23 hidden features in iOS 10

There's more to iOS 10 than Apple announced during the keynote in June -- a lot more, in fact. Here's some of the hidden features we've found already.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
7 min read
Jason Cipriani/CNET
Watch this: iOS 10: Five hidden features you may have missed

Apple doesn't tout every new feature in iOS 10. There are the obvious add-ons, like Messages now has its own App Store, and Siri can work with apps, but there's much more to iOS 10 than that. Control Center now has 3D Touch, read receipts can be turned on or off for individual contacts and there's even a button to clear all notifications at once.

Here are 23 features you need to know about in iOS 10.

Messages has built-in image search

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You may want to delete all of your GIF keyboard apps, because you can now search for an animated image directly within the Messages app. When writing a message in Messages, tap on App Store icon, then swipe to the images page. Enter a search term or pick a category from the list.

Send smaller photos to save data

Open Settings > Messages > scroll to bottom > Enable Low Quality Image Mode. It's unclear how scaled down the images are exactly, but when you're on a tiered data plan, every bit helps!

Selective read receipts

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You can now decide whether you want to send read receipts on a contact-by-contact basis. Apple will respect your default setting for read receipts, but you can go into any conversation and enable or disable the feature with a couple of taps.

When in a conversation, tap on the i button in the top-right, then turn read receipts on or off. This setting instantly syncs to all devices you use iMessage on, so no need to worry about changing the setting on your Mac, iPad and iPhone.

Auto-download albums added to Apple Music

Prior to iOS 10, the process for adding and then downloading a new album or song to your iOS device involved tapping on the "+" icon to add it to your account, then manually downloading it.

As of iOS 10, you can set your device to download any content added to your Apple Music account just by tapping on the "+Add" button. Enabling the feature is simple, just go to Settings > Music > Downloads and sliding the switch next to Automatic downloads to the on position.

Automatically manage music storage

With iOS 10, you can save space on your iOS device by letting your iPhone or iPad automatically manage music that's downloaded to your device. Go to Settings > Music > Downloads.

There you can manage songs and albums stored on your device yourself under the "Downloaded Music" section, or you can set an amount of storage you want to constantly keep on your iOS device. If you get low on storage, iOS will evaluate your downloaded music for songs you rarely listen to and remove them automatically.

iOS 10 beta's best parts

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Mail gains filters

The Mail app can now quickly filter messages with just a tap. When viewing a mailbox, tap on the filter icon in the lower-left corner of the screen. The default filter is set to show you only unread messages. You can change the filter by tapping on Filtered by: Unread and selecting the category (or categories) you want to see.

Tap the filter icon again to turn it off.

Threaded conversations get a new look

Mail has had the ability to thread conversations for awhile now, but iOS 10 brings a new look to it. You can longer have to jump in and out of messages to select a different message within the thread. The feature is enabled by default, but you can go into Settings > Mail > Threading to customize the order the messages are displayed in.

Pro tip: Swipe left on a message in the threaded view to reveal actions (reply, flag, trash, etc.).

Unsubscribe with a single tap

Tired of getting newsletters? Me too. With Mail in iOS 10, you can unsubscribe from these annoying emails by tapping on the Unsubscribe button at the top of the email.

View two Safari tabs at once on iPad

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Because browsing the web viewing one tab at a time is for rookies. There's a few different ways of activating the feature, here's what we've found:

  • Drag a tab to either side of the screen.
  • Long press on a link, then select "Open in Split View."
  • Long press the tab view button, then select "Open Split View."

Quickly close all tabs

Not only can you have limitless tabs on mobile Safari now, but for the first time ever Apple now lets you close all tabs at once. On an iPad, long press on the Tab View button the select Close X tabs.

On an iPhone, open Tab View then long press on Done > Close X tabs.

Pause, prioritize app installs

The next time you restore an iOS device, don't sit there for hours waiting for a specific app to download and restore. Using 3D Touch, you can press on an app and select Prioritize Download from the list of options.

The same option exists when downloading multiple apps at the same time, regardless of whether you're restoring a device or installing a lot of app updates at once.

Never forget where you parked again

If you have a car equipped with CarPlay, or a more standard Bluetooth system, you'll notice an alert on your iPhone as soon you turn off and exit your car. The Parked Car alert will plot in Apple Maps where your car is, allowing you to add more details (like lot and row number) should you need to.

Control Center has new panels

The first time you use Control Center in iOS 10, you might get confused at the lack of music controls. Swipe left, and bam, there's your music controls. Swipe left again, and boom, there's shortcuts to control your lights through Apple's Home app.

3D Touch in Control Center

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Speaking of Control Center, you can now use 3D Touch on the bottom row of app icons to invoke different actions. Pressing on the flashlight icon, for example, will give you three brightness options; pressing on the timer icon will present predefined timer amounts; pressing the calculator gives the option to copy the last answer; press on the camera icon for shooting options.

Define has been replaced by Look Up

Prior to iOS 10, you could highlight a word and select "Define" to view its definition. With iOS 10, however, Define has become "Look Up" and instead of seeing just the definition, you are now presented with various searches across the App Store, Apple Music, websites or Wikipedia; it also appears third-party developers will have the chance to integrate with the new feature later this year.

Markup in Photos and Messages

Markup is Apple's own version of Skitch, only it's built in to the OS. Previously, it was only available within Mail. Now you'll find it in Messages when previewing a photo or document you're about to send, or directly in the Photos app itself.

After selecting a photo to send in Messages, tap on it to preview it. In the lower left-hand corner will be Markup or the Markup icon, depending on the device you're using. Draw, write and color over the photo and then send way.

When viewing a photo in Photos, tap on the Edit icon, then the extension button and select Markup.

Share, work on Notes together

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You can now share a note in the Apple Notes app with a contact or colleague. When viewing a note, tap on the new Share button along the top of the screen. Select how you'd like to send the invite, enter a contact's name, and press send.

Once accepted, anyone invited to the note will have the ability to add, edit or remove content.

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Add widgets with 3D Touch

When you press on an app's icon, you're typically only presented with any available shortcuts for the app. However, on iOS 10 if an app offers a widget compatible with the new OS you can view and add it to your list of active widgets with a deep press on the app icon then "Add widget."

Take a photo while listening to music

I think we've all launched the camera app while jamming out to our favorite song, only to have our music rudely paused. Well, that no longer happens on iOS 10. Launch the camera app and continue rocking away as long as you keep taking photos. Of course, taking a Live Photo or video will pause the music.

Disable raise to wake

Each time you pick up your iPhone, its screen will automatically turn on to reveal the current time and any pending notifications. If this feature annoys you, you can disable it in Settings > Display & Brightness > Disable Raise to Wake.

Clear all notifications

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You no longer have to tap the teeny-tiny X above each day's notification stream in the iOS Notification Center if you have an iPhone equipped with 3D Touch. Pressing on the X at the top of the list will bring up a "Clear All" option. Huzzah!

Get the old home button back

Instead of having to push on your iOS device's home button to view the home screen, you can go back to how things used to be before iOS 10 by changing a setting. Open Settings > General > Accessibility > Home Button. At the bottom of the page is a switch titled "Rest Finger to Open." Slide it to the On position.

Go to bed on time

In the Clock app, there's a new tab called "Bedtime." The first time you open it, you're asked how many hours of sleep you want to get each night, and the time you typically wake up in the morning. Your iPhone then calculates what time you should go to bed, and sets an alarm to wake you at the right time. You can view a chart of your sleeping habits, along with a more detailed list of stats in the Health app.

Editors' note: This post was originally published on July 7, and has since been updated to reflect the launch of iOS 10.