iOS 10 is out tomorrow. Warning: 9 years of Lock Screen muscle memory will need to be unlearned

For nine years now iOS has unlocked in the same way: Press a button to wake the phone up, “Slide To Unlock” by swiping your finger across the screen, and then type in your passcode. iOS 10 which is coming out tomorrow is making a rather big change to this process, and though I do like the change a lot it has been a little difficult for me to retrain nine years of muscle memory. I’m rather concerned about iPhone users who don’t deal well with change or who don’t know that this change is coming.

img_4508here is how the new unlock works

  1. Wake it up.
    • iPhone 6s or newer: just pick up your phone and the screen will wake up on its own
    • iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone 6 or older: press either the Home Button (on the side or top edge) or the Sleep Button (the round button on the front) to wake up the screen.
  2. Review any waiting notifications.
  3. Click the Home Button to unlock. If using a finger registered with Touch ID your phone should unlock. After you click and release the button you may need to leave your finger touching (but not applying pressure to) the home button for a moment especially if you have an early Touch ID model. If you don’t have Touch ID or if your finger is not recognized you will be prompted for your passcode.

Home Screen tour

While we are on the Home Screen let’s take a look to see what else is different, because your muscle memory is going to accidentally activate some other features, I’m sure. So it will be helpful to understand what’s going on.


With the screen locked but still on the Home Screen you will notice three tiny icons at the bottom center of your screen. The center one is bright. This is to indicate that there are three segments to the Home Screen and the center one, your notifications, is active. If you see only two dots it’s because you have “Today View” turned off in Settings > Touch ID & Passcode.


If you swipe to the right, just as you would have to unlock the screen before, you will see your widgets. These are mini versions of many of your apps. You can scroll down to the bottom for the Edit button which allows you to alter the widgets you see here.


Swipe back toward the left to return to the center screen. Now look again at those three dots at the bottom. If you have good eyes you’ll see that the one on the right is a tiny camera. Push toward the left again to reveal the screen on the right, which is quick access to your camera.

There you have it. I think that the workflow is much more efficient, but I’m not sure it’s as intuitive as it used to be. This reminds me a little of Snapchat which depends on the user just poking and pawing at different parts of the screen to figure out what to do rather than using clear visual cues. But unlike Snapchat this will be a little easier to learn because you will need to do it dozens or hundreds of times a day.