Wednesday, December 29, 2021

iOS 16 Wishes

Rene Ritchie:

What do you want to see in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 this year? What major new features do they need? What should be removed or changed? What would improve your quality of life?

There are lots of good replies.

I’ll probably think of more, but here’s a quick list off the top of my head:


Update (2022-01-03): Stephen:

Let us select text in an iMessage without copying the entire message please


Adding widgets to the home screen (and moving them) without having all your icons “explode”…that’s it!

Craig Grannell:

  • Landscape mode for Home Screen
  • Notes field for Passwords section in Settings
  • Passwords also to add support for network/FTP logins/etc.
  • Install apps to iPhone/iPad from other Apple kit you own


My wish is for no new iOS this year at all. Just fix problems and polish please.

Update (2022-01-25): Rene Ritchie:

What quality of life improvements would you love to see in iOS 16?

Not major new features, not bug fixes, just little things[…]

Update (2022-01-31): See also: Ryan Jones.

20 Comments RSS · Twitter

>FaceID should work with masks, or there should be an easy way to temporarily disable it when I know that I’ll need to frequently unlock my iPhone for a while.

I was hoping Focus would give us something like this — different security settings depending on our activity. (See also: Location Manager way back in the day. I find it strange that the idea never really caught on. Auto-connect to my home VPN while I'm not at home, say.)

>Make share sheets much faster.


>Let me see all the passwords that are stored, e.g. for Wi-Fi networks.

I wonder how the Passwords "app" (pane in Settings, System Preferences, Safari) relates to this. Does it 1) only show a special keychain? Or 2) a portion of iCloud Keychain? Is it 3) no longer really keychain at all? My impression is 2, in which case, hopefully, they just need to add additional sections?

@Sören I think it’s #2.

Per-domain network connection blocking is *kind of* available with 1Blocker and its Firewall feature. I say “kind of” because as far as I can tell there’s no way to configure the blocklist. There’s also no way to have it apply only to certain apps; it’s all or nothing.

The same thing I want in Mac OS X: bug fixes. Software quality is not a crime.

Every third time I open iOS I have to force quit it in order to be able to see or type anything. It's been like this for three years.

14 years on, I still run into screen orientation switching bugs, a few of which require reboots (not often, but it happens).

And I shouldn't have to reboot my phone every time I want my Mac to autodetect my phone and offer one-click tethering. I wouldn't complain except manually pairing it often doesn't work either. What year is it again?

I’m unsure I’d want FaceID to work without seeing the full face. That’s the whole point. The Apple Watch Assist for unlocking was Apple’s workaround and it’s a good one. Not sure what to say if no Apple Watch. Return of TouchID?

> Redesign the Music app to work more like the old iPad app and not penalize those who don’t subscribe to Apple Music

haha, "Redesign the Music app to work more like Spotify and not penalize those who don't have a ton of mp3 files" :-)

more generally, I think music needs to be 2 apps, because the 2 use cases are very different and both camps are hurting.

For me, it's mostly the apps that need improvement:

- Search by individual conversation in Messages instead of the entire chat history of everyone. Same for Notes app. It's baffling that this hasn't been there since day 1.

- Also on Messages, cache more of conversations. It's idiotic that I have to scroll up, wait, scroll up, wait, etc just to see something someone wrote yesterday.

- Pref for Mail app to download ALL messages and attachments from a server and make everything permanently searchable and available offline.

- Apple Music needs a way to create a personal radio station and add "seed" artists, songs, or albums to it. e.g. a single radio station based on a mix of songs related to Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, and Herbie Hancock. Also the ability to thumbs up and thumbs down songs which improves the station in real time (and is also used to influence your overall "taste" preferences). Apple Music seriously lacks any sort of customization or personalization for anything -- it's really no better than Spotify.

- In general, reduce animations in the OS and in apps. There should be a way to turn off all of the transitions. Waiting for stuff to fade in or slide over etc is tiring, even with "Reduce Motion" turned on. I want stuff to happen immediately when I touch it. At least make the transitions 2x faster than what they are now.

- Make Siri faster. Even with the local ability to process tasks now, and connected to 1Gbps wifi, it still takes a crazy long time just to make a simple reminder like "Remind me to call Amy at 10pm". Should be near-instant!

