Not Really Loving iOS 14’s App Library And Widgets
New is not always better…
iOS 14 brings a lot of new features and new ways to interact like App Clips, *Compact calls* and *Picture in Picture*. I have been using the iOS Beta ever since it was released a few months back and so far I have been loving the features. But App library and Widgets are not exactly innovative and do not take the home screen to the next level, which should have been the case.
After having used iOS 14 Beta for 2 months, I am yet to find the utility of the App Library. I can’t speak for everyone and there are people who are definitely loving it but to me, it does not matter if the apps are sorted by category. It looks pretty similar to the app drawer in Android. But less useful because app drawer in Android has much more capabilities like sorting options etc.
It is basically a bad copy of what Android has been offering from day one.
App Library. Provided by author
For a power user, it is important to be able to start an app as quickly as possible without scrolling pages or even look through categories. You can use the search, nice and simple. It is just a swipe-down away.
I don’t see any benefit in having those apps sorted by category. Because you still have to look for the category and the app.
For example, let's say I am looking for Zoom app. What do you think the category of Zoom would be. Frankly speaking, I don’t know. I go to the App Library and start looking for it. I realize that it might be in the Productivity category. And then I scroll through the list.
Below is a quick comparison between opening an app using App Library and Search.
Open app using App Library (Left) vs Open app using search (Right). Provided by author
I like the idea of widgets, while that is in no way innovative and new, it was one of the missing pieces for the Home screen in iOS. But before introducing any feature, it is very important to understand the need for it. I have been using widgets to get a quick update on the weather, time in different countries (because a lot of us live abroad and want to talk to our families), stocks, batteries for different connected devices, and many more.
There was already a dedicated widgets screen for the aforementioned use-cases. It was helpful and I liked it because there was a dedicated scrollable space for it. But with the new Widgets, I still have the dedicated widgets area and now I can add widgets anywhere on my home screen. This behavior is confusing.
I understand not all apps have yet transitioned to new widgets but Apple could have given them enough time to create that and removed the dedicated widgets screen completely, allowing for one and only one way to add and use widgets.
Old widgets screen. Provided by author
With two ways to add widgets, it requires you to think and look for widgets in both places. One by using the edit button at the bottom of the widget screen and then press customize and the other is by using the new widgets flow.
Add widgets — old flow. Provided by author
I like the new widgets and it will be much more useful when apps like Twitter, Medium, Zoom, Slack, etc. will bring their widgets. But having some widgets from the old flow and some from the new does not make sense to me.
iOS 14 to me, just for this feature feels half-baked and I hope they improve this either in one of the iOS 14 updates or directly in iOS 15 next year.
In my opinion, iOS 14 could have added the ability to allow users to sort apps by alphabetical order, or by categories, or by frequently used. There are several ways to improve this and I feel Apple could have done a much better job at this.
Apple generally has a tendency to reinvent things in completely different ways ultimately making a wonderful user experience. But this time it is disappointing.