What do you expect from iOS 11? Here is my wish list!

Last updated on Mar 5, 2017

If Apple follows its annual release schedule for its mobile operating system, iOS, we can expect the first beta version of iOS 11 sometime this summer and a final release in fall. And while every new iOS release has brought us a wealth of new and useful features, there is plenty of room for improvement, in my opinion. Below is my wish list for iOS 11 and I’m hoping that some of the features mentioned will materialize.

Manage keywords in Photos

After taking a photo on my iPhone, I usually edit it right away. That includes deleting the bad shots, applying color corrections or a filter and marking favorites. At least once a week, I add keywords and faces using my iMac because I can’t do it on iOS. That’s not a problem while I’m at home, but when I’m traveling and don’t have good internet connectivity, my photos often not synchronize with iCloud Photo Library, and thus I can’t use my MacBook to apply keywords, etc. As a result, I have to wait until I’m back home to do that, adding to the workload that is usually waiting for me when I return from a trip. Instead, I would like to be able to add keywords and faces directly on my iPhone or iPad Pro, on the go.

Keywords and image details
Photos.app on macOS

Show image metadata in Photos

The Photos app in iOS is not very useful in displaying basic metadata like the photo’s resolution, shutter speed or aperture. I usually crop photos before using them on my blog or for newsletters and it would make it much easier for me to see what size they are without having to rely on a third-party application, such as Pixelmator.

Better support for copy/paste

I noticed how badly Apple had implemented copy/paste in iOS when I started working with my iPad Pro. It turned out that you cannot copy/paste formatted text between applications, without losing all formatting. That’s especially painful when trying to copy text with hyperlinks or when trying to use the iPad Pro as a replacement for a MacBook. I would like to see Apple add the ability to copy/paste with full formatting support (if the target application supports formatted text).

Better document picker for iCloud Drive

Have you ever tried to save a file to iCloud Drive in iOS? Instead of showing a friendly list of folders you can navigate in and out of or search for the folder you want to save the file to, iOS shows you a long list of all folders in iCloud Drive. In my case, that folder list is very long, which makes it almost impossible to find the folder you are looking for. I would like for Apple to take a look at how other cloud storage providers, such as Dropbox, have implemented their apps. The sad news is that I’m sure Apple knows how much iCloud Drive sucks, they just didn’t want to delay its release, and instead they rushed it out. MacSparky has already complained about this during the iOS 10 Beta phase, and we were all hoping that Apple would fix the issue before they released iOS 10 to the public.

Feature parity of iCloud Drive with Dropbox

I have used iCloud Drive since WWDC 2016, hoping that Apple would add such basic features as sharing to it before they released the final version of macOS Sierra and iOS 10. Unfortunately, they didn’t, and iCloud Drive is still light years behind what Dropbox offers. So in iOS 11 (and macOS 10.13) I would like to see significant improvements to iCloud Drive, making it more competitive to Dropbox. Until then, I will probably move all my data back to Dropbox.

Support for accented characters with Smart Keyboard

When using Apple’s Smart Keyboard with the iPad Pro, I have noticed that long-pressing a key just repeats the key instead of showing the key’s accented characters, such as “ñ.” That’s especially painful for me as I often type in German and Spanish. In this support article, Apple suggests to use the software keyboard to type accented characters:

You might need to use your software keyboard instead of the Smart Keyboard to do things like type accented characters or use dictation. To show the software keyboard, you can fold the Smart Keyboard behind the display (Watch position) or slightly lift the iPad from the Smart Keyboard groove.

Seriously Apple? That is not what I would like to do, every time I need to type an umlaut! Fortunately, auto-correct and predictive typing are relatively good already and iOS corrects “Grusse” into “Grüsse” (German for greetings) most of the time.

Support for a combination of hardware- and third-party software keyboards

While working with the iPad Pro, I was hoping to be able to use TextExpander. Unfortunately, in iOS TextExpander is implemented as a software keyboard and you cannot use it when a hardware keyboard, such as Apple’s Smart Keyboard is attached. Lack of support for third-party software keyboards, while using Smart Keyboard, significantly reduces productivity and it makes the iPad Pro less pro. So I would like for Apple to figure out how to somehow align both software- and hardware keyboards.

iOS 11 Software- and hardware keyboard incompatible
Software- and hardware keyboard are incompatible

Siri offline support

Overall, Siri is still unusable but for the simplest tasks, like adding a reminder. And even that sometimes fails. The situation gets worse with spotty network connectivity, and so in iOS 11 I would like to see offline support. Adding a reminder or counting down two minutes, shouldn’t require a roundtrip to Apple’s backend infrastructure. All devices that Apple makes these days are powerful enough to handle such tasks.