- Ability to route audio from multiple apps to any connected output or input. e.g. stream Apple Music to an Airplay device on the other side of my house, while watching a YouTube video on a bluetooth speaker, while streaming Spotify to bluetooth headphones, while having alerts sound only on the phone itself.

+1 to all of mjtsai's suggestions.

A. Lee Bennett Jr. wrote: I’m unsure I’d want FaceID to work without seeing the full face. That’s the whole point. The Apple Watch Assist for unlocking was Apple’s workaround and it’s a good one. Not sure what to say if no Apple Watch. Return of TouchID?

Yes! I greatly prefer TouchID over FaceID!

@Lee Yes, after several years of Face ID, I think I prefer Touch ID, anyway. It was a lot faster. But, without having to get a new phone, I’d like to see software improvements for Face ID. For example, if I know I’m going to be grocery shopping, I’d like to be able to tell it to stay unlocked for 30 minutes.

Music App, 6 or 7 years in.

iMessages, 10 / 11 years in.

I guess some day people finally wake up instead of constantly and brainlessly defending Apple. I have been complaining about iMessages since Day 1.

I like the list, Michael. I wonder what the odds of them introducing sideloading are given the legal wringer they're going through with EpicGames?

The only feature suggestion I don't agree with is with regards to full-screen display lock. That might just come down to the way I personally use my phone though.

1. Broader, and repaired device-to-device sync and communication. I should not have to rent space on Apple's servers, so that my devices, which are next to each other, can agree on the list and order of the messages they've each received. If something is unreliable, fix it, don't junk it to try a completely different strategy (Messages In The (rented from Apple) Cloud). Nothing involving my devices exchanging data between themselves should require an internet connection. I should be able to go into the middle of a desert completely off-grid, create a calendar entry or reminder on one device, and that should propagate to my other devices as they MESH via bluetooth / WIFI

On that Note...

2. Siri-less life: Why do I need to use a server-based voice recognition system to create timers to send to my devices? Why can't I just create a timer on one device, then send to another device like any other airdrop option?

3. A return to structure and hierarchies in UI: In the old days of music players, contacts etc, UI worked in a simple structured fashion - side to side, from more general, to more specific. So in Contacts, if I wanted to find the contact details of a medical specialist:

- Tap once top open contacts, tap once on Medical, and then the list is short enough that I can see the specialist I want to contact, tap a third time for that specialist's details. I don't have to maintain any arbitrary knowledge in active memory, because I will recognise the correct entry upon seeing it.

In the new non-structured way...

- Tap once on Contacts, then... type in a search query with a tap for each letter, or, try to remember what they're actually entered in as, and then try to hunt through the dumb alphabetised list - did I put it under the practice's name? is it under the specialist's name?

Similarly with music apps, the swipe up, and swipe down to transition between full screen player ui, and list view of songs is inferior to the simple, consistent tap on song to see full screen player, tap back on Back UI element to see song list, which goes all the way back to the NeXT browser view, which had so much to do with the iPod's success.

In that vein...

4. More UI, Less Gestures: Gestures are a commandline for touch - they each require the learning and memory of arbitrary chunks of information, and their claims to "intuitiveness" is a subjective myth. EVERY function an application can perform at any time, should have a triggering, or controlling UI entity available. Apps that have UI controls which are not visually distinct, or self-labelled as to their function (I'm looking at you Procreate, with your brushsize and opacity sliders that have no differentiation between them) should be rejected from the App store on the grounds of failing to provide Accessibility for people with memory impairment.

5. Better information in UI: If the current view is longer than the screen, give me a scrollbar, or some other visual indication. Every time I want to set a sleep timer in the Podcasts app, I search for it visually, looking under what buttons are visible, only to realise it's below the bottom of the screen, separated by excessive whitespace, and I have to scroll it into view.

6. No more "Card' UIs: PalmOS was a janky garbagefire, but for some reason there's a significant portion of iOS UI designers who cargo-cult that card-style UI it used. It was garbage then, it's garbage now, and it will be garbage in the future. Stop it.

7. Podcasts / Books / Music etc: Stop forcing the store into my face all the time. Remember in iOS 5, when all the main nav entries were customisable at the bottom? Not any more, they all have to serve in some way to putting store content into your face. I should be able to configure the UI of my device to be purely local-library-centric. This means, Podcasts doesn't have a "downloads" section I have to go into - it should just show the content I've synced from my Mac, because I don't want Podcasts on my Phone to be a podcatcher, or a streaming client, I want it to be a dumb player for shows I download, and store, on my computer, then sync across to the phone.

