iOS 10 was released this past Tuesday, and although it was a rough start for the earliest of downloaders, the update seems to be going very smoothly now. Many other sites are going to have one of these lists on iOS 10, but there are actually so many little features and changes, that I’m finding most articles worth reading. So I figure that sharing a few of my favourite iOS 10 changes my help some readers re-consider or discover features in this latest major update.
1 – Remove Stock Apps
This is something we’ve been waiting a while for, and it’s easy to forget that you can do it if you’ve been on the beta for a while. What iOS 10 lets you do is now “delete” most of the stock Apple apps, which is actually just hiding them from the lock screen and preventing their results from showing up in search. So if you never want to see Calendar, Music, or Maps on your home screen, just tap and hold on the icons and tap the x button over the appropriate icons. I used to accomplish this by dumping all the stock apps into a folder called “Apple crap”, but this is a much more elegant solution.
2 – Limit Music Downloads
I’m actually really enjoying Apple Music this second time around. Discoverability for music is much better, and the interface is actually making sense for me. As a result, I’m downloading and adding a lot more music than before, and the new download limits are great for ensuring that my music library never grows too large on my devices. I’ve said this before, but Apple really needs to enable a similar setting for the Photos app.
3 – Spotlight Overlay
I’m a big believer in keyboard shortcuts, and iOS 10 has made it a lot faster to switch between apps and run searches with Spotlight. Instead of jumping back to the home screen, invoking Spotlight with CMD + Space will just bring the notification center down over your current apps. This is super handy for running quick calculations, or for typing the name of another app and tapping the return key to switch to it. There aren’t many iPad-specific optimizations in iOS 10, but this is one of the very best changes for power users.
4 – Split View Works with Music and the App Store
This is a minor change, but it makes a difference to my growing use of Split View. Music is a great and very natural fit for the Split View sidebar, and considering how often I use the iPad as a media player, I’ve really come to love this little change. Add this to the fact that Spotify still doesn’t support any sort of iOS 9 multitasking and there are even more reasons to move over to Apple Music.
5 – Reading List Refinements
The Safari Reading List, which is Apple’s take on the Instapaper and Pocket read-it-later experience, has gotten a lot better where it counts. I wanted to use Reading List in iOS 9 because it preserves the website’s original layout, including all pictures and videos, but there were issues that kept me from even opening the list while my bookmarks were syncing. This has been fixed in iOS 10 and made the experience of perusing my list much smoother.
The other major fix here has been the way that you move from article to article. Previous iterations of Reading List could be a little too slippery with the scrolling — if you swiped too quickly to move through an article, iOS would interpret that as a gesture to move to the next article in my reading list. I really hated that, and it was far too easy to activate. This too has been addressed in iOS 10, and Reading List now treats each article as individual webpages, which means that you have to open the list and choose a different page to load.
6 – Maps: Usable and Intelligent
Maps got a gigantic upgrade in iOS 10. I reviewed Maps back in February, and Apple addressed many of my criticisms of the service with this latest update. Favorites (as Maps spells it) now display on the map and are clearly visible, which makes it a much better utility for travel. ETA notifications are also much more useful to me now that they take public transit into account, instead of just driving directions.
The service itself has also become smarter because it now pays attention to other apps and my calendar. I can load Maps up and get directions to my next appointment as long as the address is in the Calendar app, and I was also surprised to see that Maps remembers the last business I was viewing in Yelp. iOS 9 promised a more intelligent, pro-active operating system, but it’s iOS 10 that’s actually delivering that.
These are just the features that I really got to play with during the beta period. Now that iOS 10 has gone public, I’m looking forward to trying other ones like Apple Pay on the web, and seeing how the massive changes to iMessage impact how I use the service. Then there’s the matter of how developers react to Siri, Maps, and Message apps in the coming months.
I do wish that iOS 10 packed more iPad-specific features into the update, but I do have hope that we’ll see more tablet features in an early 2017 release. In the meantime, I’m actually quite satisfied with iOS 10 and the amount of work and play it enables right now.