Friday, 8 July 2016

iOS 10: Lockscreen and Notifications

Today the iOS 10 Public Beta was released and I downloaded it in hope that it would bring a plethora of changes, small and large, which streamlined and improved the iOS experience. The update, although still a beta, is very stable and resembles iOS 9 in almost every way conceivable apart from the lockscreen and notifications.

Notifications are now large. Apple calls them “rich” however they just take up lots of space now which is inconvenient if you have lots of notifications to rifle though. The size of these large bubbles also means that you can’t see as many of them on your screen at once. This is more of a step backwards in innovation than a step forwards.

The widgets tab (accessible when you pull down from the top of the screen) used to be sleek and modern however in iOS 10, widgets looks like notifications and, like notifications, are inconveniently large. The widgets tab is now also accessible if you swipe to the far left on your homescreen or lockscreen - there is no escaping it! Widgets and notifications have become ugly hindrances rather than helpful in most cases.

On the lock screen, you can now interact with the huge notifications in a more dynamic way, access the widgets panel (as mentioned above), and access your camera by sliding right. Apple has ditched its iconic ‘slide to unlock’ method and replaced it with ‘press home to unlock’. This uses Touch ID to unlock your phone. Failing that, you are then presented with the passcode screen. It does seem like a security improvement as there are no longer multiple options for unlocking your phone and you are forced to use Touch ID first.

Also in iOS 10 are the addition of apps such as ‘Home’ and the ability to remove first party apps but these aren’t features that will be used by the average user. I will also admit that iMessage has been vastly improved however I don’t use iMessage so those new features will just get in the way when I need to text somebody.

And that, basically, is all that iOS 10 is. It’s a little disappointing that Apple seems to have ran out of ideas for the 10th version of its mobile operating system. They’ve changed notifications and widgets for the worse and the lock screen is different but probably just as productive as the old lock screen.