The headline features relating to the Messages and Maps app didn’t hold my interest for very long, but there are a few genuinely useful new features in iOS 10. Here are my top 5:
No more swipe to unlock
Since the very first iPhone, to unlock the phone, we’ve had to swipe across the screen, and then either tap in a pin or use a fingerprint. This is no longer the case, although it’s a hard habit to kick.
Now one press of the home button unlocks the phone, and another click opens it up. That’s assuming, firstly, your phone has a fingerprint reader, and secondly, the reader decides to recognise your digit. Which for me is still only about 50 percent of the time.
Still, once you get used to it, it makes more sense. Now swiping to the right from the lock screen gets you to the widget screen, and swiping to the left fires up the camera.
Siri now works with third party apps like WhatsApp
Apple is now letting third party apps like Uber and WhatsApp, use its Siri voice commands.
You’ll need to enable this feature on a per app basis. Go to Settings | Siri | App Support and in our case, turn on for WhatsApp:
Now you can hold the home button down and issue a voice command, such as “Send a WhatsApp message to Sarah saying I’m leaving now”. You’ll get a preview of the message and the option to send, right from the Siri interface.
As someone who uses very few of Apple’s own apps, I think this could be a useful feature, especially as more apps offer voice support.
The Photos app now has face and object recognition
You’ll need to plug your phone in for this feature to first kick in, and it takes a while if you have lots of photos. But you’ll notice when you tap on Albums in the Photos app, a People album now appears.
Apple does a decent job of grouping shots by what it recognises as faces. You can tap on a face group and provide a name for it at the top of the screen. You can also select a few face groups and choose to Merge them if the app fails to notice they are actually the same person.
Also if you now search in Photos, it’ll use the face names you’ve created in the search, but it’ll also go one step further and recognise some genres too like “Beach”, “Sky” etc. The app already recognised place names, so you could type “Sarah, beach, Mullion” to find all photos of Sarah on the beach in Mullion.
Easily annotate photos
You no longer need to use a third party app to annotate your photos. Tap on the Slider icon to edit the photo, and then tap on the three dots and choose Markup.
You can now scribble on the photo, add text and there’s even a feature that lets you select a portion of the photo to zoom in on. The app will offer to transform your squiggles into uniform shapes, which can then be sized and adjusted as required.
A £600 magnifying glass?
This is the feature I find most useful since I often need to read tiny serial numbers off various gadgets. Go into Settings | Accessibility | Magnifier, and turn the feature on.
Now when you triple-click the home button, a very useful magnifying app will start up. This works both when the phone’s locked and unlocked.
The icons along the bottom: turn the light on, fix the focus, take a freeze frame and open an exposure and colour adjustment mode.
Note that there’s no option to save the image, but if you hold your finger after take a freeze frame, you can save the image. The saved image goes into your camera roll with the chosen digital zoom, but not the additional 100% crop applied. You can also just take a screen shot by pressing the home and power button simultaneously, to capture the image as you see it in the app.
Try out some of these features for yourself and please feel free to leave a comment below.