Help Build the Ultimate iPhone Feature Request List – Part Deux - Macenstein

Help Build the Ultimate iPhone Feature Request List – Part Deux

It was about 2 years ago that Apple first released the iPhone – widley heralded as the most technologically advanced phone anyone had ever seen, save for the fact that it was missing almost every “must have” feature that phones 5 years older had had forever. At the time we decided to create a wish list of things we all wanted our iPhones to be able to do, and over the years Apple has filled in most of the more glaring holes, like a better camera, MMS (sort of), Exchange support, Push notifications (OK, that wasn’t the goal but we got it), an app store, and so much more. Still, there is ALWAYS room to complain. So, with that in mind, we are starting round TWO of our iPhone feature request list.

We invite you to add your ideas in the comments below, and we’ll add the ones we think are the best to the master list. We’re not really looking for things like “add more storage” or “add a faster network”. We’re more looking for things that can be added via software/hardware to improve the way the current iPhone functions.

I will start the list with two things I miss from my jailbroken iPhone days:

Apple needs to rip off SBSettings in some form.

image via TheAppleBlog

If you are unfamiliar, SBSettings allowed you to swipe your finger across the iPhone’s status bar (where the time and battery life are) and a drop down would slide into place which allowed you quick access to a bunch of features such as adjusting the iPhone’s brightness, turning on and off WiFi/3G/EDGE/Bluetooth, enabling SSH, etc. It was customizable, and while we realize Apple wouldn’t allow some of those features in a similar version (SSH, most notably) it was way more convenient to adjust my iPhone’s brightness at night that to go into settings.

Let us add 5 icons to the dock

Yes, I know it throws off the beauty of the 4 icons you have going now, yet there are at least 6 icnos I would like to have in my dock at all times, and while 6 is pushing it, 5 icons actually fit nicely.

Enable Disk Mode as with a regular iPod (Dillon Brown)
This one has baffled me as well, as Apple apparently has no problem with 3rd party apps transferring files to and from the iPhone, yet for some reason we cannot use the iPhone as a makeshift USB Thumb drive out of the box. Apple should add the “enable disk mode” check box to the iPhone in iTunes, and let a connected iPhone appear on the desktop.

Share directions in Maps (Kelly Croy)
While Maps is technically a Google app, we have no say as to whether or not it appears on our iPhones, so Apple should take heed of it’s failings. We would like to be able to e-mail directions to people. Currently copy and paste does not work in Maps, so we can’t even do that.

46 Responses to “Help Build the Ultimate iPhone Feature Request List – Part Deux”
  1. James W Lane says:

    I would like to see the ability to add plugins safari and a better email search that will search content.

  2. James W Lane says:

    Oh and the ability to access all my MobileMe including my iDisk.

  3. let us change the screen look without jail breaking it

  4. jube says:

    I like to be able to turn on and off bluetooth in one or two clicks or just one gesture. Or even voice control it to turn it on and off.

  5. Dillon Brown says:

    Just give us proper disk access, maybe with an Apple-made file browser, and I’ll be happy.

  6. Kelly says:

    Very easy. I want to be able to send a single email to a Group of contacts just like I do in Mail. (While Groups are visible on iPhone Mail, you have to add each one from the group to do it. Sucks!)

  7. Kelly says:

    From Maps, I would like to be able to email some directions that I found to a friend. (You can’t even copy and paste them.)

  8. Maverick says:

    Here’s my wish list, obviously some of the hardware additions could be external products that plug in to the phone. No specific order…

    CDMA / LTE Networks
    User Swappable Battery (All other cell phones)
    Wireless Charging (Palm Pre)
    Temperature, Humidity, Barometric, Wind Speed Sensors – every sniper needs these!!
    Finger Print Reader
    Infrared Thermal Camera
    Camera Flash / LED Light (some HTC phones)
    IR Transmitter & Receiver (some HTC phones)
    FM Transmitter
    HD Radio Receiver (Zune HD)
    ZWave, or other Wireless Home Automation Controller
    RFID Reader & Built in RFID Tag, including options to use with “speed” pay type POS systems
    Barcode Reader
    Micro Projector

