iOS 10 Messages teaser 001

Apple yesterday issued beta 1 of the forthcoming iOS 10.2 software update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. For starters, iOS 10.2 beta 1 includes three new wallpapers, provides a bunch of new emoji as part of the Unicode 9.0 standard and gives Camera the optional ability to remember filter, Live Photo and mode settings.

Star ratings are back in the Music app and Videos has its own widget. Oh, and you can now annoy friends with a brand new animation in Messages.

Without further ado, here’s our video hands-on with iOS 10.2 beta 1 accompanied by a detailed description of all the new features and enhancements.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 is available to developers who are members of the Apple Developer Program as well as to public beta testers that enrolled in the Apple Beta Software Program. iOS 10.2 beta 1 arrived a week after iOS 10.1 with Portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus released for public consumption.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 video hands-on

As is our wont, we have analyzed iOS 10.2 beta 1 on our own devices in search of new features. Our resident video editor Andrew O’Hara then created a video hands-on to show you guys everything new and improved in iOS 10.2.

Don’t see the embedded clip? Watch it on YouTube!

Be sure to like and share video with friends and family and don’t forget to subscribe to iDownloadBlog’s YouTube channel on your way out for more cool vids from our team. Detailed overview of all the changes, improvements and new user-facing features in iOS 10.2 beta 1 follows further below.

Unicode 9.0 emoji

iOS 10.2 beta 1 builds on the 100+ new gender diverse emoji added in iOS 10.0 with a variety of newly added ones which happen to be part of the latest Unicode 9.0 specification. Unicode Consortium, the organization which develops the Unicode standard, released the Unicode 9.0 specification in June 2016.

Some of the new emoji from Unicode 9.0 that you can use in iOS 10.2 beta 1 include:

Animals & Nature

  • Butterfly
  • Owl
  • Shark

Food & Drink

  • Avocado
  • Bacon
  • Croissant
  • Pancakes
  • Whiskey glass

Smileys & People

  • Clown face
  • Cowboy hat face
  • Doctor
  • Drooling face
  • Face palm
  • Fox face
  • Firefighter
  • Lawyer
  • Mechanic
  • Person taking a selfie
  • Sideways laughing face
  • Scientist
  • Shaking hands
  • Sneezing face
  • Thumbs down

All told, there are more than a hundred new and improved emoji in this iOS beta release, including 22 new emoji in the “Smileys & People” category, 18 new “Food & Drink” emoji and a bunch of emoji in the “Activity,” “Animals & Nature” and “Objects” categories.

Andrew’s short and sweet video highlights some of the best new emoji in iOS 10.2.

Apple continues to focus on gender diverse characters because some of the newly added profession emoji are available in both male and female genders by way of tap-and-holding. Additionally, many of iOS’s existing emoji have been visually perfected and redesigned in iOS 10.2 beta 1, such as the alien emoji.

These new emoji are also available on the Apple Watch with watchOS 3.1.1 beta 1 and on the Mac with macOS Sierra 10.12.2 beta 1.

Three new wallpapers

iOS 10.2 beta 1 includes three new wallpapers for your Lock and Home screen in Settings → Wallpaper. The new wallpapers are based on promotional graphics from iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus marketing materials. Keep in mind that these new wallpapers are only available on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 Wallpapers iPhone screenshot 002

iDownloadBlog’s Wallpapers of the Week section has already highlighted the new wallpapers so check out Jim’s article if you wish to download and use these images on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

“Celebrate” Screen Effect in Messages

iOS 10.2 beta 1 adds a new fullscreen animation to the stock Messages app, called “Celebrate”. You can use it like you would any other screen effect: type a message in the Messages text field, then tap and hold (or press with 3D Touch) the Send button to reveal the “Send with effect” menu.

iOS 10.1 beta 1 Celebrate Messages effect iPHone screenshot 001

Now tap the Screen tab at the top and swipe left or right to cycle through built-in screen animations. The new Celebrate screen effect joins the existing Balloons, Confetti, Lasers, Fireworks and Shooting Star animations.

If Reduced Motion has been turned on in Settings → General → Accessibility → Reduce Motion, be sure to slide the Auto-play Messages Effects switch to the ON position, as described in our how-to.

iOS 10 Messages effects Reduce Motion iPhone screenshot 002

This will ensure that Messages will play bubble and screen effects and other animations even when Reduce Motion is on. iOS 10.1 or later is required for the Auto-play Messages Effects feature.

