Apple launches iOS 10.2, featuring new TV app and Music app UI tweaks

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Apple’s latest and greatest mobile software is finally here. After a lengthy beta period, iOS 10.2 has been distributed over the air to supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices, bringing with it a number of changes.

Perhaps the biggest is the addition of the TV app Apple demonstrated during the company’s October 27 event. Apple describes it as a “unified experience for accessing your TV shows and movies across multiple video apps” in iOS 10.2’s release notes, and that’s largely accurate. It collates content from a range of service providers including HBO, Amazon, and Hulu (but not Netflix), and lets users start, stop, and resume that content across devices.

The introduction of the TV app dovetails with single sign-on support, which Apple rolled out last week. Subscribers to participating cable providers — among them Dish, Sling TV, CenturyLink Prism, GVTC, GTA, Hawaiian Telecom, Hotwire, Metrocast, Service Electric, Sling TV, and DirecTV — who save their login credentials to the TV Provider option in iOS’s settings app will automatically log into supported streaming apps. At launch, a few include Food Network, DIY, Travel Channel, and Hallmark Channel.

Apart from the TV app, iOS 10.2 comes with revamped emoji, design tweaks, new features, and bug fixes.

Emoji in iOS now conform to the Unicode 9.9 standard, and have been “beautifully redesigned”  to “reveal even more detail.” More than 100 emoji — including new clowns, bacon, and other foods, animals, sports, and professions — join the existing iOS collection.

When it comes to the SOS features, users will now be able to press the power button five times to automatically dial an emergency number. The feature works in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. You can manage the settings for the new SOS feature by heading to the Settings app and scrolling to the General section.

An upgraded Messages app includes new “love” and “celebration” effects, two additions to the background effects feature launches as a part of iOS 10. The News app now stores stories you’ve saved for later in the Saved section, and saves the best paid stories from channels to which you subscribe under a new “For You” category.

The Music app has also gotten a few design tweaks to make using it a little easier. The Shuffle and Repeat buttons have both been made a little more prominent, and you can swipe up to access larger buttons. And a new option, hidden in iOS’s settings menu, reveals star ratings for the action sheets for songs.

The Photos app, too, has received a touch-up. Live photos are now more “stable” and deliver “faster frame rate,” and similar photos of the same person are now grouped more consistently together. Additional support for RAW cameras has been added. And two major issues, one that caused Memories to generate a memory from photos of screenshots, whiteboards, and receipts and another that caused the camera to remain zoomed after switching back from the Camera Roll, have been fixed.

Miscellaneous additions include a headphone icon when Bluetooth audio accessories are connected; a “Preserve Camera” option that saves a given Camera configuration as default; a “Press and Hold to Speak” Accessibility setting that launches Siri when the home button is pressed and held; three new home screen wallpapers (Droplet Blue, Droplet Red, and Droplet Yellow); and a new video widget that shows the latest videos recorded and added to the Camera Roll.

In terms of bug fixes, a Mail issue involving copy-and-paste and message selection has been addressed. Bluetooth performance has been improved. FaceTime participants no longer appear out of focus or in the wrong aspect ratio in certain instances. And Safari’s Reader and Reading List now work more reliably.

The new iOS is rolling out now to the iPhone 5 and later, iPad third generation and later, and iPod sixth generation and later. You can install it by tapping Settings, General, and Software Update on your device, or by connecting your device to iTunes.

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