Last month, when Apple (AAPL) released iOS 10, the latest system software for the iPhone/iPad, it made a big deal out of the major features, like a redesigned Music app and contextual predictions in Autocorrect.
But Apple’s engineer elves worked for a year to overhaul iOS 10, and they’ve planted lots of hidden gems. In today’s video, all in one 12-minute lesson, I’m happy to present a dozen of the best iOS 10 features that Apple forgot to mention.
(In this crash course, I didn’t say anything about the new Messages app. That one gets a whole lesson unto itself!)
Take a picture—fast
The tiny camera icon in the lower-right corner of the Lock screen—for quick access to the Camera app—is gone. In iOS 10, getting to the point of taking a photo is even faster. Click the Home button to wake the phone—and then swipe left anywhere on the screen. In under a second, you’re ready to take a photo.
You and your buddies can now edit a page in Notes simultaneously, wirelessly, across the internet. Fantastic for planning an event, building a wish list, working together on a little brainstorming document, and so on.
Open the Notes app. Find the page you want to share, and then tap the round Person icon at the top. You’re asked to share the page using any of the usual methods: by message, email, AirDrop, and so on.
Once your colleague accepts your invite, you’ll briefly see yellow highlighting appear on the note to indicate where that person is making changes.
Oh man, this is great: You can triple-click the Home button to turn the iPhone into the world’s best electronic magnifying glass. Perfect for dim restaurants, tiny type on packages, and theater programs. You can zoom in, turn on the flashlight, tweak the contrast—the works.
To set this up, open Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Magnifier, and proceed as shown in the video above.
Color blindness filter
For the first time, the iPhone can help you if you’re color-blind. The Color Accommodations now lets you turn on special screen modes that substitute colors you can see for colors you can’t.
To set this up, open Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Color Accommodations -> Display Filters, and turn on the kind of color-blindness you have (red/green, for example).
The phone’s colors may now look funny to other people, but you should have an easier time picking out the colors when it counts.
Eliminate the click
You can get an extra efficiency when it comes to waking up your phone by eliminating the requirement to click the Home button.
Instead, you can just touch your finger to it. That wakes the phone and unlocks it in a single motion.
To find this feature, open Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Home Button. Turn on “Rest finger to open.”
That’s all there is to it.
Control center trix
You know the Control Center? It’s that half-page of essential settings controls that opens when you swipe upward from the bottom of the screen.
If you have an iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7 or 7 Plus, iOS 10 lets you hold your finger down on some of the icons to produce shortcut menus. The Flashlight now lets you choose from three different brightness levels. The Timer button offers presets for 1 minute, 5 minutes, 20 minutes, and so on. The Camera button offers Take Photo, Record Slo-mo, Record Video, and Take Selfie. That kind of thing.
In iOS 10, the new Photos app introduces Memories: beautiful, automatic, musical slideshows made of all the pix and videos from a certain trip or weekend. Most people are pleasantly surprised at how coherent and well-created these are, even though they’re totally automatic.
Open Photos; at the bottom, tap Memories. There they are. You can tap one to play it; you can also adjust the musical style, the length, and even which photos and videos are in it.
And once you’re satisfied, you can share it or post it online.
Photos’s Search box lets you find images according to what they show. You can search your photos for “dog,” or “beach,” or whatever.
You can’t type anything you want—you have to choose a noun from one of Apple’s canned categories—but you can combine a noun search with, for example, a place search, making it much easier to find a certain photo.
Well, at least when the gods are smiling. Apple’s image recognition software makes a lot of mistakes. But it’s off to a very handy start.
The iOS 10 Photos app can now auto-group the people in your photos, using facial recognition—for example, all pictures of your mom appear in a clump.
To see it at work, open Photos, tap Albums, and tap People. You can even drag your favorites into the top of the screen for quick access later.
Some of these features don’t work until iOS 10 has analyzed your photos, which can take at least a day (during which the phone has to be plugged into power).
Apple proudly points out that all of this analysis is done on your phone. (That’s in contrast to services like Google Photos, which offers similar features but requires that Google access your photo library.)
This new switch means “Let ringtones and vibrations play when this person calls, even when Do Not Disturb is turned on.” A million parents will now get better sleep at night.
To find it, open Contacts; find the important person’s card; tap Edit; tap Ringtone. There’s the Emergency Bypass setting, right at the top.
Delete the bloatware
For the first time, you can hide Apple’s starter apps on your Home screens (Watch, Home, Stocks, etc.), so you’re not saddled with the icons you never use. You can “delete” them just as you would any app: Hold your finger down on one until the icons start wiggling, and then tap the X button. (You’re not actually deleting them—only hiding them. They still occupy 150 megabytes.)
If you ever want one again, use the App Store to find it and “re-download” it. (You’re actually just un-hiding it.)
Medical research tells us that sleep deprivation—and inconsistent sleep schedules—takes a terrible toll on our health, mood, and productivity. So iOS 10’s Clock app offers a new Bedtime tab. You answer a few questions about your sleep habits, and the app will attempt to keep your sleep regular—prompting you when it’s time to get ready for bed, waking you at a consistent time, and keeping a graph of your sleep consistency.
And there you have it: 12 of the hidden gems in iOS 10. If you wind up regularly using only one of these tips—well, then I guess this wasn’t a very useful article!
David Pogue, tech columnist for Yahoo Finance, welcomes non-toxic comments in the Comments below. On the Web, he’s davidpogue.com. On Twitter, he’s @pogue. On email, he’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s how to get his columns by email.