Why Does My Lock Screen Do This in iOS 10?


iOS 10 brings some changes to your iPhone's lock screen that you probably won't like until you get used to the change understand why the change was made. First off, lets summarize the lock screen change. Before iOS 10 if you wanted to unlock your sleeping iOS device you needed to first wake the phone by either pressing the physical home button or the power (sleep/wake) button or one of the side volume buttons. There is no more "Slide to Unlock" prompt on your lock screen. Now with iOS 10 and either an iPhone 6s or iPhone 7 you have another option to "wake" your phone...simply pick it up. This new feature is called "raise to wake" and is there to make it more convenient for you to quickly access your notifications. Once the phone is "awake", the next step used to be to hold your finger on the TouchID home button and you were into your phone. With iOS 10 there is now one additional step to this process. Now even after you hold your finger on the TouchID sensor and your phone "unlocks" you still remain on the lock screen. This is going to really confuse a lot of people because if they aren't paying close attention they will think their phone isn't working properly. Once your phone is unlocked with TouchID you still need to press the home button (TouchID button) in order to get off of the lock screen.

Why the change? If you don't have an iPhone 6s or iPhone 7 this may not make sense to you, but if you have one of these devices you will understand. Have you ever picked up your phone to read a notification and the instant you touch your finger to TouchID the notification is gone? The 2nd generation TouchID sensor is so fast in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 line of phones that you are quite literally into your unlocked phone instantly. This is bad for two reasons. One, if you were unlocking your phone to view a notification you have very quickly blown right though the notification screen and now to view that notification you need to swipe down from the top of the screen to view Notification Center or just go to the app that had the notification. The 2nd drawback to this is that when TouchID works that fast and you were trying to take a quick photo by swiping up on the "camera" symbol on your lock screen, then more often than not you end up pressing the home button to wake the phone so that "camera" icon on the lock screen shows and because TouchID is so fast it blows right past the lock screen and into the phone.

Apple recognized that many people interact with their notifications and the "camera" quick access button on the lock screen more often than any other feature and by making the TouchID unlocking process near instantaneous they have obliterated the convenience of the lock screen. So Apple changed how unlocking your phone works with TouchID and it now keeps you on the lock screen until you press the home button to fully get into the phone (also on TouchID enabled iPads). Now if you press the home button to wake the phone and leave your finger on the button you will stay on the lock screen.

At the same time Apple also made the lock screen much more powerful. You will notice that notifications look a but different on the lock screen and that they are now interactive. So if you touch a notification they are now "actionable" allowing you to go right into the application of choice or instantly take an action on the notification (it just depends on what the notification was). The lock screen now has a new set of "swipe" features (which is why "swipe to unlock" was eliminated). If you swipe from right to left it takes you into the camera app. This is how you quickly take a photo from your lock screen, perfect when trying to grab that perfect shot before the scene you wanted to capture moves or disappears. If you swipe from left to right on the lock screen it take you into a "Today View" which by default has all the things you had configured to have in your old Notification Center's "Today View." The items in the "Today View" are actionable just like the new notifications right on your primary lock screen. Touch one of them and it takes you right into the application.

So what if you don't like these changes? Annoyed by the new lock screen functionality? There is a very easy way to change things back, but before you do try out the new way for about a week first. For most people I really do think you will like the new way better. But there will still be some that just don't use the lock screen or the camera short cut enough and for those of you this new way just makes you press the home button again (which is a step backwards). So to change things back, do the following:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Go into "General"
  3. Go into "Accessibility"
  4. Scroll down a bit in the menu and press the "Home Button" menu item
  5. Press the "Rest Finger to Open" switch to turn it green and this will let you go right from pressing the TouchID button and get you right into your phone just like you used to do.

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