It's been two months since Apple released iOS 15 to the public, introducing new features like SharePlay, iMessage improvements, Focus, new privacy options, and more. Some of these new features are things we've been wanting for a few years now, like better Do Not Disturb options (Focus modes), and some are features we didn't even know we wanted (Live Text). Either way, it's safe to say we got a lot from Apple's latest update, even if some of it is beneath the surface. But, of course, technology moves quickly, and so do we. So while iOS 16 may still be about nine months away, there's always more Apple can do to improve its mobile software. Continue reading to browse 16 things we hope to see added or improved in Apple's next big update.
Fix the Junk Folder in the Mail App
Sure not everyone uses the built-in Mail app on iOS, but many of us do. It gets the job done, and it's there when you need it. But if there's one thing that needs fixing, it's Apple's junk folder. It just doesn't make sense. Messages from known senders and from trusted sources often show up in the Junk folder, and it's not all of them; it seems like it picks and chooses at random. This is an issue that can be embarrassing when you're waiting on an important message, like business emails or maybe iDrop's newsletter. Apple needs to add an option to "mark as not junk" and actually make it work. Also, known senders should never go to junk.
Make iMessage Customizable and More 'Social'
iMessage is the gold standard when it comes to mobile messaging. Unlike alternative messaging solutions, iMessage utilizes both your iCloud account and your mobile phone number to provide a seamless app for sending text messages and interacting with other iPhone users on a whole new level. In fact, it’s easy to become frustrated when texting an Android user and seeing those “green bubbles.” Why? Because iMessage enables so many fun ways to communicate that Android is missing out on. But what if iMessage was just a little more… social?
Apple tried creating its own music-based social network in 2010. It was called iTunes Ping. Long story short, it failed. Since then, it seems like Apple has kept trying with things like Game Center, Apple Music profiles, and even Facebook and Twitter integration options for a short time. What they might not realize is they already have a social hit on their hands in iMessage. Virtually every iOS user utilizes it, and it’s one of the top reasons why people stick with iOS when given the option to jump ship to Android.
It’s time for Apple to make iMessage a little more social. Let users customize things like the color of their chat bubbles, add a profile with a bio that other iMessage mutuals can see, and even let us assign header photos to threads. Pinned conversations and profile photos were a great start, but it’s time for Apple to take it to the next level.
Borrow Google’s Magic Eraser Feature
Google Pixel has a feature called Magic Eraser that lets you remove unwanted people or objects from a photo by simply selecting them. Okay, to be fair there are third-party apps that integrate with the Photos app that can do this, but Apple should add this and other exciting editing options to the app itself. This would make editing photos a lot smarter.
Add 'Exclude From Shuffle' to Apple Music for Playlists and Albums
On macOS X, there is an option to exclude specific songs from shuffling. This can be helpful, but it has some limitations; and while it syncs to iOS, it can’t be configured from an iPhone or iPad. Apple should add the ability to exclude songs from shuffling on iOS itself. Furthermore, they should allow us to select Playlists and Albums as well. It would also be nice if this option was ignored when shuffling a playlist, and only when shuffling the entire library.
Require Standard Navigation in Third-Party Apps
Navigating iOS within built-in apps is a breeze, everything is consistent. But open a third-party app and some of the expectations fly out the window. For example, in system apps you can swipe from the left side of the screen to move backward through menus; but, only some third-party apps choose to include this in their apps. Requiring developers to implement standard navigation practices across apps would be a huge win for the end-user.
Move the End Call and Flip Camera Buttons in FaceTime
Does anyone else hate the new controls in FaceTime? Some things have definitely improved, but now the End button is at the top of the page, and flipping the camera can be confusing. Apple should move the End button back to the bottom of the display and have a dedicated camera-flip button nearby. Pinned contacts, similar to iMessage, would also be a nice touch for initiating a call.
