iOS 9 is expected to be introduced at Apple’s yearly worldwide developer conference, which takes place between June X and June X. It’s the one time of year where the focus is solely on software. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time in September and the fall to introduce the iPhone 6S and new iPads. What’s great about Apple is how with each new iOS release, they manage to support a good number of older models. Often you don’t need a new iPhone to experience the new features found in the latest and greatest versions of iOS. It’s like getting a new iPhone, but without the contract or $200 price tag. This year we’ve seen Apple push as many as three major point releases, with yet another in beta. But the time for iOS 8 too shall pass and in a matter of months, we’ll get our hands on iOS 9. In advance of its release, we present our ultimate iOS 9 wish list. It’s our chance to dream and dream big.
- Customize Control Center
- Less Space To Install
- Redesign Music
- Stability, Stability, Stability
- Social Sharing From Notification Center
- Hey Siri Unplugged
- Calendar and Event Based Do Not Disturb
- Accessibility Gone Mainstream
- Dark System Theme
- Insert Documents From iCloud Drive
- Multitasking in iPad
- iMessage Color Change
- Uninstall or Hide System Apps
- Multiple User Support (32GB Required)
- Low Battery Mode
- Set Default Apps For Stock Functions
- Close All Apps Swipe Gesture
- Safari Gesture Close All Tabs
- Notification Sync
- Modes Based On Location
- iCloud Drive App
- Option To Remove Full-Screen Safari
- Custom Icon Packs
- Screenshots Camera Roll
- Apple Watch Works With Any WiFi Connection
Customize Control Center
Control Center can be accessed by swiping up and it’s system-wide, including the lock screen. It provides fast access to turn specific features on or off, such as Airplane mode, Bluetooth, WiFi, Do Not Disturb and Rotation lock. It also acts as a quick way to get to your playback controls, AirDrop, AirPlay. There are also four commonly used apps including Flashlight, Clock, Calculator and Camera.
I’m sure these toggles and apps are commonly used by most iPhone owners, but not all. Why not offer users the capability to customize the Control Center. At a minimum, I’d settle for stock apps. Having quick access to Mail or Safari would be a huge boost in productivity. I’d be thrilled if that could be extended to a particular setting. Who doesn’t find themselves looking to connect a device in Bluetooth settings. You could argue that adding support for third-party apps would be duplicative, since we kind of have access through widgets. Still, what the heck, we can ask.
The top row of Control Center are basic toggles. I use a fair amount of Bluetooth devices. My car connects without fail, but my Jambox is quite another story. I have to open my iPhone, navigate to settings and connect. What if a long press could result in contextual menus for related items like Bluetooth or WiFi devices that are in range? If we need force touch on the iPhone 6S, than so be it. That alone, would make it a worthy upgrade.
Less Space To Install
With Apple continuing to sell 16GB iPhones, it becomes increasingly easy for more phones to lack the necessary storage space to perform updates. That leaves folks without critical updates, bug fixes and general improvements. iOS still boasts amazing adoption rates for newer releases, but they can do better. iOS 8.1.3 introduced smaller space requirements for folks looking to upgrade. I’d love to see this trend continue with iOS 9. Less storage space needed to perform updates means more users jumping to the latest and greatest builds.
The news of a redesigned music app hitting iOS 8.4 is only half the wish list. The Music app has gone through numerous iterations and iOS 9 could bring the biggest changes of all. There are some fantastic streaming music apps and services. Beats happens to be one of my favorites, next to Spotify. Now owned by Apple, we could see the best parts of Beats transformed into a new service. I own a lot of music and I’ve also used streaming services. While there are ways to integrate your playlists into services like Spotify and Beats, the acquisition puts Apple in a position to bring all of your music under one app umbrella. Moving between music you own and music you stream through a subscription service should be seamless. At the same time, bringing some of the fabulous music curation to the stock app.
Stability, Stability, Stability
If this one thing I’ve heard over and over again, it’s the lack of stability in recent years. Most were willing to give Apple the benefit of the doubt with iOS 7. That was a massive overhaul, so it’s natural to expect a fair amount of bugs and quirkiness. And while iOS 8 was filled with fabulous features, it also created a fair amount of backlash
Social Sharing From Notification Center
For some inexplicable reason, in iOS 7 and later, Apple has removed the ability to tweet or share your status from Notification Center. It’s surprising given the popularity of both Facebook and Twitter. There’s a convenience in having ‘tap to tweet’ and ‘tap to update status’ just a swipe away. Realizing that not everyone uses these social networks, perhaps these get enabled only if you sign-in to the respective network.
