to tune the colours to your choice. You can play with the colour filter intensity as well as the Hue. Some iPhones for example over a period of time develop yellowish displays, and you can correct the same by applying a Colour Filter. You can also greyscale the entire interface as well as invert the colours like you could previously. If you hate bright colours, Accommodations will allow you to reduce their intensity too by using ‘Reduce White Point’.
Deleting Apps on iPhone with 3D Touch is Easier
We have in the past been vocal about how 3D Touch has really made deleting applications a problem. Until iOS 10, it was hard to apply just the right amount of force to make the app icons wiggle in order to delete them, with an unintended 3D Touch being administered many a times. With iOS 10, if you accidentally apply more pressure than required, but don’t press any further, the OS now guesses that you are wanting to delete or rearrange apps and eventually sets it into that mode. Thanks to such a tiny but critical user experience improvement, something as simple as deleting an app is actually easier and is a welcome improvement.
People Recognition is Not The Best
It could be because iOS 10 is still in Beta, but the People recognition in the new Photos app is not the best. We found a peculiar behaviour that if the same person is wearing reading glasses in one picture and not in the next picture, the app treats them to be two different people. The work around this is that you take both the people and assign them the same name contact. Your device will ask you whether these two are the same people and it swiftly combines the pictures. With Apple focussing very strongly on Differential Privacy, it is unclear how much better can Apple get at recognising pictures and how fast. At least as of today, it is nowhere as good as Google is with their recognition.
iMessage Features, Although Kiddish, Are Good But Need The Recipient to be on iOS 10
You could say that the inspiration for the new iMessage app comes from Snapchat and Facebook Messenger as the app is something that kids will love, but there is a major drawback. If the recipient is not on iOS 10, other than your usual set of text message or images, you will not be able to send any of that jing bang to your friends. The good news is that when Apple releases updates, they hit every single supported device at once and the rate of adoption is very high, so it should not be long for your friend on the other side to update to iOS 10. But until he does that, all the new iMessage features are worthless. Also, no doubt they look great, but you will only use them when you have a ton of free time on hand. Just imagine your plight if you actually take all the time, make that super sweet handwritten note and you get that the person on the other iPhone does not have the requisite update yet.
Deleting Apple Applications is a Myth
Apple finally realised that virtually every single iPhone out there features a folder where all the default Apps are dumped, and nobody uses those applications. You can now delete the applications, except that not really. What Apple actually does is that it hides these applications and deletes your user data. So, in case you decide to restore these applications, all you need to do is go to the App Store and you will see the restore happening in a matter of seconds. What takes time is for your user data to sync up, depending upon how much of it exists there in the first place. The apps are simply hidden from the Springboard so if you think that on a 16GB iPhone, you would be able to make a lot of space by deleting these default apps, tough luck. We saw barely any space that was freed up after removing every possible Apple app that we could.
3D Touch Does Not Work with Widgets
This was a rather disappointing one. Some widgets that are now available in the Spotlight search do not support 3D Touch. For example, you have apps listed in Siri Suggestions, but there is no invoking quick actions on them using 3D Touch. Also, we’re not sure if this is a bug or intended behaviour, but tapping on your favourite contacts in widget view when on the lockscreen does nothing. You have to unlock the phone, and then go inside the widget to make them work. This was a bizarre one, but we hope that it is just a bug and that Apple would eventually get this right.
Overall, iOS 10 is no doubt a major update, but it tries to change too many default behaviours. Some are no doubt good, like deleting apps on iPhones with 3D Touch, but there are a few steep ones that will take time. The whole lockscreen interaction just feels too inconsistent and complicated, for example. We are hopeful Apple will refine the OS over the next few months, but we cannot help but just feel a little sad that iOS is losing that innate ability to simplify complicated things.
Edit 1: If you are on an older iPhone, there is some good news. Apple has confirmed that devices that do not have 3D Touch, will also get rich notifications. Therefore, you will be able to interact with your notifications and take action on them, for instance, reply to your friends on iMessage, the moment they show up on the lockscreen. This feature is currently present only on iPhone 6s and 6s Plus with 3D Touch on Developer Beta 1 and the future Beta updates will open them up to other devices too.