iOS 10: Release date, the best features and what iPhones and iPads you can get it on

iOS 10: Release date, the best features and what iPhones and iPads you can get it on

Alongside the launch of the new iPhone this week, Apple is preparing for its “biggest iOS release ever”. The launch of iOS 10, the operating system designed for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, is anticipated as the most significant iOS revamp since Apple overhauled the design in 2013 with the release of iOS 7.

Unveiled in July at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference, iOS 10 features some drastic changes and new features, including a completely new lock screen, smarter Siri and more playful and useful iMessage app.

When will it be available?

Apple typically ships its new devices with the latest iteration of the operating system, which means that when the iPhone 7 goes on sale later this month it is expected to come with iOS 10 pre-installed.

Apple normally releases software updates a week after its September product launch event. For example, in 2015 it unveiled the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus on September 9 and released iOS 9 a week later on September 16. This year is expected to be no different, meaning that iOS 10 will probably be available to the public from September 14.iOS_10_iPad

There is a chance that the release will be later, if a leak from Barbara Streisand is anything to go by. In an interview with NPR, the singer and actress claimed Tim Cook told her the software update would be available from September 30, after she called him to complain that Siri was mis-pronouncing her name with a “Z”.

How can I get it?

The software update will be available for iPhone 5 handsets and those released since, and for the iPad mini 2, iPad 4, iPad Air and generations since.

On any of these devices you will be able to upgrade by going to Settings -> General -> Software Update.

If you can’t wait until then you can try out the iOS 10 beta. To do this you’ll need to sign up to Apple’s Beta Software Program using your Apple ID. Once you’ve signed up you can register the device you’d like to upgrade to iOS 10 or macOS Sierra and be able to download it.

Apple advises customers to backup any device they’re using for the beta, and stresses that as the software is still being tested it may feature glitches and bugs. Backup your device in Settings using iCloud or by connecting it to a computer.

For users that have more than one Apple device the iPhone maker says its better to download the beta on a secondary one.

Messages can now take up a person's whole screen in iOS 10
Messages can now take up a person’s whole screen in iOS 10 Credit: Apple

What features will it have?

Apple is changing the way users open their phones in iOS 10. Picking up a device running the software automatically lights up the lock screen, which features notifications, calendar appointments, weather information and news updates.

The revamped opening screen will not have “Swipe to unlock”, a feature that has been a staple since the original iPhone. Instead, pressing the home button is all that will be required to open the device. It can be unlocked with Touch ID, or – on the iPhone 5 – a passcode.

Another key feature of iOS 10 that has long been available on Android is customisable widgets – extra information from an app – that can be used to check things such as calendar appointments and weather information when swiping left from the lock screen.

Apple is also giving Siri a boost in iOS 10. The upgraded voice assistant is now open to third party developers, meaning you’ll be able to ask Siri to book you an Uber or order you some Domino’s. It can also transcribe voicemail messages.

Notifications, news and widgets automatically light up on the lock screen in iOS 10 
Notifications, news and widgets automatically light up on the lock screen in iOS 10  Credit: Apple

iMessage is being opened to third party developers too, meaning that there will soon be apps in the messaging service that can be used to order food, shop, book tickets and send people money within a chat. Apple has also added fun features such as emoji tap, animated backgrounds, videos and disappearing messages to entice people away from the likes of Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp.

Apple Music, Maps, Photos and Health Kit are also getting a makeover. Music has had a complete rework from the bottom-up and Photos has a new section called “Memories” that can automatically stitch together a video of a time and place, such as holidays or weddings.

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