Saturday, January 9, 2016

Improving the iOS 9 Videos App

I find the iOS Videos app frustrating to use. It’s almost unbelievable that in the 9th major version of the OS it’s missing what seem to be some pretty basic features. However, this also means that it should’t be hard to make it a lot better:

Of course, ideally we wouldn’t have to wait for Apple to improve the Videos app. After all, we have the App Store. Lots of people don’t like the new Music app, but fortunately there are excellent third-party alternatives such as Ecoute (App Store). However, as far as I can tell, none of the many video apps in the store are a viable alternative to Apple’s Videos app. It looks like there are APIs for apps to get a list of locally stored videos, but there’s no way for apps to see which videos were purchased and to selectively download them from the cloud. The same limitations are in place for music, but that doesn’t matter so much because the iPhone has plenty of space to store my entire music library. It’s not feasible to store one’s entire video library on an iOS device. My iPad only has enough free space for one movie at a time. An app for managing videos must be able to manage videos that are stored in the cloud.

Update (2016-01-10): Actually, it appears that there is an API for accessing music in the cloud, and Ecoute lets you control whether non-local songs are shown. You can stream them but not manage the local copies.

Jared Sinclair:

Re: Videos․app, this unforgivable caching bug introduced with iOS 7 is still around on iOS 9

TL;DR “Streamed” playback is downloaded in full resolution, not cleared, nor manually clearable w/out signing out/back in.

7 Comments RSS · Twitter

Stupid hack, but if your iPad supports split screen (only recent hardware) then you get a list if you force the app into the half-screen-width state.

Chris Burdick

My biggest peeve is that I can't create a playlist for videos in the app. I have to do this convoluted workaround on the Mac, where I load my videos into iTunes and turn them into episodes of a made-up "TV series" so I can then put them in the Videos app on my iPad and have them play sequentially. Something as simple as a playlist shouldn't require so many steps.

[…] is a great list of suggestions for the built-in Videos app by Michael […]

My current biggest frustration is that you can't toggle watched state.

Agreed on all points but this just covers management of videos. How about playback? Even just a little bit of improvement there would be very welcome too.

[…] hat der für die Mac-Anwendung DropDMG verantwortliche Developer jetzt zu Papier gebracht und resümiert: Selbst mit minimalem Arbeitseinsatz könnte Apple die Werks-Applikation […]

[…] few years ago, I lamented some problems with the iOS 9 Videos app. iOS 11 includes the TV app instead of Videos, and unfortunately […]

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