So we’re less than one month away from WWDC, arguably the biggest event of the year. Apple will show off new versions of iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS and we might even see new hardware this year but in this post I focus on iOS and what I want to see in iOS 11.
Firstly (and this is the only “big” feature I want to see) something a lot of users have been asking for and that is Dark Mode. To put it simply, iOS is very white and bright and if you use it at night, your eyes will suffer. There are strong rumours Apple will finally be switching to OLED this year with the iPhone 8 and there isn’t a better time to introduce Dark Mode to iOS. I appreciate it’s difficult to implement in some apps especially in Safari as websites tend to have white backgrounds for better readability but the UI for Safari could be changed.
What follows are small changes but they’d make a big difference to how we’d use iOS on a daily basis. I’d like to see more live app icons. The Calendar app icon already shows the current date and the Clock icon shows the current time but they are the only icons that are live. Apple could add the current temperature to the Weather app and show how much progress you’ve made with the three rings in the Activity app. They could also show your current location with the Maps app but I appreciate that would drain the battery. In iOS 10.3, Apple gave developers the ability for users to change their icons and so with iOS 11, Apple could make another step with their own apps.
Next, a brand new volume UI. There’s no reason why, in 2017, when changing volume, the screen is blocked by the massive volume UI for a few seconds. Look at Instagram, that has the most minimalist volume slider and Apple should copy it, exactly! When changing volume, the slider could simply slide down from the top of the screen, cover the Status Bar for a few seconds and then slide up again.
Grouped notifications. Why oh why did Apple remove this in iOS 10? It’s just annoying and I hope Apple admit they were in the wrong and that they’ve received enough feedback from users to change it back again. Apple do listen, remember when they changed the incoming call screen and removed the full-screen photo of the person that was calling you? People weren’t happy when they replaced it with a small circular icon at the top-right of the screen. Apple changed it back to how it was shortly after.
Next, a small change to the Music app. For what it is, I actually like the Music app. I hope Apple make a few UI changes, remove some whitespace for example, but as a whole, I’m pretty satisfied with it. One change I’d like is the ability to swipe on the album artwork to change tracks.
The iOS keyboard is fine but I’d like to see the numbers 0-9 positioned permanently above the top row of letters instead of having to switch between the two all the time. Not much else I can say about this one.
Apple tout that the camera on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are the best smartphone camera’s ever. So why (again, in 2017) can’t we change the settings within the Camera app? For example, to change the record quality, you have to access Settings, find Photos & Camera, scroll to the bottom and then select “Record Video”. It’s the same with slo-motion, these settings should be accessible within the Camera app.
Next, another that users have been asking for, a “Close All” in the App Switcher. I know that closing apps doesn’t improve battery life (Phil Schiller confirmed this) and that if you do close apps via the App Switcher they then need to boot up again from scratch but it’d still be really helpful to have a “Close All” button when you do have lots of apps open. Open up the App Switcher. Look at the bottom, there’s nothing there, that’s the perfect place for a new button. Alternatively, they could add a new pane to the right of the Home screen when the App Switcher is open, and add a nice big button there.
Next, and another feature users have been asking for, a customisable Control Center. Control Center was introduced in iOS 9 and the first thing people were asking for was the ability to change the shortcuts. iOS 10 came but nothing changed, well, not in the top row anyway. What people want most is a Mobile Data toggle. There are two options that Apple could implement; either keep the five shortcuts in a static position and let us add what we want (to an extent) or add five more and make it scrollable horizontally. I would not want two rows, that’d be too much. Apple could add Location Services, Low Power Mode, Mobile Data, Ring/Silent and Personal Hotspot as new shortcuts and let us order them how we want. Also, if you 3D Touch on any of them, they should take you to the corresponding position in Settings. We can already 3D Touch on the four other shortcuts at the bottom. Finally, if Apple do add a Dark Mode, add a toggle next to the Night Shift toggle, don’t ask why it warrants such a big button.
Finally, the ability the clear app cache data. This is biggie and another that users have been asking for. If you have a 16GB device or even a 32GB device, you might find yourself running out of storage and that could be due to all the app cache that’s built up over the months. On my iPhone, Reddit is by far the worst, currently it’s taking up 587MB but the app itself is 16.9MB. Facebook is another, it’s taking up 503MB but it’s only 231MB in the App Store. If you delete the app and reinstall it, that removes the cache but it’s quite a long process and it’ll soon build up again, it’d just be really handy to have one button which cleared the cache.
So, that’s what I’d like to see in iOS 11 and it’s not long until we find out. Stay tuned for more.