Seven things Apple needs to fix in iOS 6

Seven things Apple needs to fix in iOS 6

Summary: iOS is a very robust, capable and well-thought-out platform, but as with every operating system there are those little annoyances that I wish were fixed.

TOPICS: Apple, Mobile OS

My iPhone and iPad are never far away from my reach, and because I use both devices regularly throughout the day -- every day -- I'm very familiar with the iOS platform. On the whole I think that the iOS platform is very robust, capable and well thought out, but as with every operating system there are those little annoyances that grind and that I wish were fixed.

Here are seven things that I hope Apple fixes in the next-generation of iOS.

Add date and time stamps to iMessage and text messages

Why isn't there an option to add a timestamp to each text or multimedia message, or iMessage communications that's been sent and received in the Messages app?

The current system of only adding a timestamp what seems like every 15 minutes or so sort of works, but an option to either display a timestamp for all messages, or at least be able to access the timestamp for individual messages would be useful.

I know all that information clutters up the otherwise sleek user interface, but some people find information useful.

When was that photo taken?

Why does iOS give me the ability to see where in the world a photo was taken, but not when? To me, the data that a photo was taken is much more important that where it was taken. But there doesn't seem to be any way to access this information under iOS.

If I export the photo to my PC or Mac then I can see the date and time it was taken -- along with a lot more information, including altitude -- in the EXIF data. It's all stored; it's just unavailable to me through the interface.

I'd be happy with a simple sort mechanism that allowed me to go back chronologically through my photos. Anything would be better than just having them all in one big pile.

Easier toggles for separate radios

If I want to put my handset into Airplane Mode, this takes one tap and a swipe from the Homescreen. If I want more granular control over which radios are on or off then I have to go digging in the settings for the right toggle switch. I find this particularly annoying when I want to use Bluetooth and then switch it off in a bid to save battery life.

AirDrop for iOS

Mac OS X 'Lion' 10.7 offers a feature called AirDrop that allows an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network to be created to share files with other Macs that have AirDrop installed. There is no such feature for iOS. In fact, if you want to share files with other iOS users you'll have to use email, a third-party application that creates ad-hoc networks, or sign up to a third-party service such as Dropbox.

Why? AirDrop for iOS makes sense and you know it.

Background app updating

Why do I have to update apps manually on my iPhone and iPad? Why isn't there an option for automatic updating?

I can understand that this wouldn't be for everyone, but the option to select certain apps to be updated automatically when the iOS device is on charge and doing nothing -- and particularly in a Wi-Fi zone -- would certainly give me one less thing to have to think about.

Scrolling Homescreen dock

Why do jailbreakers have to have all the fun?

This is such a no-brainer that I'm surprised Apple hasn't done it already. It would be a massive timesaver for launching those 'use-daily' apps.

6-digit simple passcode

How about an option to increase the length of the simple passcode from four-digits to six? It would dramatically increase device security without forcing people to use the full keyboard to enter a complex passcode, which is hard to do when using only one hand.

Again, not everyone would want this feature, but it would be a nice compromise for those who want a little more security.


Topics: Apple, Mobile OS

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  • timestamp

    Why isn???t there an option to add a timestamp
  • About that time and date stamp comment for photos, Adrian

    Support for extended meta data (time, location, address, F-stops, ISO info, ex cetera) exists in current builds of iOS - apps simply have to support it.

    For example, Adrian, iPhoto will display all that information (and then some because it ties into Google Maps as well) when a photo is take by a GPS aware iOS device and displayed in iPhoto.

    To verify, I just opened a few photos from my photo stream selection into iPhoto and tapped on the square information icon in the top right menu bar section. Using this icon for the first time will bring up a requester asking permission to allow location tracking. After permission is given, all sorts of wonderful information regarding your photo is displayed. You should check it out.
    • And you can see this on your iOS device?

      And you can see this on your iOS device?
      • Yes. The photo meta data is visible using iPhoto on my iPad

        This "discovery" was something of a surprise, admittedly. I wish I could just upload the small section of the iPhoto info menu to show you what it says but I can describe exactly what is reported by the following example taken today on the 18th tee box at my local golf club. (I had my iPad with me for after round club house drinks and talks and wanted a photo op with my playing partners. I know, it's a tough life but someone has to live it. Grin.) BTW, I had the 4G enabled when I took the photo.

