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iOS 10 is Waiting for You!

iOS 10, the latest version of Apple’s operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, is out! Apple fixed an issue that impacted some of the early adopters downloading the update so it is now safe to upgrade. You will be glad that you did! As you know, I have been running the beta of iOS 10 for some time. I did discover a bug early on in the process that impacted the Apple Hearing Accessibility function but I was amazed at how responsive Apple was and the problem was solved in the next beta.

Most evident among iOS 10’s modifications is the new behavior of the Lock screen. Previously, you could slide the screen to unlock (and enter your passcode) or merely rest a finger on the Touch ID sensor. But as the Touch ID sensor became faster, it became too easy to unlock before you had a chance to read notifications appearing on the Lock screen. In iOS 10, you must press the Home button to unlock, after which the Touch ID sensor activates or iOS asks you for your passcode. To make it faster and easier to get to the information and tools you want, you can now slide right on the Lock screen to display Notification Center widgets or left to access the camera.

But what if you liked the way iOS 9 handled unlocking your iPhone? Well, fortunately, you can change it back in the accessibility settings. Go to Settings —>General—>Accessibility. Scroll down to Home Button and enable “Rest Finger to Open” and you are all set with the old way!

In a long-awaited enhancement, Apple has opened Siri up to developers so you’ll be able to use Siri to control at least some third-party apps. In iOS 10, Siri will initially support six types of activities: audio/video calling, messaging, sending and receiving payments, searching for photos, managing workouts, and booking car-sharing rides.

Apple says that Messages is iOS’s most used app, so it’s not surprising that Messages gains numerous new features in order to compete with apps from Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and others. For those who enjoy emoji but have trouble entering them, the QuickType bar in the Messages keyboard suggests them as you type, and if you switch to the Emoji keyboard in Messages, it highlights words (like airplane or hamburger) that it can convert to the corresponding emoji 😎 ⛅. You can send handwritten notes scrawled with your finger, a stylus, or an Apple Pencil. Messages also gains the Apple Watch’s unique Digital Touch features, which let you send a sketch, a fireball, a kiss, and more with particular tap combination—you can even overlay these animations on a photo or video. For even more pizzazz, bubble and screen effects jazz up your messages or the entire screen when the recipient views them. Finally, the new tapback feature lets you respond quickly to messages with icons without typing.

We all have trouble revisiting photos we’ve taken in the past, so Photos in iOS 10 (and Sierra) introduces Memories, which automatically builds slideshows of existing photos. It assembles collections of photos from the same day in previous years, trips you’ve taken, and more. You can “favorite” a memory if you want to keep it around, or delete it if it doesn’t contain photos you want to see again. Photos also gains facial recognition capabilities and a People album that you can use to pull out pictures of friends and family members, but even more impressive are its object and scenery recognition capabilities that enable you to search for photos that contain, for instance, cats, oak trees, or desert landscapes. Plus, a new Places album lets you browse your collection by location—alas, you can’t add a location to a photo in iOS.

Although those are the major new features in iOS 10, the update abounds with additional improvements. Take Safari. You can now use Apple Pay within Safari to pay for purchases on Web sites, Safari prevents videos with sound from auto-playing, and Split Screen can show two Safari tabs side-by-side.

Siri takes selfies! Simply ask Siri to take a selfie and she will activate the front-facing camera and you are ready to go.

Ever had a couple dozen Safari windows open and spent the time to close each one? Want to clear everything currently open in your browser in a hurry? Tap and hold on the Pages button in Safari, and you’ll get an option to close all your tabs at once. (Note that this won’t clear your history—you’ll have to go into the Bookmarks section for that.)

You can do this for all those notifications clogging your screen, too! Trash five days worth of MLB notifications by force pressing (or long pressing) on the X on your notifications screen to bring up an alert to clear all notifications.

Change the brightness on your Flashlight app. Force press on the Flashlight icon in Control Center to access three new options: Low Light, Medium Light, or Bright Light.

Need a magnifying glass for that Sherlock Holmes work you are doing? The new Magnifier setting in Accessibility turns your iPhone camera into a giant magnifying glass with a super-zoom, flashlight, brightness and contrast filter, and more.

Want to sing along? Lyrics are new to Music in iOS 10, while Up Next has moved into a more prominent spot, but both can be hard to discover naturally. With the miniplayer fully open, just swipe up to view (or hide) lyrics, along with your upcoming song queue.

Elsewhere, Maps now automatically records where you park your car, helps you avoid tolls and highways, and lets you add stops along a route. Control Center gets a redesign and multiple panes to simplify media control. In Notes, multiple people can work on the same note at once. And finally, a new Home app provides a centralized spot to configure and control all sorts of home automation sensors and switches that are compatible with Apple’s HomeKit specification.

As always, iOS 10 will be a free upgrade, but it won’t work on every device. You’ll need an iPhone 5, fourth-generation iPad, second-generation iPad mini, or sixth-generation iPod touch—or anything newer than those models, including any iPad Air or iPad Pro. If your device can run iOS 10, we recommend upgrading when you have a little time to become familiar with the new features, since many of them are welcome improvements.

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