The 28 best hidden iOS 10 features everyone should know

We're not going to take you through a comprehensive tour of iOS 10 here — that's the review's job. Instead, I want to highlight some of my favorite lesser-known features arriving with iOS 10. Some are big, some are small, but they've all been invaluable over my past few months testing the operating system.


1. Change your Home button's behavior

Don't like the new Lock screen behavior in iOS 10? You can change it right back in the Settings app.

2. Get rid of all your Notification Center alerts

Trash five days' worth of Instagram notifications by force pressing (or long pressing) on the X on your notifications screen to bring up an alert to clear all notifications.

3. Change the brightness of your flashlight

Don't want to wake your partner, but need to find your keys on the nightstand? Force press on the Flashlight icon in Control Center to access three new options: Low Light, Medium Light, or Bright Light.

4. Magnify your surroundings

If you've ever wanted to use your iPhone as a magnifying glass, the Accessibility options in iOS 10 will make your day: The new Magnifier setting in Accessibility turns your iPhone camera into a giant magnifying glass with a super-zoom, flashlight, brightness and contrast filter, and more.


5. Pinch-to-zoom stickers to make them bigger (or smaller)

After you've peeled a sticker off and are getting ready to send it on its merry way, you can add a second finger to pinch-to-zoom in or out on the sticker — this will make it bigger or smaller on your message.

6. Use stickers to replace emoji (or people's heads)

More of a troll than a true hidden feature, you can place stickers atop almost anything — including images and emoji! It's a pretty hilarious way to spruce up a Messages conversation.

(And don't forget this handy trick to remove stickers, if you've been pranked.)

7. Messages conversations sort images separately from attachments

If you're in a group chat full of file transfers or you simply want to separate the GIFs from the ZIPs, you can tap the Info button in a Messages conversation and scroll down; your images and attachments are sorted into two different categories.

8. Individual read receipts for each Messages conversation

If you want more fine-grained control than "Everyone can see when I've looked at their messages," you're in luck with iOS 10. The Send Read Receipts button is hidden behind the Info button in any Messages conversation.

9. Turn on Low Quality Image mode to save bandwidth

All those animated stickers and wayward GIFs can bulk up your iMessage archive in a hurry. To save your poor iPhone from stuffing itself full of images, you can turn on Low Quality Image mode in Settings > Messages to reduce sent and received image sizes.


10. Siri offers suggestive corrections now

Did Siri mishear your dictation to your significant other as "I need a hammer witch" when you meant "I need a ham sandwich?" Rather than manually typing out your correction, you can tap on your spoken phrase in the Siri interface and Siri will automatically provide several alternative guesses as to what it thought you said. This has the added benefit of training Siri to better understand your voice — though you can still always enter manual text correction if your assistant is way off base.

11. Siri takes selfies

Ask Siri to take a selfie, and you'll be instantly whisked away to the front-facing camera. Whee!


12. Siri, find my car

If your car has Bluetooth or CarPlay, Maps can automatically display it on a map, along with when you last turned the car off and space for notes and a photo of your garage level, if you're the kind who forgets such things. (I am.)

You can also ask Siri "Where's my car?" if you want a quick and precise location, and even get directions to it.

13. Don't take me on the ferry

If you frequently use public transportation but would prefer Maps didn't show you options you never take, you can customize Transit to ignore routes on buses, trains, ferries, or commuter rail.

14. Quickly share your location

You can send friends your whereabouts faster than a speeding bullet by either pressing firmly on the Maps icon to trigger 3D Touch or by tapping on your GPS locator inside Maps itself. (Tapping on the blue GPS locator is also handy if you need your current longitude and latitude for any geocaching hunts.)


15. Sort your inbox to frequently used mailboxes

If you have the Move option selected as your Swipe Left gesture in Settings > Mail, you'll get an additional shortcut thanks to iOS 10's machine learning: After filing a few messages, Mail will start to offer suggestions on where you should file the message (i.e. "Coupons and Bills") rather than making you select the same option repeatedly.

16. Enable complete threads

Mail has had message threads for awhile, but iOS 10 brings a Settings option for Complete Threads: It lets you view every message in the thread — your sent emails included — and you can even sort by newest at the top or bottom, to your personal preference.

17. Automatically unsubscribe from mailing lists

As part of its proactive suggestions, iOS 10 attempts to identify subscription emails, and will present you with a banner that you can tap to automatically unsubscribe from that list if you'd rather not be on it any longer. Sayonara, searching through fine print!