Preserve camera settings

The built-in Camera app has a new switch to remember your last known camera mode, last used filter and Live Photo setting. Go to a brand new Preserve Settings section underneath the Camera heading in Settings → Photos & Camera, then slide the Camera ModePhoto Filter and Live Photo toggles to the ON position.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 Preserve Camera Settings iPhone screenshot 003

Enabling Camera Mode will preserve the last shooting mode, such as Video, Square, Portrait and more, rather than always launch Camera in Photo mode.

When Photo Filter is on, your device will remember the last used filter rather than automatically reset to None every time you use filters in the Camera app.

If your device supports Live Photos, you’ll also see a related Live Photo switch that tells iOS to stop resetting the Camera app to Live Photo every time it’s launched.

Sorting options for playlist, songs & albums

iOS 10.2’s Music app’s gained sorting options for playlists, songs and albums. To sort playlists, tap Library → Playlists, then tap Sort in the upper right and select a desired sorting mode for your playlists: Playlist Type, Title or Recently Added.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 Music Playlist sorting options iPhone screenshot 001

As for your songs and albums, you can now sort them by Title or Artist.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 Music Albums sorting options iPhone screenshot 001

To sort albums, tap Library → Albums, then tap Sort in the upper right and choose Title or Album as your preferred sorting mode.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 Music Songs sorting options iPhone screenshot 001

To sort songs, tap Library → Songs, then tap Sort in the upper right and choose Title or Album as your preferred sorting mode.

Star ratings on Apple Music

If you’re subscribed to Apple Music and have been wondering if Apple will bring back the beloved star rating system, you’ll be happy to learn that iOS 10.2 beta 1 now lets you rate songs on a scale of 1-5.

Go to Settings → Music and slide a new switch labeled Show Star Ratings to the ON position. This will ensure that your star ratings get remembered and synchronized with your other devices via iCloud.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 Settings Music Show Star Ratings iPhone screenshot 001

Song-starring  is very convenient if you want to create Smart Playlists in iTunes that automatically update with, say, your three-star songs, just the best five-star tracks and so forth. Star ratings are found in the action sheets for songs: simply choose Rate Song at the menu’s bottom to select your star rating.

Don’t forget to tap Done to save the changes.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 Music apply Star Ratings iPhone screenshot 001

On devices with 3D Touch, you can simply press an item that you previously added to your library to access the star rating feature faster. Apple has acknowledged that star ratings do not affect For You recommendations. Star ratings for your music in iOS 10.2 beta 1 are in addition to the existing Love/Dislike system in the Music app.

Videos app gains its own widget

iOS 10.0 provides widgets for most of the stock apps, sans the stock Videos app.

iOS 10.2 beta rectifies that omission by implementing a brand new Videos widget which displays your downloaded movies and TV shows. Tapping any video on the widget starts the playback inside the Videos app. Any content not downloaded to the device via the Videos app won’t be displayed on the widget.

To add the widget to the Notification Center and Lock/Home screen 0, pull down on any Home screen and swipe right to get to the widgets, then tap Edit at the screen bottom.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 Videos add widget iPhone screenshot 001

Now tap the plus sign next to Videos underneath the More Widgets heading to add the Videos widget to your currently active widgets listed at the top of the interface. Optionally, grab Videos by its handle and drag it to a desired position. Tap Done to save the changes.

On devices with 3D Touch, add the widget faster by pressing the Videos icon on the Home screen. Now tap the Add option in the upper right corner of the Videos widget inside the 3D Touch shortcuts menu.

Press and Hold to Speak settings

You’ll find a new “Press and Hold to Speak” feature under your Home button Accessibility settings. Tap Settings → General → Accessibility → Home Button and choose how you want your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to respond when the Home button is pressed and held.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 Accessibiliy Home Button Press and Hold to Speak iPhone screenshot 002

You have three options available underneath the Press and Hold to Speak heading:

  • Siri—Summon Siri when you hold down the Home button. This is default behavior.
  • Voice Control—If you’d rather iOS’s classic Voice Control to respond when you press and hold the Home button, select this option. Tap Language below the Voice Dial Only heading to select the language you wish to use for Voice Control.
  • Off—Choose this if you don’t want anything to happen after you press and hold the Home button.

