iPhone Still Needs Better App Management, Notification Handling

iPhone Photography Folder

iOS4 brought some much-needed improvements to the iPhone in terms of app management. Now, apps can be grouped into folders and a multitasking panel lets you switch among active apps (for 3GS users only). The problem is, these features are underwhelming additions to a platform that should have had these capabilities as soon as the App Store was introduced.

Apple should have added folders to iPhone two years ago. What they should be doing at this point is paying attention to the details and making the app management process more fluid.

App Management & Notification Handling

Moving an iPhone app

As I began to drag app icons from page to page to organize my folders, I wondered why that process is so difficult. I had to move each app, one by one, across pages to its destination folder. Why can’t Apple simply apply the same select/copy/paste system to icons to make organizing apps a cinch?

iPhone Folder Select/Paste

Another thing that’s sorely missing from the iPhone is a notification handling system. The iPhone is far too advanced to be missing this feature. Right now, if I get a notification for an item in my Todo list and I close it, I will never see that notification again. iPhone is in desperate need of a notification handling system (like Facebook) so that I can keep track of my many notifications. If I choose to be notified about something, then it’s obviously important enough to me to be kept in a list of recent notifications.

iPhone Notifications

Too Little, Too Late?

It seems to me that Apple did not think ahead when it introduced the App Store. When the iPhone came out, everyone cried for third party apps and Apple told us to use web apps.

Then, the App Store hit the iPhone and you quickly had a mess of icons cluttering pages and pages of your iPhone. Furthermore, to this day you are still forced to keep Apple’s default apps on your iPhone, even if you don’t need them. I never use Stocks, Contacts or Weather yet I can’t delete them. How arrogant of Apple to force us to keep their rarely-updates junk apps.


Folders and multitasking are great, but Apple, please give us the following to make using the iPhone a better experience:

  1. Let us grab and drag multiple apps at once to organize into folders.
  2. Let us choose to delete default apps that are useless to us, like Stocks, Weather and Contacts in my case.
  3. Give us a history of notifications so that we can keep track of our important items.

These are the features I hope to see in the iOS 4.1 iPhone update.

What Say You?

Are folders enough or does iPhone still need some app handling improvements?

Seven iOS4 Mini-Features You May Not Be Aware of

iOS4 Features

I assume you already know about the major features in the iOS4 iPhone update like multitasking and folders, but what small changes has Apple made to the iPhone in this update?

Here are the seven iOS4 features that have intrigued me the most — note: I own an iPhone 3GS:

  1. Whenever music is playing in the background, you can bring up rewind, fast-forward and play/pause controls by swiping right in the multitasking panel. (To go to the multitasking panel, double-tap your home button.)
  2. To lock your iPhone into portrait (vertical) orientation at any point, go to the multitasking panel by double-tapping your home button, swipe right, then tap the lock to fix your iPhone’s orientation in portrait mode.
  3. To add Bing as your default search engine, go to Settings >> Safari >> Bing. I am not a fan of Bing myself, but Apple has added Microsoft’s search engine to the iPhone for those of you who are.
  4. A section has been added to the Settings to add or remove certain types of searches from Spotlight Search. For example, you can now exclude notes and messages from Spotlight for privacy or convenience purposes.
  5. You can now turn off all cellular data in Settings >> General >> Network. Whenever I’m low on battery, I temporarily turn off 3G, but EDGE always used to remain on. Now, I can turn off all cellular data to preserve my battery for important uses only.
  6. If someone who is in your Contacts emails you, you will see their photo next to the subject heading.
  7. Perhaps the coolest “mini-feature” is the ability to zoom in the camera viewfinder. Simply tap the screen when in Camera and a zoom bar will appear at the bottom. Slide the zoom bar to zoom in and out.

What do you like most about the latest iOS4 iPhone update?

iOS4 iPhone Update Now Available: How to Download & Install

Now that iOS4 is available, here’s a tutorial on how to download the latest iPhone update in a few simple steps:

First, download the latest iTunes update 9.2 via the Apple website.

iTunes 9.2

Connect your iPhone to your computer via USB and open iTunes. Navigate to the “iPhone” in the left-hand sidebar and click “Update.”

iOS4 Now Available

iTunes will prompt you with a notification that iOS4 is now available. Click Download & Install to install it automatically.

iOS4 Features

The installation wizard will show you a list of features in iOS4. Click next and agree to the Software License Agreement.

You will be asked whether to create a backup of your iPhone. I recommend that you create a Backup so that you do not lose any of your data.

iOS4 download status

iTunes will begin downloading iOS4. Be patient, it is a 378 MB download.

iPhone Backup

Updating iPhone Software

From there iTunes will backup your iPhone and install the latest iPhone software update.

Look forward to multitasking, folders, customizable backgrounds and much more. Let me know how you like iOS4.

Rumor: iOS4 to Hit Between 9 AM to 10 AM Cupertino Time

A Twitter search brings up a post by razurianfly claiming the iOS4 update will hit iTunes in the next hour:

What Time Can I Download iOS4?

