The iPhone is an excellent device, quite possibly the best smart phone out there. However, there’s no doubt that there are quite a few improvements that Apple should make to the most recent firmware update. The following 15 items are minor software tweaks that we thought of that would make the iPhone a much better device. In other words, it’s things we’d like to see in a future iPhone firmware upgrade. What would you want in an iPhone?
PS: Good thing we waited until after the iPhone 3.0 release to write this article, other wise the 15 item list would’ve been a 150 item list. The 3.0 firmware really did do a great job. Also, a lot of the items on this list are available for jailbreakers. If you haven’t jailbroken your iPhone yet, follow this guide.
1. All Notifications in one place
Let’s say you’re in a rush, and don’t have time to check your missed calls, text messages, voicemails, emails, and push notifications all separately. In reality, it can take a few minutes (without even having to listen to long voicemails, that is). Now imagine you have a screen, perhaps one page to the left of Spotlight Search, that has only your newest notifications, listed in chronological order. Just go to that page and read down the list. If you want an item to be marked as “read” or “viewed”, simply tap it. If you want to see the email, for example, in full in the “Mail” app, simply double tap. I’m amazed that this doesn’t exist yet.
2. Turn Off Accelerometer
Have you ever tried reading on your iPhone in bed? It’s no easy task, especially when you’re laying sideways. Or how about reading on your iPhone while walking around? Whatever rotational motion you make, the screen begins to rotate into landscape mode. Sure, being able to toggle between portrait and landscape is great, but sometimes it’s just plain annoying. We should be able to turn the accelerometer off.
If you jailbreak your iPhone, you can get the ability to toggle the accelerometer on and off. Go here to learn more about it (it’s number 5).
3. Turn Off Shake To Undo
One of iPhone 3.0’s new hidden little features is “shake to undo”, which allows you to shake the phone around in order to undo what you typed (shake again to redo the typing). However, sometimes when you’re typing and you accidentally shake the phone (or if you’re in a train) then the shake to undo feature is simply an annoyance, rather than a helpful feature. There should be a setting to turn off shake to undo if you know you’re about to have a shaky time.
4. Add Numbers on Top of Keyboard
There’s no reason that the numbers and letters on the iPhone keyboard need to be split onto two seperate keyboards. To transfer from letters to numbers you’ve gotta press “123” and then “ABC” to get back. It’s irritating and slows down typing. There should be a 5th row of keys on the standard QWERTY keyboard that adds a row of numbers, (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0), to the top of the keyboard – just like on your computer.
If you jailbreak your iPhone, you can get the ability to add a 5th row of keys. Go here to learn more about it (it’s number 6).
5. Folder to organize apps
I have a huge amount of apps. I would love to be able to organize them into folders such as “Games”, “Music”, “Business”, “Utilities”, “Junk”, etc. Apple could even go as far as to automatically place apps in categories (if you want it to, based on your settings) according to the “Category” that it’s listed under in iTunes. Perhaps instead of folders, Apple could make a page system, in which each page is dedicated to a category. So when you download a game, it goes to the game page(s), and when you download a utility it goes to the utility page(s).
If you jailbreak your iPhone, you can organize your apps into folders with “Categories”. Find out more here.
6. Download files right from the web
I’m talking MP3s, video files, documents…whatever you want. Why not? It’s possible, because there’s a jailbroken app that allows you to download things directly from Mobile Safari. Now, just because I’m saying you should be able to download stuff, doesn’t mean everything file type should be supported and functional (obviously). But there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to download files on your iPhone, store them, and transfer them to your computer via USB.
7. Easier “On/Off” Feature Toggling
Sometimes, you just wanna turn WiFi off. However, you’ve gotta go to Settings and hit several different buttons before you’re finally able to turn off the feature. There should be an easier way to toggle common features on and off. For example, you should be able to preform some kind of tactile motion (like dragging down from the top of the screen) to get a quick pop-up menu with on/off toggles.
If this sounds familiar to you, then you’ve probably tried SB Settings on a jailbroken iPhone. The jailbroken app allows you to do exactly what was described above. The question is – why doesn’t Apple?
