Tuesday, March 12, 2019

What’s Wrong With iOS Multitasking

Fraser Speirs:

Now that we have four operations that are essentially the exact same physical gesture but differentiated by the length of time the gesture is performed for, I am concerned that many users will become quite confused.


I have already had several very savvy iOS users tell me that they simply thought it wasn’t possible to multitask an app that wasn’t in the Dock.

I know that there are a number of ways to do this but none are very discoverable and some are very difficult to execute.


I have observed a number of friends on Twitter posting screenshots of their iOS 11 app arrangement which can probably best be described as “everything in the dock and a junk drawer folder at the end” just so they can be guaranteed that the first path to an app (going via the Dock) will always yield a result.


In practice I found that, too often, I needed to create arbitrary pairs of apps and this caused all my bespoke app pairings to be dismantled in the background. This gave me a sense of instability in the iOS 11 UI. Things I had built were being dismantled invisibility and they were not the way I had left them. This is another of these “functional cliffs” - a short term use of an app leads to the invisible dismantling of a pairing in the background.

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The split screening gestures drive me crazy. Its so hard to figure out how to get the pop over one (I have no idea how to change it from messages at this point) and even harder to split screen.

Apple needs a complete rethink of this.

After all these years, iOS is still a complete joke when it comes to multitasking in the human sense of the word. The majority of the tasks that I do on my iPhone or iPad take longer than if I did them on my Mac (and that's IF the task is even possible in iOS). The only thing iOS has going for it is extreme portability and battery life. The only situation where I'm sitting at my desk and think "I'll open my iPad because it does Task X better than my Mac" is when I'm using software synthesizers. It's much easier to tweak the knobs and sliders on the iPad's screen. This would be completely negated by a touchscreen Mac.

I'm starting to think that all of the folks who have totally switched to iPad instead of a Mac must be gluttons for punishment, or they just weren't doing much but surfing the web on their Mac to begin with. iOS is still infuriatingly slow and complex (but wait -- isn't it supposed to be *simpler*? NOPE) for completing tasks that the Mac can do with ease -- Speir's article highlights just ONE of the many frustrations.

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