iOS 10 tips and tricks you need to know

Apple’s iOS 10 is packed with new features—many of them hidden. Here are 26 of our favorite, plus tips to get the most out of them.

ios10 intro

26 cool iOS 10 features

It’s now been more than a month since Apple released iOS 10, and adoption of Apple’s latest and greatest mobile OS has already set new records. As it stands now, more than 54 percent of all iOS users already use iOS 10, an impressive feat for any new operating system. All the more so when one looks at how slow adoption of any new Android OS usually is.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been keeping track of all of the cool new features iOS 10 brings to the table. With no shortage of helpful and compelling features lurking beneath the surface, we’ve put together a comprehensive list outlining all of the coolest and subtly hidden iOS 10 features that you may not be aware of.

iOS 10 1 flashlight

Change the iPhone’s flashlight intensity

This is a handy 3D Touch feature Apple incorporated into iOS 10 (and hence only available on iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 models). If you force touch on the flashlight icon in iOS 10’s Control Center, you’ll be able to adjust the intensity of the iOS flashlight between three different settings: low, medium and high.

iOS 10 2 stopwatch

Access a stylish new stopwatch design

If you open up iOS 10’s Clock app and select the Stopwatch tab from the bottom, you’ll see Apple’s standard stopwatch UI. However, if you swipe to the left you’ll be rewarded with a classic analogue design.

ios10 3 email unsubscribe

Unsubscribe from mailing lists with ease

Removing some of the clutter from your inbox has never been easier. With iOS 10, any message you receive because you’re part of a mailing list will now feature an easy-to-spot “Unsubscribe” button right at the top. This should prove incredibly handy and save you the time from having to scour through a long message for a hard to find Unsubscribe link.

ios10 4 siri calls

Siri can now tell you who’s calling

With iOS 10, you can now instruct Siri to tell you who’s on the other line when you receive a call. To do so, go to Settings > Phone > Announce Calls. There you can toggle the feature on and off. When turned on, Siri will announce the name of an incoming caller once. This is helpful when you hear the phone ring from a distance and don’t know who’s calling.

ios10 5 apple parking

iOS 10 can help you find your parked car

Thanks to some nifty software magic, iOS 10 can help you find your parked car. Because iOS 10 can figure out when you’re in a car and when the ride has come to an end (at a location other than your home), iOS will help you remember where you parked via a pin conveniently located on the Maps app.

ios10 6 3d touch

Awesome new 3D Touch options

With iOS 10, Apple has really fleshed out 3D Touch’s functionality. Now users can apply a force touch to the Settings app and from there, quickly access the following settings: battery, Wi-Fi and cellular.

iOS 10 7 siri

Use Siri to order an Uber/Lyft or even send friends money

Siri in iOS 10 received a major overhaul underneath the hood. For the first time, iOS developers are able to tap into Siri and incorporate voice commands into their respective apps. That said, users can now beckon Siri and use the personal assistant to order either an Uber or a Lyft. Further, iOS 10 users can even use Siri to send their friends money via Square Cash. Other third-party apps with Siri integration include Slack, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Venmo, Yelp, Skype, Viber, MapMyRun and Nike+ Run Club.

ios10 8 voice mail transcription

Voicemail transcription

It doesn’t always work perfectly, but iOS 10 can save you the trouble of listening to long voicemail messages. Instead, iOS 10 will do its best to transcribe a given voicemail so that you can read it. To take advantage of this feature, simply open up a voicemail as you would ordinarily, and you’ll see a transcript of the message located above the recording. If iOS can’t transcribe the message, it will instead say “Transcription not available.”

ios10 9 apple photos

Search for specific photos by naming objects within them

In iOS 10, users can search for photos based on objects that appear in the photos. For instance, you can quickly do a search for all photos in your library that have dogs in them or any photos by the beach or photos where people are wearing hats. All told, iOS 10’s Photos app can differentiate between more than 4,300 distinct objects.

ios10 10 read receipts

Adjust Read Receipts on a user-by-user basis

Users in iOS 10 can now turn Read Receipts on and off on a user-by-user basis. Previously, the setting was either on for everyone to see or shut off completely. To toggle the feature on and off for a specific user, open up a text message conversation and tap the info button (the circled “i”) in the upper right hand corner. From there, you’ll be able to see a “Send Read Receipts” toggle that can be turned on and off.

ios10 11 apps deleted

Delete Apple’s pre-installed iOS apps

After years of complaints from users, iOS 10 finally lets you delete any of Apple’s built-in iOS apps. So, if you find yourself having no need for the Stocks app or the Compass app, you can delete it from your device the way you would any other app. Notably, the only app that can’t be removed is, naturally, the Phone app.

ios10 12 messages effects

Send cool full-screen effects in Messages

Messages in iOS 10 now allows users to send full-screen effects with their messages. To do so, type a message and then press and hold on the blue up-arrow to the right of your message. From there, click on the “Screen” tab at the top of the display where you can then swipe between various full-screen effects, including balloons, lasers, fireworks and confetti.

iOS 10 13 enhanced lockscreen

Raise to Wake for enhanced notifications

Because Touch ID on the iPhone now works incredibly fast, iPhone users soon discovered that they were missing notifications whenever they unlocked their device. To remedy this, Apple introduced Raise to Wake, a feature that will display a user’s notifications anytime the iPhone is picked up. This feature works only on the iPhone 6s, iPhone 7 and iPhone SE because it relies on the iPhone’s M9 motion coprocessor.