Type to Siri

Sometimes, it’s inappropriate or impossible to talk to Siri, like when you are on a conference call or when you have a crying kid next to you. In those cases, being able to type, instead of talking to Siri would be a significant improvement. Spotlight in iOS has gotten smarter already, for example, I can type “1 EUR in USD” and get the current exchange rate but if I type “time in Austria” I only get suggested websites instead of the current time there.

Support for Smart Mailboxes in Mail.app

Under macOS, I make good use of Smart Mailboxes in Mail.app. For example, I have a Smart Mailbox that shows me all the emails in the @SaneLater folder of each of my accounts. Other Smart Mailboxes filter for iTunes receipts or orders from the Apple Store. The good news is that iCloud already synchronizes Smart Mailboxes, so it would be easy for Apple to include them in iOS.

A Smart Mailbox displays messages that are stored in other mailboxes and that meet certain criteria you specify. For example, a Smart Mailbox could include all the messages you receive about a remodeling project, regardless of the mailboxes where the messages are located.

Download folder

One of the design goals of iOS was to hide the file system from the user. That’s great from a simplicity perspective, especially on an iPhone, but it becomes an issue on larger devices that may try to compete with MacBooks. The lack of a “download” folder became apparent to me when I took the iPad Pro on a trip to Europe, instead of my 12″ MacBook. Via the Sharing sheet, you can save files to iCloud Drive or Dropbox, but very often I don’t want to keep downloaded files permanently, and thus I do not want them to take up cloud space. A “download” folder that gets emptied periodically would be a better solution, in my opinion.

Ability to extract ZIP-files

When working with MailChimp, an emailing/newsletter solution, I ran into an issue with opening ZIP-files. Sometimes, it’s necessary to export part of your mailing list for analysis or mass-update of data. The problem is that MailChimp delivers those exports as ZIP-files and you cannot open them in iOS without third-party tools like iZip. Zipping/unzipping files has been supported by most modern operating systems for a long time, so I’m hoping that iOS will follow suit.

FaceTime group calling

Apple announced group calling support in FaceTime with iOS 8. Unfortunately, that feature is limited to FaceTime Audio calls on iOS. macOS doesn’t support group audio calls and neither iOS nor macOS support FaceTime Video group calls. It’s time for Apple to step up its game and support what third-party apps have supported for a long time.

Widgets on Home Screen

I like how Apple improved the Home Screen and Notification Center experience in iOS 10, but I think they could go a step further, by allowing users to add widgets to the lock screen. In iOS 10, I can swipe from the left on the lock screen to show my widgets with such relevant information as my remaining tasks in OmniFocus, the current temperature, upcoming events in my calendar, etc. Without that extra swipe action, the lock screen only shows the time, date, missed notifications, and wallpaper. I would still like to see missed notifications, but Apple could implement them differently. For example, as a slider/carousel to leave more room for widgets.

Mark iMessages as unread

I love iMessages and use it a lot. The problem is, that if I get an iMessage that requires me to take action on, I immediately need to create a task in OmniFocus or a reminder from it. Otherwise, there is a chance that I’ll forget about it. So it would be useful, to mark individual iMessages as unread, or flag them somehow, so that they act as a reminder.

Better support for contact groups

I have grouped all my contacts into broad categories such as Family, Home Services, Important Business Contacts, etc. Anytime I add a new contact, I assign it to one of those groups, if applicable. The problem is, I can only do that in macOS because the Contacts.app in iOS doesn’t support that. You can only hide or show certain groups, but you cannot assign contacts to groups. I would like for Apple to completely re-think the group concept and instead, introduce tags. That way, I could just tag contacts, similar I can do in Finder with files. That would also make it easier to search for contacts that I tagged as “Family” and “VIP,” for example.

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What is your wish list for iOS 11?

What are you missing in iOS that you would like Apple to add to iOS 11? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

 

Michael Kummer

🇦🇹 Austrian 📜 Blogger 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Father of a princess and a preemie 🥑 Fan of Paleo lifestyle 💻 Technologist ✈️ Frequent flyer 📱Amateur photographer