It’s been about one full day with iOS 10. I was not sure if I wanted Apple’s public preview on my primary mobile device but I was bored at the shore and decided to give it a whirl. I know – installing a public preview of an operating system on your primary mobile device while on vacation is not the smartest thing to do – and I would not advise any of you to live that dangerously but that’s why I am here. I accept the danger – you get the information.
So what do I think of the new iOS operating system, iOS 10 after one day of use.
It’s a step forward, but those calling for more widespread changes will probably be disappointed. There’s no split-screen on the iPhone 6S Plus, which has far too much wasted space, and the multi-tasking view on the iPad is woefully frustrating and restrictive.
The static home screen is as grid-like and boring as ever, and there’s still no file system that would prove ever so useful on the iPad Pro. Even more annoyingly there’s no multi-user support – one of the most requested features that Apple constantly ignores.
The new iOS appears to be a good step forward, but while it makes a decent number of changes in certain areas, it feels like a half-completed job, which is to be expected.
This is probably just me because I have been unable to conform other related problems with the beta. As I said, I had put on my brave face and installed the beta while at the shore. Once installed everything was going OK until I wanted to kick back and relax with a podcast and music. The audio streaming to my bluetooth device would periodically pause forcing me to open the app and resume the play. I have two blootooth devices and this occurred on both of them, even after I disconnected and re-paired them. I will have to see if this continues to happen when I am home or was just there something in that sea air.
ALso – the public beta is only a day old so maybe some similar reports will come in. As with Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program there is an easy way to report these issues which I of course did.
Some Major Visual Changes & Widgets Front & Center
Boot up iOS 10 and the visual changes are instantly noticeable. Gone is the once iconic “Slide to Unlock” message, replaced by “Press home to unlock”, and you can swipe left to enter a widget view and swipe right to quickly launch the camera.Adding lockscreen widgets is nothing new, we’ve seen it appear and disappear with Android, but Apple has implemented it well here. With a glance I can see the weather, any upcoming calendar events, news and so on. These can be edited and expanded, and they’re far more useful than the iOS widgets of old.
Lockscreen notifications have been spruced up, too. They’re now rounded grey boxes – a theme that runs through iOS 10 – and 3D-Touching them brings up a useful quick-reply option.
3D Touch finally feels like it’s come of age in iOS 10, and I can find no good reason that Apple decided against adding it to the iPhone SE other than keeping the price down. It’s dotted across the OS and it no longer feels like something I need to remember to use, but actually want to use.
You can now clear all notifications by hard-pressing the “X”; doing the same to a folder lets you rename it. Plus, the row of shortcuts in the Control Center have added functionality. 3D pressing the torch alters the intensity of the beam, for example.
Apple’s HomeKit smart home standard finally seems to be taking off, and iOS 10 adds in a simple yet handy app to control devices like Nest and Hue bulbs. The biggest benefit here is that you’ll no longer have to dive into a myriad of different apps to control your home; Home lets you turn up the heat, switch off the lights and control a connected plug socket from a single app.
It also provides a quick overview of all the devices that are turned on – useful if you’re concerned you may have left something on while on holiday. As long as everything is HomeKit-compliant, of course.
A New Messenger
I’m not quite sure where I stand regarding the new Messages app. First – most of the new features can only be used when the person you are messaging is also using iOS 10. There are not many of out there right now. The new features added in iOS 10 range from useful additions, like easier video sharing, to the gimmicky changes, like bigger emojis and stickers. As a result, it the new app feels like a bit of a mess.
If I send “Part Time” to someone, their conversation view will turn into an explosion of fireworks & baloons – that feels like a 15 year old MSN Messenger feature. In my opinion, it appears that Apple has thrown every possible feature at the Messages app in the hope that one of them sticks, but the only real addition needed was Android support – but that’s nowhere to be seen.
Music & Photos Enjoy Improvements
Apple Music is faster, cleaner, easier to see which songs you have downloaded, and quicker to find playlists that you actually want to listen to. I’m on board with the new font scheme – a visual feature that jumps to the News app too – and the reliance on bold lettering, minimal text and high-resolution album art. It’s what Apple Music should have been from the start.
I love Google Photos. It’s easily the best photo cloud service around, and it seems Apple agrees since its latest Photos update plucks a number of Big G’s coolest features.
Photos now automatically groups together similar faces and cleverly combines photos taken together into slideshow albums, complete with music. Both are nice additions, although some of the algorithms aren’t quite as accurate as Google’s.
It’s still in beta, however, so these issues will likely be sorted in time. Right now, however, it struggles to differentiate between siblings, for example, and always adds in a few unrelated photos to albums. It remains a step in the right direction nonetheless.
Siri Opens Up
Siri seems to receive an update every year, but in iOS 10 it’s the most substantial chageyet. Third-party apps can now talk to the personal assistant; so you can ask her to order you an Uber.
It’s a big change, but one that won’t be fully realized until iOS 10 hits the public and the relevant apps are updated.
Goodbye Apple Stock Apps You Don’t Want!
Finally! With iOS 10 you will be able to delete most of those useless Apple apps that you had hidden away in a folder somewhere.
Let me clarify here: you can’t get rid of every app – Settings (of course), Safari, Phone, Messages and Photos are here to stay, but pretty much everything else can be deleted.
Obviously, this is great news – hands-up if you ever actually used the Tips app?. However, you still can’t alter the default apps, so if you delete Mail then you won’t be able to have Gmail act as your one and only email client. If you click a link that tells the phone to open the Mail app, it will simply ask you to reinstall it.
When Will iOS 10 Be Ready for the General Public?
The iOS 10 beta appeared on 7th July, however the full stable release will land when the iPhone 7 is released in September, at least if Apple follows history. The current public beta is just for iPhones at the moment, so you’ll have to wait if you want to update your iPad.