Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

Cultivate a good life and record it.



iOS 10 tech tips

Apple’s latest (and most advanced) mobile Operating System, iOS 10, is now available and it’s a killer of an upgrade! If your iPhone is newer than an iPhone 5 and your iPad is newer than an iPad Air (or iPad mini 2), then this is an upgrade worth getting! The cost is free, so you really have no excuse.

To download the update directly on your device, go to Settings > General > Software Updates. Depending on your connection (and the age of your device), the update will take anywhere from 20 – 40 mins.

There are a ton of new features included in iOS 10. Some you can find on Apple’s official iOS site, and others are a little less available but still very cool and useful. Rather than talking about the features that everyone knows about, I thought I would cover some of the less talked about features that will save you time, effort, and even your sanity.

So, without rambling on anymore, here are my top 10 iOS 10 features that you probably don’t know about.

1) Quickly Access the Camera from the Lock Screen
How many times have you missed that perfect shot because it took too many taps to turn on your iPhone and open the camera? For me, one missed photo was too many. Apple understands that one of the key features to any smartphone is the camera, and access to this needs to be super-fast and easy. A new feature in iOS 10 is the “raise to wake” feature which automatically turns your iPhone on when you lift it up. Accessing the camera app is now as simple and quick as swiping left from the lock screen.

2) Use Siri to Quickly Find Photos
In iOS 10, you can now use Siri to search for photos and videos based on a particular date, time, or location. For example, let’s say you attended a soccer game on September 10th. Six months later, you’re talking to a friend about the game and want to show a few photos and videos. Ordinarily, that means opening the Photos app and scrolling through hundreds or thousands of photos and videos to find the exact photo or video you’re looking for. With iOS 10 you can simply say, “Show me photos/videos from September 10th.”

You can also ask Siri to bring up photos and videos from “yesterday,” “last week,” or even “last month.” To have Siri retrieve photos/videos from a specific location, simply say something like, “Show me photos/videos from Hawaii.” Because the camera uses GPS location information each time you take a photo or video, that information is usable when searching.

You can even use Siri to look for specific items or people from within your Photos library. For example, you can ask Siri to “show me photos of cats,” and Siri will search your photo library for snapshots with cats in the picture. Siri can recognize all sorts of items… cars, mountains, grass, airplanes, and more!

3) Find Your Misplaced Apple Watch
Prior to iOS 10, you could use your Apple Watch to locate a lost iPhone, but you couldn’t use an iPhone to locate a lost Apple Watch. The theory was that your Watch is always on your wrist, so how could you possibly lose it? Well, the reality is, it happens. While this won’t do you any good if you lose both devices, Apple has given us an easy way to locate our misplaced Watch from our iPhone. In order for this to work, your Apple Watch will need to be upgraded to watchOS 3, which is a free upgrade and recommended for all Apple Watch owners.

To locate a lost Apple Watch from your iPhone, simply open the Find my iPhone app (download for free from the iOS App Store), tap on your Apple Watch, then choose an action (Play Sound, Lost Mode, or Erase Watch).


4) Only Show Unread Email
We all get lots and lots (and lots) of email, and because of the sheer quantity, it can sometime be difficult to quickly find just the group of emails you’re looking for. In the lower left-hand corner of the Mail app is a new icon which allows us to toggle on and off basic message filtering.


By default, enabling this filtering will show us only unread email. Tapping the icon again will disable filtering, showing us all messages in that folder.

We can change the filter criteria by enabling the filter then tapping on the “Filtered By” option in the center of the screen.


As you can see, we have several filtering options to choose from. When the changes are made, they will be our new default filter set until we change it again.

5) Send Handwritten Notes Using Messages
Texting with a friend, family member, or coworker is cool and convenient, but sending a hand-written message to someone via text adds a nice personal touch that you just can’t get using simple text. Adding a handwritten message is super-easy and fun! To get started, we’ll need to open the Messages app. Once there, we can access handwriting in one of two ways depending on the device you’re using. For iPhone, simply turn the phone on its side. For iPad, we access handwriting by tapping on the handwriting button in the lower right-hand corner. Either way, we are presented with a blank canvas to write on.


At this point, we can hand-write any message we want using our finger or even Apple Pencil (iPad Pro only). Not only can this contain the written word, but also images (I’ve seen some pretty amazing drawings come through this way).


When we’re done, we tap on “Done” and send. On the recipient’s device, your handwriting appears using a fluid handwriting animation. This is a great example of Apple’s attention to detail.

6) Transcribing Voicemails
Have you ever been in a noisy location trying to listen to a voicemail that someone left for you? It seems to happen all the time for me. Wouldn’t it be awesome if iOS could transcribe your voicemails for you? iOS 10 can and it happens 100% automatically! Each new voicemail left in your box after upgrading to iOS 10 is automatically transcribed so you can preview the message before listening to it.


Unfortunately, it won’t go back and retroactively transcribe voicemails from before the upgrade, but hopefully you don’t have too many of those to worry about.

7) Adjusting Brightness of the Flashlight
The flashlight app is a great example of an app that does one very simple thing really well. It turns the flashlight on and off. That’s it. In some cases, though, it would be great to be able to control the brightness, right? With iOS 10, we can. First, we need to swipe up from the bottom to reveal our Control Center options. From here, you will see the flashlight button that will turn the flashlight on and off. To adjust the brightness, Force touch (press firmly) the button to reveal 3 brightness levels… Bright Light, Medium Light, and Low Light.


For those who don’t have 3D Touch (on older iPhones), you’ll need to tap and hold to access the same features.