18. Quickly close all tabs

Want to clear everything currently open in your browser in a hurry? Tap and hold on the Pages button in Safari, and you'll get an option to close all your tabs at once. (Note that this won't clear your history — you'll have to go into the Bookmarks section for that.)

19. View (and delete) individual website data

Want to get rid of a specific tracking cookie or bit of web data? If you poke into Settings > Safari > Advanced, you can view and delete individual website data groupings.

Camera & Photos

20. Third-party apps support shooting and editing in Raw format

For professional photographers or people who like post-processing their images, this is a big deal. I'll let Ben Rice McCarthy explain further.

21. Use Markup on your Photos

The Photos app now supports Mail's Markup extension, allowing you to draw on your screenshots or images, add callouts, and more. And it's all non-destructive, so if you don't like what you've done, you can erase it and start from scratch.


22. Groove out to your Favorites Mix

With iOS 10 and Apple Music, Apple has introduced a customized weekly playlist of new music, based on what you listen to and enjoy. Your Favorites Mix is updated every Friday and (in my experience) contains a wide variety of styles and artists, all of which flow together very nicely. You can even save the playlist to your local collection if you enjoy it.

23. Scroll up inside the mini-player to access Lyrics and Up Next

Lyrics are new to Music in iOS 10, while Up Next has moved into a more prominent spot, but both can be hard to discover naturally. With the miniplayer fully open, just swipe up to view (or hide) lyrics, along with your upcoming song queue.

24. Optimize your music storage (or don't!)

Previous to iOS 10, Apple would automatically try to manage the size of your local music collection to prevent you from stuffing your iPhone — sometimes with disastrous consequences, if you ended up in a place that lacked the internet.

iOS 10 has changed all that, making Optimize Storage a conscious choice on the user's part: You can either let Apple manage your local collection, or you can keep everything you download and manage it yourself. Your choice.


25. Save your voicemail messages

Whether you've gotten valuable information in your voicemail or just want to replay a sweet message from a family member, iOS 10 will let you save your voicemail messages via the Share button.

26. Get to bed!

Short of coming into your house and forcing you to go to bed at a certain hour – Apple can't magically solve your sleep problems – but the company can at least try to aid in your effort to get better sleep. Clock's new Bedtime feature coordinates your normal alarm wakeup time with helpful alerts and reminders pre-bedtime to get you to unwind and go to sleep on time.

iPad improvements

27. Switch the left pane in Split View with Spotlight

If you have a Smart Connector or Bluetooth keyboard connected to your iPad, you can trigger Spotlight (Command-Space) from anywhere — even when you're in Split View! As such, it lets you launch any app into the left pane, even if it's not in your recently used apps (Command-Tab).

28. Give your hardware and software keyboards different settings

Autocorrect and auto-capitalization is great when you're typing on a software keyboard, but can turn into a huge pain when you're using something more reliable. With iOS 10, though, you can choose different settings for each keyboard option — no more random capitalized words for your Bluetooth or Smart Connector keyboard!

Your favorites?

What's your favorite hidden iOS 10 tip? Let me know!

