The iOS 10.0 Public Beta came out Thursday, July 7, 2016. I installed it within a few hours of its release and began using it on my main phone. Here are my thoughts so far.

TL;DR: iOS 10 is going to be a definite improvement, but the beta is buggy. Don’t install it if there are features on your phone that you can’t live without, or if you don’t have patience for glitches. If you do decide to install it, make a full backup via iTunes first. It might save your bacon.

Installation

Stop what you are doing and back up your phone if you are considering installing the beta. No, seriously. Do it. There is a serious chance it might not work for you.

I had a scare and a headache installing it on my iPhone 6s Plus. The first install failed halfway through and my phone would not turn on. It took 4 force restarts before I saw the “Connect to iTunes” screen and I could restore from a backup.

My second install attempt worked, but you’ve been warned.

Thoughts on New Features

Widgets

  • The lock screen widgets are a HUGE improvement. You can force touch on messages, voicemails, and reminders to interact with them if you’ve unlocked via Touch ID. Since my phone is plugged in on my desk most of the day, I love this. I can’t wait to see how third party apps take advantage of this.
  • The widgets make Force Touch (available on the 6s and 6s Plus) less of a novelty and more of a real, useful feature now.
  • Some third-party apps like 2do already have widgets working!

Messages Apps

  • I’m really “meh” on the Messages apps right now. None of the people I regularly message have installed iOS 10, so most of the features are pretty useless to me right now.
  • If you don’t have iOS 10 and someone who does uses “Tapback”, Messages sends them a message that says something like, Emphasized “message” or Liked “Message”. It looks weird. As my wife responded when I tried a tapback on her,

“Yeah, you sound dumb if I don’t have iOS 10”

  • There isn’t much in the store right now, either. It will likely improve once more developers get their apps out.
  • That said, the gif picker is pretty nice. I enjoy replying to messages with gifs, so I’ve already used it a ton. People running iOS 9 can see them without an issue.
  • The link preview is pretty great, too. It will make searching through messages for that link some sent last week a lot easier. See below under “Contextual Predictions” for a screenshot.

George

Siri

  • None of the cool new Siri features that I remembered from the Keynote worked yet.
  • Siri’s speech recognition hasn’t seemed to improve.
  • Even though I had Uber and Lyft installed, Siri said she couldn’t get me an Uber or Lyft to the nearest airport because no supported apps were installed. Similarly, there are apparently no rider apps available through Maps.

Contextual Predictions

  • If you type something like, “Amanda’s number is”, anyone named Amanda with a phone number pops up as an option.
  • This is really slick and I’ve been using it. As the engine learns more, it will get even better.
  • I couldn’t get Apple’s “I’m available at” example to work, but maybe it hasn’t had time to index my calendar yet.

Photos

  • The face recognition is awesome. After a few hours, I saw all of the faces in my photos and just had to assign them to contacts. It didn’t make any mistakes yet that I’ve been able to find.
  • The search is pretty cool. I did a classic search for “mountain” and it returned a bunch of photos with mountains. Then I searched for “fish” and it returned photos from when Amanda and I went fly fishing and were holding our catches. It isn’t perfect, but it will learn more over time.

Bugs

This public beta seems to have fewer bugs and glitches than the iOS 9.1 public beta had, but there are still some issues I found within just one day of use:

  • Some apps playing audio intermittently pause.
  • I regularly get phantom notifications. My phone vibrates and the screen wakes up, but nothing is there. No messages, no alerts, no widgets. Just a blank lock screen.
  • When I try to tap apps inside a stack, more often than not a regular tap is translated as a long tap, so all of the app icons wiggle in fear for their lives.
  • About 3 times a day the screen gets stuck in landscape orientation and the only thing that will bring it back is locking and unlocking the phone.
  • The app store sucks on 9.3 as well, but I seemed to get more blank app store screens than ever. I had to try searches multiple times. Even then, after I got one search to work, subsequent searches wouldn’t update the results. See Overcast/Write screenshot below.
  • Multiple apps can’t access the internet connection for some reason. TextExpander and Overcast are the two that I noticed right away.
  • I sent my wife a photo, but what showed up in my Messages stream was a different photo. Turns out that she saw the correct one, but the wrong preview was shown to me.