iOS Shortcomings

A few things which drive me nuts on iOS.

A lot of people have been using iOS as a full time OS for far longer than I have, but this is new to me (mostly) and so I felt it worth noting some of the odd hang ups I ran into over the past few weeks. Obviously, these are not deal breakers for me, but I could see how some mix of them might be for other people.

Skype and Video Calls

Here’s a fun thing to do: get a video call going on Skype and then split-view Skype to look at the web. Guess what happens? Video is suspended — both incoming and outgoing, and you get a little message saying you need to be full screen for video to work.

The best I can tell, this is an iOS limitation. And it’s a really stupid limitation which needs to be removed right away.

Audio Selection Abilities

I’ve written before about my Jabra MOVE headphones, and how miserable sounding the microphone on them is. Even still, I like them for audio to my ears. On iOS the microphone actually sounds a bit better, but still not great, but you are also stuck with it on iOS. Because if you are using a pair of headphones with a mic, you are forced to use that microphone for any audio input into the iPad.

This makes sense from a simplicity stand point, but with an iPad Pro having pro in the name, there should be finer grained controls in system preferences. I would love to be able to tell iOS to pretend the Jabra microphone doesn’t exist — as of now I tend to turn off my Bluetooth headphones before I jump on any calls with my iPad, which is a bit absurd.

I just cannot stand how that microphone makes me sound and I am really crossing my fingers Apple decides to give more control to users with audio input and outputs. I am sure the mass of podcasters out there will agree, but really let’s be honest: my coworkers would really appreciate it.

Split-View Controls

I need a shortcut to invoke split view. I’d love to have some global command like OPT+CMD+Left Arrow to enable split-view mode. This would make my life a lot better and would be that great pro level touch for the iPad Pro segment.

We finally got CMD+Tab so here’s hoping.

More Split-View Options

Why can’t the left app be in the compact view on the left side? Why oh, why? This needs to be a thing, because trying to flip the two apps around is tedious at best and futile most days given the effort it takes for the grief I am ok with just to live with things how they are. I mean there are left handed people in the world, like me, who would really like to have that small app on the left side instead of the right.

This isn’t a crazy idea, it’s a missed feature.

Notification Badges in Spolight and Siri Suggestions

Really, it’s what the title says. With my keep every app in one folder approach to iOS, I would love to see if an app has a notification badge when I search. Likewise, it would be great to see if apps have badges in the Siri suggestions.

Heck, even an area of the Siri suggestion screen dedicated to just badged apps would be phenomenal — you can just get rid of the ‘News’ section and replace it with badged apps and I doubt anyone would notice at all. Wait, they would notice something useful had been added, but might be hard pressed to tell you what was there before.

Request Profile Picture

You know how 90% of your contacts, probably more, don’t have a profile picture assigned to them? And you know how iOS thinks this is a pretty important part of life? We need to fix this, and that shouldn’t mean I have to go through my contacts and assign pictures, or snap pictures of people when I am out and about. I got away with that in 2007 when the iPhone was new, but now it is just creepy.

Sure I could sync with Twitter, or Facebook, but why should I have to give them control of my contact data just to do this? I would love for iOS to have a button inside my contact details to “request profile pic from contact” this would be a system level feature where once the other user approves it, the contact picture currently assigned to themselves is sent back and put in place. Boom, done. One tap from me, one tap from them, and we can move on with our lives.

It would also be neat if the first time you contacted this person, you sent an approval request then to get your profile picture and they approve right then. This would be less odd — “oh, Ben got a new iPhone I see, now he wants pictures from everyone…”

There are more implementation details to think through, but I’ll leave that in Siri’s hands.

Hide Unused Connection

I would love for iOS to only show the WiFi indicator in the status bar when I am on WiFi. It drives me nuts I have to see my LTE connection and WiFi connection strength when 90% of the time I am not using LTE. Just hide it unless I am using it. The bonus part here is users get a very clear indication of when they are using cellular data, and will probably be even happier about this than I will be about the fact Apple hid the status for me.


Auto DND when using certain apps full screen

I would love to be able to move into DND mode when I am in certain apps — like when I am writing my iPad will go into DND, but when I CMD-Tab back to Slack, DND is turned off again.

There’s a lot of times when I don’t have the foresight to turn on DND before I get working, and then I am tossed out of my focus, because I start getting all sorts of notification banners. Likewise, there are plenty of times when I turn on DND and forget to turn it off when I am done with my focused activities and then just start missing a lot of stuff. I’d love this mode.

Hide the Battery Status

As with hiding the unused connection status, I’d love to do something similar with the battery indicator. Hide it until it hits 20%. When it’s in 20% you show it as normal. I’d prefer if I don’t want it there any longer then I would really like to be able to hide it completely, but I am fine with it showing when I actually should pay attention to it.

The battery indicator on an iPad is almost pointless — the battery life is just too good for most people to need to keep an eye on battery level. It feels like it is in the status bar more out of tradition than anything else. Same with the time but I’m still torn on that.

Either way, what a neat bit of marketing this would be for Apple: “a battery so good, you don’t need to worry about the battery indicator”. They gave us this on the Watch as you can have it off in any of the faces, so it’s time we get it on our iPads.

Phone Call Interruptions

Say you are on a Skype call, and you get a real phone call which is forwarded to your iPad. Guess what happens? The Skype call is put on hold, just so the real phone call can ring through.


Phone calls forwarded to my iPad should be treated as any other notification and not stop me from doing all work. I love to get them on my iPad Pro, but they are so massively disruptive I had to turn this feature off. Please treat these as normal notifications and stop turning a 12.9″ iPad into a telephone.

As of right now, that’s my list. I am sure it will grow, but I hope it also starts to shrink. We are still using a pretty new system, so I have no doubt some of these finishing touches are coming down the road.

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