Software

5 overlooked features of iOS 10

iOS 10 includes a lot of new features, some of which are easy to overlook. Learn how five of these hidden, though important, features work.

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Image: iOS 10 icon via Apple

iOS 10 has been out for about a month, yet some features in Apple's latest mobile OS are so out of the way, that many users haven't spotted them. Here's a look at five of these overlooked features, which can make using iOS 10 more intuitive and even bring back functionality for the home button.

SEE: How to update to iOS 10 using Apple Configurator 2

1. Find your missing Apple Watch

There's long been a way to ping your iPhone from your Apple Watch to locate it with a sound, but with iOS 10 and watchOS 3, you can perform this ping in the other direction: You can find your misplaced Apple Watch from your iPhone.

This is done from the trusty Find My iPhone app available on the App Store. After you download the app and sign in with your iCloud account, perform these steps to locate your misplaced Apple Watch.

  1. Open the Find My iPhone app.
  2. Select your Apple Watch from the available devices list.
  3. Its last-known location will appear on the map. Tap the icon to show buttons for Play Sound, Lost Mode, and Erase Watch (Figure A).

Figure A

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The Find My iPhone app is available on iPad, iPhone, and Mac via the iCloud website with the same options.

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

Tap Play Sound to locate the watch via an audible sound emitted from the device, place it in Lost Mode to change the passcode and lock it down, or select Erase Watch to perform a wipe of the device the next time it's connected to a known Wi-Fi network.

2. Search photos by category, search with Siri

iOS 10 includes a lot of work with the Photos app. Every time you put your device on the charger, it springs to life, searching through your photos, categorizing them based on the type of photo that has been taken, the landscape and landmarks in the photo, and more. This feature is really powerful when it comes to searching for your photos.

You can now search for particular landmarks and types of items that the photo contains (such as bridge, yard, water, etc.), and the Photos app will show you these types of photos that you've taken.

To do this, open Photos and perform these steps.

  1. Tap the Photos tab.
  2. Tap the search icon in the top bar.
  3. Enter a search term such as Bridge, Lawn, or Sky.

All of the photos that match that particular search term category will be displayed. Optionally, you can perform this search with Siri. To do this, activate Siri and say "Find photos with a [bridge, sky, lawn]."

3. Split view in Safari on iPad, unlimited Safari tabs

One of the biggest new Safari features in iOS 10 is the ability to use split screen on the iPad to view up to two websites side-by-side simultaneously. This feature lets you make use of the large screen found on the iPad Pro.

To use this split screen feature, perform these steps.

  1. Open Safari and open at least two tabs.
  2. Drag the tab you want to make a second screen out of from the tab bar to the left or right most part of the screen. You'll see the screen shrink.
  3. Release the tab and the split screen will appear (Figure B).

Figure B

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Split screen Safari works by dragging one of the open tabs to the left or right of the interface until it shrinks to accommodate the extra window.

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

This Safari Split Screen mode works only when Safari is the only app on the iPad screen. For instance, if you use split screen apps, Safari will only display the left-most split screen window in the miniaturized interface—increasing the size of the Safari window back to full screen mode will show the left and right splits again.

Another interesting feature of Safari in iOS 10 is that you can have unlimited tabs open while browsing. This is great for those of us that always use too many tabs, and have on occasion been unable to create new ones. This unlimited tab feature is available on both the iPad and iPhone.

4. Limit widget access on the home screen

With iOS 10, the Lock Screen displays more important information than ever.

Swiping to the left Lock Screen view will show the Today widgets that can give you detailed information from apps installed on your device at a glance, but sometimes this information can be private. If this is the case, you can easily silence that data on the Lock Screen to protect your privacy by performing these steps.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Touch ID & Passcode.
  3. Locate the heading Allow Access When Locked and disable the Today View option.

This will disable the first tab on the Lock Screen, disabling access to the Today widgets from the Lock Screen entirely.

5. Re-enable touch to unlock

Many users were taken aback by the way iOS 10 handles unlocking the device by requiring a press on the Home Button. Devoted iOS fans will be happy to hear that this feature can be reversed to the iOS 9 behavior.

To reverse this behavior and go back to the iOS 9 unlocking behavior of just resting your finger on the Home Button Touch ID sensor, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select General | Accessibility.
  3. Select the Home Button option.
  4. Enable the option for Rest Finger To Open.

Figure C

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The Rest Finger To Open option will restore iOS 9 unlock functionality to your iOS 10 device.

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

This option will allow you to unlock your iPhone without having to press the Home Button—just rest your finger with this option enabled.

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About

Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...

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