What to expect from iOS 10

The latest evolution of Apple’s smartphone has arrived in the form of the iPhone 7, which features a new emphasis on wireless connectivity, a Taptic Engine borrowed from the Apple Watch, defense against sand and water, and two (two!) new stylish shades of black. You won’t find a stereo jack on the iPhone 7 or the iPhone 7 Plus, but you will find iOS 10, the latest and greatest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

What’s in the Box?

With the announcement of the new phones, we learned about some new features in iOS 10 that are unique to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Developers will now be able to harness the Taptic Engine, for example, which controls the phone’s system for providing touch feedback.

The new phones of course have new cameras, and iOS 10 includes some tools photographers will really appreciate. On the iPhone 7 Plus, you’ll be able to take pictures with incredible depth of field and a bokeh effect in a new Portrait shooting mode thanks to the larger iPhone’s dual cameras. But Apple has said that feature won’t be shipping with iOS 10 and will ship in a later software update. The new phones will be able to handle raw image files in DNG format for more control over editing.

Even if you don’t have the latest iPhone, iOS 10 will change how you use your iPhone in many ways. First up is Messages, which will now include WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger-style stickers, text effects, and even animated visuals. Additional add-ons will be available in a new store, letting developers bring their own creations—like Mario. In fact, you can use some features of other apps without leaving Messages. It’s a bold new day for texting.

Apple iPhone users will also appreciate an updated lock screen that shows more information in notifications and now features 3D Touch integration. Just hold and press a notification to view or interact with an app.

Need to be in control? Swiping up from the bottom of the screen opens an improved Control Center; swipe right for a music-centric section. On the lock screen, swipe right for widgets or left for the camera.

Apple Music is a great way to stream your favorite tunes, but the design of the app was never particularly impressive. Actually, it’s a bit of a mess. Apple heard our pleas and included an updated version of Music in iOS 10, featuring a cleaner visual design. Hopefully, this will make finding and listening to your favorite songs a little less frustrating.

iOS 10 also features some remarkable interactions between devices. My favorite is a universal clipboard, which lets you copy text on your phone and then paste it on your Mac seamlessly. Keen!

I Want It All, And I Want It Now

Since it was first announced, Apple has been giving certain folks a sneak peek at the latest iteration of iOS. First, it was just the developers, with the prerelease version. But there’s been a public beta since July, letting anyone and their robotic dog take iOS 10 for a spin.

That process is winding down, now that we’ve had a peek at the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. iOS 10 is currently in Gold Master, which means it’s identical to the release version of iOS 10 that’s coming very, very soon.

Here’s the bad news: If you weren’t signed up with the Apple beta program before the Gold Master version of iOS 10 is released, you won’t be able to enroll your iPhone in the program. According to Apple’s documentation, device enrollment is triggered by the release of a new version of the beta.

If you’re reading this now, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to snag iOS 10 early. The good news is that you won’t have long to wait. When the new version of iOS is released, you’ll receive a system alert on your phone. Tap it, or open the Settings app, tap General, and tap Software Update. When your update is ready, you’ll be able to tap and start the installation process.

Remember, installing new versions of iOS (especially big, full-number versions) can take quite a while. It also takes power and storage. Have your charger handy and clear off some extra space on your device before you start downloading. It’s also a good idea to back up your phone, just in case.

But I Really, Really Want It!

Prior to the launch of the public beta, Apple offered registered software developers the first crack at the operating system. If you absolutely must have iOS 10 before launch (which, again, is in a few days!), you should be able to download the gold master from Apple’s developer site.

Note that I am not a registered developer, and have not been able to confirm that the gold master is still available. We’re currently working to confirm its availability.

Becoming an Apple developer is surprisingly easy. Your first step is, of course, to back up your phone. You second step is to register with Apple as a developer. Doing so is just a matter of filling out a form and forking over $99 a year. That’s a bit steep, and will probably deter all but the most determined.

In the face of Apple’s paywall, you might be tempted to download a version of the beta from somewhere other than Apple. Do not do this. Apple is the only source you should trust with your device, especially when it comes to the operating system. Creating a malicious OS would no doubt be extremely difficult, but I wouldn’t put anything past hackers these days.

Once you’re a developer and your device is backed up, head over to Apple’s developer channel and sign in. Once logged in, select the appropriate download. As of this writing, it’s iOS 10 beta 1, but future releases will appear here as well.

If you visit the developer download page on your iPhone or iPad, you should be able to download a configuration file that will allow you to download the beta OS over the air. This is probably the easiest way.

If that’s not your style, you can download a special restore version of the beta OS to your computer. Connect your device, tap Trust on the pop-up that appears on your mobile device’s screen, and then open iTunes on your computer if it hasn’t opened already. Press and hold the Option key (or ALT key, depending on your keyboard) and select the beta file you downloaded.

The developer beta tends to be very, very raw. Sometimes unusable. Remember, it’s intended to be a development environment and not really a usable operating system.

Next Time Around

If you were late for this open beta, fear not! Apple has been very transparent with its update process as of late, and it’s a near certainty that future major releases will be available prior to release. Emphasis on major: It’s unlikely an incremental update will get the pre-release treatment. But if you register to be a developer now, you can rest assured that before Apple announces iOS 11, which will probably be at WWDC 2017, you’ll be able to get the earliest release. Apple tends to release its operating systems to developers first and to the public several months later.

If you’d rather try out something a little more stable, consider enrolling in the public beta program. As I said, signing up for the public beta probably won’t get you access to iOS 10. But if you enroll now, you’ll be set up for next major release public beta.

To join, just head over to Apple’s website, click through the friendly Sign Up button, and agree to the program’s terms. You’ll see a page explaining how the beta works, and it’s definitely worth reading. Note that enrolling in the beta program will also make future beta versions of macOS available.

When Apple releases the next beta update, you’ll have the opportunity to enroll your device.

The public beta is available via an over-the-air update, which means you’ll be able to download the iOS 10 beta as you would any other Apple software update.

Worth It?

With the public release of iOS 10 just a few days away, there’s not much sense in scrambling to get it now. Sit back, put some jazz on your Bluetooth headphones (you’ll be needing those a lot more in the future), and wait for that sweet, sweet over-the-air update.

If you simply must have the latest from Apple, enrolling in the public beta is certainly worthwhile for the future. If for no other reason, it gives you a chance to give feedback directly to the company. Your own recommendations might shape the future of macOS and iOS. If you’re a developer, enrolling in the developer beta is essential, but the average person is probably best served by relaxing and waiting for the final, polished release.

[Source:-Chicago Tribune]