Hey Siri Unplugged
Siri could become even more helpful if you could activate it without having to touch your iPhone. We’ve got this feature now, provided your iPhone is plugged in. Hey Siri with existing hardware would be a battery drain, so allowing touchless control might have to wait for new hardware and a processor that can listen for prompts, with little to no impact on battery life.
As much as Siri has become a household name, it would be nice to change his or her name. “Hey Joffrey…”
Calendar and Event Based Do Not Disturb
The Do Not Disturb feature currently lets you schedule times for when you don’t want unwanted calls and alerts. There’s an opportunity to expand this functionality dynamically based on your schedule. iOS 9 could offer an option to enable Do Not Disturb when scheduling calendar events. It makes perfect sense. Beyond wanting to subdue calls and alerts while catching up on your sleep, there’s a similar need for DND during meetings, appointments and more.
Accessibility Gone Mainstream
I applaud Apple and their continued focus on providing accessibility features. A small, but welcome change would be to move them up a level within settings, removing them from within the recesses of the ‘General’ settings. They are entirely too important not to be front and center.
Dark System Theme
The aesthetic of iOS has become bright, white, simple and clean. Over the past few years, developers have modernized their apps by adhering to these design concepts. There are times, namely at night, when it can be harsh on the eyes. Application developers like Tapbot, makers of Tweetbot, have instituted a night theme. If iOS 9 had a dark system theme, you could allow folks to trigger it at night fall or manually using Control Center. This would also dovetail nicely with recent advances in accessibility. Here’s a look at Tweetbot’s default theme and their night mode. Think of this on a system wide level. This seems like a reasonable request. It’s not as if I’m asking for theme support *gulp* or a classic iOS 6 theme.
Insert Documents From iCloud Drive
iCloud Drive is home to document storage for plenty of stock and third party apps including documents, spreadsheets and more. There is no iCloud Drive app and while we can hope that would become a reality, it’s not likely. In lieu of a dedicated app, there needs to be an easier way to add documents to email. In the same way iOS allows inserting photos directing within the compose window (tap, hold, insert photo or video), an option could be added to access documents from iCloud Drive.
Multitasking in iPad
It’s time to take a page from *gasp*, Microsoft’s Surface tablet. I’m not too proud to suggest that iOS 9 allow us to run two apps on the same display. Right now, Apple’s definition of multitasking is more like app switching. If rumors of an iPad Pro are going to come true this fall, it’s imperative that we get more desktop-class features. I want to be able to view a document in pages, while composing an email. Some folks are using their iPads as full-scale laptop replacements. A larger iPad would likely see even more users going in that direction. Let’s give them true multitasking in iOS 9.
iMessage Color Change
Green. Blue. Gray. Blue represents messages sent via iMessage, while green is used for text messages. These colors are bright, vivid and don’t always translate to great readability. I’d like to be able to customize those colors. It would be a small token to those craving UI customization and help those who have trouble reading white text on a brightly colored background. Raise your hand if you forget which messages are for iMessage and which are SMS? Raises hand and moves on to next item in iOS 9 wish list.
Uninstall or Hide System Apps
If this becomes a reality at WWDC 2015, there will be hordes of iPhone fans rising to their feet and enthusiastically clapping. Who wouldn’t cheer upon hearing that we can finally free ourselves of the stock app or jettison the Newsstand app. In an ideal situation, we would be afforded the luxury to delete these from our iPhones, freeing up valuable storage space. I realize that people will end up deleting critical apps. For those folks, we’ll set up a ‘Default’ apps link, just above ‘Purchased’ in the App Store app (which you cannot delete or hide). This will make helping those folks so much easier. Open the App Store, click on updates, tap on Default Apps and hit the cloud icon for any app you have mistakenly deleted. And for the rest of us, we can bid farewell to the Tips app and so many more. Which default app would you delete first?
Multiple User Support (32GB Required)
I remember my iPad mini fondly. I loved it so, until my daughter took unofficial ownership. When I power it on, I’m greeted by a number of Toca Boca apps, among others. Don’t get wrong, these are all fantastic apps for a toddler, most of which I selected. Her apps greatly outnumber my apps. I’d venture to guess that our family isn’t out of the ordinary. iPads by nature tend to be shared devices, more so than iPhones. At this stage of iOS, I’d expect some level of multiple user support. For one, that would help users create and personalize the family iPad to their liking. This goes beyond apps. Because my daughter uses it, I’ve setup strict parental controls. It’s great for restricting her from making unauthorized purchases. Those same restrictions make it difficult for me, as well, since I hide the App Store.
This all gets solved by allowing support for multiple users. If they want to go one step further, they could tie this into setting up a Kids Zone. To do this, we’re going to need a fair amount of space, so I’m ok with restricting this feature to iPads with 32GB or more.
