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iOS 8 changes we'd like to see: The OS and Home screen

Dan Frakes | June 2, 2014
WWDC is almost here, which means we're likely to see a preview of iOS 8, the next iteration of Apple's mobile OS. Over the past few weeks, we've been publishing lists--with a little help from our Twitter followers--of the features and changes we'd like to see in iOS 8, covering Notification Center, Mail, Calendar and Reminders, Photos and Camera, [<a

Expanded Touch ID

Touch ID, which lets you unlock your iPhone 5s with your fingerprint or thumbprint, is one of the coolest mobile-hardware features around, especially since OS updates have made Touch ID much faster and more reliable. But the limits Apple has placed on Touch ID also make it frustrating. For example, it's always available when unlocking your phone, but when using Apple services — such as purchasing new apps or media — you're often required to manually type your password. And Touch ID isn't available at all within third-party apps.

We'd like to see Apple expand Touch ID so that it's available for pretty much any Apple-related authentication — especially when using Apple's online stores, but also in combination with iCloud Keychain for autofilling passwords for especially sensitive sites. We'd also like to see the company provide an API that allows third-party apps to use Touch ID to authenticate. For example, it would be great if, when opening 1Password, we could use Touch ID to unlock the app, rather than tediously typing a long, secure passphrase.

Updated developer rules

We'll just link to this fine article we published a few months back and leave it at that.

Better settings

There are a smattering of useful settings we'd like to see added or modified, most of which would likely be found in the Settings app. One of the biggest is Wi-Fi-network priority. Such a feature, long available on OS X, would let you tell iOS that Network A should always be used first if it's available, with Network B used only if Network A isn't available. (Currently, iOS connects to the strongest accessible network, or the first one it detects in the area.)

And while I'm talking about locations, I love my Beastie Boys ringtone, but something a bit more...subtle is more appropriate when I'm in the office. Wouldn't it be great if, like the Sony Ericsson phone I owned over a decade ago, iOS would let me configure groups of settings — preferred Wi-Fi network, VPN status, ringer volume, alert tones, and more — that would be chosen automatically based on my network or physical location?

Another Settings-based option many people have wished for is a way to choose precisely which apps get updated when automatic updates are enabled. For example, maybe the latest version of a particular app has lost an important feature, or gained a show-stopping bug, so you don't want to update it, but you'd like all your other apps to get the latest version as soon as it's available.

A tweak that would be minor but nevertheless very welcome would be a dimmer lowest-brightness level. Even at its dimmest, my iPhone 5s's screen feels blinding when I'm trying to do some last-minute reading before bed. And we'd love the option to mute the Camera's "shutter release" sound when the phone itself isn't muted.


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