My iOS annoyances

I’ve been an iOS user for nearly eight months now having bought a 4G iPod Touch to find out what Apple’s mobile OS is all about. Having used Android for the last two years and Windows Mobile for the six before that it’s fair to say that I’ve never been a huge Apple fan. That said the point of this post isn’t to bash iOS but just to provide my personal opinion on where I think it could be improved. To be clear, iOS is a first class mobile OS and most of the following are mere niggles. But in my experience it’s the little details that make all the difference.

Safari


Apple deserve the plaudits for really bringing mobile browsing into the 21st century. Web browsing on a mobile before the iPhone was lacklustre at best and even now Safari is one of the better mobile browsers. But for me all that it gets right is almost wasted for the lack of one feature: text wrapping. In my opinion having to scroll horizontally to read text is a big fail. It’s so much more comfortable to only have to scroll downwards on a mobile device. With iOS I have to constantly rotate my iPod Touch into landscape mode in order to comfortably read text without having to scroll horizontally. I have to change my usage to fit the browser. Why can’t the browser adapt to my usage?

 

My iOS annoyances

Text disappears off the screen when zoomed in

My iOS annoyances

How it should be done

Searching in the App Store

I can’t for the life of me understand why the search tab in the app store defaults to showing the last search made. How is this useful? This is made even more annoying by the fact that you can’t just overwrite the previous search. You have to manually remove it. The Spotlight search gets it right by being empty every time, why the inconsistency?

App Installing

Every time you install an app you get a pointless animation which pulls you out of the app store and taken to your very last homescreen where an icon for the app you’ve just installed is placed. I’m struggling to understand the point of this. It means that I have to manually navigate back to the app store to continue my browsing. Android’s background installation of apps is far more elegant and unobtrusiveness.

App Store Navigation

The app store only shows lists of apps 25 at a time. When you reach the bottom of a list you have to select the more button to load the next 25 apps. This isn’t really an issue although Android’s method of autoloading more apps when you reach the bottom of the screen is superior. The real annoyance occurs when you actually start selecting apps to get more detail. For example, I’ve reached the 70th app in a list by selecting the more option twice. I click on the app to get more information about it but decide not to install it. I then click on the back button which takes me back to… the very top of the list I’ve just worked my way down. Not only have I lost my place in the list, I also have to manually hit the more buttons all over again and wait for the apps to reload. Why Apple why?

Keyboard

Having used various soft keyboards I’ve found that for sheer accuracy the iOS keyboard beats all others. It’s the one that lets me type the fastest with the fewest errors. But it’s still not perfect. It would be great to have secondary functions on the keys similar to how HTC have on their Sense keyboard to allow quick access to other characters without having to switch to another keyboard. And why are the letter always shown in capitals?  Even when typing in lower case.

My iOS annoyances

Not exactly intuitive

Notifications

Perhaps I should have started with this as iOS’s notification system is widely derided. There are several problems with the way it it works. Firstly they’re extremely intrusive, taking over the screen and covering up whatever it is you’re doing at the time a notification received. Secondly there’s no way to ignore them, they either have to be dismissed or opened. If dismissed they can’t be recovered later leaving you the choice of either disrupting your present task or having remember to action the notification later without any prompt. It’s an awful system which desperately needs an upgrade.

Sharing

One Android feature I really miss in iOS is the ability to share just about anything in countless different ways. iOS’s sharing abilities don’t really stand comparison. For example, I find an interesting article online and want to share it. My only option is email. No Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Bluetooth or Whatsapp, let alone Read it later. The lack of access to the file system also means that the things you can share are also limited.

My iOS annoyances

Not exactly a plethora of options

My iOS annoyances

That's better


 

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  • Craig

    It’s nice to see somebody pointing out some issues with the iOS. Whilst an Android fan, I can’t deny the dominance is down to sleek design and a “pick-up and play” format which seems almost flawless at first. There are however limitations to that business model and I’m glad people are seeing that.

