six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

This week's sponsor

Six Colors Membership - Help support us by becoming a member and get access to a members-only podcast, newsletter, and community.

By Jason Snell

Getting iOS 10 right from the start

An unlocked iPhone waiting for you to press the home button (left) and widgets a quick swipe away (right).

The biggest change in iOS 10, the thing that required the most retraining for me, happens right at the beginning of every interaction.

In iOS 9, I began using my iPhone by putting my thumb on the home button of my iPhone 6S and pushing. Touch ID would sense my fingerprint and unlock the phone. Yes, it blew past all my notifications, but it was fast.

With iOS 10, I’ve needed to train myself to do things in an entirely different way.

First, there’s Raise to Wake. If you’ve got a 6S model (or if you’re someone waiting for their iPhone 7), you don’t need to do anything except lift your iPhone to see what’s on the notification screen. It has taken me quite a while to remember to limit myself to this gesture, but once I trained myself to do it, it was great: I can check the time and view my notifications without pressing a single button.

Then there’s Touch ID: If I raise my phone to wake it up while my thumb’s on the home button—but I manage to not push that button in, despite several years of training—the phone is now awake and unlocked, while still sitting at the home screen. I can interact with notification widgets and open items directly via 3D touch.

Taking a photo is different. You could always flip up from the bottom right corner of the screen to take a picture, but I found that gesture kind of finicky, and anyway, my muscle memory always resulted at me holding an unlocked phone at the home screen—so I’d need to flip up Control Center and tap the Camera icon to take a picture. With iOS 10, I’ve had to train myself—rather than pressing that button, I swipe from right to left to bring up the camera view. It’s a much better approach—once you train yourself out of old habits.

And then there’s the widget view, accessed by swiping from left to right. I’m still getting used to that one, but it’s pretty great to lift my phone and make one quick swipe to see the current weather conditions and forecast from the Wunderground app.

And of course, if you really want to unlock your phone, do push in the home button. But do it knowing that it’s one of an array of options Apple provides.

We’re all so used to pressing the home button or swiping to unlock, and iOS 10 really doesn’t want you to try either of those gestures. So when you upgrade to iOS 10, think about the habitual gestures you make when you need to get to something on your iPhone, and try very hard to start unlearning it. You’ll be much better off if you do.

See more iOS 10 coverage.

[If you appreciate articles like this one, help us continue doing Six Colors (and get some fun benefits) by becoming a Six Colors subscriber.]