15 Essential New Features Hiding in iOS 10

If you've updated to the latest iOS, you may have already discovered a few dramatic changes. The classic “slide to unlock” is gone, leaving confusion in its trail. A new set of free apps has appeared, and menus can be pulled from three edges of the screen rather than just two. iOS 10 is equipped to make your day easier than ever before, if only you can find all of the new features. Some of your iPhone’s most exciting new abilities are hidden away, just waiting to be discovered.

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1. BEDTIME

Introducing: Bedtime, a new mode in your iPhone’s clock that helps to manage your sleep schedule. You can set your preferred wakeup time, what days to have the alarm on, and when to have bedtime reminders. The best feature of Bedtime is the soothing, circular chart that tracks how much sleep you'll bag from your scheduled note-nite and wake times.

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It makes it easier to plan ahead for a decent night’s rest. Unfortunately, Bedtime insists on providing bedtime reminders. If that’s not your thing, it’s better to stick with the regular alarm setup. I almost never get this much sleep, but there's no harm in dreaming.

2. SMART UNSUBSCRIBE

Here is the perfect example of something you din’t know you needed until you actually have it: a smart unsubscribe button. Many spam emails have a link buried at the bottom that say “unsubscribe,” leading to freedom and liberation from hearing from that particular email address ever again. If an iPhone detects an “unsubscribe” link somewhere in an email, it will create its own “unsubscribe” button in a banner above the email.

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It will even mark an email as unsubscribed to save you the trouble of checking later on. The feature still needs some work, as it can't detect every type of “unsubscribe” link yet, but that is a technological stride worth waiting for.

Goodbye, pictures of cars I could never afford. You're going to a better place now.

3. CUSTOM WIDGETS

The most jarring and frustrating change that came with iOS 10 also included something semi-cool. Instead of logging you in, swiping will take you either to the camera app or a series of widgets. There is a widget for every common program, each offering something different. My favorite is the clock app which tells me when my alarm is set to go off.

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With a schedule that is constantly in flux, it's nice to check in on my most frequently used app without having to open them. I can also look at new messages in each app, glance at the news, and check how long it would take to get to work. The choices you see up top change based on the time of day.

4. IMPROVED MULTITASKING

iPad users have an exciting surprise ahead: the chance to have two webpages open side by side. Before, the iPad would only let the screen be filled by one app and one browser window, but that limitation stops now. The only real question is, why did it take this long?

5. MUSIC TRIMMING

When your phone starts to run out of data, you can choose to either delete things by hand or turn the job over to your phone. It will look over your list of downloaded music and delete the songs you have gone the longest without listening to.

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The music still belongs to you and can be re-uploaded whenever you like. Oh well, looks like it's time to delete my emo phase.

6. TEXT DETECTION

It is still a work in progress, but your phone can now check your schedule, create events, and provide info from your contacts when prompted by a text message.

Feast your eyes on this real, non-staged conversation. When my friend asked directly about a time and date, my phone underlined the key phrase in the message letting me know I could tap it to let the phone check my schedule and create an event. Alas, the phrasing was too vague for my phone to offer to look up the phone number.

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It looks like the new changes might occasionally come in handy, but for now you'll have go out of your way to word things just "so" to get the results you want.

7. LARGER EMOJIS

Sometimes a small picture of a heart just isn’t good enough. Send an emoji by itself, and it earns a size upgrade. The difference won’t be visible to your Android-wielding friends, but your friends with iPhones will enjoy the complete emoji experience.

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Which emojis do those hip, young whippersnappers use, again?

8. AUTO-EMOJI

Do you feel jealous of the millennials who can conduct an entire conversation in emoji form? The newest iOS update does all the hard work for you. First, make sure you have the emoji keyboard installed. Next, type a sentence. Finally, switch to the emoji keyboard and watch as the words light up.

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Liberation from the written word is just a tap away.

9. SIRI/APP INTERFACING

Remember back in the old days when Siri was only good for asking inane questions and getting disappointing responses like “I don’t know how to help you with that” and “searching the web for what is the the meaning of life”? Those days are finally coming to a close. Siri has grown up and learned how to interact with different apps on your phone (so that you don’t have to).

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You can book trips on Lyft and Uber, send messages to Skype and WhatsApp, as well as a growing list of other things. If Siri doesn’t know how to complete a certain task yet, it will just open the app for you.

10. ICON CLEANUP

When I got my first iPhone, one of the first things I did was make a folder on the very last page and label it “Unused.” I then moved every app I didn’t use but couldn’t uninstall, from Stocks to Weather. Since then, the number of apps in that folder has only grown.

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Finally, relief! The newest update to iOS 10 allows you to delete some (but not all) of the icons you never use. That said, the apps themselves aren't really gone from your phone, so you don't get back the memory those apps were taking up.

It’s an improvement, but it’s got nothing on sliced bread. There are only 300MB left on my phone, but sure... there's always room for Health.

11. ONE-STOP VIDEO CALLING

It may have been hard for Apple to accept, but the built-in phone app is not the most popular form of communication. It has found a way to stay relevant, though. From now on, when you make a voice or video call in a different app, it will appear in the phone app’s history. Clicking on the info in your call history will start a new call…in the preferred app. It may not be any more convenient than opening that app in the first place, but there is no harm done in having this feature.

12. ORGAN DONATION AWARENESS

One of the most heartwarming things about the iHealth app is that, if only for a moment, it encourages you to think about the health of others. As you create your account, the app asks if you wish to become an organ donor.

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If you say yes, it takes you to a database where you can quickly and painlessly add your name to America’s organ donation registry.

This kinda counts as spam, but at least it's not a picture of a cheeseburger.

13. EASY PITSTOPS

The new changes to the Maps app are surprisingly useful. While on the road, you (or your designated texter) can slide up to receive near-instant information on the closest gas stations, restaurants, and coffee shops. The app will even provide an estimate of how many minutes the trip will bring you off-course, not counting the time spent eating or pumping gas.

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At long last, technology is working together to make my decisions for me.

14. APPS WITHIN APPS

More on Maps: Once you get hungry on the road and select a restaurant, you can make a reservation using OpenTable without leaving the Maps app. It also works with apps like Lyft and Uber, and a growing number of other relevant apps. You can easily complete related tasks without straying too far away from the GPS.

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That is one dedicated Uber driver.

15. FLASHLIGHT DIMMER

As long as you have an iPhone 6S, your phone has a new and exciting feature: a flashlight which can be adjusted to not look like a blinding ball of fire. It is mostly useful for not hurting your friends’ eyes while wandering around in the dark. As for your own eyes, the brightness level of the screen, itself, is and remains the greatest threat.