Friday, October 7, 2022

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 Unfortunately, that went away with iOS 16 and has been replaced by a new animation that makes it feel like you’re moving cards through a deck instead of leafing through a digitized version of paper.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.

7 Comments RSS · Twitter

Agree, pretty solidly hate these Books 16 changes. The X to close top right always visible in your facem, really ugly, super annoying. The always visible ugly non-standard settings icon, and not very nice looking settings popup. And there’s some jerkiness/flash if you flick to page instead of tap to page at some particular speed.

Any reports showing the behaviour with Fixed-Layout EPUB books - I read something about the page flip animation being gone, which seems like a stupid thing to remove given the hinting it provides for spatial orientation of left / right page.

Also, is the reading menu button / icon thing always visible and obscuring content underneath, or does it only show up on a tap?

@Someone Like the X, it’s always visible. :-(

So far as I can tell, the only way to get ePub highlights out is by drag'n'drop, which I guess thankfully we can do on the iPhone, now.

@MichaelTsai Oh FFS what is wrong with the people at Apple...

On the other hand, there are some pretty solid updates to fix and improve long-standing accessibility issues and there's more visual customisation for text spacing So ...

@Sebby more accessibility is always good, but Fixed Layout EPUB is specifically for illustrated books, comics, coffee-table style photo books etc. An omnipresent UI element that's imposed over the content is an unmitigated disaster.

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