555: iOS 14 Extravaganza


So, App Library.

Yeah, first I was, no way. Because I know it would never categorise my apps the way I would want them to, and I have a very regimented system that I have used for years.

It goes:

Home Screen: apps in dock.

Second screen: apps categorised manually according to its use case.

And within those folders on the second the apps are categorised in order for importance. So the first in a folder is the one that I use the most.

I sort of invented an App Library before Apple did. But I only launch apps through search anyway.

So I don’t really see what the App Library does for me.

I think I would just get annoyed that it wouldn’t categories my apps how I wanted…

But I have it turned on and I’m toying with it.

But it sort of doubles all my apps. I think all my apps are now in two separate sort of app libraries: one that I made and Apple’s.

Convince me otherwise someone.

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I’m wondering how often fellow MPUers use text dictation? I use it very frequently. On the iPhone, I use dictation as often as I thumb-type.

I never made a conscious decision to make more use of dictation. It happened gradually and naturally. I am delighted by this evolution.

I only use it on my phone and iPad though – not on the Mac. I still find typing to be faster there.

I read some science-fiction stories in the 1970s by John Varley where he postulated a form of voice dictation that worked using something called “subvocalizing” – you speak so softly you are inaudible but the computer detects the movements of your mouth and throat and acts on your commands. This seems workable and brilliant, eminently practical in places you don’t want to be overheard. I wonder why we don’t have it now?

I wonder how people use Siri. For me, pretty much never.

Similarly, if you have smart speakers, what do you use them for?

We don’t have any kind of smart speaker in the house; it seems like a massive security vulnerability with little or no gain. Thinking about getting a Ring doorbell though.

@MacSparky you’ve been holding out on us long enough. You must share dog photos!

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I guess, in a sense, it doubles all your apps. But really, you could look at it as two separate sorted views of your apps: your manual sort and the App Library version. I found after using App Library for a while, I was able to get rid of all but the first page of my home screen. The ease of getting to my apps is a vast improvement from what I was doing before. I’ve haven’t looked back, either. If I were to define the categories, I might have done it differently. That has not slowed me down, though. If you are passionate about your own organization system, then App Library might not be an improvement for you.

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Why did that happen to you with dictation and not Siri? I find the same change happening with both tools: dictation for specific input fields during active use, as part of a larger task. and Siri for quick questions and small tasks when I’m not at the device but in the room. Typically I’m raising my watch or talking to my phone, not speaking to a HomePod. Though I have two of them.

It would double apps the way you do it, but for me the attraction is maybe I can stop sorting apps.

If you (like me) are searching for apps to launch anyway, why keep them in neat(ish) folders?

I’m giving it a go.

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I’ve switched to three screens:

  1. my old home screen with some cruft replaced by a photo widget
  2. a Siri suggestions widget with two stacks: TV/Music and Notes/Drafts/Files
  3. App Library

After telling the widget on screen 2 not to suggest anything from screen 1, I find I can get to everything I need quickly enough. I wouldn’t go back to 7-8 barely organized screens.

Where was @ismh this episode? I didn’t hear that he was taking an episode off.

I was intrigued by @MacSparky’s Home Screen setup so here is mine. I took three screenshots to show the widgets in the top stack. The bottom stack is the Siri Suggestions widget. The last one is the Today screen.

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Interestingly these features seem to pull people in two somewhat contradictory directions:

  1. simplify and clean up
  2. customize everything
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Okay, I took the plunge. After listing to @MacSparky today pretty much moved all apps I do not use uber regularly to the library and started stacking widgets on my #1 Home Screen. Now, my #1 screen is widgets only and my #2 screen has essential apps. Got to say so far I am liking this! The library is indeed showing the stuff I am most interested in so this arrangement might just be a keeper!

I was in exactly the same page. 1st page was essential apps that I use all the time. I set up key widgets in the today view to eliminate them from my first page (most used were fantastical and dark sky). Finally, I had one page of folders that I organized all my apps into. I have now gotten rid of that page and switched to the App Library. I’ve found that App Library does a pretty good job of surfacing the apps I need when I need them and it keeps everything nice and clean.

When dictation gets it wrong I can generally figure out what I meant to write. And generally most of the words will be correct. When Siri gets it wrong, I get nothing but an error message.

And I have a series 1 Apple Watch, with lousy Siri support- it rarely works at all

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That’s a really good observation. I’ve been hanging out on the simplify side of the divide so far, but will play with widgets soon. Not sure how deep that I’ll go.

Whoah, iOS just blew my home screen! I added the Spark widget and suddenly all folders were gone. All stock apps back at the first home screen page. The rest is scattered.
I didn’t see any use for the app library, but after @MacSparky told about it, I’m interested. Especially now, where I would have to recreate all my folders anyway.
The thought that a widget also replaces the app icon for commonly used apps is intriguing. Even though I’m not sure if I really want a widget for each app that I usually keep available on the first home screen (the others were tugged away in folders anyway).

Do I have to move every app to the library individually?

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Curious about this as well… how does it work exactly. I would hate to manually have to do that for every app…

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They’re all there by default. No need to do nothing about it.

Newly installed apps will go there by default as well.

My first step will be deleting about two thirds of the apps on my phone, because I should do that anyway. But I don’t want to hide each of the remaining ones manually.

But I want them gone from my home screen.