8. Universal Content Libraries: The content libraries for every type of media should be accessible on device by any app to which a user grants access, and things like Bookmarks, Playpoints etc should be readable / writable by any app accessing those content libraries, and DRM should be handled by the library, not the reader app.

Messages: improved experience in texts/group texts with non-iPhone users. For example: do as Android did and auto-interpret emoji responses. Also allow me to rename a group text & photo locally.

I understand Apple’s desire for iPhone lock in, but we are punishing iPhone owners for choices we can’t control.

> For example, if I know I’m going to be grocery shopping, I’d like to be able to tell it to stay unlocked for 30 minutes.

This is me, every time I go groceries shopping 😂.

I have two strategies for this. If I only need to get some items, I try to memorize it on the way to the shop.

Before Christmas I caved and just wrote a list with pen and paper. It was actually quite easy and did not require using my PIN a thousand times during shopping ...

@ Dan: same. For a while, I used the Guided Access thing which Michael linked. Then Apple added Watch Unlock in 14.5, so I jumped on the first beta. Alas, I don't currently have a Watch, so I guess it's back to Guided Access.

@Sören The Guided Access isn’t great because it locks you into a single app. So if I’m looking at my shopping list app (OmniFocus) I can’t send a message or look something up on the Web or in a recipe.

1. My number one wish for Apple with their OSes is to just keep everything up to date and developed, with concentration on fixing bugs.
For example Weather, Clock, Contacts, Voice Memos etc are barely updated and they all buggy. Widgets are half done and they do not work well with Siri.

2. I can't imagine that Siri will be fixed, but it's just a pathetic failure. It is especially bad for any multilingual or multi-country set up. There are so many low hanging fruits that Apple does not address for years.

3. Achilles' heel of Apple is search. Anything search related is very poorly done. Search in files, search in Music, search in AppStore are failing basic functionality.

4. There should be some way to enter an admin mode so you are not prompted for passwords dozen times in short time.

5. Limited Contacts sharing mode, similar to how you can share only a general location with some apps.

6. Folders on the Home screen are outdated, and it's too finicky to work with them. I wish that would improve

7. Better synchronization. I still have to do so many of the same things on many devices. All those should be saved in the cloud and be in sync (with an option to make an exception on per item, per device basis)

8. Messages, FaceTime and ScreenSharing need to merge into one communication app.

9. Better family photo library capabilities

10. My last wish is about a decent music app, the one that works, and allows me to use my collection. I am not sure if it's required to separate it into two apps, one for Apple music and one for My Music, but what they have right now just does not really work well at all.

*Humans* have a hard time recognizing people who are wearing masks, so I don't think faceid can be made mask compatible.

Apple's lead time on hardware is so long that last October's iphones were designed in pre-pandemic times. Hopefully we'll see a return of touch ID in some form or another once the designs created after the pandemic hit finally see the light of day.

It would be great if they brought the "power button Touch ID" to iPhones, at least as an option that could be used when FaceID is inconvenient. I'm really surprised they haven't done it yet. My wife's new iPad has it and it's really nice.

This post highlights a major frustration within the iOS ecosystem. I have never found Airplay to be particularly reliable or useable for much. Screen mirroring has always been pretty hit or miss with the Apple TVs, even with the most recent Apple TV hardware and an iPhone 13 Pro.

Using Homepods with Airplay is an exercise in futility. Regardless of the audio source on my phone, whether it's Apple Music, Apple's unbelievably bad Podcast App, Overcast, or even Youtube, the chances of the audio actually playing when transferred is 50/50. Sometimes the phone will show that audio is playing, but there's no sound. Turning off Airplay and bringing the audio back to the phone sometimes doesn't even work and requires the phone and homepods to be power cycled. While I think the homepods are a good product in theory, they simply do not work consistently enough. Siri is another issue that needs to be addressed, but Apple seems content with this part of their ecosystem right now.

I would absolutely love to hear that iOS 16 focuses on some of these issues. Simply making things within the iOS/tvOS/homeOS ecosystem work better together would be a huge win for the next cycle of software releases.

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