From an improved Home Screen to offline Apple Maps

From 3–7 June, the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will take place in California. Every year, Apple provides an indication of where it next intends to take its operating systems.

Your iPhone and iPad are already immensely capable, but we think they could do more – and in key areas, be better. Fittingly, then, here are 13 things we’re hoping Apple will announce for iOS 13 at WWDC.

1. An improved Home screen

Widgets should go beyond Today view

The iOS Home screen was designed for the original iPhone, which had one screen of first-party apps and no App Store. Especially on iPad, it now feels dated and limited. At the very least, larger devices should provide the option to display more app shortcuts. You should also be able to place widgets on a Home screen rather than just in Today view.

2. A Home indicator off switch

The Home indicator is a distraction when gaming

When the iPhone X arrived, Apple removed the Home button, ditching a decade of convention. Having a large on-screen indicator was necessary to train users into this new way of interacting with an iPhone. But the Home indicator proves to be a distraction with immersive content like digital books and games. For people comfortable with the gestures, Apple should provide a Home indicator off switch in Settings.

3. Better app installation

It’s absurd that you can’t install an iPad-only app from your iPhone

Given Apple Pay and Apple’s cross-device smarts, it’s odd that the company only lets you install apps on the device you’re currently using. We hope iOS 13 will let you buy and install an iPad-only app from your iPhone, and buy/install apps/games from App Store Preview in a browser. You should also be able to uninstall apps more easily, such as from the App Store Updates tab.

4. Multiple user profiles

You can set content restrictions in Settings, but a Kids mode would be easier

We understand Apple thinks iOS devices are inherently personal, and everyone should own several – but we’re not all made of money. iPad, in particular, feels like a device that can – and should – be shared. To that end, at the very least we should have Guest and Kids modes – but multiple user accounts would also be very welcome.

5. Two-up views for all apps

All apps should have their own Split View

Modern iPads offer Split View – the means to place two apps next to each other, for reference or drag-and-drop. But on the desktop, it’s commonplace to have two windows from the same app open. On iPad, Safari offers this functionality, but Apple should open this up to all apps, thereby boosting productivity. (We wouldn’t say no to Split View on ‘Max’ iPhones either…)

6. Pointer support for iPad

Apple Pencil is great, but pointer support would boost productivity and ergonomics

In saying it’d be good to have mouse/trackpad support for iPad, we don’t believe the device should inherently by default be more like a laptop. But from an ergonomic standpoint, extended use should find your iPad on a stand, level with your eyes – at which point a touchscreen becomes unwieldy for interaction. So an option to select content and interact with apps using a cursor is a must.

7. New undo/redo gestures

You shouldn’t have to shake to undo

In the early days of iPhone, it was cute when you discovered undo was triggered by shaking your device – for about ten seconds, after which point it became an irritant. Now, it’s ridiculous, especially when shaking a massive iPad Pro to erase an error. Apple acknowledges this by adding undo/redo buttons to the iPad keyboard, but a new iOS gestural system would be preferable.

8. More Do Not Disturb controls

Do Not Disturb is in desperate need of more granular controls

Apple’s Do Not Disturb is a great way to stop devices from bugging you during user-defined hours. But unlike Screen Time – which allows you to customize settings for individual days – DND is all or nothing. Many people have schedules that vary considerably, and this feature should therefore be able to adapt to your life – rather than you having to adapt to it.

9. Bring back Game Center

Here’s Game Center a few years back – including friends lists for high score tables

We were surprised when Apple announced Apple Arcade, an upcoming premium gaming subscription service. But if this is the start of a major gaming push from Apple, Game Center must be resurrected. Currently, it’s limited to assisting in setting up multiplayer matches. It should again at a minimum allow you to create and customize a friends list, for games with challenges and high-score tables – not least because many now use the horrors of Facebook for such things.

10. Expand where Files can go

FE File Explorer Pro is great, but Apple’s Files should let you get at network drives

Files represented a revolution in document management for iOS devices – but it still falls short in two key areas. If you need to access content on local networks (such as on your PC or Mac), you need a third-party app. Also, the new iPad Pros have a USB-C port, but Files cannot interact with connected USB-C storage drives, which seems ludicrous. Fix it, Apple!

11. Offline Apple Maps

Google Maps lets you download maps for offline use. Come on, Apple – allow the same!

For a few years now, Google Maps has made it simple to save maps for offline navigation. This means even if you lack an internet connection, you can still enjoy turn-by-turn directions whether driving about somewhere new, or hiking in the wilderness. Apple Maps comparatively lags, requiring you to be online to work – and that needs to change.

12. A pro Camera app

We could do with more pro-oriented controls in Camera

Despite the title of this item, it’s not so much a pro app that we’d like to see from Apple, but more pro options in the existing app. The relative simplicity and elegance of Apple’s Camera is a good thing for newcomers, but with the sheer power iOS device cameras provide, it’d be great if Apple’s own app would offer high-end options for making your snaps the best they can possibly be.

13. Magical notifications

Notifications need to be smarter

Right now, notifications on iOS are anything but magical when you’ve multiple devices. One comes in, and you’re barraged by devices going ‘ping.’ Surely, it can’t be beyond Apple to figure out which one is being used, and silence the others? Similarly, better notifications sync across devices would be good – we’re distracted enough without heading to a different device and having to wade through items we’ve already dealt with.