Top 10 iOS 10 features

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has called it the “biggest release ever”. The 10th version of iOS, which powers the company’s cash cow — the iPhone, along with the iPad — was made available to beta testers and developers on June 13. Since then, the rough edges have been sanded and features added or refined, leading to the launch of the final version yesterday.

Does it live up to the hype? Should you stop whatever it is you’re doing and upgrade pronto? Well, to help you decide, here’s a round-up of the ten best features the latest version comes packed with.

Lock screen

The familiar “Slide to unlock” bar has vanished. The good old camera icon is gone too — you now have to swipe left to launch the camera. But 3D Touch has made it here, and the lock screen now offers more information, a new Widgets side panel and a Raise to Wake feature that displays notifications on the lock screen whenever you lift the device — there’s now no need to touch the Home button.

Hide system apps

They were the untouchables. Whether you used them or not, you were stuck with Apple’s own native apps that shipped with the phone. But now, you can easily get rid of most with a simple long press. That brings up the X mark, allowing you to delete these apps. Though in reality, you’re merely hiding them from plain view. However, interestingly, this does not work for the Health app.

iMessage, now with apps

Apple is taking on Facebook Messenger, and has announced an app store for iMessage. The app itself has been overhauled with new effects — try the laser screen one — that can be added with a deep press on the Send button. You can also use it for everything from sending stickies and GIFs to making payments. Double tapping a message you have received lets you quickly respond with a Messenger-style thumbs-up, heart icon or even a thumbs down.

Press to unlock

In iOS 9, simply touching the Home button unlocked the phone. But with iOS 10, you have to press it down to activate Touch ID. This lets you read notifications on the lock screen before unlocking the device. Should this fail to excite you, there is the option to switch back to the old method.

Photos revisited

The Photos app has seen a significant overhaul, with a new Memories tab and smart albums taking a page out of Google’s book. Search has gotten smarter with Siri intelligence able to identify objects, faces and animals in a photo — for example, you can ask the phone to pull up all photos of sunsets that are on the device. Similarly, a People album groups photos using facial recognition.

Split-screen Safari

Jumping back and forth between two browser windows is painful and Apple has fixed that issue with Safari on iOS 10. In landscape mode, you can now drag a browser tab to the edge of the screen, and Safari will automatically split the screen to display both. This is particularly useful when you need to copy information from one window to another.

Dude, where’s my car?

Don’t remember where you parked your rdie while shopping at Dubai Mall? Just check Apple Maps. The app now keeps track of your driving and automatically adds a pin whenever you park the car. If the vehicle has somehow gone missing, you can ask Siri to hail an Uber – the digital assistant now works with this and an increasing roster of third-party apps, including WhatsApp.

Emoji galore

iOS 10 comes baked with 72 new emojis. The portrayals are more realistic and include multiple skin tones. Interestingly, Apple dumbed down the revolver emoji to a meeker squirt gun. Meanwhile, when you turn on the emoji keyboard while typing a message, iOS 10 highlights the words you can emojify.

Mini view

Deep-pressing an app icon launches an interactive widget, which is effectively a mini version of that app. For example, the weather app pulls up the weather info right from your home screen. Similarly, you can access a mini calculator without leaving the home screen to open the full-fledged version.

Time to sleep

The secret to a great night’s sleep is to go to bed consistently at the same time. And for that, the alarm clock app has a new feature called Bedtime. You can use the app not only to wake you up in the morning but also to alert you every night that the time has come to go to bed. Moreover, the app tracks your sleeping patterns and delivers insights on how you are faring.