Ditch the Home Screen Grid
The Home Screen as we know it has been around since the beginning of the iPhone. It’s come a long way with widgets and a dedicated app drawer, but we’re still forced to keep our icons snapped to a grid. It would be a nice change to organize your apps and have them stick right where you put them.
Let Us Reorganize the App Library
Speaking of the Home Screen, the new App Library is a welcome feature. One thing we’d like to see in iOS 16 is the ability to reorganize which “folders” the apps show up in. Sometimes they just don’t show up in the section we’re expecting. It would also be nice if we could completely hide apps from both the Library and the Home Screen. For example, some iMessage sticker packs are tied to an app that never gets used.
Add Interactive Widgets and Dynamic App Icons
This is one I’ve been wishing for since the beginning. While Apple finally added the ability for developers to let us choose different icons—and now we can use shortcuts as a way to fake custom icons—we still don’t have dynamic icons other than the clock and calendar. The built-in Clock app icon shows the actual time, while the Calendar app shows the date on its icon. Developers should be able to do similar things with their apps.
Widgets are another feature that has vastly improved the Home Screen experience, but one drawback is having to open the app instead of interacting with the widget. A calculator app that can be used from the Home Screen is one example of how this could really benefit users.
Improve Live Wallpapers
Apple lets you set Live Photos as wallpapers and you can even select from some built-in Live wallpapers. If you set them as your Lock Screen wallpaper, you can tap and hold to play the animation. Wouldn’t it be better if it just played itself automatically?
Let Us Set a Default Skin Tone and Favorite Emojis
Being able to set a default skin tone for emoji is something that’s available in a lot of social apps. I think Apple should let us set the default tone easily across the OS. It would also be pretty cool if we could set some favorite emojis so we don’t have to dig for them.
Integrate Libby into the Books App
If you’re not familiar with it, Libby is an app that lets you borrow ebooks from your local library! Apple’s built-in Books app is a great place for reading, but not all of us want to purchase books. By integrating Libby or creating its own Library service, Apple could give users access to more books.
Add More Health Tracking Features
There are a lot of third-party apps that integrate nicely with Apple Health. However, there are some that seem unnecessary and would be far more useful as features integrated into the health app itself. Apple added hand washing as a trackable data point when using an Apple Watch. It would also be nice to see them add options for logging water, food items, toothbrushing, and medications.
While there are apps that offer these, and some can be done using Shortcuts, having this as an aspect of the app would be far more useful. Especially medication tracking. Since Health information can be shared with medical professionals, it would be useful for known medications to be tracked. They could even add the ability to refill medications with Siri or straight from the Health app.
Pin Contacts in Phone Favorites and FaceTime
I mentioned this earlier when talking about FaceTime, but I think adding pinned contacts/favorites would be a nice improvement across the OS. We can currently pin conversations as little circles in iMessage. Being able to do the same thing in the Phone and FaceTime apps would make the apps look cleaner and easier to use.
Add Delivery Tracking to Reminders
There are a number of great delivery tracking apps out there. Apple should consider integrating delivery tracking into the Reminders app so you can receive reminders when a package is going to arrive. But why stop at deliveries? This could also be implemented with movie tickets, airplane tickets, and more.
Add Humming Support to Shazam
When Apple acquired Shazam, I was a little disappointed that they didn’t choose SoundHound instead. Unlike Shazam which identifies songs by listening to them, SoundHound can also identify songs that you sing or hum to it. This is a really nice feature that can help you find a song you don’t know the words to. It’s one Apple should really consider including.
iOS 16 Is Apple’s Opportunity to Do Something Big
With iOS 15, Apple has shown that it’s finally listening to customers. Sure, sometimes we don’t always know what we want or the best way to go about doing it. But, often Apple has seemed to ignore its users completely. That seems to be changing and it opens the doors for Apple to take iOS in an entirely new direction. Hopefully, Apple will use its next big update to not only give users new reasons to remain loyal to their brand but also give them the satisfaction that their concerns and wants are being heard. Thank you for reading. Have a great week!