When Apple released iOS 14 last year, it brought along a whole slate of new features, including Home Screen customization and widgets without jailbreaking, new automation capabilities in the Shortcuts app, Messages improvements, and a lot more. With iOS 14, it breathed new life into Apple's mobile OS, but we think Apple could do even more with iOS 15. Here are some of the things I'd like to see in the next iteration of iOS for the best iPhone.
iOS 15 Wish List: Easier customization and theming
One of the biggest features that iOS 14 made possible was the ability to customize your app icons through the Shortcuts app, as well as creating custom Home screen widgets, all without needing to jailbreak your iPhone. However, the biggest issue with using Shortcuts for app icons is that it's a tedious, time-consuming process (you need to do each icon one-by-one). You have to put up with an annoying banner notification each time you launch an app that you changed the icon for in Shortcuts (though it doesn't launch Shortcuts first before your app, so that's one improvement since launch).
I hope that iOS 15 makes iOS customization easier overall. I would much rather set app icons directly within the app settings or iOS Settings rather than use the current Shortcuts workaround. Or if we could even apply entire themes in a single tap with something similar to Nova Launcher, that would be even better.
Another thing about customization that could improve in iOS 15 is allowing us to have empty spaces without needing to use scripts or other workarounds. I know many people who create impressive themes require blank spaces to get their widgets and icons where they want. Apple should streamline this process to give us more freedom — it would make Home screen customization so much easier.
iOS 15 Wish List: Interactive widgets
Even though Apple gave us Home screen widgets, they only refresh every so often and don't allow you to interact with them at all. iOS 15 should change this to allow for interactive widgets, where you could interact with widgets directly, rather than having to open the app itself.
As cool, pretty, or informative as some widgets are, they could be much better if you could actually do things with them on the Home screen. For example, I'd much rather have my PCalc widget on a Home screen instead of tucked away and only accessible via the Today view. Or, give me a notepad-style widget that lets me type my notes directly from the Home screen, rather than launching the app and creating a new note.
Interactive widgets eliminate the need to launch an app, and having them readily available on the Home screen means less swiping around.
iOS 15 Wish List: Always-On Display
A particular feature that I like about Android devices is having an Always-On Display (AOD). Apple introduced this technology with the Apple Watch Series 5, and I would love to see it on the iPhone as well.
I often have my iPhone 12 Pro on a stand at my desk all day while I work. Having an AOD with the next iPhone would mean I can quickly glance to check the time and any notifications waiting for me. While some may think that such a feature will constantly drain the battery, but the opposite is true. Since AOD only turns on the pixels required to show text, images, or graphics relating to the AOD, and all other pixels are turned off, an AOD uses little energy. For a lot of Samsung devices with AOD, battery drain is at about 1% per hour.
An AOD is also a setting that users can enable on Android devices, so I would imagine the same can be done with iOS 15 and iPhones. I would love to see an AOD, but if the feature isn't as useful as I imagine it to be, there should be an option to turn it off, as you could with the latest Apple Watches that have AOD (Series 5 and Series 6.
Regardless, an AOD is something that I and others would like to see as an available option in iOS 15.
iOS 15 Wish List: RCS support in Messages
I've said it before, but I'll repeat it: the new iMessage features in iOS 14 are great, unless you talk to Android users. So while you can make in-line replies and even mentions to people in group chats, this only works if those group conversations are only with other Apple users. If there is even one non-Apple user in the group, these features won't work. Not to mention that you can only change the group name and assign an image to it only if everyone is an Apple user.
I know it's a long-shot, but Apple should consider adding RCS support in the Messages app in iOS 15 or later. Several Android smartphones utilize Rich Communication Services (RCS), which brings a few features similar to what you'd find in iMessages over to more devices and even the web.
If Apple added some RCS support, it wouldn't be perfect, but it would bridge the gap between iMessage and SMS a bit more — at least to something that is more bearable than the current state of iMessage and SMS support. I mean, you can't even leave group chats if there is at least one SMS user involved.
iOS 15 Wish List: Clipboard History
I don't know about everyone else, but I am copying and pasting a lot of stuff throughout the day. Whether it's a link to something interesting I found, a meme or image, or some text I want to quote, there's a lot of stuff I'm copying to the clipboard all day long. On my Mac, I love Alfred's clipboard history feature, as I can search for anything that I've copied before, and I can bring it up with a quick keyboard shortcut.
With iOS, you can't view your clipboard history without some kind of third-party app. Apple could add better clipboard management in iOS 15 to make life easier for everyone. I often copy multiple things to my clipboard in a short period of time — it would be nice to just be able to copy everything at once and then select what to paste at once, rather than doing it one-by-one and having to go back and forth between apps.
