Saturdays with Stephen: No-brainer Features in iOS

It seems like it was yesterday that I was anxiously awaiting Apple’s overloaded servers to allow me to update my iPod touch 2nd generation to iOS 3.0. I was a kid in a candy shop, finally getting the ability to copy & paste. Here we are today though, with the fourth beta of iOS 6 available to developers and a public release undoubtedly coming soon. Apple’s mobile operating system has been constantly evolving for more than 5 years, and iOS 6 continues to allow it to be a leader — an operating system that not just follows industry trends, but creates them.

However, there is no doubt that Apple has often “copied” or implemented features that its competitors found obvious. One of the best examples of this is the aforementioned copy & paste feature that came with iOS 3. Copy & paste has been a basic feature of smartphones since the early days on Windows mobile. Apple originally made the call that this simple function was not something that customers needed, but it became very obvious that it was a fundamental downside of using iOS as the operating system became more complex. Copy & paste probably wasn’t all too necessary on iPhone OS 1.0, but as people used more apps, they needed more ways to work and share information between them. This year, Apple has added another no-brainer feature in iOS 6.

iOS 6 is a big step forward, and if you feel so inclined, you can read this great feature roundup¬†written by forum member and Head of iOS Discussions Tkf1. In case you don’t already know, the new version of iOS has a plethora of game-changing features, such as a brand new Maps app, more language support for Siri, Facebook integration, Passbook, and better privacy controls. However, in my humble opinion, one of the most experience-changing features in this iteration is something that should have been there all along, much like copy & paste.

At the moment there are two ways of sending a photo or video via email in iOS. The first option is to go to the Photos app before starting the email, select the image you want, and choose to compose an email from there. This will open the Mail app and compose a message containing the image. But what if you already started composing the email and you want to add a photo? That’s where option two comes in. You can again go to the Photos app, select the image you want, copy it, go back to the Mail app, and paste it. This is annoying, and is not a problem on any other modern mobile OS.

Finally, Apple has decided to fix this nuisance in iOS 6 with the ability to open the copy & paste menu in the Mail app and “Insert a Photo or Video.” This is one of those no-brainer fixes for something that has been annoying since the days of iOS 3 when copy & paste was added. It’s an example of Apple missing something. Two years ago while testing iOS 4, this was something that they either didn’t notice or didn’t find necessary. Even more surprising, last year, while testing iOS 5, they also either didn’t catch this or didn’t see it as a problem. Thankfully, Apple has finally seen this inconvenience. They finally realized that I shouldn’t have to open the multi-tasking bar, choose Photos, chose the photo I want, copy it, open the multi-tasking bar again, choose Mail, and choose paste, just to insert a photo into an email.


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