Keep in mind that choosing Voice Control will turn Siri off in Settings.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 Accessibiliy Home Button Press and Hold to Speak iPhone screenshot 001

If Voice Control was selected before changing Press and Hold to Speak settings to Siri, a prompt will go up asking if you’d like iOS 10 to enable Siri on your behalf.

Emergency contacts

After installing iOS 10.2 beta 1 to an iPhone paired with your Apple Watch, launch the Health app and hit the Medical ID tab at the bottom to see a message informing you that your emergency contacts will be notified as soon as you have used the life-saving Emergency SOS feature on your Apple Watch.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 Health Emergency SOS splash screen iPhone screenshot 001

“SOS and emergency contacts are now in your Medical ID in the Health app on iPhone. After you update your Apple Watch, all these contacts will be notified when you use Emergency SOS on iPhone or Apple Watch,“ reads the message.

Redesigned headphone icon in AirPlay menu

iOS 10.0 has brought out revamped device icons in the AirPlay menus that are accessible throughout iOS, including via Control Center, in the Music app, iOS media player and elsewhere in the system.

In iOS 10.2 beta 1, there’s now a cool new headphone icon which appears in the iOS status bar when a Bluetooth audio device has been paired with your iOS device. This icon showed up for owners of the new Beats Solo3 headphones with the Apple W1 chip a few days ago.

iOS 10.2 beta 1 status bar new Bluetooth headphone icon iPhone screenshot 001

Previously, the iOS status bar presented any connected wireless headphones with a generic Bluetooth icon. The new headphone icon in the iOS status bar also displays your Bluetooth device’s battery charge, just like before.

iOS 10 status bar old Bluetooth headphone icon iPhone screenshot 001


Aside from the new features, iOS 10.2 beta 1 includes under-the-hood improvements that make your mobile experience more enjoyable and less buggy. For example, animations throughout the system have been sped up and run smoother than before.

I own an iPhone 7 Plus and iOS 10.0 and iOS 10.1 were prone to the frame-dropping issue. Pretty much all system animations used to stutter on prior iOS 10 releases, like the Home screen zooming animation, the slide-to-unlock animation, scrolling through lists and more.

Having updated my phone to iOS 10.2 beta 1, I immediately noticed that graphics performance has improved and many of the previously jerky animations now either run smoothly or drop fewer frames. Still, lots of work remains to be done before the iOS user interface will run at 60 frames per second.

This tweak when responding to a Messages notification with Quick Reply is very cool: if you launch the full Messages app in the middle of typing your response, any typed text is now saved and carried over. To open the full Messages app from a Quick Reply overlay, tap anywhere inside the conversation above the text field.

Now I’m not certain if this is a feature or a bug, but the Notification Center now automatically remembers the last place where you left off. For example: if you swipe right to get to your widgets before exiting the Notification Center, the next time you invoke the Notification Center you’ll be taken directly to your widgets.

If your device has 3D Touch, you’ll also notice subtle differences in the shortcuts menu transparency.

And last but not least, deselecting the Show Contact Photos option in Settings → Messages will now also remove profile pics from the chat heading at the top of the screen. Previously, contact photos were removed from the conversation list only.

How do you like iOS 10.2 so far?

Wrapping up, iOS 10.2 is shaping to be another major update following the release of iOS 10.1 with Portrait mode and a couple other improvements. With nearly a dozen new features and enhancements, iOS 10.2 should smooth out a few rough edges and improve experience for everyone.

What’s your favorite feature in iOS 10.2 beta 1 so far, and why? While we’re at it, what would you improve about iOS if you were Apple?

Share your observations with fellow readers in the comment section below and don’t forget you can influence our coverage and request specific articles via

  • Hmm strange, I don’t seem to have the new wallpapers on mine.

    Also, I think the face palm emoji is new, is it not?

    • I think you need to install iOS 10.2 beta 1 from scratch in order for these new wallpapers to became available. On my iPod touch and iPhone 6s they’re not available as I upgraded from iOS 10.1 to iOS 10.2 beta

      • Ahhh that would make sense. What a strange caveat. I wonder if that was intentional.

