Why Apple, why?

So iOS 12 has been released and for the most part it’s a nice improvement over the previous version. Speed improvements, expanded capabilities everywhere, a nice upgrade generally.

Unfortunately IMHO, the Control Panel for Audio is still nearly useless, requiring too many swipes/clicks to do a single action, and that is to start or pause the audio playback.

iOS 7 Control Panel design, so much cleaner.

Just for quick comparison, here’s the original control panel design from iOS 7. Intuitive, quick, easy to start/pause, control volume, and see where you are in the playback.

To start, swipe from the bottom of the iPhone to open the control panels. Several default panels appear allowing easy access to common settings. Connectivity, audio, screen lock, screen mirroring, brightness and volume, as well as some custom panels for flashlight, magnifier, and more. A handy feature that I’m sure is used by many people everyday. I know I do.

iOS 12 Control Panel design, lots of capabilities offered.

By far though, the control panel I want to access the quickest is the audio one, mostly tor start a paused podcast or song. Used to be it was a simple matter to do that, now it’s a multistep, error prone process that angers me daily. For such a simple feature it shouldn’t be this difficult.

Let’s start by talking audio panel problems as I experience them. The first is the audio panel placement in the expanded control panel. Note that the audio control is near the top of all available panels, and in an awkward/difficult position to reach in that position. Now, my hands aren’t the smallest in the world but it is not easy to reach from my standard phone grip. So I’m forced to use a finger from my other hand to press the start/pause control. Not perfect but acceptable.

Audio control panel choose output device pane.

That brings up the second issue, the area to start/pause is too darn small. No matter how careful I am in trying to only press the start/pause control the panel always expands to it’s larger size. Not only that, when it does it defaults to showing me the audio output pane where I can choose the output device for my action. This is so wrong. If the output was previously set, why is it asking me to reset it? All I want to do is restart a podcast or play music, why do I need to choose the output audio device again? Makes no sense.

iOS 12 Audio panel showing useful features.

Third issue, click on the volume icon to swap to the audio pane I really wanted and in sufficient size so I can easily press the start/pause control.

Finish by swiping down the panel to close it.

So, swipe up, click start/pause, error into choose output audio device pane, click playback icon, click enlarged start/pause control, swipe down to close.

Wearying to say the least.

All Apple needs to do is make one simple fix, don’t default to showing the choose audio device pane unless I actually, physically select it. That alone will remove over half of my frustration with this simple feature.

About lfrank

Forced to write dry technical material day after day for an ever changing industry. I now seek to escape into my personal fantasy world and tell its stories to all who will listen.
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