C'mon Apple; we need better clipboard management in iOS instead of looking for a third-party app to do the job.
iOS 15 Wish List: Split Screen
Split Screen has been a feature on many Android smartphones for a few years now, and it's time that Apple brings it to the iPhone. I mean, such a feature even exists with iPadOS, so it only makes sense to add it to iOS as well.
This is especially true since there are large iPhones like the iPhone 12 Pro Max, so Split Screen should definitely come to iOS 15. I mean, imagine if you could play something like Pokémon Go while having the Maps app open? I've seen this done with Android players, and honestly, I wish I had that feature when Pokémon Go was a huge deal, and I was actively playing. It would also be fantastic when I want to write on my iPhone (because I have nothing else with me) and need to refer to some research or notes.
iOS 15 Wish List: Apple Pencil support
I know that when Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone, one of his famous quotes was, "Who wants a stylus? You have to get 'em, put 'em away, you lose 'em. Yuck! Nobody wants a stylus. So let's not use a stylus."
While that's true, this was way before Apple created its own stylus, the Apple Pencil, and then improved on that design with the Apple Pencil 2. It's proven to be one of Apple's greatest accessories, as long as you have the best iPad. But what about the iPhone? After all, some people actually do use the iPhone to draw and sketch on-the-go.
Apple bringing Apple Pencil support to iOS 15 would be pretty amazing, to say the least. It would allow people to use their iPhone as a small notepad, as handwriting notes would be possible, and you could even doodle no matter where you are. I think I would also like to use it as a navigational tool, tapping and swiping my way around instead of getting finger smudges all over my screen.
Perhaps the next Apple Pencil could bring about universal support, including with the iPhone. At least, one can hope.
iPadOS 15 wants
While iPadOS is its own separate entity, there are enough similarities between it and iOS. However, there are also a few things that I would like to see in the next iteration of iPadOS 15.
One of the coolest things about iOS 14 widgets was that you could put them anywhere on the Home screen. However, on iPadOS 14, while you could get the new widgets, you were limited to having them only in the Home screen side menu.
I hope that iPadOS 15 fixes this and allows us to put our widgets wherever we darn well please. After all, an iPad has even more space than an iPhone screen, so why are we restricted to a sidebar only for widgets? This made no sense whatsoever.
App Library, please
Ever since Apple added the App Library in iOS 14, I've eliminated most of my Home screen pages and rely mostly on the App Library to sort the rest of my apps. I also manually searched from the App Library if I can't find something quickly from the groups.
But for whatever reason, App Library is completely missing from iPadOS 14. I hope that iPadOS 15 brings an iPad-optimized version of App Library because I would like to get rid of numerous pages of apps and just have everything hidden away in the App Library on my iPad Pro. I don't understand why this was left out — one of Apple's biggest mysteries.
This may not be something that would be very useful to me (it's just me using the iPad), but larger families may appreciate multi-user support. Yes, multiple profiles on an iPad, just like user accounts on a Mac or even a PC, would be useful when one iPad is shared among several people. After all, not every household can afford multiple iPads, so making sharing a little easier to deal with would make many people happy. Especially since not everyone uses the same apps, or you may want to keep some things away from the eyes of others.
What do you want to see in iOS 15?
These are the biggest things I'm hoping to see in iOS 15, as well as iPadOS 15. What do you want to see in the next iteration of iOS 15? Let us know in the comments!
Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.
I really want true external monitor support for IPadOS.
I miss the good ol' days on my iPhone 6S+ when holding the phone in landscape mode, all the icons on the home screen would rotate, like they still do on the iPad.... not sure why they took that functionality away.
If you do that on an iPhone, you're holding it wrong ;)
RCS support would be one of top needs for sure. I'd also like to see the ability to set default maps app. Or at least give us offline maps. Another big one would be to allow 3rd party keyboards to access the password field. Without this, using a third party keyboard is sloppy. The Apple keyboard is pretty bad. Remove restrictions on game streaming like Xbox. Allow tighter integration with Microsoft services like Outlook for contacts and calendar. Oh, how about default Calendar app? Allow apps to access more OS level data such as WiFi statistics for networking related apps.
Many good suggestions. I absolutely echo wanting AOD and built-in clipboard history. (Loved my Clipman app on Android.) On par with those is 360° Face ID! Why do I have to turn my phone and crane my neck if I’m in landscape? But the phone orientation shouldn’t even matter. Really, this can’t be very difficult to implement.
I think the 'who wants a stylus' philosophy was brilliant. Wasn't so much that stylii aren't useful, but it forced a generation of iOS developers to develop with fingers front and center. They couldn't assume a user had, or could even use, a stylus. That's in contrast to the alternative of just taking desktop app interfaces and shrinking them to the point where touch targets were inaccessible, forcing you to grap your stick.
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