What Apple needs to include in iOS 16

Iphone 12 Pro Ios 15 Work Focus
Iphone 12 Pro Ios 15 Work Focus (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

While Apple dropped some fantastic new hardware at its Peek Performance spring event, it's now in the rearview mirror as we press forward. Since it's March, we're just a few months away from Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2022, so it's time to start thinking about the next iteration of software, including iOS, iPadOS, and macOS primarily.

A few months ago, I had some suggestions on what Apple should take from the book of Android 12, but that's not all. There's still quite a bit that I want to see in the cards for iOS, so here's my iOS 16 wish list.

More customization for iOS

Pela Sage Green Hearts Iphone 13 Pro Case Front

Pela Sage Green Hearts Iphone 13 Pro Case Front (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

With iOS 14, one of the biggest features was the ability to customize your Home screen through app icons and widgets, all without the need to jailbreak. Changing app icons was possible through the Shortcuts app, and with Home screen widget apps, the possibilities were endless. However, while it's something that can be done, the process to do so is still rather tedious and very time-consuming.

I was hoping for more customization options when iOS 15 rolled around, but it seems that Apple wanted to refine iOS with that release, and that's okay. To me, iOS 15 is like the Snow Leopard release for iOS 14, and Apple wanted to put some focus on other areas instead. But iOS 16 is coming, and honestly, customization could be so much more streamlined.

Look, I just want to be able to apply a singular app icon theme across the board, without having to create them myself one by one. Or even if I wanted to customize app icons, why do I need to use the Shortcuts app? Why can't I just natively choose an icon from the app settings? Or perhaps I just want to apply an entire theme to my device — there should totally be a section of the App Store that lets you browse and download or purchase themes from creators, and then apply it to your device in a few taps. This would benefit not only creators of said themes, but Apple as well, at least when it's a paid theme. I would not hesitate to drop a few bucks here and there for a well-designed theme, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

C'mon, Apple. People love customizing their best iPhone, as was evident with the entire "aesthetic AF" Home screen trend, so just make it easier. Pretty please?

Magic Eraser in Photos

Iphone 13 Pro Photos Memories Hero

Iphone 13 Pro Photos Memories Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

Ever since I've seen the Magic Eraser in action on the Google Pixel 6, I've been quite jealous of my Android brethren. I go to Disneyland very often just to take photos, but my number one problem is the fact that there are always going to be people in the background. I know there are photo editing apps on the App Store that have such a feature, but the problem is that they are usually locked behind some kind of paywall or subscription, unfortunately, and I don't want to pay for just that tool.

Honestly, Apple seriously needs to have a native Magic Eraser tool in the Photos app. Apple likes to talk about various computational photography processes that are possible because of the latest silicon, so a Magic Eraser kind of feature should be a no-brainer at this point. Let me get rid of the people in my Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle photos, Apple!

Interactive widgets

Color Widgets Iphone Hero

Color Widgets Iphone Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

When we got Home screen widgets in iOS 14, I was ecstatic. This was a feature that I saw on Android devices that I always wanted on iOS, and it finally arrived. However, I was super disappointed when I learned widgets would just display information and you can't actually interact with them. If you tap on a widget, it just launches the app — a glorified app icon, basically.

With iOS 16, I hope Apple takes it a step further and makes widgets something that you can actually interact with. For example, let me control my music playback with the Music widget, or allow me to jot down a quick note without launching Notes. Don't get me wrong — I still like having the data at-a-glance from various widgets show up on my Home screen, but is a little interaction too much to ask for?

QuickNote for iPhone

Ipados 15 Preview Hero

Ipados 15 Preview Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

QuickNote was a new feature in iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey that allows you to invoke a new note from anywhere, even while you're in another app, through a simple gesture. Like how App Library first appeared on iPhone with iOS 14 and then later for iPad with iPadOS 15, I am hoping it's the same with QuickNote.

After all, iPhone models with Face ID already make use of swipe gestures to navigate around — I don't think adding one more gesture from the bottom right corner will be a big deal. Notes has become my go-to for jotting down little snippets of text, web links, lists, and pretty much anything that I want to refer back to later. If QuickNote came to the iPhone, it would be much more useful, considering that I have my best iPhone with me at all times, which I can't say for the iPad.

The Home app needs a major overhaul

Home app displayed on an iPhone 11

Home app displayed on an iPhone 11 (Image credit: Christopher Close / iMore)

One of Apple's own native apps that seems to have been neglected as of late is the Home app for HomeKit devices. It hasn't had any major changes for a few years, and it definitely needs some TLC.

While I don't have many HomeKit accessories, I know others do, and from what I hear, the Home app becomes more cumbersome when you add more accessories to your system. It sounds like at the time Apple made the Home app, there weren't a ton of things that you could use it for. But now, you have many different best HomeKit devices, like cameras, door locks, lights and bulbs, light switches, and more.

For me, personally, I just use the Home app for my single HomePod mini unit. But for those who are heavily invested in the HomeKit system, hopefully the Home app gets a little facelift in iOS 16 — it's much needed.

iOS 16 needs to do more than just refine the base

WWDC 2022 is just a few months away, and we are going to see the next iteration of iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS. I hope that iOS 16 brings some big new features that I've mentioned above, as well as some TLC for some things that haven't been given much attention in recent years.

As WWDC22 approaches, stay tuned here on iMore for all of your WWDC needs.

Christine Chan

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.

  • Huh. Who woulda thunk?
  • I agree about the Home app needing an overhaul. It's a big mess when you have many HomeKit accessories and automations. Mainly though, it is so slow to update devices. Often, a device will show as "unreachable" although using its native app, it is totally "reachable".
  • In line with customization, I would like to see Apple open up iOS more. We are now able to replace the mail and browser apps. More apps should be replaceable/uninstallable. Also API's should be made available to allow iOS to sync/work with other OS's, like Windows. Maybe even allow different launchers like on Android.
    It will attract more users to the platform and, just as important, keep antitrust off Apple's back.
  • Apple maintain tight control on their branding and the homescreen is, for better or worse also part of that. Its the same reason we still don't have 3rd party watch faces. Apple know that the subtle brand awareness that comes from instant recognition of the homescreen is an important part of advertising. I'll also let you in on a secret about Android launchers: the most popular ones are like Nova, Lawnchair and Niagara seek to bring as much of the Google Pixel experience as possible to 3rd parties. Customers like that Android has so many handsets to choose from but have a distaste for OEM skins. Look at the recent backlash against Oppo for making OxygenOS from the Oneplus devices more like their own ColorOS and less like the Pixel. Android users secretly crave the homogenity of a Pixel device and its launcher, something Apple have had since iPhone OS 1.0.
  • Rumours are the iPhone 14 is getting longer devices and so the 'iOS7 stretched out' that we currently have is no longer fit for purpose. There are too many legacy interactions that require the user to use the top 1/3 of the screen, preventing one-handed use. 'Reachability' is a sticking plaster that should never have made it passed the iPhone 6S+. Thus:
    - Interactive widgets
    - Widgets on long-press of app icon
    - Freely placeable icons that don't float to the top of a homepage (or at least a toggle)
    - Notifications moved to the bottom of the phone screen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zplVSI0M93o)
    - Past notifications can be pulled up from the bottom of the multitasking view
    - Control Center moved to an additional RH screen that shows up in the multitasking view
    - Lockscreen Control Center replaces the camera gesture (it has a button)
    - Universal screen edge 'back' gesture similar to Android
    - Truedepth Gesture support
    - More offline Siri controls
    - Manual controls in the Camera app (10 years ago my $300 Lumia had this)