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Get to know iOS 10's radically new lock screen

Caitlin McGarry | July 11, 2016
You can now interact with your iPhone or iPad without even unlocking it.

Like before, third-party apps make their own widgets, so you don’t have to install anything extra. Just tap “Edit” at the bottom of the Spotlight screen to add, remove, and rearrange widgets instead of doing that from the Today tray in the Notification Center.

ios 10 widgets

You can easily add, remove, and reorder widgets.

Rich notifications bring the action

Apple has been working to make notifications more actionable since iOS 8, and in iOS 9, you could finally reply to a text message directly inside a notification, or mark a Reminders task as completed. With iOS 10, notifications are even more interactive.

Apple is calling the redesigned notification banners that pop up on your lock screen rich notifications, because you don’t have to open an app to interact with them. Third-party developers are experimenting with rich notification interactions now, and we saw a hint of what’s to come during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote last month with a sample Uber notification, which shows you the map of your driver’s route and allows you to call your driver or cancel the request without ever jumping into the Uber app.

Apple has already added the functionality to its built-in apps. For instance, when you receive a Calendar invite, you can view all the details and accept or decline the event directly inside the notification right on your lock screen. Messages were interactive on the lock screen starting in iOS 9, so you could quick reply to a text directly from a notification. But now you can view an entire message thread directly inside a notification banner.

ios10 lock screen 3d touch messages

3D Touch a notification (or swipe left and tap View if you don't have 3D Touch) to see the whole thread and even reply, without having to fully launch the Messages app.

Rich notifications are most powerful on 3D Touch-enabled devices—the 6s, 6s Plus, and whatever iPhone is released in September—because notifications become interactive when you deep press on them. But Apple is beta testing how rich notifications can work on older devices. Currently, you can interact with a rich notification by swiping left on it to see additional options, like Close and View, which gives you the expanded view that 3D Touch users would see by deep-pressing. To be honest, having to swipe and tap is lame compared with the 3D Touch functionality built into notifications, but I guess that’s just Apple nudging us to buy new devices.

Still in beta

iOS 10 makes your iPhone and iPad useful directly from the lock screen, no passcode required. That brings up its own set of privacy issues, though you can prevent people from seeing notifications on your locked device by toggling off Notifications View under Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Allow access when locked. Or just head to Settings > Notifications, and tweak the settings to prevent sensitive apps from sending notifications to the lock screen at all, while still letting other notifications through.

iOS 10 is currently in beta, so Apple could further revamp the lock screen in a variety of ways. We’ll update this story with any new features as Apple pushes out more beta releases this summer.


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