Every year with the introduction of a new version of iOS, which is released to coincide with new iPhones, Apple adds new features and tweaks to its almost ten-year-old mobile operating system.
Since the early days of “iPhone OS”, iOS has come a long way and the tenth version, iOS 10, will be upon us in an early preview form in just a matter of months.
Apple normally unveils the latest version at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in early June, and this year should also see the latest and greatest features previewed in the keynote speech as well as countless hands-on sessions for the developers in attendance.
Previous versions of iOS have undergone major redesigns every couple of years, and while iOS 9 was more of a “speed and performance” update, in 2016 there may be more substantial changes and features, especially catering to larger devices such as the iPad Pro.
iOS 10 is expected to be formally released alongside the tenth iPhone, the iPhone 7, in September this year.
In this article, we’ve listed some of the most common user-requested features that we want to see in iOS 10 (excluding fixes to existing bugs and general improvements for specific devices).
So in no particular order, here are some of the features that we and others who’ve commented in online forums would like to see in iOS 10.
Control Center Customisations
Control Centre has certainly improved in recent years and gives quick access to some of the most commonly-used iOS features, but it still doesn’t offer enough customisation for everyone.
How about being able to “3D Touch” on the Wi-Fi icon to see a list of hotspots, or the ability to do the same for the Do Not Disturb button to then display options for how long you want it enabled?
3D Touch could also be used for the Bluetooth icon, to bring up a list of connected devices.
Besides 3D Touch actions on some of the buttons in Control Centre, perhaps the ability to add or remove items from the menu itself would be welcome, as well as being able to move them around to different positions.
Allow users to choose default apps
iOS uses Apple’s default apps where it makes sense (Safari for the web, Maps for mapping, and so on), but many users of online Apple forums say they’d like the ability to choose default apps.
For example, you could set Chrome as the default browser, which would mean any web links would automatically open Google’s app rather than Safari. Without a jailbreak, it’s currently not possible, but would make life easier for those people who prefer to use third-party apps in certain circumstances.
Improvements to the home screen
One of the most-requested features from iPhone users is the ability to move home screen icons to any location, rather than automatically snapping into place in a predefined grid.
The current method of moving apps around does keep everything neat and tidy, but there’s very little scope currently to really customise the position and appearance of today’s home screen app icons.
More dynamic app icons
Furthermore, more dynamic third-party app icons (just like the clock and calendar) would add a bit of spice to iOS’ home screen, as would a refresh of the colours and overall design. While we don’t expect a huge design overhaul like iOS 7 received, we do expect a fresh coat of paint on the overall look and feel of iOS 10.
Perhaps a Microsoft-like Live Tile interface would help to make the home screen more dynamic, rather than a list of apps, however that particular user interface has also come under criticism by many users. Or maybe a new theme selector would allow third parties to create home screen themes, colours and interactivity which could be used if desired.
A file manager
Android phones typically have a file manager app that allows users to move, copy and delete files with ease, more like a traditional desktop operating system. iOS had never had this (although iOS 9 does have the iCloud Drive app), and it’s something that power users would love to see. However, there is a danger with file managers that users could delete critical files, and so Apple may have the right approach when it comes to exposing the inner workings of the OS.
Better use of unused space on the home screen
iPhone users won’t especially care about this one, but iPad owners (and especially anyone with the iPad Pro) might wish that the huge amount of wasted space between app icons could be used better. Either a setting which allows you to increase the number of icons per screen, or just done automatically on larger iOS devices.
Even special home screen widgets could be a useful space-filler, giving quick access to information such as the weather or stocks.
Ability to hide or remove unused built-in apps
Apple includes many apps for iOS that are simply not used by some people. If you don’t own an Apple Watch, that’s an app taking up space that you don’t need. More examples include the Tips app, and the Voice Recorder, for instance.
Most people simply shove such apps into an “unused” folder and forget about them, but wouldn’t it be great if they could either be removed (freeing up space) or toggled on/off in a setting somewhere?
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently stated that the company was looking into ways to allow people to hide or remove such apps, but he also mentioned the difficulties in doing so: namely, that some of the apps include core functionality that is used by other parts of the operating system.
Still, here’s hoping that even if we can’t actually remove some of the unused apps built into iOS 10, we will be able to hide them a little more easily.
OS X, Apple’s desktop operating system, already has a night-time Dark Mode setting which uses a dark theme that’s easier on the eyes in the evening. It’s about time that iOS had the same.
The dark-themed keyboard used by Spotlight is one example that most people say they like, and it can’t be too difficult to extend the concept to other parts of iOS.
iOS 10 is already slated to include a special setting for adjusting the “colour temperature” similar to the f.lux app. In fact, it’s also in the iOS 9.3 beta version, but a new Dark Mode would really be the icing on the cake.
A single health and activity app
Today, there’s a Health app, and there’s also an Activity app mainly for Apple Watch users. Wouldn’t it be better to merge the two and just have one place to view all your health and fitness data?
In the latest iOS 9 beta, it’s possible to view all the health data in the Health app, but having two distinct apps still seems slightly confusing to some users.
There are dozens of other features that users are crying out for in iOS 10, and we’ve only covered a small fraction of them in this article.
Why not let us know what you would like to see in iOS 10…?
Roland Banks has been passionate about Apple for more than a decade. He started his career at British Telecom’s research division working on collaborative virtual reality environments, before becoming a video streaming specialist at 3 UK where he helped launch some of the world’s first mobile video services.
Roland moved to Asia 4 years ago, where he writes about his passion for all things Apple.