  • The keyboard is probably my biggest issue with iOS. I love what HTC have done with the Sense and Android and find it the easiest input by a long way.
    The extra space you get in landscape on an iPad is about the only way I can happily type on an iOS device, but it would certainly prevent me having an iPhone (along with other niggles).

  • iOS got quite some flaws and many things to be wanted, but at least it feels much more secure to me. Using an iPhone, an Optimus 2X, a Galacy Tab and an iPad2 I think I got no lack of experience here.. There are a lot of Android Apps I do not dare to use any more but I do prefer the Android UI (or at least some alternatives that are around). Also iOS seems to be much more stable in most cases, though iTunes on Windows 7 is a pain in the a…. So probably you should deliver a proper comparison rather than bashing in one direction.

    • Anonymous

      Android has been bashed plenty on this site. Search for “coolsmartphone android fragmentation”.

  • Anonymous

    In a world when the average joe considers iOS the best Mobile OS in existence and Android very much the second choice, it’s interesting to read such articles. It’s partly why Apple charge more, to create a fake “this is better” scenario.

    Not that the average iPhone user has ever tried Android (I said average), whilst plenty of Android users have tried iPhone.

    The iPhone notification system is a joke, it’s especially alarming when it’s so good on Android. I regularly ignore notifications until I’m ready to look at them.

    I’m amazed Apple still haven’t added browser text wrapping (at least on Android you could just install another browser). I’ve stopped using Android browsers for the sole reason they don’t text wrap properly. It’s literally essential.

    I was also amazed to find the iPhones integrated Facebook is so lacklustre. Look at the work HTC and Microsoft have done in this field. HTC Android phones and Windows Phone are so much more advanced in this area.

    p.s – Those sharing capabilities suck too.

  • Will_nonya

    I really wanted to like the iPhone but while I find iOS to be attractive and polished I also find it completely frustrating to use. After having smart phones dating back to the BlueAngel I’ve never wanted to throw a phone as frequently or as violently as I have the iPhone. I can’t help but agree that the iOS notification system is a joke but I think WP7 has a better keyboard. The less is more philosophy doesn’t work well after having a PC in my pocket for years. The only real innovation is the revelation that you can make billions by selling apps and content to mobile users.

    I use Android as my daily driver but it is far from perfect, especially if you’re not using an HTC device. Most other skins are either cheap iphone clones or they let the unfinished Google UI slip through with inconsistent look and feel and their unique combination of elegant and clumsy implementations.

    In the end I think WP7 has the most potential of them all, it just needs to start polishing the edges and keep building its selection of apps. If it weren’t for a few apps that I use daily not having equals in WP7 yet I would be using it as my daily driver without a second look. And that’s despite the closed environment which is a big draw for me to android. At this point as long as the MS boys can keep up with the pace and not screw WP7 up they have a clear winner. It wouldn’t hurt if they deviated from the Apple business model some and opened things up for the enthusiast though.

  • Yup, all spot on. All the things I’ve found annoying on my iPad although web browsing is much better than using an iPhone due to the screen size.

  • JohnnyB

    Apple IOS it is not prefect but you have admire them for shaking up the mobile world where others just plodded along giving us below par handsets. …

  • Sean Graham

    There are also several issues not mentioned in the inital writeup. The phone frequently reboots during a phone call which is a common fault on the Apple forums. The animation of icons as you scroll on the home screen is very jittery. The phone frequently cuts me off 3G and mobile signal with a subsequent message of “could not activate data cellular network”. Apps frequently crash and shutdown for not apparent reason, the AppStore sometimes tells me I have an update when I don’t. The phone sometimes spontaneously reboots. You can’t drag and drop music and files to your phone without iTunes. Once it is on iTunes you then can’t get the music off. Sometimes iTunes completely deletes my apps (although this is more of a fault with iTunes). The battery life is abysmal, the alarm clock tends to break when, err… , the clocks go back and forward. The Safari website is extremely slow with no flash support. But apart from these ‘minor niggles’ I’m reasonably happy with it.

    • Sean Graham

      …and all these problems I had didn’t exist in iOS 3

    • youre just using it wrong :-)