Editorial: iOS 6′s Sharing Menu is a Dumb Part of a Smart OS

With the success of the App Store came options, and the share system as it is now is unaware of this.

The new “share” menu in iOS 6 gives you options such as Twitter, Facebook, and email. But what if I want to share a photo I just took to Dropbox? Or to, dare I say it, Pinterest? What if I wanted to send it to Instagram to apply a filter, then send it back to the Photos app, email it, and upload it to 500px? The process needed to complete any of those tasks on iOS is the complete opposite of the “simple, easy to use” OS that Apple strives to provide. To complete the last task I noted on iOS, you would have to leave the photos app, open Instagram, select the photo you wanted to add the effects to, add the effects, leave Instagram, scroll back to the page with your photos app, open it, select the photo you just added effects to, hit the “share” button, compose an email, hit send, leave the photos app, scroll to the page where 500px is located, open it, and select the photo you want to upload.

Simple, right? Right? Right?

This scenario isn’t a fringe case. If Apple caters to what 90% of people need 90% of the time, then how was sharing photos overlooked? 

Android and Windows 8 approach this issue in a similar method: both allow developers to “hook” their apps in to other apps. This means that you can share to Flickr from the photos gallery, or to Dropbox from a word processor with two taps. Not only is it a very powerful way to move files around without actually showing a file explorer, it’s a superior user experience. Apple’s current method takes multiple taps and swipes, and is ultimately a much more confusing experience with its numerous steps.

For all the praise iOS deserves for taking the computer experience and making it more friendly, the share system is in need of some serious rethinking. With the success of the App Store came options, and the share system as it is currently designed is unaware of this. This has crossed the point of being a small detriment to iOS: with increased competition from all sides, small features such as this can make the difference between one OS or the other.

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