iOS 10: How to Update (and Unlock!)

Written by BradzTech on Sep 15, 2016

iOS 10 came out yesterday, September 13. As with any major update to the Apple iPhone/iPad devices, there are several questions: will it mess up your phone? Will it be so different you have to relearn your device? Probably not, but the new Lock Screen could take some getting used to.

First Impression: Lock Screen

The very first thing you'll experience after the update is the new Lock Screen. Apple has removed the classic "Slide to Unlock" method that has been around since the very first iPhone. Now, all you need to do unlock your device is: press the home button.

  • Lightly tapping the home button on will scan your fingerprint and unlock your device if you have a TouchID-enabled iOS device. However, it will remain on the Lock Screen and show "Unlocked" at the top of the screen.
  • Pressing (so it clicks) the Home Button will "open" the device, that is, bring you to the home screen if your device is unlocked, or it will show the passcode entry screen.

Now, swiping to the left will bring up the Camera, and swiping to the right will cause your Widgets to appear. This change will likely take some getting used to for users of non-fingerprint-enabled devices (i.e. the iPhone 5).

Messages, Notifications

If you text often, you'll quickly notice two other major changes in iOS 10. First, Messages now has all kinds of new features-- specifically, iMessage, which only works when texting other Apple device users. For instance, one can send special effects along with their messages: simply press and hold on the send arrow to view the options. Or, you can send handwritten sketches. Not to mention, Emojis look a bit different.

Notifications in general have changed, no matter what kind of texting app you're using. Previously, if you wanted to rapidly reply to a message from the Lock Screen, you could swipe it to the left and tap Reply. In iOS 10, simply press and hold on a particular message on the Lock Screen to quickly bring up a conversation snippet and respond.

Of course, there are plenty of other new features in iOS 10, but the Lock Screen and Notifications are arguably the two most significant changes in the new system. Be sure to visit the official Apple iOS 10 page to get a nice summary of the new changes (hint: a lot of them are in iMessage).

Is iOS 10 Safe?

At this point, it seems safe to update your device to iOS 10. If you're nervous you might not like it, though, there's no real rush to update.

You may want to wait another month or so, as many users are reporting higher battery drainage after installing iOS 10... including myself. Then again, perhaps I am simply using my phone more since I am experimenting with the new functionality. Apple should release a bugfix update within a few weeks to fix various glitches.

Don't forget: it's very difficult to stay on outdated software forever. If there's something you really hate about iOS 10, you won't be forced to upgrade. But as apps continue to evolve, they may cease to work properly on iOS 9. Additionally, you would miss important security updates, and of course, you won't be able to use the new iMessage features with your up-to-date friends.

Ready to Update?

Updating is simple: go to Settings, then General, then Software Update, and choose Download and Install.

If you're low on space on your device, you'll be better off updating by downloading iOS 10 through iTunes on your computer and installing it to your device through USB. This technique is actually less glitchy than directly performing the upgrade on the device, or over the air (OTA).

However, I (and Apple) highly recommend backing up your device before updating it, preferably to iTunes, but backing up to iCloud works as well. In the first hour or so after iOS 10 was released, some users reported that it bricked their devices, so they had to wipe them using iTunes and restore them from the backup they hopefully had.

iOS 10 is a free update avaliable for the iPhone 5 and later, as well as some iPad models and the latest iPod Touch. Check out Apple's official How To Update page for more info.

Stay tuned for future posts about new features in iOS 10.

About BradzTech

Welcome! I'm BradzTech, a Computer Science student at Rochester Institute of Technology. I am passionate about computers and analyzing the latest happenings in the rapidly developing modern field of technology, specifically, using it to help people. I share my thoughts on Twitter and, occasionally, here on my blog. Learn more about me.