iOS 7 – what I would expect it to fix

iOS is a really nice Operating System. It is light enough to run on a mobile device with limited power yet powerful enough to run even the craziest of 3D game engines. It’s in a way a magically smart OS optimized to be in perfect sync with the hardware. Yet iOS has several things which could be vastly improved.

iOS7_smart

A lot of these things are annoyances which pile up over time. Think about a curve running along the x-axis at a certain y-value and think about x as the time-axis. As a customer the annoyances just pile up as the area under this curve over time (see following gfx).

ios_annoyances_smart

Gfx displaying how annoyances piled up over time

I just want to put up my most important things here to share it with the community and to hopefully inspire engineers at Apple to improve on them.

Annoying things

  • Marking & editing text with the finger: It’s awful, it could be much better. There do exist picture perfect concepts of how to fix this. Fix it! [NOT FIXED!]
  • Network and other settings: Where is the easy pulldown settings panel? The notification center is nice, but instead of putting weather and stock quotes inside, put the really needed settings-toggle-switches there: WLAN, 3G, Bluetooth, GPS, Brightness, … Please, fix it! [FIXED!]
  • Update of Apps: It’s not working without user intervention and it fails way to often. Fix it! [LOOKS LIKE FIXED!]
  • The AppStore App: It’s displaying WebViews and makes serendipity of shopping impossible. It fails all the time to deliver a nice shopping experience. It also fails in giving immediate user feedback on UI-activities. Instead you get empty screens and wait all day long for a WebView to load. Tapping Buy/Update/Install-Buttons is a PITA because they never give immediate feedback if you really hit them, which is due to the (I assume JS-Bridged) Webview-Calls. You could just RAMP up a new AppStore App which has an API and is 100% native. Just leave the old stuff in place for compatibility with older devices and provide a smart new AppStore App (which e.g. has a shopping basket, knows which apps I have looked at lately, allows me to deep dive and not get lost, gives me all the gear of endless shopping…). Damn, fix this mess soon! [LOOKS LIKE FIXED! (BONUS: HAS WISHLIST NOW!)]
  • Switches & Sliders: Switches were difficult to hit/activate since introduction in iOS’s first release. The same is true for sliders. You always miss them because they don’t have the typical 44x44px taparea/tap-catch-area which makes it easy to hit it. Fix it, please! [PARTLY FIXED! SWITCHES LOOK FIXED.]
  • The Notification Center: Entries in this center panel are nice, but did you ever try to hit the delete button? Try it and then enlarge it to make it easy to tap it. Fix it! [FIXED!]
  • The dashboard/homescreen: I have more than 200 apps on my device, organizing them in little tiny folders of 9 items is not helping me at all. Also having 11 panels and additional apps not beeing reachable other than via Spotlight search is annoying as hell. Why not present a flat-folder-table-view which groups my apps in groups I could create and manage? Even if this would be the last of the 11 panels it would be so much more useful. Please fix this! [PARTLY FIXED! PAGED FOLDERS.]
  • The power cable & charging process: Every device needs power. Nearly every day. Why the hell do iPhones, iPods and iPads switch themselves ON when they were put on the power cord in OFF-mode as soon as you pull the plug from the device? What’s the reason behind this? Fix it! Leave it off please. Thanks! [NOT FIXED!]
  • iCloud: Please be transparent, WHAT actually goes into the cloud. And please leave iCloud off by default. I do not want stuff to be copied to the cloud unwanted. This is important to me. If I want iCloud to be on, I would like to see WHAT and how MUCH of it actually goes there. Please enforce transparency on this for your own apps and those of all developers. [NOT FIXED!]
  • Storage Size & Management: Please tell people if their device is endangered to approach „disk full“ status. Also give developers an easy hook to check for low disk space situations (e.g. on saving images to the photoalbum). provide easy failover procedures (bonus: using blocks) for SDK-methods which store stuff or write files. Provide an option to the customer to immediately clean/erase stuff from their device to continue with the operation in progress after cleaning. [NOT FIXED!]
  • The Settings Chaos: Well, we have the Settings App, which carries a lot of Device specific Operating System Settings, but at the same time these Settings carry a lot of Settings for Apple’s apps and all the other Apps. Then we have Settings inside the Apps themselves. The user can only be confused by this. It may be a good idea to let the user just access the App-specific Settings from within the App’s context. But the way it is now it foces me to travel to the Settings App everytime if I want to change something in the app. This is Chaos! Fix it! [NOT FIXED!]
  • The-one-Icon-too-much Situation: Everytime I reorder my Apps on the Homescreen, it gives me a headache to move these dumb little things in a way they not accidentially destroy the complete order of ALL following panels. If I place a new Icon/App on my FULL homescreen the last icon gets pushed to the next screen, but that is not what I want. Please push this Icon in some „Parking Slot“, from which I can move it to its new position easily. Please, fix that soon! [NOT FIXED!]
  • IAP Account Hell: I regularly get customer support requests which have problems buying In-App-Purchases because something is weird with their AppleID. In ALL THESE cases one solution I provided to them fixed these Issues ALWAYS.
    The way to fix these problems is the following:
    1. Open the „Settings“ App
    2. Tap „iTunes & App Stores“
    3. Tap on your AppleID (usually your E-Mail) and tap LOGOUT
    4. Switch the whole device OFF
    5. Switch it back ON
    6. Open the App which had problems byung IAP-Products from
    7. Enter the Shop area in that app
    8. Try to RESTORE your products or BUY new ones
    9. You will now be asked for your Apple ID, enter and happy shopping…