Serenity Caldwell

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

  • Close all tabs. About time.
  • Infinitely useful article! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You guys rock! Happy Update Day! :-)
  • I like the new "Settings/Phone/Announce Calls" feature, can be configured to work [Always] [Headphones & Car] or [Headphones Only]. Doesn't replace the ringer, just announces the caller name before the ringer sounds. Became used to this functionality with a Plantronics Bluetooth headset, and wished it was part of iOS -- now it is :-) Still holding out hope that someday a true iMessage/SMS sync between devices will be an option -- don't like having to delete messages from my MBP, iPhone & Watch independently of each other, reminds me of the olden days POP3 email account.
  • I agree about the messages it's rather annoying. Sent from the iMore App
  • I didn't know about "Announce Calls" I'm really looking forward to that one.
  • It's a great feature -- the only thing missing now is the Plantronics feature to speak [Answer or Ignore] after the caller's name is announced... ;-)
  • Ditto on "close all tabs"...I cant believe it took this long, though...
  • I'm having trouble setting the "parked Car" feature on maps. I have bluetooth not carplay, its a 2016 Ford Fusion SE with sync. Am I missing a step? All I see is mark my location options. Thanks!
  • Not sure what you're trying to "set" but I simply did the upgrade at work, and drove home with bluetooth on and when I got out it showed me where it was automatically. 2017 Subaru Forester, No Carplay either.
  • yeah nothing to set up I believe. Just have to have a bluetooth connection to car and the phone recognizes that you are in your car and then not when it disconnects. It then knows to remember where your car is due to your movement. Same with Aux port. Driving around with AUX and then not, and then walking around... it knowwwwws. Works quite magically actually. May need to have some kind of location settings turned on in settings app for privacy>Location>Maps and Privacy Location>Siri or something like that.
  • what is the app of that photo u show at "Camera & Photos"? thanks.
  • I just want to know one thing, and this hasn't been fixed since the very first releases of iOS 10 beta and I've reported it to Apple dozens and dozens of times and their reply was "it's working as designed" (I'm paraphrasing). Basically, I want Notification Center to open in Today/Widgets view by default like it used to in iOS 9 and before. Or at least REMEMBER where I left off because it's always opening in Notifications view by default no matter what, even if I've already disabled Notifications in Notification Center. I want QUICK access to my widgets in NC, I use them A LOT! Now in iOS 10 it's a two-step process, now I have swipe down for NC and then swipe left to get to Today/Widgets view. I have held off updating to iOS 10 on my daily iPhone 6S Plus because of that reason, my test iPhone 6, however, is on iOS 10.0.1 beta and the issue is still there. I use widgets a lot and I want to get to them with a single swipe, not two. I don't use NC for notifications, only for widgets and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. At least give us the option to have Today/Widgets view open by default each time we invoke NC. I don't know why Apple would think that this is the proper way but everyone uses their phones differently. Will someone please tell me if they're having the same issue and can try this: Swipe down for NC (Notification Center) and open the Today/Widgets view, and then swipe away NC, then swipe down to invoke it again, does it open in Today/Widgets view (page 1 of NC) or does it open in notifications view (2nd page of NC)? If someone can report back that would be great. Thanks! Also, I hate that Apple removed the iOS 9 shortcut to play an entire album or playlist simply by tapping on the album artwork in the Music app. It was wonderful being able to scroll through my music, tap on an album artwork for a specific album and have it play from start to finish while not having left my list of songs and still being able to scroll through my library and not have to tap, tap again, tap on the song, tap play, tap back, tap back again to continue scrolling. I feel like with iOS 10 everything is an extra tap or two to perform a task which only used to take a single tap back in iOS 9, a regression if you ask me. I'm sticking to iOS 9 for the time being. I won't bother reporting anything to Apple in their so-called "beta program" because nothing ever gets taken into consideration. What in the world were the two dozen beta versions (developer and public) for after yesterday's disastrous iOS 10 launch bricking a considerable number of iOS devices? Horrible. Apologies for the rant, but if someone can please report back on the Notification Center issue, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks again!
  • I have the same issue with the NC and Today View. It keeps defaulting to the NC which I also do not want. I tested your procedure but it still defaults to NC. Yikes...
  • The solution is to swipe left to right to access the Today View instead of swiping down.
  • I know you can do that on the home screen, but what if I'm in an app? Also I want to be able to access Today/Widgets view with one swipe of Notification Center and not have to swipe to a different page. I only use NC for widgets, that's it, I don't use them for notifications, I made sure that I don't get any notifications in NC. Can't believe Apple's response to this was "it's working as designed." Really? To have to swipe twice to do the same task that only used to be one swipe? As I said, regression on their part.
  • On Apple Music there doesn't seem to be a queue option besides "Play Next". I can't find a way to add a song to play later, the only option is to play next for any song I click. Sent from the iMore App
  • I solved the issue by simply swiping left to right instead of down. I was In iOS 9 mode and forgot I could now swipe left to right to see the Today View.
  • Thank You iMore! My "non-techie" wife also says thanks for all of the hard work you all do, explaining in easy to understand terms, all the new features of iOS 10. While I don't mind answering her tech questions, she actually enjoys reading your guides and how-to's, because they are are so easy to understand.
  • Great stuff here, thanks.
    I've updated my iPad but not my iphone, I always do with the new operating system, just to see if I like it first.
    Question: is there a way to show notifications grouped together by app? I liked being able to close all notifications one "app" at a time, not just one message at a time, or all at once.
    I'm not positive, but I believe I customized that last time, although I could be wrong.
  • there are really nice features in iOS 10. but what i hate is maps. it is really bad and not reliable. i tried so many things and still bad. i even found that google maps works better on iOS. ether pull the plug or work harder on it. like it is right now i wont be able to use it because i travel a lot and need a service that works.