iOS 10 will be available to download from today, 13 September. But what's new about it, and why should you be excited? Here are iPhone's new superpowers...

Ready for an upgrade? iOS 10, the latest and greatest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, is available to download for iPhones and iPads everywhere from today (13 September). It comes as standard on the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, why should anyone rocking an older iOS device click that ‘download and install’ button?

Each iOS update brings a host of smart new features that streamline your mobile experience – some major, some minor. And while Apple says that there are hundreds of differences that separate iOS 10 from iOS 9, there are several really big, obvious ones that every iPhone owner should be excited about. Here are our favourites…

iMessage is more fun
iMessage has always been one of the slickest, quickest messaging tools around, but it’s received a real ‘fun’ injection for iOS 10. Among the many new additions are: the ability to handwrite messages on the screen, the ability to automatically turn words into emojis, and a host of new ‘stickers’ that you can place anywhere in the conversation. There are even custom animations that trigger when you type specific phrases like ‘happy birthday’.

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Notifications are deeper
Apple’s making more of your notifications by expanding how much you can see from the lockscreen. Now, whenever you get a new notification you can 3D Touch it to interact with a variety of options. So, for example, you can accept a calendar invite without having to go into your calendar app. iMessage plays into this really well, too, now allowing you to reply to messages and see more of the thread without having to leave the lockscreen.

Text Predictions are smarter
The text predictions that sit atop the iPhone’s keyboard are about to get smarter, too. They’ll now tap into information from the conversation you’re having as well as from the rest of your phone. So if someone asks where you are, for instance, the predictive suggestion will let you share your location with one tap. It’ll also help you send people’s contact details, or suggest free times to meet up with pals based on availability in your calendar.

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Control Center is prettier
It’s a minor one but a cool one, this. Control Center (excuse the US spelling!) has had a neat little redesign to make it paginated. Now when you bring it up from the bottom, you’ll be able to swipe between three pages for quick settings, music controls and Apple Home tools. The result is that this indispensable panel has been massively de-cluttered, making it much easier on the eye.

Waking your phone is easier
Pushing buttons is so 2015. With Raise to Wake, your iPhone will use its inbuilt accelerometer to detect when you’ve lifted it up to your face and automatically turn the screen on, letting you scan for notifications or check the time without having to invoke your overworked thumbs.

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Siri is friendlier
Siri is about to reach out and make some new mates. Apple has opened up the voice assistant’s API to third-party developers in iOS 10, which means that he/she can now perform tasks associated with your favourite digital tools. Examples include asking Siri to request an Uber for you, dictate a WhatsApp message, or start a Skype video call. On top of that, Siri’s been schooling up on slang and new ways of speaking, letting you talk a lot more colloquially. Handy for when you’re stressed in the kitchen and need Siri to a timer set ASAP.

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Photos are searchable
Apple has added a few new features to the Photos app, but the most impressive is the back-end coding magic (11 billion computations, to be precise) required to allow you to search your photos for objects or people. It’s seriously smart stuff – search ‘dog’ to see all the photos you’ve ever taken of dogs, for instance. And it’s all done locally on the phone instead of in the cloud, which gives it an edge over rival app Google Photos because you’ll still be able to use search while you’re in the air or underground.

Apple Maps has got your back
Lastly, Apple Maps has gotten smarter. When you fire up the app in iOS 10, you’ll be greeted by a small list of places that your iPhone thinks you may want to head to (like work, home, school, etc.), which you can push for instant directions. Using Apple Maps as your car’s satnav? You can now find nearby petrol stations or somewhere to have spot of lunch within a couple of presses, while newly the implemented traffic info will help you avoid coming to a standstill.

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