Earlier this year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that iOS 17 may not be much of an update and instead focuses on fixing bugs and improving overall performance as the company is shifting most of the gears. towards the launch of its augmented reality headsets. However, now Gurman appears to have backed down on that, saying in a Recent Ignition Newsletter that iOS 17 may actually bring several of the “most requested features” to iOS.
That is a very vague and general statement. But what might those much-requested features be? Here’s what we think could be added, based on feature requests over the years from the community.
Have you ever used the timer function in the Clock app on your iphone? Chances are you have, and you may have also noticed that you can literally only have one timer running on the iPhone at a time.
In watchOS 8, one of the biggest and most amazing features was support for multiple timers. With this, you could have a five minute timer and a 30 minute timer, or whatever you need. However, even with iOS 16, you can only have one timer on the iPhone.
This limitation on iOS doesn’t make sense, especially since even the Apple Watch has support for multiple timers. Users have been clamoring for multiple timers for years, so if Apple is really going to add some “most requested features” then this had better be one of them.
Individual volume control settings
Since I’ve been trying Android Phones Here at Digital Trends, I’ve learned that Android has been doing a lot better than iOS, including volume controls. For example, when you turn on volume control on a device like the Samsung Galaxy S23, you can tap the volume slider to expand it into individual sliders for system, alerts, Bixby Voice, ringtone, and media.
However, on iOS, when you press the volume buttons, you basically just adjust the overall volume. You can change the ringtone and alert volume independently, but only by accessing Sound and haptics in the Settings app. But the volume buttons will change the overall volume levels if there is no active audio; if there is any audio, the volume buttons will change that particular audio, like media or Siri. It’s confusing and, honestly, stupid.
At this point, Apple should simply copy Android and show a button when adjusting the volume to expand to individual volume controls. It would make every iOS user’s life much easier because the current method is cumbersome rubbish.
Better notification management
Another thing I’ve learned since diving into Android is how much better notifications are handled compared to iOS.
With iOS, it’s more or less an all or nothing approach. Basically, if you allow notifications on iOS, you get notifications for everything in an app, unless the app has settings for the type of notifications you get. But that depends on the developer. On Android, you get much more granular control over the type of notifications you receive from an app.
Apple’s notification method includes banners, banners, and more banners. Sure, you can group all the notification banners together on the lock screen and Notification Center, which is a “stack”, but when you expand it, all those banners take up space. If you have a ton of notifications, that’s an annoyingly long list of banners to check.
Again, Android does this best by presenting notifications from each app in a calendar-like list view, which is to the point and saves space. It’s also much easier to clear notifications on Android, while iOS requires multiple taps. And if you dismiss a notification, you can’t see it again, while Android has a Notification History feature.
While notifications have improved a bit on iOS, it’s still a mess compared to Android. Hopefully, Apple gives notifications a major overhaul to make them more efficient and streamlined in iOS 17.
Downloading apps outside of the App Store
I’m not sure this is something I’m personally interested in, but it’s been a common request from many people. And with Apple in trouble with European antitrust laws, iOS 17 may be the time when Apple will allow apps to be downloaded from digital stores other than its own App Store.
With With Europe’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) coming into force soon, companies have until 2024 to comply with the new rules. Essentially, big tech companies will need to allow alternative app stores on their platforms, giving users more choice.
There have been rumors that the iPhone 15 will eventually switch to USB-C under EU regulations, which require a common charger for all electronic devices. The DMA is another law that Apple must comply with, and it could mark the first time that we can get apps on the iPhone through alternative app stores, and not just from Apple.
If developers choose to go that route, they wouldn’t have to pay a 15% to 30% fee to Apple for in-app purchases, and users might also have an alternative way to pay bypassing Apple. For many, it would be a win-win.
Allow placing app icons anywhere
Apple made some progress in iOS 14 by allowing users customize your home screens without jailbreak. However, we still can’t place app icons anywhere we’d like on the home screen. Sure, you could use one of those widget apps that puts in a transparent space, but that’s a solution that shouldn’t exist.
On Android, you can place your apps anywhere you want on the grid, like at the bottom, where it’s easier to access with one hand. However, if you’re creating a home screen on iOS, the first app you place on a new page has to go in the upper left corner, which is one of the most unreachable places for me.
It’s about time Apple let us put our apps where we want on the home screen, without forcing us to go from left to right, top to bottom. Give us that home screen freedom!
We’re excited to see what iOS 17 has in store
This is all speculation, but I think these have all been some of the most common user requests for iOS features in recent years. Again, Gurman made it pretty vague and even retracted what he said just a few months ago. Still, we’re excited to see what iOS 17 will bring to our iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro this year (and not to mention older devices that should get it, like the iPhone 11).
With WWDC right around the corner, hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer to find out.