        When I accessed that photo later in iPhoto on my iPad, the white info menu icon revealed the following.

        iPad (apparently what iOS device took the photo)
        Apr 12, 2012 5:22:15 PM (date and time stamp)
        Captains Club at Woodfield (amazingly, the GPS figured out what golf course I was playing at.)
        2,056 X 1,536 (3.2 MP)
        JPEG 1.1 MB
        ISO 80

        Pretty neat, eh! There is also an option to record any comments in this meta data field.
  • I agree completely

    Having gone from iOS to Android and back to iOS in the last 18 months or so, I couldn't agree more. I prefer iOS for the simplicity, but there is such a thing as *too* simple.
  • Pretty good...

    Pretty good list. Apple is hesitant to add features that increase complexity too much. I think the scrolling dock feature would be one of those that some would like, but others would find confusing. I would put the "extra click of the home button for search" feature in that category as well, but they did that one, didn't they?

    What I would like to see is tighter integration between the OS and 3rd party apps. For example, when you click a Google maps URL in Safari, the Maps app automatically opens up. Why couldn't that work for 3rd party apps? If you click on a Facebook URL, it should open it up in the Facebook app if it is installed, otherwise Safari. Is that feature already available to developers?
  • 6-Digit passcode

    I have discovered that if you use a complex password and only enter numbers. You can have a password using the numeric keypad as long as you want. So you can access it using 1 hand.
  • split screen

    i'm still waiting for a split screen - vertically or horizonally - to have two apps running in the foreground. that possible? aren't multiple apps already running in the background? yes, i can switch betw apps using a multitasking four-finger gesture swipe, but it sure would be nice to be able to see two (or more!) at once. just my 2??
    • I think it would be cool if....

      you could have two iPhone-sized UIs open next to a portrait iPad mode when the iPad is in landscape. Then you could have two horizontal iPhone UIs above a scaled landscape mode when the iPad is in portrait.
  • Landscape home screen and full screen safari

    Lack of a landscape horizontal home screen is my biggest pet peeve. It's annoying to have to constantly re-orient my phone after watching a video clip and returning to the home screen. Also, a full-screen mode in Safari that uses multitouch gestures to navigate (two-finger swipe to go back, two-finger swipe down for address bar etc) would be HUGE.

    About passcode. I know it's a long shot, but wouldn't it be lovely if the Home button could read your fingerprint? That way all you need to do is touch Home to unlock the phone. The technology exists and I think it would be far more reliable than face recognition.
    • iCab mobile has full-screen mode....

      Unfortunately what iOS really needs is the ability to change the default browser or offer the option to open something in a third-party browser.
  • How about the ability to forward a text message?

    I figured many of these things, like date and time stamps, could be "added" on by downloading an app which has the capability. Though I agree I would like to have it in the stock photo viewer.
  • I agree with everything except the scrolling homescreen dock...

    If you are going to borrow borrow from Cydia, steal Intelliscreen X and the stuff they have done with Siri.
  • I think you'll see most of those, and many more, at WWDC in June.

  • You probably don't care to hear this but... know Android devices can do everything you listed except AirDrop. Speaking of which, why not just use Bump?
  • Great suggestion-- and two others!

    Great run down of wanted features. This one jumped out at me as it's something I've wanted for a long time:

    "the option to select certain apps to be updated automatically when the iOS device is on charge and doing nothing ??? and particularly in a Wi-Fi zone"

    Instead of having to go to each my news apps and each of my astronomy apps to get the latest news or latest orbital or exoplanet data, just let me set up a list of apps that would automatically update with the tap of a button.

    Two other, much needed changes. Customization of the home screens... e.g., a tabbed interface a la Z Launcher from the Palm days.

    Customization of the status bar-- let some of us get rid of the time display there (and on the lock screen). While most of the worlds loves to always know what time it is, many of us would prefer not to--and would like to put other information in the status bar-- (the one at the top)--and be able to hide and show it, too!
  • Print to non-Air printers

    I would like iOS to natively support the ability to access a non-AirPrint printer on a Wi-Fi network. I know there are many printer apps, but so far I have found apps that require copying/pasting content to the app, using their own browser and e-mail tools, or having to install additional software on a Mac that needs to be "on" to print.

    Has anyone found an app that allows seamless, independent printing? Or is there a dongle that would take an ordinary USB-printer and turn it into an AirPrint device?
  • Huh?

    Just 7 suggestions? :-)
  • Forwarding Text Messages

    I don't use this much, but I find it odd that when I forward a text message from someone else, it does not include the original sender. So what I end up doing is editing the forward to say 'from john' or if I forward multiple responses, I have to write 'John:' and then 'Me:' to clarify who said what. Forwards should keep original senders. I also agree with timestamps for text/imessage/photos.
  • ....

    You must be retarded if you think that some of this stuff will be in official iOS.