A few weeks back I read rumors that iOS 12 is not going to be a major upgrade over iOS 11 and that got me not-so-interested in the upcoming update which Apple is going to unveil in WWDC 2018 which will be held in June. Good thing, those are just rumors and no one knows what’s going to be in iOS 12.
I’ve been using iOS for couple years now and I feel there are lots of areas in which Apple can really enhance the usability in iOS. Quick example, Camera app is something everyone uses but not everyone’s priority would be to open Camera app from the lock screen, someone who spends lots of time on WhatsApp might want to be able to access WhatsApp quickly from lock screen, or someone who writes might want to open Notes app, or someone who likes listening to music might want to access their favourite Music app from lock screen with a single swipe. Why isn’t this easy option, to be able to set your favorite app accessible from lock screen customizable in iOS? There are many ways in which Apple can make the OS more easy and quicker to navigate.
Here are some of the areas in iOS which I think can be improved.
Right now, the state of notifications in iOS is pretty much messed up. I totally agree with Dieter that Android has better notification management and organization as compared to iOS. Here is how I want notifications in iOS 12.
- Notifications Grouping : Option to enable grouping of notifications from the same app
- Notifications Priority : One should be able to see notifications from selected apps on the top
- Simple Navigation : Right now, navigating through a notification is literally messed up, you can force-press to view options, swipe for other actions and tap to open the notification. Notifications shouldn’t be this complicated. Being honest, even I don’t know how it can be made simpler, but one thing is that there are two ways to view notification actions, one by force-press and other by swiping to left and tapping on “View”. I think on swiping right, we can have just one option, Customize. Customization should include letting users set the priority of notifications from that app, muting or enable/disable grouping. In short, users should be able to directly set app’s notification preference right from that particular notification.
Above is a nice work by Eike showing how notifications grouping can be implemented. The UI, the animation, the spacing, the alignment, everything feels just right in the concept.
This is not just about the look and feel of the home screen which can use some re-design but also about the usability. I have iPhone 8 Plus and even after using it for months, I still don’t like how big the screen is and how hard it is to use it using one hand. I would want to be able to arrange icons on the bottom of the screen where I can easily tap. There has to be some sort of customizability in the home screen so it is easy to reach and tap icons.
Glide typing in Keyboard
I like stock keyboard and how it helps me in typing quickly. The emoji suggestions feature while typing is a great time-saver. The only thing I want in stock keyboard is glide/swipe typing just like other popular keyboards have, like Google’s Gboard. That would make typing super fast.
Quick Switching between apps
Right now, force swipe to right lets users switch to last app quickly. But I rarely use this feature because I find it hard to use. It doesn’t work for me in the first time in most cases. Also because I find it little hard to take your right hand’s thumb all the left of your phone’s screen, press a little hard and swipe towards the right. Also if you have a case, then it gets harder to achieve this action. Most time I don’t force press in the right position but I’m sure it’s not just me. There should be a better and simple way of doing this. Maybe press and hold on edge would be better.
It’s 2018 and there’s still no dark mode in iOS. I hope to see Dark mode in iOS 12, not just for system apps but in a way that would switch dark mode in all apps as well. Also the ability to automatically toggle Dark mode on a set schedule or on Sunrise/Sunset would be cool.
Incoming Call as Notification
Calls are important but when I’m using my phone, incoming calls should appear as a permanent notification on top or bottom and should not take the whole screen. When the screen is off or locked, then I’m fine if it takes the whole screen like in the current design.
Ability to set default apps
I used to use NewtonMail for managing email. It’s literally the best email app I’ve used till now. But it’s also expensive. After I decided to move on from NewtonMail, I’ve been switching between email apps and till now, I’ve given my fair share of time to Google’s Inbox, Astro, Polymail and Microsoft’s Outlook which I’m currently using.
The problem with using 3rd-party email client is that we can’t set those as default apps. So when I tap on an email in some app, it’ll always open default Mail app, and if you’ve disabled/removed the Mail app then it would ask you to install the Mail app. This is not how it should be, users should be able to set default apps not just for email, but also for Camera, Browser, Photos, Music etc.
Pinned and Starred Messages
Right now, my phone has more than 700 unread SMSs, most of which is spam. So when I travel in train and when I need to show the Ticket Collector the reservation message or when I just want to refer to some important message, I have to open Messages app, search for some keyword related to that message and hope that that message would show up. I do that because it’s even harder to just scroll through tons of spam to find that one message, and good luck if you miss it.
There has to be a feature to star or favorite messages so they can be accessed easily. Also pinning some threads on top would be a really useful feature for many.
RAW shooting in stock Camera app
This is something I really want Apple to push in iOS 12. I didn’t know the power of RAW until I started using Halide app to shoot some photos. It would really awesome if Apple adds RAW shooting in the stock Camera app.
- Customizable Vibrations : I don’t know why there’s no option to disable vibrations for just 3d touch. If anyone wants to do that, they will have to disable vibrations from Accessibility. These are little things which need to customizable.
- Customizable Sounds : It would be nice to be able to set different notification tones for different apps from the system sounds.
- Setting Wallpapers : Why do I have to save an image and then set it as wallpaper from the Photos app, why can’t I just open an image in Safari and set it as wallpaper directly from the browser or an app?
- Toggles in Main Settings Screen : It would be great to have a toggle for Wi-Fi, Mobile Data and other options right on the main Settings screen, just like we have for Airplane Mode and VPN. Tapping on the rest area of the row can be used to go to advanced options for that setting.
- Close all apps : Users should be able to close all open apps at once in multitasking view.
I don't know what Apple is going to put in iOS 12, but one thing that I can say that Apple doesn't need to up the performance part much because I feel iOS is already snappy. It's just that it can be a lot stable and quicker to use.
I don’t think the above features are too advanced to have, I see them as basics. One more thing I would want to see which is actually about the connectivity between Mac and iOS is to be able to initiate app installations on iPhone from App Store on the web, just like we can do in Android through Play Store on the web. Most of the apps I discover is while I’m browsing on my Mac, and what I do right now is save the app in my Raindrop list and then download it later in the night on my phone. Another cool feature would be to be able to unlock Mac from iPhone’s Touch ID. But these would be complicated and that can be added later. I hope to see Apple adding some of the changes from my wish list in iOS 12.