Text: “Expecting iOS4 to Hit Around 9:00 or 10:00AM Cupertino. Between 5:00 or 6:00PM London (BST).”

Razorianfly is the alias of Arron Hirst, a UK graphic designer. I wondered how he would know the release time of iOS4. After having a look at his Twitter stream, I found that he claims to have “a source, who I can’t name (for obvious reasons).” Time will tell if his prediction is correct.

Update iTunes Before Downloading iOS4

Be sure to update to iTunes 9.2 to be able to download iOS4. I just updated iTunes this morning, expecting to be able to download iOS4, but the iPhone update is still unavailable as of 11:55 AM EST.

When Can I Download iOS4?

If the rumor is correct, iOS4 will be available within the next hour. Will you be downloading the new iPhone update right away?

Multitasking Face-Off: iPhone vs Android vs WebOS


When it comes to multitasking, Apple claimed at their iPhone OS 4 unveiling that “we weren’t first to the party, but we’re gonna be the best.” But is iPhone’s new multitasking feature really the best way to do multitasking? Check out these video demos of multitasking on iPhone OS 4, Android and Palm WebOS to decide for yourself who does multitasking better:

iPhone OS 4 Multitasking

Android Multitasking

Palm WebOS Multitasking

iPhone Jailbreak Multitasking Solutions

There are also some multitasking solutions that you can use if you jailbreak your iPhone, including:



What Do You Think?

Is Apple’s iPhone OS 4 multitasking really the best? Which multitasking solution do you prefer? I would love to hear your opinion in the comments.

iPhone OS 4: What Do You Think of the Latest iPhone Update?

iPhone OS 4

What did you think of Apple’s grand announcement of the new iPhone OS 4? Personally, I’m most excited about multitasking and folders, two features I asked for in my iPhone wish list for 2010.

Continue reading for a breakdown of my favorite iPhone OS 4 features, some limitations, and what’s missing in this latest iPhone update, which will become available for download on iTunes this summer.


iPhone Multitasking

The new multitasking update in iPhone OS 4.0 will make it possible to run location tracking services in the background, along with VOIP services such as Skype, background audio such as Pandora, and other services. This is going to make iPhone dramatically more useful. I have always wanted the ability to run location tracking apps in the background, so that I could use apps like Google Latitude to broadcast my location no matter what app I am running. Currently, you can only broadcast your location in Latitude if you’re in Safari with the web app open. This renders Latitude for iPhone pretty useless, since you can’t exit Safari and still share your location. Worry no more, for multitasking will fix that.

No Multitasking for 3G Users

Perhaps not surprisingly, Apple is shamelessly omitting the multitasking feature from iPhone 3G. They say the 3G’s hardware would not be able to handle multitasking, but I beg to differ, considering jailbroken 3G iPhones can multitask just fine.

Clearly, Apple’s intention is to make 3G users feel left out of the party so that they buy the latest iPhone model. That’s called planned obsolescence. They deliberately impose an artificial limit on the iPhone 3G so that you consider it obsolete and buy a 3GS or the next generation iPhone at full price. This practice may be good for sales, but it is wasteful and unfairly costs you money.

If you have an iPhone 3G and you want multitasking, your options are either: upgrade to a new iPhone, switch to another phone, or jailbreak your iPhone.

Update: I have just learned that the original iPhone will not be supported at all by iPhone OS 4.


iPhone App Folders

The folders update was another much anticipated feature of iPhone 4.0. The clutter of iPhone apps right now makes a mess of my home screens, so it will be great to be able to group apps together in a more organized fashion. To create a folder, all it takes is dragging one app onto the other.

iPhone OS 4 Feature List

In all, the iPhone 4.0 OS will include 7 major feature updates:

  1. Multitasking
  2. Folders
  3. A unified mailbox
  4. iBooks
  5. Game Center, a social gaming network
  6. Broader Enterprise support
  7. The new iAd mobile advertising system

iPhone 4.0 debuts sometime this summer. Learn more about the next iPhone update in Mashable’s iPhone 4.0 OS overview.

What’s missing?

Although the iPhone 4.0 update adds over 100 new user features, there are a couple of features I was hoping to see that were not discussed at the OS 4 unveiling.

Better Notifications

iPhone is notably lacking a streamlined notifications system. For example, when you get a notification now, it disappears forever after you view or close it. If a new notification pops up before you’ve read the previous one, the first notification disappears. iPhone needs a better notifications system so that, like Facebook, you can refer back to your notifications and see them in a list.

Better App Interaction

Another feature I would like to have in the future is the ability to change the default apps that my iPhone uses under certain circumstances. For example, I want to be able to tell my iPhone to open the TomTom navigation app instead of the Google Maps app when I click a hyperlinked address. Or to share an image from my Photos album via the Facebook app. Or to open the WordPress app from within Safari so that I could blog about pages that I liked. This would certainly be a feature that would appeal mostly to power users, but it would be great to have the option.

What do you think? Are you excited about iPhone 4.0? Which features do you love, and what features do you think are missing? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.