iOS 10.2 Features and Updates: What’s New

BY Khamosh Pathak

Published 12 Dec 2016

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

For a point-one update, iOS 10.2 is jam packed with some interesting, some amusing and some very useful features. There’s the whole new TV app, 70+ new emojis and some much important UI and feature fixes to the Music app.

Check out everything that’s new in the iOS 10.2 update below.

1. Over 70 New Emojis


First, let’s talk about the most important thing that’s going to get you and all your friends to quickly update to iOS 10.2 – a buttload of new emojis (especially the shirt one).

iOS 10.2 embraces the Unicode 9 standard and adds over 70 new emojis while redesigning and updating a lot of old ones.

The wolf face has been redesigned to actually look more like a wolf face. There’s a clown face emoji (because everyone loves clowns). And there are new animal emojis like Fox, Duck, Squid and more. To view the entire list of new emojis, check out Emojipedia’s blog post.

2. New Wallpapers for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus


You might have seen new wallpapers used in iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus’s promotion material. These 3 new wallpapers are now available in iOS 10.2 (just for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus though). Interestingly, the colors are based on the bodies of the first iMacs.

If you don’t have the new iPhones, you can of course download the wallpapers from other sources (like from here).

3. SOS Feature for iPhone

iOS 10.2 gets Apple Watch’s Emergency SOS feature that contacts local emergency services when you press a key combination. For the iPhone, you need to click the power button 5 times to engage the feature. You can turn off the feature from “Settings” -> “General“. The service is currently under testing and is only available in India.

4. New Now Playing Splash Screen

The Music app in iOS 10 was a big improvement, except for the Now Playing screen. Apple’s decision to hide the Shuffle and Repeat buttons below the fold and not providing any kind of visual cue that there’s any content down below, was met with universal outrage.


Apple’s solution to this isn’t to actually redesign the screen. But instead they’ve added a splash screen that a user will see the first time they open the Now Playing screen. This tells them they can swipe up to view the Shuffle button and Up Next queue.

5. Redesigned Shuffle and Repeat Buttons


Once you do scroll up, you’ll get redesigned Shuffle and Repeat buttons. They’re now actually designed like buttons, along with text, to make them more obvious.

6. TV App Replaces Video App


Apple showed off the new TV app for the Apple TV and iOS devices at the MacBook Pro event. While the Apple TV app is still far off, the iOS app is here. When you update to iOS 10.2 (and you’re in the region where the TV app is currently supported, the US), you’ll find the new TV app. You’ll also find that the Videos app is no more.

The new TV app lets you play all your purchases from iTunes. But the hot new feature is in the “Watch Now” section. This is where you’ll be able to connect all your media apps to the TV app and get a singular experience for watching all compatible content.

7. You Can Get Video App Back from the App Store

I don’t live in the US so I didn’t get the TV app and the Videos app was still there. But if you’re in the US and you’d rather keep using the Videos app (for things like Home sharing), you can re-download it from the App Store (just like a number of other stock apps).

8. New TV and Videos Widget


Depending on which app you have, you’ll find a new widget. Both TV and Videos app widget do a simple thing. They list the media you were most recently playing and give you a quick way to resume and start watching it.

9. Enable Single Sign-On

Sign Sign-On lets cable subscribers log into all the channel apps using only one login. Once you do this on your iPhone or iPad, the content from all available apps will be displayed in the TV app.


Open the Settings app and tap on “TV Provider“. Select your TV provider. Currently, Dish, GVTC, Hotwire and Sling TV are the available options. Then just login with your details.

10. Notification Center Remembers Where You Left Off

This is according to me, the second best feature in iOS 10.2. I find myself using widgets a lot, now that they’re a swipe away from literally anywhere in iOS. But one annoying thing was that I’d have to scroll down to my most used widget – the calculator – all to frequently. This has been solved in iOS 10.2.

iOS now remembers the last state in both Notification Center and Today View. So if you were using a widget from the Notification Center last, swipe down and boom, you’ll be there again.

11. Hiding Contact Photo in Messages Actually Works


When you turn off the “Show Contact Photos” option from the “Messages” section “Settings” app, all contact photos will actually disappear now. Previously, iOS 10 still showed contact photos in conversation, that’s no longer the case.

12. Quick Response Doesn’t Lose Text When Switching To App

In iOS 10.2, if you’re tying a response to a message in quick response, and you choose to open the app, the text you’ve already written will no longer be lost.

