We're almost to the start of May, which means we're just over a month away from Apple hosting its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. As is par for the course, the company will be taking the stage, along with plenty of guest hosts, and talking about what's new in its popular operating systems. We'll see what Apple has in store for iOS users with iOS 12, along with whatever's new in updated versions of macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.
This year is a bit different than past efforts, though. The rumor mill is already trying to set expectations, pointing to a future where Apple doesn't announce a ton of new features, but instead will focus on refinements. Basically, it sounds like this is a rebuilding season, and Apple is going to make sure that it can avoid glitches, bugs, and other issues.
If that is indeed the case, it will be interesting to see how well that goes over with customers.
Apple is going to announce some new things, of course, but I'm not a fan of trying to guess what they've working on. So instead I want to just toss out a feature change request, because not only has it been bothering me a lot lately, I've seen a lot of others bringing it up, too.
So, let's talk about notifications.
I think it's safe to say that Apple has always had a . . . lackluster, if not downright ambivalent, stance on notifications. How long were we dealing with pop-ups that blocked what we were doing on our phone? And now, with so many more apps (thanks, Apple (and Google)!) out there that offer some kind of notification, iOS is basically just a constantly moving stream of content.
On a daily basis, my lock screen is a mess. Whether it's a messaging app, a game, or something else, that space is very rarely completely empty. I've had to turn off most of them, almost all of them. Especially the games. Seriously, some of these apps with their notifications are ridiculous. More often than not it just feels like I'm getting a reminder to activate the app, which is really dumb.
And then there's Apple News. This service is borderline aggressive. I turned on notifications for breaking news, and that's about as far from the result as possible. Sure, I get breaking news, but the news outlets that push out content are also giving me notifications for random stories that have nothing to do with any breaking news. I'm almost to the point where I'm going to turn off notifications for Apple News altogether, too.
Okay, so apps have a notifications problem, too. That's half of it. The other half is Apple and iOS, which just doesn't handle notifications in any kind of meaningful way. You just watch as your older notifications are pushed further down the screen, eventually out of sight until you have to scroll. So if you have a text message from someone, depending on how many subsequent notifications you get, it may just get pushed out of view.
No stacking. No priority. Nothing. Just a rushing stream of boxes.
I'm not going to compare Android and iOS here (Android handles this better, even if there's room for improvement), I just want to say that this is something Apple needs to fix in iOS 12. Some things are better late than never, and this may fit that bill for some people, but it has been so long with this sort of thing that it's just frustrating more than anything else.
Don't get me wrong. If Apple does fix it, I'm sure they're going to get praised up and down for it. Which they would probably deserve, if they do it justice. But I don't think it should have ever gotten this bad. (It's really bad.)
What do you think? In its iOS 12 update, do you think Apple should put some extra attention on handling notifications better? Or is this something you think is just fine already? Let me know!