It’s 2022, and customizing my iPhone is still horrible

For more than a decade, Apple’s iPhone largely remained the same in terms of interface and lack of customization. Although jailbreaking is in its infancy, the average person doesn’t know how to do that, or even wants to put their device at risk. If you’re looking for customization on your phone, people will tell you to go Android.

Apple surprised everyone when it launched iOS 14, which was the first version of iOS that allowed for some customization on the home screen. With iOS 14, Apple lets users add widgets to the home screen, and it allows traditional app icons using the Siri Shortcuts app. There are new design features in iOS 15, but iOS 16 gave us another step, which is a lock screen design with new styles and text colors, as well as widgets.

Having any customization options in iOS is a miracle and a step in the right direction. But at the moment, the current implementation of the law leaves much to be desired.

Changing my app icon doesn’t have to be boring

The home screen of the iPhone 14 Pro has traditional app icons and fantastical task widgets
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

When iOS 14 came out, I was excited. Can you have a widget on the first screen? Finally! Being able to change my app icon without jailbreak? Ask! But after changing my home screen with boring product layouts and icons, I realized how much work it involved and I was too lazy to do it again. Thankfully, I chose a theme icon pack that I really liked, so I haven’t felt the need to change it since.

But we deserve better. The best.

If you don’t know, changing the app icon in the shortcut app is not difficult, but it takes time when you want to change up to 24 apps on one page on the Home Screen. And that doesn’t include the Dock, which holds four more apps, bringing the total up to 28 possible app icons. It takes almost 20 steps to change one icon, so take the necessary time to change up to 28 of them – that’s the sound of clicking through menus.

I remember when I customized my home screen, it took at least an hour, because sometimes I would have sudden disturbances during the process, making me want to throw my phone out the window . And I don’t count the time it takes to find the right icon pack that you want to use. Fortunately, I stumbled upon an icon pack that I really liked and wanted to use on Reddit (thanks /r/iOSsetups), and took the time to figure out how to get it on my home screen. So it will be easier if you already know what you want.

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iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Apple could make the whole process easier, but it hasn’t done anything with the home screen layout since iOS 14 in 2020. I would like to see an easy way to add custom icons, maybe through the system settings, on Apple can sell app icon packs. from a digital store, such as iTunes or the App Store. Better yet, give us all the themes we can add to the device. I think, such a feature will really print Apple’s money, because I will always buy themes and icon packs if it’s easy. Judging by TikTok’s “aesthetic AF” trend back when iOS 14 crashed, I know I’m not alone.

While we’re on the subject of app icons, why are we still limited to such a strict grid layout? Yes, on Android, we still have the grid layout, but we can also freely place app icons where we want them. In iOS, space will always be filled, no matter what. There are other apps and shortcuts that can keep app icons “invisible”, but this is a workaround for silly restrictions. Why would we start doing such hacks in the first place? Let’s just put the app where we want.

iOS 16 features Fantastical widgets and two rows of work-related apps
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

With iOS 16, Apple introduced Live Services. These are widget-style notifications on the lock screen that update automatically, or have interactive controls. This feature has started to develop recently, since the iOS 16.1 update, but it opens up new opportunities.

I, for one, wish we could have an interactive widget on the Home Screen. Now, home screen widgets will open automatically when you click on them. For example, I have a great Fantastical widget on my focus page and project, which shows the month and my plans for the next three days. If I click on a date in the widget, instead of changing the schedule to show upcoming events for those days, it will open the app. What if I want to see my plans in the calendar widget without opening the app? The music app is also useless, because it only shows your listening activities. How about adding some interactive controls to the Home Screen instead that would be more useful?

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It’s great that we finally got home screen widgets in iOS 14, but honestly, it’s very limited in what you can do. Right now, it’s still only a small preview of the information, but it’s probably just what Apple wants them to be. But the Live Service shows that we can have some real-time interactions with the status, and even with Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro, so why not make the home screen widget better?

I hope that at some point Apple changes how the widget works on the home screen, because for now it’s still just a wonderful app icon.

The lock screen design could be better

Wallpaper settings on iPhone 14 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I was happy when Apple gave us lock screen customization in iOS 16, but it wasn’t perfect. Of course, it is not good in its current state, I hope that Apple will improve this in iOS 17.

For one, the interface and user experience for it is just… not great. The process for changing the look of your locked screen is complicated, and the worst part? You can’t change the lock screen directly from the lock screen without reloading the new home screen. In fact, the whole process of changing just your home screen wallpaper (even through the photo app) is no longer simple and easy – the iOS 16 lock screen setting just broke the whole process. I hope Apple fixes this, because it’s really bad right now.

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An iPhone with iOS 16, showing a new lock screen.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Another thing about the lock screen design that I find bad is the limited space for widgets. We only get one small line under the clock for widgets, which are 1 x 1 squares or 1 x 2 rectangles. Again, it’s just another stupid limitation given by Apple. What does not allow us to add as many widgets as we want? Or at least give us the top half of the screen to work, leaving the bottom half for notifications (unless you move them back to the top). And again, the widget is just an informational view that updates periodically – I hope they can do more than one day.

Finally, the big thing about the lock screen in iOS 16 is the ability to change the text style and text color. But again, Apple can continue with this, because we have three models with eight different models in each. Apple started allowing custom fonts back in iOS 13, so I’m surprised we don’t have the option to just use whatever font we want on the lock screen.

Although Apple allows us to choose any color we want for the text, it can go further. Let’s have a gradient color for the text, or even have two alternating colors – you can create it, especially for a holiday like Christmas (I dreamed of having red and green in my lock text).

Apple can do a lot more with iOS design

iOS 16 lock screen on iPhone 14 Pro
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I’m happy to see Apple giving us more customization options in iOS 14 and iOS 16. However, I’m sad to see that both the home screen and lock screen customizations are still too limited, as Apple hasn’t done much to improve the screen. house. in two years.

In fact, it is a miracle that we even have any of this, considering that it is Apple. But compared to what you can do on Android, the layout of iOS is poor, to say the least. It’s a start, but Apple has a lot of catching up to do. I hope I don’t have to wait another 14 years before iOS customization is better.

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