The iOS control centre still has some way to go – Opinion

Over the last few years Apple iOS has rapidly gained ground on Google’s Android operating system with the idea of a switch to Apple being almost bearable for a self-confessed Android fanatic like myself. In fact I’d go as far as to say that other than some niche features both ecosystems have reached feature parity in almost every respect. However, now I’ve had a chance to play with the Developer Beta of the new iOS 13, there’s still one area in particular which continues to hold me back from making the switch. That’s the iOS control centre added to iOS all the way back in September 2013. It gives users direct access to important settings by swiping up from the bottom of the display (or a swipe down from the top right corner on the iPhone X, XS and XR series).

Until iOS 7 users had to access the Settings application to change most preferences in stark contrast to Android’s simple pull-down quick settings area.This had been implemented natively in Android as far back as Android 4.2 Jelly Bean in 2012 but was notably used by third-parties such as HTC and Samsung for a couple of years prior even to this.

But why, I hear you say, is the iOS Control Centre so vastly inferior to Android Quick Settings? They both perform the same basic function by providing easy access to frequently used settings, right?

Well it all comes down to a few simple quality of life features which make a real difference once you’re in the habit of using them.

 

No easy deep-dive into settings

Apple’s Control Centre is a great tool if you want to change brightness or switch your Bluetooth or wi-fi connection on or off (ish, more on this later) but not so great if you find you need to change something even more marginally complex. In fact if you want to change your wi-fi network or pair new devices to Bluetooth you still need to use the Settings application. This is made far simpler on Android; holding down on any setting will take you directly to the full settings menu for that feature.

 

No access to third party apps

You can add custom controls that work within iOS’s core services, but not third-party controls. This means no access to some of the more popular apps via Apple’s always-there panel that serves as a shortcut to many functions. In contrast to Android’s approach of allowing customisable buttons for third party apps this omission seems pretty glaring.

 

Off means off?

The iOS 11 update was criticized for changing the way the buttons for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work; more specifically the toggles disconnect devices from Wi-Fi or Bluetooth while leaving the radios on. This change not only hurts battery life but is also bad for security. Not only this but the connections resume automatically at 5:00am every day. As it stands there’ll be no change to this in iOS 13.

This isn’t to say iOS 13 isn’t a great update to an already mature operating system (see our full breakdown of the update for more information on what’s been added) but it shows that Apple still have some way to go before veteran Android users will want to make the move. In the UK market, where Apple have seen their market share drop from 60% to just 49% since November 2018 under fierce pressure from Huawei and Samsung, it just might be worth making these simple improvements in iOS 14 to tempt Android users over to the dark side.

 

Talking of the dark side; dark mode is one of the hottest trends in apps right now as both Android and iOS begin supporting it at an OS level. We’ve written up a great guide to the new feature here. Dark mode will in fact now be toggle-able from the iOS Control Centre!