8. Take pic by pressing anywhere
Ever try taking a picture of yourself on your iPhone? If you said no, you’re lying. It’s tough trying to position your finger just right so you can tap the small “take picture” button. While you’re using the camera, the whole screen (with the image on it) isn’t doing anything, so why not activate the whole screen as a take photo button? If Apple is worried that people will accidentally tap the screen, resulting in an annoying photo taking experience, then make it so you’ve gotta press anywhere with two fingers.
If you’re dying for this feature, then check out Snapture.
9. Store any webpage for offline viewing
You’ve got lots of gigs on this thing. Save some space so that you can save whatever site you’d like for unlimited offline viewing. You might be thinking, “But why…the iPhone has internet everywhere?” Ha. That’s funny. Try to use the iPhone for mobile browsing everywhere and you’ll quickly understand why everyone hates AT&T. The 3G network is not full proof. So if there’s some blog post or news article you’re dying to finish later, Apple should allow you to save it for offline viewing.
10. Customizable Icons
Everyone in the jailbreaking iPhone community has been customizing their iPhone for years. Why not Apple? Why do we have to keep the specific icons for the native apps? We should be able to set up a custom theme…even though it doesn’t really matter, everyone loves customizing – it’s fun. There should be a way to either set up an overall theme (maybe something like Winterboard), or a way to individually change an icon that you don’t like (such as Weather, Clock, Maps, etc…).
If you’re dying to customize your iPhone, jailbreak your phone and look for Winterboard.
11. Multiple Settings Profiles (Home, Work, Weekend)
Let’s say there’s a certain way you have your iPhone set up during the work week, and another way you have your iPhone set up in the evenings at home, and a third way you like it on the weekends. Instead of having to manually go in and change things around, you should be able to go in, define “Profiles” with specific settings, name them, save, and be done. Now when you want Home settings, just choose Home, instead of having to go in and manually changing fetch data times, and stuff like that.
12. Auto Speaker for Visual Voicemail
It’s not a big deal, but when you go into Visual Voicemail and start playing a message, it starts playing through the ear piece. It’s as if Apple wants you to hold the phone to your ear before pressing the button. Sure, there’s a “Speaker” button at the top, but you’ve gotta hurry up and press it before you miss something important. The voicemails should play through speaker autmoatically, and through the ear piece only if you turn the speaker off (essentially the opposite of how it is set up now).
13. Smiley faces
Look, call me a dork, but smiley faces are great for chat and SMS. Sometimes it can fill the space when you just don’t really have anything to say. The iPhone can definitely handle SMSing smiley faces and icons. So, why not Apple? Smiley faces should come stock in the next firmware update.
If you want smiley faces and icons now, then go here (number 4) to see how you can add Emoji Icons to your iPhone for free without jailbreaking.
14. Hide icons
Some people are neat freaks. Some people just like all the customization in the world. So that’s why Apple should add a feature that allows us to hide various icons, without actually deleting the app. If you have a jailbroken iPhone, then you probably have Boss Prefs. Boss Prefs is one of the most popular jailbroken iPhone applications that allows you to hide various app icons (even the iPhone native ones).
15. More info on lock screen
When your iPhone is locked, you can see the time and the date. You can also see if you got a text message, who the sender is (unless there are more than one), if you got a missed call, and who it was from. However, there’s lots of little pieces of information that Apple could conveniently display on your lock screen. For example, the temperature, new emails, the actual text of an SMS, and more. There should be a settings menu that allows you to edit what you want on your lock screen, Apple even has a patent for this.
If your iPhone is jailbroken, then check out IntelliScreen.
Two other things would be perfect for this list, but they are both so commonly complained about that it wouldn’t be fair to include them. I’m talking about Flash Support and Background Applications. Flash support is highly desired by many iPhoners. Sure, YouTube is great, but it just ain’t enough. Imagine if the only source of video on your computer was YouTube. It would be horrible. YouTube is awesome for user generated videos, but really, how many user generated videos can you watch? When you’re looking for a TV show or a movie, YouTube just isn’t gonna do it. You need some other sites (I’m sure you know plenty) to get quality video content – and a lot of them use Flash. And how about all the sites you can’t view because your iPhone doesn’t support Flash?
Being able to run background applications would be absolutely phenomenal. Imagine being able to go from an app, to your email, to another app, and back to the original app without any of the apps turning off? It would be great. The problem, of course, is the resulting slow iPhone and poor battery life.
All that being said, let’s get to the important thing: What do you want to see in a future iPhone upgrade? Let us know in the comments.