With iOS 10 due for launch on 13 September 2016 and stated to be Apple’s “biggest release yet”, here’s everything we know about the new operating system’s features and additions, alongside compatibility requirements to be aware of for your devices, apps and software projects.
Apple’s in-built Messages app is set to receive a significant revamp in iOS 10, offering many new functionality and personalisation options for developers and users to take advantage of.
Developers can now build app extensions that interact with the Messages app, allowing users to send text, media files, stickers and interactive content that updates as recipients respond to the message. There are two main types of app extensions for developers to use:
- iMessage apps – custom UI within the default iOS 10 Messages app, providing ‘app-within-an-app’ functionality. As Apple states on their website, users can now “create and share content, make payments and more” using integrated iMessage apps without having to close Messages. This includes the App Store for iMessage, allowing users to purchase stickers and iMessage apps immediately, as well as initiating an image search from a host app’s website.
- Sticker packs – provides sticker content for users to apply to their messages. These can be created without writing code, by dragging images into the Sticker Pack folder inside the Stickers asset catalog in Xcode.
From an end-user perspective, the main feature updates in the iOS 10 Messages app include:
- New animations – customise the way messages are sent, with iOS 10 offering a set of new animations to better emphasise tone and emotion in text-based conversations. These animations range from subtle shakes and vibrations of individual message bubbles, through to animations which fill the entire screen. Keywords like “Happy Birthday!” or “Congratulations!” will also cause specific animations to play.
- Handwritten notes – messages can be ‘handwritten’ and sent via the default iOS 10 messaging app. Strokes and gestures used to write the message will be displayed as an animation for the recipient.
- Invisible Ink – photos and messages can be set to initially appear hidden, which can be revealed when the recipient uses a swipe gesture.
Apple’s voice-activated virtual assistant is set to receive a major update in iOS 10, adding a new feature with significant potential for app developers and users alike:
- Siri app integration – using certain supported app features, Siri allows users to immediately request services using voice commands in specific domains such as sending and receiving payments, organising ride bookings and managing workouts. Developers can utilise Siri integration in their apps via SiriKit, which as Apple states, works by “building an extension that communicates with Siri, even when your app isn’t running.” Here’s the full list of SiriKit supported services in iOS 10:
- Audio or video calling
- Sending or receiving payments
- Searching photos
- Booking a ride
- Managing workouts
Apple Maps has received a significant update in iOS 10, following up on previously poorly received iterations of the app. After initially being integrated into iOS 6 in 2012, the Maps app has undergone several revisions and updates, with iOS 10 reported to provide significant improvements and new features for developers to utilise:
- Map extensions – external apps which provide restaurant reservations, ride bookings and location services will be available to access within Maps, allowing users to “book, track, and pay” in a convenient manner. Maps will also suggest relevant services based on the user's current location.
Gestures, Functions and Notifications
Several new visual and gesture based updates will be available in iOS 10. These include:
- Enhanced search functionality – users can search for visual content using text-based terms (e.g. searching for “dog” will display photos from your gallery with dogs in them).
- Contextual predictions – when typing text like “my email address is”, your email address will appear as a selectable option from a list, saving you from having to type it out.
- Rich notifications – photos and videos can be viewed directly from a notification, and messages can be responded to in a similar manner.
- Raise to wake – picking up your device will cause your screen to turn on, displaying your notifications.
- Touch and go – certain apps like Calendar, Stocks and Weather provide 3D Touch support to display additional information on screen.
The baseline for iOS 10-supported devices consists of the iPhone 5, iPad 4th gen and the iPod touch 6th gen. Previous generation devices such as the iPhone 4s, iPad 2 and iPod touch 5th gen devices (and earlier) will not be supported.
The full list of iOS 10 compatible devices is provided below:
Swipe to see more
|iPad 4th gen
||iPod touch 6th gen
|iPad Air 2
|iPad mini 2
|iPad mini 3
||iPhone 6 Plus
|iPad mini 4
||iPhone 6s Plus
||iPhone 7 Plus
How To Download iOS 10
The update will be available to download via your Apple device from 13 September 2016, and you will receive a notification to download iOS 10 when it is available. You can also navigate to Settings > General > Software Update to download the latest version of iOS.
What To Be Aware of When Compatibility Testing for iOS 10?
- User Interface (UI) Testing: UI testing should focus on the app's menu items, controls and widgets in order to ensure that these appear correctly formatted and that they continue to functionally operate effectively.
- Testing Download & Installation: Always try a fresh download and install of your app from the Apple store. If it is logging you out directly after log-in, this may indicate that the application doesn’t work correctly with the new operating system. If the app loads correctly, then performing log-on / log-off testing and running sanity checks of basic functionality will provide greater confidence that the app works within the new OS.
- Comparison Testing Old vs. New OS: Performing test cases on two devices running different operating systems (e.g. iOS9 vs. iOS 10) side-by-side can provide some interesting discrepancies which might not be noticed without reference to a baseline version.
- Multiple Device Testing: We would always recommend performing the same tests on a number of devices, prioritised based on your application’s customer user base. This may included older models of the iPhone as well as the iPad.
- Regression Testing: Your app functionality should remain the same regardless of operating system version, so a regression test of some functional test cases is always recommended.
Where Can I Get Help Testing My Mobile Content?
Planit offers compatibility testing services for all mobile sites and apps, with affordably priced testing packages available. Check out our Mobile & App Testing page for more information.
iOS10 Compatibility Testing for just £925 + VAT
- iOS 10 preview - http://www.apple.com/au/ios/ios10-preview/
- iOS 10 for developers - https://developer.apple.com/ios/
- Siri + Apps - https://developer.apple.com/sirikit/
- iMessage + Apps - https://developer.apple.com/imessage/
- What's new in iOS 10 - https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/content/releasenotes/General/WhatsNewIniOS/Articles/iOS10.html