- Crystal Cox/Business Insider
- Apple’s iOS 13 was a giant release, but there are plenty of ways Apple could improve on its iPhone software.
- Some of the features we’d like to see in future versions of iOS include the ability to choose default apps, split-screen functionality, and more system-wide intelligence for managing apps.
- Apple typically unveils its new software updates in June before releasing them in the fall.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Apple’s iOS 13 update may have been one of the biggest software upgrades the tech giant has released in years.
It overhauled nearly every aspect of the operating system – from the color theme to Apple’s built-in apps like Notes and Reminders to the way you log into certain apps. It was a huge launch that in some respects filled in the gaps where Apple has been previously falling behind Android, and in other ways pulled ahead of its rival.
There isn’t much that we know about what Apple could be planning for its annual iPhone software update in 2020. One report from Bloomberg, however, suggests that Apple has made some changes to the way it tests forthcoming iPhone software to avoid the bugs that impacted iOS 13 during its rollout last fall.
Apple hasn’t revealed any details about what its next iPhone operating system update will entail, or when it will launch. But the company typically provides an in-depth preview of its new features and improvements during its Worldwide Developers Conference in June before releasing the software in the fall.
Apple’s software has come a long way in recent years, as the company has improved its own apps and made it easier for third-party developers to plug into various aspects of the operating system, like Siri. But there are still several ways Apple could further improve the iPhone experience.
Here’s a look at what we want to see.
A less-buggy launch
When iOS 13 officially launched in the fall, some iPhone owners complained that the software update was filled with bugs and glitches. Some users reported issues that impacted Bluetooth connectivity, while others experienced problems with Wi-Fi and the phone’s keyboard. Apple even pushed out a follow-up software update more quickly than usual to address bugs and bring other features that weren’t included in the original launch.
Apple takes pride in the fact that it’s able to push its software updates to all supported iPhones simultaneously – a capability that’s not possible with Android given all the different types of devices that exist.
To make sure consumers continue keeping their iPhone software up to date, Apple will have to make sure iPhone owners can trust that they’ll get a smooth and stable experience right out of the gate. That should hopefully be the case with iOS 14, as the company is reportedly making changes to the way it develops and tests new software, according to Bloomberg.
More Siri-based intelligence throughout the operating system
Apple’s iPhone software has gotten a lot smarter in recent years, thanks in part to the new integrations it’s added to Siri.
For example, Siri can now make suggestions for colleagues you might want to add to a meeting or email thread based on previous emails and events. And in iOS 13, Apple made a big change to the way it organizes photos in your iPhone’s image library, intelligently sorting images into buckets based on the day, year, and month they were taken.
I only wish Apple would apply some more intelligence to the rest of the operating system, particularly app management. Siri already suggests apps that you open frequently when you pull down from the home screen or swipe to the “Today” view located to the left of the lock screen.
So why can’t Siri also make suggestions based on the apps that I rarely or never engage with so that I can consider deleting them? If you’re anything like me, you’ve got pages and pages of apps on your phone – many of which I’ve downloaded just to try and only found myself using them once or twice. Digging through these apps is a burdensome task that seems like a prime area where Siri could be of use.
A more useful lock screen
- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
The lock screen is the first thing we see when we wake up our phones, and Apple’s hasn’t changed much over the years. Yes, it’s received some upgrades; you can, for example, access the flashlight and the camera by pressing their respective buttons located near the bottom of the screen.
But rival phone makers have done far more to make the lock screen feel more helpful and useful. Samsung, for example, allows you to add app shortcuts to the lock screen and display information like the weather.
Even better, Apple should draw inspiration from the Apple Watch, as my colleague Dave Smith wrote last year. With the Apple Watch, you can see all kinds of information at a glance – your daily activity, the time, the weather, shortcuts for starting a workout or triggering a FaceTime call, etc.
Of course, that type of interface makes sense for the Apple Watch, a device that’s considerably smaller than a phone that’s optimized for quick glances rather than scrolling, tapping, and reading for longer periods of time.
The device’s watch faces are different from the iPhone’s for a reason – after all, no one wants a shrunken iPhone on their wrist. But I do believe there’s probably a middle ground in which the iPhone gets some additional lock screen functionality without becoming too cluttered.
It’s a feature that’s been present on Android devices and Apple’s iPad for years, but has yet to make its way to the iPhone – the ability to run more than one app on screen.
While it’s simple to switch between open apps on the iPhone by swiping up from the bottom of the display and holding your finger near the center of the screen, you’re still limited to only running one app at a time. That’s in contrast to rival brands like Samsung and LG, which have offered split-screen multitasking on their smartphones for years. Google even built multi-window mode into Android by default in 2016.
And while Apple added split-screen mode to the iPad in 2015, it’s still nowhere to be found on the iPhone.
The ability to change app defaults
Although Apple has made it easier for third-party apps to plug into its operating system in recent years, you still can’t set default apps. That means if you click a link or an address from a text message or an email, Apple will still direct you to one of its own apps – like Safari or Apple Maps – rather than letting you choose your preferred service. It’s a characteristic we’d like to see change in iOS 14.