13. New Full Screen Effects: Celebration and Love


iMessage also get some love. First time since iOS 10 release, Apple is adding two new effects. Celebration and Love. Love effect is quite similar to Balloons. Here, it’s hearts.

14. Disable Press and Hold Home Button To Speak


You’ll find a new option in for “Home button” settings in “Accessibility“. From the “Press and Hold Home Button to Speak” section you can switch from Siri to plain old Voice Control or just turn the feature off altogether.

15. New Siri Splash Screen


If you turn off Siri, the next time you press and hold the Home button, you’ll get a new splash screen giving you information about Siri and giving you options to turn it back on again.

16. Sort Playlist


The updated Music app also adds the ability to sort items. From Library, when you tap on Playlists, you’ll find a Sort option in the top-right. Tap on it and you’ll find 3 sorting options – Playlist Type, Title and Recently added.

Albums and Songs categories also have the “Sort” option (Title and Artist). Artists option still doesn’t.

17. Star Ratings in Music App Are Back


iOS 10 replaced star ratings with the Heart button. But now, thanks to the revolt by Star rating fans, they’re back. You’ll find them in the options menu, when you tap the three dotted menu or when you 3D Touch a song item.

18. Preserve Camera Settings


You’ll now be able to preserve settings for the Camera mode, Photo Filter and Live Photo. So instead of being reset, they’ll carry on being the same every time you launch the Camera app.

Complete iOS 10.2 Change Log

Here’s the complete release notes of iOS 10.2, which gives the details of all the new features and changes:


  • Use Up Next to see the movies and shows you’re currently watching and pick up where you left off
  • Get recommendations for new movies and TV shows in Watch Now 
  • Discover new apps and the latest iTunes releases in the Store
  • Access the Library for your iTunes purchases and rentals


  • Beautifully redesigned emoji that reveal even more detail
  • Over 100 new emoji including new faces, food, animals, sports, and professions 


  • Improves stabilization and delivers faster frame rate for Live Photos
  • Improves accuracy of groupings of similar photos of the same person in the People album 
  • Fixes an issue where Memories might generate a memory from photos of screenshots, whiteboards or receipts
  • Fixes an issue where the camera would stay zoomed in after switching back from the Camera Roll on iPhone 7 Plus
  • Additional support for RAW digital cameras


  • Adds new love and celebration full screen effects in Messages
  • Fixes an issue that sometimes prevented the keyboard from displaying in Messages


  • Swipe up the Now Playing screen to more easily access Shuffle, Repeat and Up Next
  • Choose how to sort Playlists, Albums, and Songs in Library 


  • Stories you’ve saved for later now appear the new Saved section
  • The best paid stories from channels you subscribe to will now appear in a dedicated section in For You 
  • It’s now easier than ever to get to the next story, just swipe left or tap Next Story while reading


  • Fixes an issue that caused the Move sheet to persist after filing a Mail message
  • Addresses an issue with long press activating copy and paste in Mail
  • Fixes an issue in which the wrong message would be selected after deleting a Mail conversation


  • Adds BraillePen14 support to VoiceOver
  • Fixes an issue where the braille table could switch unexpectedly with VoiceOver
  • Fixes an issue where sometimes Siri enhanced voices were unavailable to VoiceOver
  • Fixes an issue where VoiceOver users could not re-order items in lists
  • Fixes an issue where Switch Control was sometimes unable to delete Voicemails

Other improvements and fixes  

  • Adds notification support for HomeKit accessories including window coverings, occupancy, motion, door/window, smoke, carbon monoxide, and water leak sensors 
  • Adds notification support for HomeKit accessories when software updates are available to HomeKit accessories
  • Improves Bluetooth performance and connectivity with 3rd party accessories
  • Fixes an issue that could cause FaceTime participants to appear out of focus
  • Fixes an issue that could cause FaceTime calls to appear with incorrect aspect ratio and orientation
  • Fixes an issue that prevented some Visual Voicemail from completing playback
  • Fixes a Safari Reader issue that could cause articles to open as empty pages
  • Fixes an issue that could cause Safari to quit unexpectedly after marking an item as read in Reading List

New Emojis

A Look at the 104 New Emojis in iOS 10.2

Your Favorite New iOS 10.2 Feature

What’s your favorite new thing about iOS 10.2? Share with us in the comments below.