In my opinion, iOS 7 introduced some major usability problems, and some glitches which I find both annoying and surprising, considering the care which Apple used to take over the UX (user experience) of their products. This page might grow as I discover more annoyances, and be amended as they fix things to some extent.

Phone photographs far less usable

So, in previous incarnations when I get a phone call from someone my whole phone lights up with the lovely picture of the person calling me. I can tell at a glance, instantly, who is calling. For some reason the muppets at Apple decided that it would be best to blur that photograph out underneath one of the overlays which they were so pleased about, so that there is no indication of who is calling. Minor fix: In 7.1 they put a tiny round icon of the person in the corner of the phone. This improves the functionality from 0 out of 10 to 2 out of 10. it is still pretty useless though as you’ve got to peer at the phone to see which tiny round icon is displayed.

Which is best when receiving a call, eh? I know which I prefer to see.

iphone-call-recieve-old iphone-call-recieve-new

Siri is inconsistent when voice dialling

When I’m using headphones and I tell Siri to “phone my wife at home”, sometimes Siri will say “calling <my wife’s name> at home”. Sometimes it will just say “ringing”. Why this inconsistency? To be honest, this problem has been around as long as Siri has. Prior to 7.1 Siri was much less reliable and it was especially annoying to ask Siri to phone someone and it just said “ringing” and then connected the wrong person. At least when you said “Phone Robert White” and Siri replied “calling Apple Support” you could hang up the phone quickly. when it responds “ringing” it is always a bit of a gamble about whether or not it will connect the right person.

Awful address book

The iOS7 contacts list is a horrible nightmare. When in view mode for a particular contact the information stretches out below the ‘fold’ of the screen because labels are placed above the data fields. The photograph of the contact is shrunk down to a small circle, allowing less useful visual information to be displayed. It isn’t obvious what bits I can touch to phone, email or check someone’s address in maps. Luckily I still have Peeps on my iPhone which allows me to see the contact information in the old format and the usability and readability of the information is markedly better. The relevant information pops out at me, rather than disappearing in a sea of white.

iOS7 contact

iOS7 contact

Previous iOS contact

Previous iOS contact

Forgets what is playing when I make a phone call

This is an odd one which appeared either in iOS7 or iOS7.1, but which (happily) appears to have been resolved by iOS 7.1.1 When walking home from the station listening to music or a podcast on earphones, I decide to call my wife to so that she can meet me with the puppy. I pause the music, voice dial my wife via Siri (see above!) and then when I hang up the phone want to start the music playing again. But iOS has forgotten that it was playing anything! Using any of the combinations to start playing again reveal nothing, and I have to unlock the device, manually navigate to the app and start it once again. This is the case whether I’m using the music player or the podcast app (which is horrible enough that I’m going to include that here soon too). fixed since 7.1.1 (so far at least). Since I applied the latest upgrade I can unpause music or podcasts which I was listening to before I made a phone call. Hurrah. At least I can be thankful for small mercies.

Podcast Modal Dialog

How difficult should it be to write a usable padcast app? It was OK when it was part of the music player, but as a separate app it has so many problems. The most egregious one is this though… I don’t want podcasts to suck up my limited mobile data bandwidth, I only want it to pick up things when I’m connected to WiFi, so I use Settings to turn Use Mobile Data off. No problem so far, right? Wrong. If I ever open up the podcasts app when I’m not on WiFi (for instance when I’m walking to the station and want to listen to something, it ALWAYS pops up a system modal dialog to tell me that it can’t download anything unless you go to settings and turn on mobile data for it. You stupid application, I know that I can’t do that. You might put that message up if (and only if) I’m not connected to WiFi, see that there is an episode I don’t have and attempt to download it. At that point it might be useful information. But popping up a system modal dialog (push home button do do something else? No sir! Attempting to use Siri for something? Not a chance) seems to me to be the height of rudeness, and points to a certain incompetence in the QA of this application by the Apple team. How was something this obvious not picked up during testing? More rants to come. Please feel free to email me if you agree/disagree!