Archive for October 7, 2022

Friday, October 7, 2022

Showing the Amount of Free Space on iOS

Kyle Howells:

Got tired of iOS lying about the free space so finally just built a 1 screen app to show the real free space available. Probably no way I can actually get this in the AppStore though.

He makes the code available here.

I really wish this info was actually exposed in the settings app.

I’m so tired of explaining to friends and family why their phone is telling them they don’t have enough free space to accept an airdrop of some photos and videos; while also saying they have 200+GB of free space.

Kyle Howells:

Apple doesn’t count anything “purge-able” as actually existing. So local iCloud Photo Library caches don’t count, iCloud document caches don’t count.

So Settings will say 200GB free, but if I AirDrop you a 2GB file it might fail saying you don’t have enough free space.

Same with copying a file via the Files app from a USB stick. It’ll fail unless your true free space is enough for it, despite Settings app saying you have “up to 200GB we could clear if we need it”.

So you might actually benefit from more space than you think, even with iCloud.


The only way to get more “real free space” I found to copy files onto my device was to run the camera to record video at max settings for 10mins. Then Delete and Delete from Recently Deleted. That would free a chunk of “real free space”.


Apple Books in iOS 16

Josh Centers:

Apple eliminated the toolbar at the top of the screen that could be summoned or dismissed with a tap of the screen. Books now hides most of its controls in the reading menu, accessed by tapping a button that lives by default in the lower-right corner.


That progress indicator—plus another one at the bottom that tells you you’re on page X of Y—also appears with a tap on the screen. It’s all the same information that the iOS 15 version of Books kept at the bottom of the screen when the toolbar was showing, but it can be harder to parse due to sitting on top of the book text in a darkish gray-on-lightish gray bubble.


When I first started using Books in iOS 16, I found myself accidentally creating bookmarks. I eventually realized that Books now creates a bookmark when you double-tap the screen, which is easy to do inadvertently.

Kevin van Haaren:

You used to be able to set the brightness while reading separately from the system brightness. I used that quite a bit and still miss after many months of beta use.


Update (2022-10-13): Maciej:

  1. I don’t like the hiding progress bar in a menu. Extra step with no clear befits.
  2. “X” button in the right corner is nuts. Back/X/Cancel buttons are in the LEFT corner pretty much everywhere on Apple platforms. So annoying.
  3. You can leave the book by swiping up if you’re not using vertical scrolling in when reading (obviously).
  4. Reading preferences menu is weird. It feels unfinished, there’s too little visual separation between it and the content.

Nikita Prokopov:

Apple Books. Font preview in font settings is smaller than actual text (left), page color preview is dimmer than actual page (middle), actual text with those settings applied (right).

Update (2022-12-01): Mitchell Clark:

Apple Books has been my main reading app for years for one very specific reason: its page-turning animation is far and away the best in the business. Unfortunately, that went away with iOS 16 and has been replaced by a new animation that makes it feel like you’re moving cards through a deck instead of leafing through a digitized version of paper. And despite the fact that I’ve been trying to get used to the change since I got onto the beta in July, I still feel like Apple’s destroyed one of the last ways that my phone brought joy into my life.


I’ll fully admit that this may be a slightly petty article about a very small thing that probably won’t matter to very many other people. But it genuinely was a feature that made me choose to buy e-books on Apple’s platform instead of anyone else’s — and given how same-y most book stores and reading apps are in the broad strokes, it really is the details that get you locked into an ecosystem.

Update (2022-12-23): See also: Hacker News.

Update (2023-01-30): Riley Testut:

Why in the world does iBooks use the screen brightness slider to scrub through the book ??? just lost my place thanks to that

Update (2023-03-01): Juli Clover:

The second beta of iOS 16.4 that was introduced to developers today appears to have a limited number of new features, but it does have a major update for those who use Apple Books - it reintroduces an option for the page turning animation.

Using Gestures Inside the Dynamic Island

Jason Snell:

Swiping toward the center of the Island does seem to “minimize” it, though that behavior seems to vary. When I tried it while on a phone call, it made the time and voice waveform disappear, but the phone icon—to indicate that there’s an active phone call—remained. Doing it with playing music caused the music widget to vanish entirely. Swiping back out from the center restored it.

Things get a little more complicated when two items are in the Dynamic Island.

Josh Ginter:

I find myself constantly misusing the Dynamic Island. When music is playing and you tap the Dynamic Island, the iPhone zips you into the Music app. When a timer is running and you tap the Dynamic Island, the iPhone zips you into the Clock/Timer app. You have to long press the Dynamic Island to bring up the useful Now Playing button interface and the Timer interface for starting and stopping the timer.

As Nilay Patel stated in his great review on The Verge, this feels exactly opposite how Dynamic Island should react to a tap. A tap should bring up the Dynamic Island UI, not take you to the app. And a long press should take you to the app, not bring up the Dynamic Island UI.


Update (2022-10-10): Craig Grannell:

I find the argument it works ‘incorrectly’ strange. Springboard is tap to launch and tap-hold for actions. Prior, we had Force Touch. For once, Dynamic Island is following conventions, not making up new ones (or, as some demand, doing the opposite).

Rob Jonson:

Open for quick interaction - Long Press

Open for long interaction - Simple Tap

Doesn’t seem right to me.

Put it another way - is the dynamic island primarily the holder of the full app, or the holder of the expanded dynamic island?

Update (2022-10-17): John Gruber:

After installing the beta and playing with these gestures for a few days, I can’t say I’m a fan. I don’t see what these gestures add other than confusion — I think most people would experience these things only by accident, and consider them bugs, not features.

While I’m writing about the Dynamic Island: The more I use it, the more I agree with the common request that simply tapping an item in the Dynamic Island should open the expanded view, instead of jumping you into the app responsible for that item.

iOS Action Discoverability

Jean-Louis Gassée (in 2019, via Hacker News):

Because I feel self-conscious about my mental and motor skills, I compared notes with a learned friend, a persistent fellow who forced himself to learn touch typing by erasing the letters on his keyboard. He, too, finds iPadOS discoverability to be severely lacking. There are lot of new and possibly helpful features but, unlike the 1984 Mac, not enough in the way of the hints that menu bars and pull-down menus provide. It all feels unfinished, a long, long list of potentially winning features that are out of the reach of this mere mortal and that I assume will remain undiscovered by many others.

Kirk McElhearn (in 2019):

iOS has always been dependent on gestures for accomplishing certain tasks, and this is even more the case with iPadOS. But these gestures are hard to discover, and even harder to remember. Do you know how to make the proper three-finger pinch to copy text on your iPad?

Much of the power of iPadOS comes through new gestures, and while Apple offers a Tips app, this app only shows a couple of the new gestures, and none of the older ones.

Apple Support (in 2019):

Don’t move, mark, or delete emails one by one. Swipe down with two fingers over your messages to select multiple items in iOS 13 and iPadOS.

Myke Hurley (in 2019):

TIL You can long press on scroll bars on iOS and zip up and down

John Gruber (in 2020):

Until this afternoon, I had been working under the assumption that the iOS/iPadOS Files app only had one view: icon/grid view. Turns out there’s also a list view, and on iPadOS in landscape, column view. The trick is that you need to pull down on the view to expose these controls.

[Update (2022-10-08): This has since been fixed.]

Alex Ellis:

To delete the last digit from a number you entered in the iOS calculator, you can swipe the numbers to delete.


To better navigate around a text document, you can long press the spacebar, then navigate around.


To go back and forward in Safari, you can swipe the edges of the screen. To switch between tabs, you can swipe the URL bar left and right.