8) Have Siri Announce Who’s Calling
With each new release of iOS, Siri not only gets smarter but becomes more sociable and helpful. In iOS 10, Siri now gives us the option to have incoming calls announced to us. This is great for times when we are wearing our EarPods/AirPods and/or when our iPhone is connected to a car’s entertainment system. This feature is disabled by default, so it’s something we need to turn on. To do this, we go to Settings > Phone > Announce Calls. From here, we choose the circumstances that we want calls announced.


9) Remember Where You Parked
When using Apple Maps for directions in iOS 10, a user’s iPhone will remember a vehicle’s location at the end of that trip (it’s smart enough to know when it needs to do this). This is done completely automatically for a trip that does not end at your home address. This is ideal for parking at an airport or train station, for example. Your parked car will show up automatically as a recommended destination when you open Maps.

This is yet another reason to use Maps when going from point A to point B.

10) Limit What You See on Your Lock Screen
In an ideal world when everyone can be trusted, there would be no need to password protect anything or hide sensitive data from a device. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world right now. The result is that we need to protect our information. In iOS, the Lock Screen is full of great information for you… calendar events, incoming text messages, Home Control, and more! Depending on your circumstance, you may not want all of this information so readily available to just anyone who finds your iPhone. To turn on or off certain features in your Lock Screen, go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. Near the bottom, you will see a section called “Allow Access When Locked.” Feel free to turn on and off various features.


I hope these features have been fun and useful for you to learn about! Have fun checking them out and seeing how they work.


30 Responses

  1. Christine says:

    Thank you for this article, I wasn’t aware of several of these things!

  2. Mandy says:

    You are a “Gem”, this is excellent, and outlined in easy to use format…..Thankyou!

  3. Cyndi says:


  4. WOW! I never would have known about all these AWESOME options. Kevin is AMAZING. Thanks so much for sharing such useful & helpful tips that I’ll use on a regular basis. :)

  5. Monique says:

    Kevin’s tips are fantastic!!!! Thanks so much!

  6. Alicia says:

    Loved the tips but I can’t get the transcribing to work…..not sure if its a “Settings” thing or not.

    • Hi Alicia! There’s nothing you need to do in order to use transcribing, HOWEVER, it only works on messages received after you updated to iOS 10. If someone left a voicemail for you before the upgrade, it won’t be transcribed. If someone left a voicemail for you after you upgraded, it will automatically be transcribed. Pretty slick!

  7. Alexis says:

    I also don’t have the transcribe feature or the flashlight feature. I notice that the image of the transcribe feature in action has the word “beta” on it. Perhaps Kevin got an advance version that didn’t roll out with the update?

    • Good catch on the “beta”. While it is in beta (officially), it rolled out to all iPhone users as part of the generally-available version of iOS 10. The only system requirement that I am aware of is that you need to be using visual voicemail, which is a feature that most carriers offer. If you don’t see voicemail transcribing after the upgrade to iOS 10, you may want to check with your carrier.

  8. Norine says:

    Thanks so much learned a lot just got an iPhone so pretty green lol

  9. Shannon says:

    How about a second installment? I didn’t know most of these features!

  10. Robin says:

    Nice article! I am both a tech writer and an iOS developer. And a Project Life customer, of course. I had heard about the flashlight adjustments, but had not taken the time to look it up. Thanks for the tip.

  11. Christy says:

    Tanks for this easy to follow summary!!
    My daughter and I both had the handwriting feature the first day after we received the update, but neither of us can access it now. We can see the words that we hmdwrote, however.
    The voice mail transcribing feature is not available, neither is the flashlight brightness adjuster ENT feature. I have an iPhone 6s; I wonder if that could be why…
    There is another update available – 10.0.2 — perhaps this will fix some of the missing features!

    • Your iPhone 6s would definitely give you all the features that I described in the article. If some of the features aren’t working for you, it may be worth a quick trip to your local Apple Store to have them look at it.

  12. Randi says:

    Hi! I just updated and I’m confused (and concerned). There is no ‘rise to wake’ feature and now it’s actually less easy to access the camera app. Before, when I pressed the home button to wake up the phone, there was a camera app icon on the bottom right of the home screen that I could swipe up to get the camera quickly activated. Now when I press the home button, I have to swipe up to see that same camera icon and then press that to activate the camera. So this upgrade means I have to make two motions, not one quick one and it’s worse. I have an iPhone 6. Thoughts? Can I switch back to the previous iOS version? All the other features while interesting, are not important to me but missing that photo is!

    • Randi says:

      Oops…I meant to say that it’s the lock screen that had that quickly to access camera icon that I swiped up to activate the camera.

    • I wil be the first to admit that accessing the camera from the notifications screen isn’t as intuitive as it should be, but once you know it’s there, it’s MUCH faster than the old way. When the screen turns on, simply swipe to the left and there’s the camera!

      As for the Raise to Wake feature, you will find that setting in Settings > Display & Brightness. Enable “Raise to Wake”.

  13. Shana says:

    You spoil us Kevin! Thank you for the overview, much appreciated!

  14. Angel Taraila says:

    Thank you so much for the insight. I knew some but not all. I love your contributions

  15. Vanessa B. says:

    This is so cool. I never would have known about these. Thank you!!

  16. Claire says:

    Thanks Kevin! If there’s 10 more, ask your sister if you can take over the blog again! ;) I shared those with my friends and they loved them!


  17. Krista says:

    Thanks for the great tips!! I just impressed my college daughter by sending her a hand written message!!