iOS 7.1 wants: Faster transitional animations

I don't know why iOS 7 transitional animations feel slower than those in previous versions of iOS. But they do. The zoom ins, the carousels, the spin-around, these were never instant things. Yet I never felt like I was waiting of iOS to catch up to me as often as I do now. Maybe the leaps forward in iOS 7 make it feel like a more physical place, and make me think I should be able to run, not just walk, through it. It makes me think I should be able to fly.

But I'm waiting. Not waiting for data to load or be processed, for apps to wake up or content to render - those things are unavoidable and those things are why we get better technologies like Apple A7 processors and LTE radios - but simply for animations to finish.

iOS 7 includes a lot of great, transitional animations, including all the Home screen icons coming out of warp space in staggered formation when you unlock. Same with the zooming in and out of the stacked planes of icons and folders and Home screens and apps. It's amazing, stunning even at times. It visually teaches you how you're moving through the interface space, never letting you get lost or disoriented.

But once you've learned, it insists on teaching you over and over again. Once you've watched, you've got to keep watching. And that pulls you out of the very experience it was initially implemented to provide.

It's like playing a great video game - you enjoy the cut scene the first time, but when you replay, all you want to do is skip it faster each time.

As currently implemented, a lot of iOS 7 transition animations are cut scenes you can't skip.

Mobile Safari nailed this in iOS 1 (iPhone OS 1.0) by keeping a page responsive, even if it meant rendering a checkerboard pattern, no matter how fast we moved around it. It waited on us to stop moving, then rendered. We never waited for it to stop rendering so we could move. That's what made it feel so fast. That's what made it magical.

Because they're short, because they make sense, there's no need for the transition animations in iOS 7 to be removed or made skippable. They just need to be made faster and responsive. I'm nowhere near the first to comment on this. During the beta period I, like many others, held out hope for an animation speed up prior to general availability. Unfortunately, none came. Hopefully, one will.

It doesn't have to be doors-in-Star-Wars-fast. Smash cuts can be disorienting. But at 2x or 4x, they'll still provide the same visual cueing as they do at their current speed, but far less interruption. If touching the screen automatically finishes them and takes the input, they'll still delight the viewer without frustrating them.

They'll once again make iOS feel as fast as we are.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.