Apple iOS 10 is one of Apple's most exciting updates yet, bringing improvements that touch virtually every aspect of Apple's operational experience, from apps to Apple's voice assistant Siri to rich notifications and lock screen interaction. Note: iOS 10 is available for iPhone 5 and later; iPad mini 2, iPad 4th generation, iPad Air, iPad Pro and later; and iPod touch 6th generation.
Reinvigorated Messages: Apple's stodgy messaging app has been livened up in iOS 10 with more dynamic communication methods, including invisible ink, six tap-back quick responses, and an emoji-translating keyboard. You can draw over photos, Snapchat-style. Heartbeat messages let you doodle a word or drawing, which your friend will see render as if you were writing it on their screen. The iMessage App Store houses a host of sendable GIFs and videos, along with a set of apps that integrate with iMessage (right now, just four sticker sets).
Contextual predictions: It's tedious to fill out forms, and even typing texts and emails can be a burden. But contextual predictions speed up the process. Type something like "I'm available at," and iOS will autosuggest free times from your calendar.
More robust Maps: With iOS 10, you'll be able to book OpenTable and Uber reservations in Maps. Maps also gets proactive with location-based suggestions and tells you the fastest way to get there -- see which gas stations, restaurants, and coffee shops are nearby.
Memories: Photos now scans your iCloud library and groups photos by specific people, animals, places, or events. Look for specific ones by keywords in the search bar up top. The Memories function takes photos from important events and puts them together in mini movies, backed by music.
Siri for non-Apple apps: Siri is now integrated in many of your favorite third-party apps, so you can ask it to book an Uber, Venmo a friend some money, or post on Facebook.
Apple Pay goes online: Apple Pay, once reserved for in-person purchases, is now available for online shopping. When it's time to purchase, just tap the Pay button.
Improved Apple Music: Apple Music boasts a clean new look and an enhanced discovery experience. To compete with Spotify's excellent Discover, Apple Music now has a For You page that puts music recommendations, specifically for you, in one place. Whether you're playing an old favorite or a new discovery, you'll see the lyrics as the track plays.
News gets Topics: The News app now breaks up articles by topic, so you can find the stories you're interested in more quickly.
More accessible: Check out photos and videos or answer messages directly from your notifications. Native apps like Calendar, Weather, and Stocks now have little widgets that you can see on your lock screen. Use 3D Touch to peek into the information you need.
Bedtime and wake-up reminders: Open the Clock app and tap Bedtime on the bottom rail to access this wonderful new feature. Set your desired amount of sleep in hours, a reminder time to go to sleep, and when you'd like to wake up, along with the relaxing music you'd like to wake up to. Apple will push you to get your beauty sleep.
Home app: The new Home app connects to your HomeKit-ready appliances, so you can control your house lights, doors, and shades with your phone or tablet. If you add appliances to the app, they will be accessible from your Control Center's third pane.
Native app deletion: You can finally remove some of Apple's core apps, such as News, iBooks, Stocks, Tips, Find Friends, Notes, Reminders, iTunes Store, Calculator, Compass, Weather, Contacts, Maps, Calendar, Podcasts, Safari, Apple Music, and the Apple Watch app. If you change your mind, you can get them back from the App Store. However, you can't delete Photos, Health, Clock, Wallet, Find My iPhone, or the App Store.
No accelerated start: With Apple's previous iOS, you had to press the Home button to wake your phone up. Now, with Apple iOS 10's raise-to-wake feature, your screen turns on each time you pick up your phone. But even after you wake your phone, you still have to press the Home button and input your password to unlock your phone, so there's really no accelerated start.
iOS 10 brings improved messaging, Maps, and payments, plus great Siri integration throughout.
Before installing iOS 10, check out CNET's tips on how to back up your devices.