The 10 Best New Features in iOS 10

Every new version of the iOS brings with it a set of exciting new features that expand and transform what the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch can do. That's certainly true of iOS 10.

The new version of the operating system that runs on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch delivered hundreds of new features, including big improvements to messaging, Siri, and more. These are 10 of the best features of iOS 10.

This article covers new features delivered by iOS 10. If you're looking for information about features of the iPhone X (aka the iPhone 10), check out The Best 8 iPhone X Face ID Hidden Features and iPhone X Home Button Basics.

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Smarter Siri

When Siri debuted back in 2011, it seemed pretty revolutionary. Since then, Siri has lagged behind competitors that came later, like Google Now, Microsoft Cortana, and Amazon Alexa. That's changed, thanks to the new and improved Siri in iOS 10.

Siri is smarter and more powerful in iOS 10, thanks to being aware of your location, calendar, recent addresses, contacts, and much more. Because it can access that information, Siri can make suggestions that help you accomplish tasks faster.

For Mac users, Siri is debuting on macOS and brings even cooler features there. To learn more about Siri on macOS, check out Getting Siri Working on Your Mac.

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Siri For Every App

Siri in iOS 10
image credit: Apple Inc.

One of the major ways that Siri is getting smarter is that it's no longer so limited. In the past, Siri only worked with Apple apps and limited parts of the iOS itself. Third-party apps that users get at the App Store couldn't use Siri. Not anymore.

Now, any developer can add support for Siri to their apps. That means you can ask Siri to get you an Uber, send a message in a chat app by using your voice rather than typing, or send money to a friend using Square whenever you say so. While this may sound a little unimpressive, it should actually change the iPhone pretty profoundly if enough developers adopt it.

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Improved Lockscreen

lockscreen iOS 10
iPad image credit: Apple Inc.

The functionality of the iPhone's lockscreen has lagged behind Android in recent years. Not anymore, thanks to the updated lockscreen options in iOS 10.

There are too many to cover here, but a few of the highlights include: light up your lockscreen when you raise the iPhone; respond to notifications directly from the lockscreen using 3D Touch without unlocking the phone; easier access to the Camera app and Notification Center; Control Center gains a second screen for music playback. 

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iMessage Apps

iMessage Apps in iOS 10
iPad image credit: Apple Inc.

Prior to iOS 10, iMessage was simply Apple's platform for text messaging. Now, it's a platform that can run its own apps. That's a pretty big change.

IMessage apps are just like iPhone apps: they have their own app store (accessible from within Messages), you install them on your phone, and then you use them with Messages. Examples of iMessage apps include sending money to friends, placing group food orders, and more. This is very similar to the apps available in Slack, and chat-as-platform is becoming increasingly popular thanks to bots. Apple and its users are staying abreast of the latest communication techniques with this feature.

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Universal Clipboard

copy and paste in iOS 10
iPad image credit: Apple Inc.

This is another feature that sounds a little minor, but should actually turn out to be super useful (it's only really useful if you have multiple Apple devices, but still).

When you use copy and paste, whatever you copy is saved to a "clipboard" on your device. Previously, you could only paste that on the same device you were using. But with Universal Clipboard, which is based in iCloud, you can copy something on your Mac and paste it into an email on your iPhone. That's pretty cool.

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Delete Pre-Installed Apps

delete apps on ipad
iPad image credit: Apple Inc.

More good news for people who want more control over their phones: with iOS 10 you can delete pre-installed apps.

Until now, Apple has required that users keep all apps that come with the iOS installed on their devices and using up precious storage space. The best users could do to get rid of those apps was put all of them into a folder.

In iOS 10, you can actually delete them and free up space. Many of the apps that come as part of the iOS can be deleted, including things like Find My Friends, Apple Watch, iBooks, iCloud Drive, and Tips (but core apps like Phone and Music still can't be removed). 

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Revamped Apple Music

Apple Music on iOS 10
iPad image credit: Apple Inc.

The Music app that comes with iOS, and the Apple Music streaming platform, are major long-term successes for Apple (especially Apple Music. It's got tens of millions of paying customers).

That success has been in spite of many complaints about the app's complex and confusing interface. Users of iOS 10 displeased with that interface will be happy to learn that it's been overhauled. Not only is there a generally attractive new design and bigger art, it also added song lyrics and removes the superfluous Connect feature that let users follow artists. Using Apple Music is now a lot nicer.

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New Ways to Communicate in iMessage

iMessage effects in iOS 10
image credit: Apple Inc.

Your options for communicating in the Messages app were a little limited. Sure, you could send texts and photos and video, and then audio clips, but Messages didn't have the kind of fun features found in other chat apps—until iOS 10.

With this release, Messages gains all kinds of cool ways to communicate more clearly and with more verve. There are stickers that can be added to texts. You can add visual effects to messages to make them look louder, to require the recipient to swipe them for a dramatic reveal, and you'll even get suggestions for words that can be replaced by emoji (which are now three times bigger). That's a lot of ways to get your point across.

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Home App

apple homekit
image credit: Apple Inc.

Most iPhone users have never heard of HomeKit. It's not a surprise, since it's not used in many products. However, it could change their lives. HomeKit is Apple's platform for smart homes that connects appliances, HVAC, and more to a single network and allows them to be controlled from an app.

There hadn't been a good app to manage all HomeKit-compatible devices. Now there is. The Home app won't be totally useful until there are more HomeKit-compatible devices and more people have them in their homes, but this is a big start towards making your home smarter. 

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Voicemail Transcriptions

voicemail transcription in iOS 10
iPhone image credit: Apple Inc.

This gives new meaning to the Visual Voicemail feature. When Apple introduced the iPhone, Visual Voicemail meant you could see who all of your messages were from and play them out of order.

In iOS 10, you can not only do that, but every voicemail is also transcribed into text so you don't have to listen to it at all if you don't want to. Not a major feature, but a really helpful one for the people who will use it.

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