From flashy iMessage enhnacements to third-party access to Siri, iOS 10 boasts its share of high-profile changes. But smaller improvements are sprinkled thoughout the mobile OS update, and while they may not be the kind of things that grab a lot of attention, they’re still aimed at making your iPhone easier than ever to use.
Here’s a quick look at some iOS 10 enhancements you may have missed.
When you’re trying to find a certain set of emails in your mailbox, search might come in handy, but it might not be the most efficient way to see the results you want. In iOS 10, Apple has added filtering to its Mail app.
Just tap the filter icon in the bottom left corner of the screen to quickly get a look at only certain messages.
To adjust the filtering criteria, tap the Filtered By item in the middle of the toolbar.
From there, choose your filtering options: unread, flagged, whether you’re the addressee or cc’d, and whether it should only include mail with attachments and/or mail from VIPs.
When you’re done, tap the filter icon again to return to the full view. The filter criteria will stay the same until you change them, just in case that’s a search you need to carry out frequently.
Mail conversation view
Rather than burying message threads another level down, Apple added the threaded conversation view from its Mac mail client to its mobile devices in iOS 10.
You can now tap a message thread to display it as a single series of messages that you can scroll through.
You can also tap the double arrows listed next to a thread in the Inbox to expand the conversation if you want to pick a single message to read.
Smarter mail sorting
If you manage your inbox by moving messages into folders, iOS 10 looks to save you some extra taps. The Mail app wil try and predict the folder you’re moving a message to based on the sender and the message’s content.
Tap the folder icon on the bottom of a message. If Mail recognizes the type of message you’re looking to file, it will suggest a folder; if Mail guesses wrong, you can tap the Move Message option to get a full list of your Inbox folders. The feature doesn’t always appear, nor does Mail always suggest the right folder, but it still saves you some scrolling when the right suggested folder appears. And Mail figures to get smarter the more you use the feature.
Easily unsubscribe from mailing lists
Mail on iOS 10 is now smart enough to realize — in many, though not all cases — when messages you get arrive via a mailing list. Mail can then provide you with an easy way to unsubscribe from unwanted lists.
Just tap the Unsubscribe button that appears automatically in the header on those messages, and follow iOS’s instructions. For mailing lists that you’re on by choice, you can tap the ‘x’ in the header to stop getting prompts to unsubscribe.
3D Touch in Control Center
Control Center arrived way back in iOS 7 (seems longer ago, doesn’t it?) and made it easy to get quick access to certain features. iOS 10 gives the feature its biggest revamp, and hides a secret: when you use 3D Touch on the bottom four icons, you get additional features like setting the brightness of the flashlight, launching a timer for a preset amount of time, copying the last result in the calculator, or jumping to a particular camera mode (standard camera, slo-mo video, normal video, and selfie camera).
Find the Up Next queue
One of the better new features that made the jump from iTunes to iOS’s Music app in recent years is Up Next, which lets you queue up which songs will follow the one you’re currently listening to. But in iOS 10, finding the Up Next queue can be a little bit tricky.
Go to the Now Playing screen by tapping on the currently playing track in Music.
An upward swipe will not only find the Up Next queue — whose tracks you can rearrange by tapping and dragging — but controls for shuffle and repeat as well.
Safari tab shortcuts
iOS’s web browser is one of the most commonly used apps, but some of its functions have occasionally been squirreled away. iOS 10 makes a few of those features easier to find: tap and hold on the tabs button on the bottom right of the toolbar and you’ll get a pop-up menu with options to open a new tab or to close all the existing tabs.
iOS’s handy Markup tool, which lets you add text and other drawings and annotations to PDFs and images, was originally confined to Mail. But it makes the jump to Photos in iOS 10.
In the Photos app, select an image and tap the Edit button (it looks like a bunch of sliders) in the bottom toolbar.
Tap the More button (the three dots in a circle), and then Markup.
Now you’re able to draw on a message in a variety of colors, as well as add callouts and type in text. When you’re done, the image is saved back to your Camera Roll as a copy, so you don’t lose the original.
Hide certain people from the Photos album
iOS 10 brings back the ability to identify people in your photo library and add them to a People album, so you can easily browse photos of a specific person. But what happens if there’s a person you’d rather not see in that list, such as an erroneous identification, a person who’s no longer with us, or an ex?
Fortunately, you can hide that face from the People list by going to People entry under Albums, tapping Select, tapping the person, and then tapping Hide at the bottom of the screen. Don’t worry, those people are still accessible by scrolling all the way down to the bottom and choosing “Show Hidden People.” You can use the same process to select them and then Unhide them if you choose.
Merge people in photos
Along similar lines, as good as Photos may be at detecting people’s faces, sometimes it has trouble realizing that two people are actually one and the same. The solution to that problem is to merge those two faces.
As above, go to the People album in Photos, tap Select, tap the multiple instances of the same person, and then tap Merge. Voilà!
