iOS 14 (why the big icons?)

The iOS 14 beta is proving to be quite stable with the odd quirk thrown in as you would expect. A huge amount of ‘other’ storage is used up and random crashes in some apps occur, but overall it is usable.

Widgets are the main change and at first glance there is potential here. It is potential that will only be realised by third party developers because the Apple offerings are very restrictive, but the lack of icon management is still a problem.

Look at the image above- you can tap the bigger icons in the App Library and access the related app which offers a potential of 32 icons on screen at any one time. Currently the iOS Home Screen offers just 24 and when you add a couple of widgets, even 2 of the smallest ones, that goes down to only 16. Even if you consider that a widget is an app the maximum is still only 18 when it could be 26 using slightly smaller icons, 2 more than we can currently cram in.

Apple needs to make changes to the rigid Home Screen format to allow widgets to be worth the real estate they will take up. Potentially, app developers can bring much needed glanceability to iOS, but it needs to be worth the user’s time to use them.

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