    This stuff is really annoying and it happens from time to time to customers. [NOT FIXED!]

  • App Updates: Install all pending App Updates, it is still NOT WORKING in most of the cases. Fix it! [LOOKS LIKE IT WAS FIXED!]
  • RAM Degradation aka Memoryleaks: Many people do not restart their phone for months. But during this time OS daemons and other stuff leak memory continuously. This leads to significantly less available memory for apps and their execution. Please force free leaked memory with some procedure which is friendly for customers. You could e.g. restart certain system daemons during NO-USE-TIMES (e.g. the night, when customers are asleep). Fix it! [NOT FIXED!]
  • iMessage: An iMessage. Merged with FaceTime. That works. Everywhere. [NOT FIXED!]

Excellent things needed

  • VoiceOver i.e. Text-to-Speech: It’s nice for people which are visually impaired, but it could be awesome for all text-driven apps too. Please make it available to developers without the need to switch the device to VoiceOver mode. [IS FIXED!]
  • Lightsensor values to adjust the UI: Several apps are designed for outdoor use. Lighting changes often and quickly outside and also during the day and night. Let developers access the lighting conditions and let them adjust the UI perfectly to the measured environmental brightness. This would so much improve user experience. [NOT FIXED!]
  • Compass: Navigation is one of the core things people use their device for. Please explain the calibration procedure the right way to them. And make sure you tell people if the compass is NOT delivering correct values. Please, tell them that by moviing the device in an 8-shape actually means making a moebius-strip-movement turning the device by 360 degress in all axis. [THE CALIBRATION ISSUE SEEMS FIXED!]
  • Battery: If you guys have the choice of making this thing thinner again or giving it more LI-Batterypacks, please go for the more electrical power approach, please! [NOT FIXED!]
  • Status-driven-App-Icons: You guys do it since day one now with the calendar app. Why not allow every developer a predefined set of Icons which could communicate the inner state of an app in a nice and elegant way? It is so easy and you could review these Icons for fraudulent behaviour like people trying to trick others with wrong Icons! [NOT FIXED!]
  • Location-dependent Settings/Environment: iOS has already sophisticated region-detection via a very sophisticated LocationManager. Why not use this to define essential Device Settings (i.e. for Silence Phone/Vibration use/allow 3G or not) to get actiavted depending on your location. This would ease the config of devices which travel between different locations (i.e. work and home) massively everyday. [NOT FIXED!]
  • Multi-User and/or Guest Environment: It is not so much an issue with the iPhone than with the iPad. The iPad invites to be passed around for gaming, photos and so on. At least it would be great if I could have a GUEST-mode where no Push-Notifications show up, none of my Apps is used by the guest with my documents/accounts/favorited links and so on. Even some YOU CANNOT leave this app without my permission/password-mode/switch would be helpful. [NOT FIXED!]

Stuff which is not so much wanted

  • Skeudomorph-180-Rollback: Yeah, we all know Scott F. left the building. But hey, please do not turn everything upside down without developers having time enough to prepare for this move, okay? [COMPLETELY BLOWN!]
  • YAARS (Yet another aspect-ratio screen): Yes, I like variety, I like happy customers, but I do not have unlimited resources to support app development or maintenance. Supporting any new aspect-ratio is costly and adds to the overall amount of work needed to build an app. Just try to be conservative here, please! [GREAT, NO NEW SCREEN!]
  • Fingerprint-Sensor: Passwords may not be safe, but fingerprints aren’t either. And you can easily renew a password, but not renew your finger. AND information encoded in fingerprints may reveal/encode infos (which need strong protection) about humans we are not yet ready to decipher. [GREAT, NO SENSOR!]

These are the most important things I would wish for iOS 7. I would be oh so happy to see these fixed & introduced soon. I will add more stuff as I remember it… to be continued…

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