Get more photo details
You no longer have to scroll through your images to try and remember where they were taken or who’s in them. iOS 10’s revamped Photos app offers more details on your pictures: either swipe up on the image or tap the Details button in the top right of the screen to reveal additional information about people and places in the picture. iOS provides a map of the location and lets you tap a button to go to nearby photos. Keep scrolling down, and Photos also picks out other related groups of images with the same locations or people, if they’re identified.
Holiday Photo events
iOS 10 creates Memories for you — but not in a creepy, mind-altering way. No, it assembles photographs from particular locations or time periods into little videos, complete with titles and music. But if you’d rather not see videos for your local holiday events (because you don’t celebrate them, or simply don’t care to), you can disable that functionality in Settings > Photos & Camera by turning off Show Holiday Events.
Simplify Touch ID to unlock
iOS 10 changes the long-standing behavior of the lock screen: now, instead of unlocking your phone simply by resting your finger on the Touch ID sensor, you must push the Home button. (It takes some getting used to, to be sure, but also makes it less likely you’ll accidentally unlock the phone, too.)
But you can simplify the behavior under Settings > General > Accessibility > Home Button by enabling the Rest Finger to Unlock feature.
This won’t restore it back to the classic behavior, but it will make the process a little more streamlined.
Look Up replaces Define
Used to be when you selected a word, you could tap on it to bring up a popover menu that then let you define the word. That’s been replaced with a new system in iOS 10, and a new command: Look Up.
Selecting that command will still provide dictionary definitions for the word you’ve selected, if available, but it’s been souped up a bit: it will also search Wikipedia, offer suggested websites, and even show you matching results from the iTunes Store.
Remove stock apps
Tired of all those apps that Apple automatically includes in iOS? Well, now you can remove some of them, specifically Mail, Calendar, Home, the iTunes Store, Stocks, Compass, Calculator, Compass, Voice Memos, Notes, and Tips.
To do so, just tap and hold on any icon, and then press the ‘x’ in the top right corner of the app icon like any other app. (Note that Apple has said these apps are actually more “hidden” than actually deleted, so don’t assume you’ll free up much space.) To restore any of the core apps you remove, you’ll need to visit the App Store and download them, just as you would a normal third-party app.
Add, rearrange or edit widgets
iOS’s Today widgets are getting a new lease on life: they’re now accessible by swiping to the right from the Home screen (or from Notification Center), and they’ve gotten a cosmetic makeover as well. But you can still pick and choose which widgets make it into the Today view, and in which order.
Scroll all the way down to the bottom and choose Edit.
Then drag the widgets in the top section into the order you want using the bars on the right.
To remove one, tap the red minus icon to the left of the widget’s name; to add one, scroll down to the list of More Widgets, and tap the green plus icon next to the name.
You can also find some widgets by 3D Touching the related app, which generally also includes an Add Widget option if it’s not already being used.
Clear all notifications
Speaking of Notification Center, iOS 10 brings to an end our long nightmare: you can now clear all of your notifications at once.
Just swipe down to summon Notification Center and 3D Touch the ‘x’ in the top right corner until you see the Clear All Notifications button; tap it to delete all of your notifications.
Look, it’s happened to all of us: we’re in a hurry when we leave our car in the lot, and when we come back… well, was it area 3, row G? Or area G, row 3? Fortunately, iOS 10 makes that easier by marking where you leave your car — not only placing a pin on your map, but also adding it to your recent locations. (Note that this feature requires your phone connect to your car via Bluetooth or CarPlay.)
You can also disable the feature in Settings > Maps if you’d rather trust your own fallible memory.
Get points of interest along your map route
One of the best new features of iOS 10’s revamped Maps is the ability to easily find points of interest along your current route. Need to stop for gas, or find a quick bite to eat? No problem. Simply swipe up on the card at the bottom of the screen and Maps will provide you with categories of suggestions, such as gas, food, and coffee. Tap any of those, and it will show you where those places are along your route and how much time they’ll add to your trip.
Per-person read receipts
Amidst all the flash over Messages in iOS 10, there was one handy addition that might have flown under the radar: you can now set read receipts on a person-by-person basis.
So if you want to make sure your significant other always knows when you’ve read his texts, but maybe not that friend who’s always asking you to help them move, you can open Messages and select your text conversation with the latter, then tap the info button in the top right corner. Turn off Send Read Receipts, and they’ll no longer be notified when you’ve read their messages.
Alternatively, you can turn off Send Read Receipts in Settings > Messages, and then enable them on a case-by-case basis.
We’ve all been there: you’ve got 15 app updates downloading, but you really only care about one of them finishing. In that case, iOS 10 may be able to help: from the Home screen, 3D Touch the icon of the app you want the most, and you’ll see a pop-up with the option Prioritize Download. (In my tests, it doesn’t seem to show up every time — often you’ll just get options to pause or cancel the download.)
Controlling Raise to wake
I know: it was so tough to turn on the screen of your phone up until now. iOS 10 does away with the difficulty of pressing a button, and instead uses the internal accelerometer to realize when you’re picking up your phone so that it can automatically turn on the screen for you. However, if you’re like me, and you find that somewhat distracting when you fidget with your phone, you can turn it off under Settings > Display & Brightness.