      • Cole Mahoney

        These wallpapers are only available for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

      • Thanks, added clarification to the post

    • Indeed it is and thanks for pointing it out. Just added face palm to the bulleted emoji list in the article

  • Vic O

    I don’t see the new wallpapers either. (iPhone 6S Plus).

    • Gregg

      7 and 7s only

  • Scott Curry

    I think Apple would do well to start trying to kill text messaging as opposed to trying to get iMessage off the ground. Sure there’s a lot of cool things you can do with it, but nothing that really makes it stand out from any of the other million messaging apps available on the market…

    • Aside from deep integration with devices and the whole Apple ecosystem

    • Rowan09

      Huh? iMessage is integrated in the OS and besides being free, playing games, downloading apps, stickers, ordering for a restaurant, making phone calls from anywhere in the world with wifi, etc, it’s one of Apples best feature by far.

      • Scott Curry

        Because I can’t do those with a million other messaging apps available…and even better, cross-platform? iMessage certainly doesn’t allow that part, so they already have a HUGE leg up on it.

      • Rowan09

        Who cares about the availability of the many others iMessage is already integrated and doesn’t need any additional account or setting up and has many features those other messages don’t come close to having. I have facebook and what’s app and that’s it so the million others are pretty useless to me and many others.

      • Scott Curry

        So let’s keep text messaging around JUST for you then…

      • Rowan09

        No not just for me, but people who don’t have access to data all the time or at all.

      • Scott Curry

        Legacy gets left in the dust. Sorry if this hurts your grandparents…

      • Rowan09

        Ok if you say so. Is this just for the US or the world?

      • Scott Curry

        My bad. Sorry if it hurts third world countries also…

      • Scott Curry

        Up until a few months ago, I’m sure you thought a headphone jack on a cell phone was necessary too…

      • Rowan09

        No because I use Bluetooth

      • Scott Curry

        But what will you do when Bluetooth isn’t available? O.o

      • Rowan09

        When Bluetooth isn’t available? If your trying to make a point what happens if your headphone jack is messed up, I would just use my eternal speakers until I get it fixed.

      • Scott Curry

        Pay attention. I’m just making the same lame argument you made about data not being available.

      • Rowan09

        I understand but that makes little to no sense. You don’t need data, service, etc for Bluetooth, while data comes and goes all the time.

    • Scott Curry

      Ok so apparently I wasn’t clear enough in saying that they should try to kill TEXT MESSAGING…an archaic communication practice. iMessage may very well be well-integrated, but that is message data transfer as in a messaging app, like FB Messenger and WhatsApp. Text messaging, however, the act of sending messages over the cellular connection, no longer needs to exist.

      Is that clearer??

      • Rowan09

        It needs to exist because it doesn’t need data to send

      • Scott Curry

        Just as the world is moving toward VoIP, in which case cellular data will be the only option available, so, too, does text messaging need to just go ahead and be put in the ground.

      • Rowan09

        So what happens when you don’t have data available?

      • Scott Curry

        The same thing that happens when cellular isn’t available…or the same thing that happens when you don’t have a CD-ROM available…or the same thing that happens when you don’t have a headphone jack available…or the same thing that happens when you don’t have an LP player available… Legacy goes away and new technology takes it’s place.

        What did you do when RF wasn’t available, or the standard??

      • Rowan09

        I’m still trying to figure why SMS needs to go as if we can’t have it as well when data fails.

      • Scott Curry

        The same reason all legacy technology goes away. Because it’s LEG-A-CY. It’s no longer necessary.

      • Y2J: Keeper of the List

        Just because it’s not necessary for you doesn’t mean it’s not necessary for other people. My girlfriend runs out of data after 2-3 weeks every month, so is she just supposed to not be able to text without wifi for the rest of the month? That’d be stupid.

      • Scott Curry

        Just as stupid as running out of data 2-3 weeks into every billing cycle?

      • Y2J: Keeper of the List

        Not her fault she still shares 10 gigs with 4 other people. My point was don’t be so ignorant to think that just because something doesn’t apply to you it doesn’t apply to anyone else.

      • Scott Curry

        I didn’t assume that at all.

    • Alex Wilson

      I really can’t figure why you want to kill of text/sms? I have about 15 cell phones for work at sites; I don’t need or want them to have data plans. What they need is the ability to make phone calls (gasp I know so low tech) and to be able to text. I don’t need an iPhone or any other smart phone, and as a result I can by pretty cheap phone for this task and best of all I don’t pay for any data. For my business this is perfect. Besides when those other apps fail because data speeds suck, my text messages still go through.