Low Battery Mode
If it’s good enough for the Apple Watch, it’s good enough for iOS 9 users. When your battery dips below 20 percent, you’ll see that dreaded red battery icon and an alert to your situation. You could go crazy following our battery tips, but that’s too much work. Why not provide users an option to enter Power Reserve mode. Going one step further, how about letting users customize what happens in that mode. Some might be ok with turning off data, while some disable cellular. Regardless of your preference, conserving battery life is something we can all get behind right?
Set Default Apps For Stock Functions
There are some fantastic alternatives to the stock default apps. Often, these third-party apps operate at a disadvantage. Let’s take browser apps for example. There is no way to set your default browser to Google’s Chrome. If that’s your preferred browser, there is no way to change what browser is launched when you click on link. It’s Safari, 100 percent of the time. On Mac OS X, you can the default mail client or browser client. Being able to change the default apps might also result in a greater adoption of third party apps, which would be a boon for developers.
Close All Apps Swipe Gesture
If you want to close multiple apps, you can double-click the home button to enter multitasking, followed by a three-fingered swipe. That closes three apps at a time. It seems to me that a handy gesture could allow for closing all open apps. I will say that there is no benefit or free up of memory, but it’s not as if people aren’t routinely closing all of their apps. Maybe it’s more a housecleaning measure. In the interest of the OCD folks, let’s add a gesture in iOS 9 that closes all open apps.
Safari Gesture Close All Tabs
Ok, we’ve got to do more with that new gesture we just requested, so let’s bring it Safari. Using a single gesture, iOS 9 will close all your open windows. Boom!
Modes Based On Location
Enable different modes on your iPhones based upon your GPS location. For example, you could set a work mode that disables Bluetooth, turns off notifications and so on. Motorola has a need feature that recognizes when you are in the car and can read your text messages. These different modes can help assist you with the settings of your phone, based on your location.
Do you have more than one iOS device? When you receive a notification, it comes through on all of your devices. If you dismiss a notification on your iPhone, nothing changes to the notification on your iPad. iOS 9 should be intuitive enough to understand when you dismiss an notification on your iPhone, that its state should sync to your iPad.
iCloud Drive App
Right now, we’ve got apps saving to iCloud Drive. Managing those individual files is passed off to the individual app. There is no central app dedicated to file management. iOS has typically avoided what could be perceived as a file manager. Seeing as how iCloud Drive operates similar to other cloud services (Dropbox, Box, OneDrive) and those all offer file manager apps for iOS, it would seem to make sense that an iOS 9 file manager would be a good idea. This exists on icloud.com, so all we’re asking is to bring it iOS in the form of an app.
Option To Remove Full-Screen Safari
When you first open a webpage, you’ve got the address bar at the top and the navigation, bookmark and share options in the bottom bar. As you scroll down through a page, the address bar minimizes and the bottom bar is completely removed. Tapping at the top restores the full sized address bar and similarly the bottom bar is returned by tapping at the bottom. Often, that area on some sites is filled with an ad, so tapping always seems like an adventure. This move was done to provide a more full-screen browsing experience. Now that we have larger screens, this doesn’t seem necessary. I’d like my bars back in iOS 9. It’s time to end the Safari disappearing act.
Custom Icon Packs
Creating a wish list does allow for reaching for pie in the sky requests, even those which have populated these sorts of lists since iOS 1.0. It’s not happening, but I’ll go ahead and request custom icon packs, available through the App Store. On Android, it’s one of the most entertaining features. Whether it be a free pack or $0.99, you can completely transform the entire look of your phone, all with a custom icon pack.
Screenshots Camera Roll
I take a lot of screenshots. As a result, my camera roll is mix of great family moments and screenshots. It’s not a good mix. I see no reason why Apple can’t automatically put these in separate camera roll, just for screenshots. This might no be high on your list, but I would spend money for this.
Apple Watch Works With Any WiFi Connection
The Apple Watch requires an iPhone for full functionality. Both devices need to be on the same WiFi network. What if they allowed Apple Watch to work provided both devices were connected, to any network. In theory, you could leave your iPhone home and as long as you’re connected to any WiFi network, the Watch would perform all of its functions. Who am I kidding? No one leaves their iPhone at home.
iOS 9 is currently being tested internally at Apple. It’s been suggested that the focus this year is on stability. I expect that they’ll continue to push the envelope and there will still be a significant number of new features. These are my hopes, dreams and wishes for iOS 9. Did we miss anything? What are you looking for from Apple with iOS 9? Let us know in the comments or in our iOS 9 wish list forum discussion.