It is June, WWDC month and wish list season. On the 22nd, Apple will announce iOS and iPadOS 14 in their first ever remote developer conference.
Features are exciting, and I hope we get some despite Apple’s workforce being at home, but quality of life improves are my main focus in yet another wish list for what needs to be done to enjoy my iPhone more and make my iPad workflows more serious.
New iPad Multitasking Interface
Multitasking on iPad is bad.
If you want to place an app in split view without attaching a keyboard, you have to quit the app, open the second app, bring up the dock, hope the original app is in the ‘recent apps’ section, and drag it to position.
If you have two windows from a single app in split view and want to close one of the windows, you have to leave split view entirely before tapping the app icon in the dock, then show all windows, then swipe away the one you want to close.
There is no way to see the state of an app; it could be in slide over or split view in another layout but you do not know until you tap the app icon from the dock.
Sometimes, I’ll tap Safari from the home screen, and it will open another app entirely, where Safari is in 1/3 split view, even though I have a full screen instance of the browser elsewhere.
What if you want to put two apps from the app overview screen into split view? Impossible.
The iPad Pro has most of the multitasking abilities I need from a tablet, but the software paradigms that have been misshapen to get us here need fixing. They are inconsistent and frustrating.
Multiple Audio Streams
The original iPhone was sold as a ’widescreen iPod with touch controls’ but listening to music today is an inconvenient experience. If you receive a video on iMessage, your music will stop and when the video finishes, Messages has hijacked the audio widget and you have to return to your music or podcast app to continue playing. Every app behaves differently, causing inconsistency and a bad user experience.
Sometimes apps like YouTube don’t even use the Control Centre audio widget when playing in the background.
iOS 14 should allow for multiple audio streams at once. This would also allow for calls in one app, while recording a podcast in another and countless other professional workflows.
Background Video Conferencing
During the Coronavirus pandemic, most of us are engaging in more video calls than usual. But Zoom, Skype and Google Meet cut video feeds when you leave their app. Worse, they cut video even if you open another app in slide over or split view on iPad. You can have your conferencing app in the foreground and still be unable to use video.
Apple’s own FaceTime allows this, so they should open up the capability for third party apps too.
Smarter Rotation Lock
I want the physical rotation lock switch back on iPad. But I’m not going to get that. Instead, I hope Apple follow apps like Apollo and their recent implementation of smarter rotation locking. I should be able to leave rotation lock on, but when a video plays, tap a button to rotate it to landscape. This would make Twitter easier in bed.
Or, Apple could use the True Depth camera on modern iPhones and iPads to detect the angle that the user is looking at their device to decide whether or not to rotate the screen.
Universal Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts should be more widely implemented system-wide and should be customisable. Cmd-F should put the search bar into focus in every list view.
I should be able to set keyboard shortcuts to activate Siri shortcuts, or for control centre or the dock.
My clipboard manager, Pastebot, is extremely important to my Mac workflow. I use it to save stuff temporarily as well as sequentially copy and paste. An API to allow this on iPadOS would make working on iPad more productive and would come hand in hand with new keyboard shortcuts.
Better Storage Management
There are a variety of issues with managing storage on iOS. The Files app often shows a different amount of free storage than the Settings app. I have a phantom 2GB being used by the Files app on my iPhone, even though the On My iPhone folder is empty.
Sometimes, I’ll check available storage and then try to airdrop a file that would easily fit in that storage. But it will fail mid-way through the transfer with an error about being out of space. It should at least warn me before starting the transfer.
Third Party Services on HomePod
I’ll never buy a HomePod if it doesn’t support Spotify natively.
Make Control Centre Easier to Activate
It physically hurts to reach control centre on my iPhone 11 Pro Max. The top right hand corner is not the right place to put important, frequently used controls.
There is also a long standing bug where sometimes you cannot even invoke control centre when using Reachability.
Picture in Picture Video on iPhone
Watching video on iPad is great as you can leave the app and keep watching. With iPhones getting bigger and bigger, this should no longer be an iPad exclusive feature.
New Mail App
There are no good mail apps on the App Store. They are either buggy, too expensive or have huge security flaws.
Apple should add a Snooze feature to Mail that syncs between devices, and modernise the interface like third party competitors, so it can become a viable alternative.
Remove Suggestions from Spotlight
Spotlight search has auto-complete suggestions that take a fraction of a second too long to appear. Time and time again I go to tap a search result and accidentally tap a suggestion instead when it appears.
There should be an option to remove them.
Remove App Banners From Safari
Web developers have the ability to add native advertisements for the mobile apps on their websites. These take up space and should be removed. There is often a reason I am not using an app, perhaps this is the first time I have visited that website.
You should be able to set default apps for certain link types. I want Apollo to open all Reddit links, Tweetbot to open Twitter links and Google Maps to open addresses.
Clamp Down on YouTube
There is an App Store rule that system features should not be chargeable. Yet YouTube charge for background audio. Apple should clamp down on this rule.
Better Messages Share Window
When sharing via messages, you can not see the full height of a photo in the share window even on Apple’s largest iPhone. It is also impossible to scroll through previous messages. This interface needs fixing.
Decouple Stock Apps
If Apple decoupled stock apps — like Maps and Messages — and allowed them to be updated via the App Store, we would receive more frequent updates and fixes, instead of waiting a whole year for a single, large software update.
Better iMessage Link Previews
If you share a tweet in iMessage that contains a video, the link preview shows a photo. I have to use a specific iMessage sticker pack that tells people to view full tweets. The same applies for threads.
And finally, a problem since day one:
Incoming Calls Shouldn’t Take Up The Whole Screen
When you get a phone call on iPhone, the whole screen is blocked. You either have to send a busy tone, answer, or wait it out. Phone calls should be persistent notifications instead.
Most of the features I want from the next version of iOS are minor. They are fixes and improvements to things Apple already have. I don’t care about home screen widgets. iOS is past the stage of flashy. It's time to double down on making devices a pleasure to use once again.
I believe it starts with this.