You can turn the feature on and off by going to Settings > Display & Brightness.

ios10 14 facial recognition

Facial recognition in Photos

In iOS 10, you can now take advantage of a new facial recognition feature to organize all of your photos and search for specific people. To be fair, Google has been able to do this for a while, but it’s refreshing to see this feature finally hit iOS 10. Notably, all of the facial recognition is done on the iPhone itself, so while this is nice from a privacy perspective, the data won’t transfer over to photos on your desktop.

To get started, open up the Photos app, go to Albums, and then select the “People” option located in the second row.

iOS 10 15 contextual predictions

Take advantage of iOS 10 contextual predictions

Siri isn’t the only thing to have gotten smarter in iOS 10. Even the Messages app in iOS 10 is more likely to know what you want to say. With smarter contextual predictions, iOS 10’s Messages app will prompt you with options that fit the conversation underway. For example, if a friend asks “Where are you?”, you can simply tap a “Current location” option. Similarly, if you start typing, “David’s phone number is”, Messages will then search your contacts and provide you with an easy way to simply tap a button and have David’s phone number added automatically.

iOS 10 16 apple toll road

Save money by avoiding toll roads in Apple Maps

Of all the great new feature in iOS 10, perhaps the most welcome is a vast overhaul to iOS 10’s Maps app. Featuring a brand-new UI, navigating to and fro is much more intuitive and convenient than it was in previous iterations of Apple Maps. In turn, Apple Maps also has some new nifty features, including the ability to retrieve driving directions that specifically bypass toll roads.

To turn the feature on, simply go to Settings > Maps > Driving & Navigation.

iOS 10 17 optimize storage

Save storage by optimizing your music

If storage on your iPhone is running low, you can take advantage of a new iOS 10 feature to help you out. Specifically, iOS 10 can be instructed to delete songs you haven’t listened to in a while when extra storage is needed.

To access this feature, go to Settings > Music and then scroll down to the “Optimize Storage” toggle located underneath the “Downloads" heading.

iOS 10 18 messages reactions

Add snazzy reactions to your text message replies

Arguably a response to the popularity of Snapchat, Apple has made its revamped Messages app much more fun. As a prime example, iOS 10 users can now add reactions to messages.

To do so, simply long-press on a received text message, and you’ll be prompted with a selection of six reactions that you can pin to the message, including a thumbs-up and a heart.

iOS 10 19 apple tv input

Use iOS 10 to input text on the Apple TV

If your iOS device and Apple TV are on the same Wi-Fi network, the device you’re using will recognize when you’re trying to input text on the Apple TV. In turn, an alert will appear on your phone that will bring up a virtual keyboard and allow you to input text on your iOS device instead of via the clunky Apple TV remote.

iOS 10 20 bedtime assist

New Bedtime assist feature

iOS 10 has a new Bedtime tab inside of the Clock app that will help you maximize your sleep and stay rested. The app is designed to help you go to bed on time and help monitor your sleeping patterns and habits. With all of that information, the Bedtime feature will help you more efficiently manage your sleep schedule.

iOS 10 21 gifs and stickers

Send animated GIFs and fun stickers in iMessage

To send GIFs or stickers in a message, simply tap the rightward facing arrow to the left of the message field and then tap on the icon that resembles the familiar App Store icon. Next, tap on the icon in the lower left hand corner whereupon you can choose if you’d like to send an animated GIF or an image from a sticker pack.

iOS 10 22 apple maps mode of transportation

Select your preferred mode of transportation in Apple Maps

By going to Settings > Maps, you can tell iOS 10 what your preferred mode of transportation is when requesting directions.

iOS 10 23 magnifier

Use your iPhone camera as a virtual magnifying glass

iOS 10 has a new accessibility feature called Magnifier. When enabled, users can use the iPhone’s built-in camera to zoom in on text or an object to a far greater degree than what is normally possible with the standalone camera app.

The feature can be toggled on and off by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Magnifier. Following that, the feature can be brought into action by triple clicking on the home button.

iOS 10 24 emoji texts

Seamlessly turn your texts into emoji-rich conversations

If you type a word that corresponds to an emoji, such as “Burger,” you can tap on the word and its corresponding emoji will appear as a suggestion. Simply tap it once, and your text will be replaced with a snazzy emoji.

iOS 10 25 rich links

Enjoy rich links in Messages

Among the many new features Apple added to Messages, is the ability to view rich links. In other words, you can now view YouTube clips and even listen to Apple Music links directly within the Messages app.

iOS 10 26 timer

Quickly set a timer

iOS 10 allows users to quickly set a timer by 3D pressing on the Clock app either via the home screen or via the Control Center.