Let me customize Control Center, Apple

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| May 30, 2014

If there's any one part of a smartphone that I have a love/hate relationship with on a consistent basis, it's the Notification Shade/Panel. For the most part, they both work really well on their respective platforms. Of course, Google's had a lot longer to practice with their own iteration, while Apple's only had a short time to make Notification Center work in any worthwhile capacity. And now there's Microsoft with their own version of the well-used idea.

Each version, each interpretation, has its perks and downsides, and I'm sure all of you have your own opinions about which one is the best/worst. Truth be told, as far as I'm concerned, it's a feature that every platform should have, in one way or another, so I have to thank Google for implementing it in Android all those years ago. Our notifications are better for it.

At least, they're supposed to be.

They're getting there.

As our phones got more powerful, and our notification needs expanded, the Notification Shade/Panel had to undergo some major upgrades along the way. Which is great, if the only changes to that particular feature were notifications we could interact with. Whether that's being able to reply or archive an email from the Shade/Panel (something Apple really needs to implement soon), or just change tracks or pause your music, or even access to quick controls. That would have been enough.

But, obviously, that's not where it stopped. Now our Notification Shades are filled with manufacturers' ideas of "important information." Picking up an Android phone these days usually means you'll have at least one notification in your Shade that just won't go away. It could be a Power Save notification, or maybe something telling you you've got a Bluetooth device connected. Or maybe it's security software always telling you it's there. Whatever the case, in today's age there's usually always something up there, acting as the unmovable object.

This is why I have a love/hate relationship with Notification Shades/Centers. They work, but there is still so much room for improvement that I feel like I've been waiting forever to see the final product. We had to reclaim our Notification Shades from advertisers (something that I think is still an issue occasionally), but they can still be a cluttered mess more often than not.

Which is why when Apple introduced Control Center, I almost jumped for joy. It meant that the important things that manufacturers were shoving into the Notification Shade in Android would be separated, cleanly, into their own "center" for easy access, and without messing up another feature. And Control Center works very well, for music controls, for accessing quick options like Airplane Mode or Bluetooth, or even adjusting the brightness of the device in your hand. It's great these options are there, in general, but they're most powerful attribute is the Control Center feature altogether. It means the Notification Panel isn't packed to the brim with icons, and it cleans everything up.

However, with iOS 8 about to be introduced to the world at Apple's WWDC in June, I've been thinking about what I want to change about Control Center, and that's an easy answer: customization. Right now, as you can see from the image above, you only have the ability to alter a set list of features, and that's it. You can't pick what you'd like quick access to. Even if you never turn on Airplane Mode, it's still there. Or maybe you don't use the stock iOS calculator. Too bad, the icon's there.

I'm not holding my breath here, but I'd like Apple to give me the ability to customize Control Center to a certain point. I'd like to choose the options I have access to, or can turn on and off quickly.

What do you want to see Apple add/remove/change in iOS 8? What are you hoping to see? Let me know!

Products mentioned