      • Rowan09

        Exactly. Why kill something that has no effect on the other moving forward.

      • Rob McClain

        Communication w/o data is an alternative that should remain available to those who don’t want to pay for a data plan.

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    Also they finally added the ability to disable Voice Control even if Siri is disabled. This is the first iOS 10 update that I feel comfortable with, comfortable enough that I just MAYBE might update my daily driver iPhone 6S Plus. If only they’d put back the Health app like it was back in iOS 9 where the ever so useful graphs were front and center. Because the iOS 10 Health app redesign is awfully useless.

    • This is the app I’m using that I mentioned in my last comment to you. I also hate the new health app (don’t know what apple was thinking when they “improved” it).

      Oh and Full Disclosure; that’s not my data, that’s just a screenshot I ripped from the iTunes store 😛 But I do use this app all the time and love it 🙂

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        Thank you for he recommendation. It looks rather informative. Will be looking into it if Apple doesn’t revert back to the old Health app design.

  • 7000rpm

    Nice write up.

  • Ds

    Everything looks a lot crisper with this update on the 7+ (emoji, text, pictures). At least it seems like they are.

  • Franklin Richards

    The new wallpaper is disappointing. Would’ve thought it would be a LivePhoto like the website but it’s static… Apple damnit!

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    I was beginning to think I was the ONLY person who noticed the Notification Center bug in which it didn’t remember what you last saw the next time you invoked it. All I know is that I reported the bug in Feedback Assistant more than 20 times and at one point Apple replied back saying it was “by design” and I thought that was stupid of them and a regression on their part because if Control Center remembered what you last saw why can’t Notification Center like it used to prior to iOS 10? It never had that problem since the introduction of widgets in iOS 8. I use widgets a lot and it’s the only reason why I even use NC. Now funny enough I had another Apple engineer reply to my bug report and he/she said that it’s being addressed in iOS 10.4, which I thought was strange because (1) that’s still a long way and why not address it now? And (2) iOS 10.2b1 fixed the issue and I told them that. All I can say is that I’m glad Apple finally fixed this problem and I hope they don’t break it again. Also I’m very pleased to see that they also finally (after many feedback I sent them) added the ability to disable Voice Control of Siri if the Home Button was pressed too long. That was one the main reasons why I jailbreak but now it’s built-in and should’ve always been because I’m very concerned about privacy and I don’t want my iPhone doing things if the Home Button was inadvertently pressed for too long. Siri is always disabled for me, don’t use it don’t need it. For the first time in a long time I’m actually pleased with this beta update and I look forward to these changes being permanent. Although I just wish Apple reverted back to the iOS 9-style Health app where the graphs were shown on the Dashboard by default. iOS 10 made the Health app rather useless in my opinion.

    • Haha, yeah the day the beta came out for iOS 10 I started posting complaints on here about the new health app look and function. Fortunately there are some alternatives out there but none of them are as good (they don’t display everything) but the one I’m currently using is FitMetrics. IMO it has a beautiful dark interface and shows me a scrolling view of the graphs and each one can be tapped into for more info. I think it’s even free! The downside to it is that it is very limited in what it displays, but hopefully they will add more items over time like sleep tracking and what not.

      Anyways, I’m always on the lookout for health app replacements if you find any you like let me know. I’ll check them out 🙂 If you don’t like FitMetrics I’ve also tried out HealthView and FitPort and while I don’t like the look nearly as much; FitPort in particular offers support for more items out of the health app.

      Best of luck in finding a good replacement!

    • Agneev Mukherjee

      An up vote for the novel…

      EDIT: You actually wrote some amazing and true shit. This has happened to me too…

      • Mr_Coldharbour


  • mwpitt52

    So if I upgrade from 10.1 to 10.2 Beta on my 6s Plus, I do not get any features to test. Does not make much sense Apple

  • Y2J: Keeper of the List

    Still no damn dark mode

  • edwilk55

    Can not believe you still can’t sort by newest first inside a playlist!!! Apple has no eff’n clue on this one!

  • Kiralaura

    When will 10.2 be publicly available? If I text a new emoji to a 10.1 phone what will they see?