    Flash 10
    Dashboard on the Lock screen (Configurable what to display, new emails, upcoming calendar, etc)
    Google Location support (Blackberry)
    Offline Map Caching for Google Maps, so can use out of service if planned ahead
    Background Apps, even if only run every X minutes like email pull is done (Win Mobile)
    App screens reorganization using iTunes
    Wireless OS upgrade (Palm Pre)
    WiFi Music from iPhone using Airport Express
    WiFi Movie from iPhone using Apple TV
    WiFi sync to iTunes
    Movie Downloads using WiFi
    Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Apps or iTunes integration with them, haha yeah right I know.
    Tasks App with Calendar integration
    Wireless sync of Notes, Tasks to Exchange/Google Sync
    Camera self-timer, take picture in X seconds after I press the button
    View video / take pictures remotely from lost phone (via Mobile ME), Play music from library, override volume control, semi disabled lower power tracking only mode for longer battery life, track phone using another iphone, generally better recovery options

    Needs to support new phone features on release day. MMS, and Tethering…AT&T WTF?
    Activation timeouts, you can’t use your phone right away, please wait a day or two… Apple WTF?

    I’m sure I left some stuff out… but that should give them something to add for the next 5 years.

  9. Larry says:

    I want the location field in iCal to be location service aware, so I can tap on the address in the iCal event and have Maps automatically open up and do it.

    This actually works if you put the address in the Notes field of an iCal event, but not the actual Location field.

  10. Dan Boerner says:

    allow mail app to be able to connect to .mac mail over wifi with proxy settings.

    allow mail app and mobile me web app to be able to accept calendar invites attached to mail like os x mail app can.

    Alarm clock that can play a playlist. I know 3.0 allows third party apps to do this, but they need to be running which is a rather big requirement

  11. Voltron says:

    A consolidated inbox with emails from all accounts, voice mails, sms, alerts . . .

    ability to scroll lock the search bar in applications like contacts and mail so they stay at the top like in calendar

    Yahoo! stock application should provide real-time feeds if you already pay for that on your yahoo account

  12. Dave-O says:

    The ability to schedule conference calls in Calendar with one-tap dial-in.

    The ability to change the calendar of an existing event (you know, if I forget to set that field correctly when I create the event).

    AMOLED display.

    Voice Control to launch apps.

    PDF text selection (especially the smart selection of Snow Leopard’s preview).

  13. Matt Davis says:

    Apple needs to implement something like “StatusNotifier” on jailbroken iPhones. It basically just shows little icons on the right of the status bar to inform the user of text messages, emails, missed calls, etc. Its so simple, yet so useful.

    Also, +1 for SBSettings!

    @ Maverick:
    Movie downloads from the iTunes store on the iPhone (thru WiFi) are now possible with 3.0

  14. Brandon says:

    i have always wanted custom message tones, like text and supposedly picture messages now. i really REALLY want that, and have forever.

    also, i think that being able get themes for the phone like jailbroken phones would be awesome, i would even be willing to cough up a buck or two per theme. it would be so easy to pop into the app store (i think) and almost the same with the sounds. come on apple, por favor?

  15. crsrc says:

    The biggest one for me is folders for apps. swiping back and forth looking for apps on 11 random pages is ridiculous, especially without a decent way to sort and move them around.

    As for sorting, I think this should be a very easy thing for apple to do. They should give us an option to view apps in a list view and then we could move apps up and down the list much like you would in the contact favorites list. The order that they show in the list view would also be the order they are displayed on the pages.

  16. Tex says:

    To-do list without the need of 3rd party app… You can put them in iCal, but that’s it… Didn’t the Newton has a to-do list 15 years ago???

  17. Mike says:

    T-mobile service, a better than 3megapixel camera, a complete notification system, notifications that pull down to let me launch apps to deal with them, folders for apps, custom message tones for notifications, desktop control of settings, USB mounting of the media storage on my desktop, hard menu & back buttons, the ability to route calls direct to voicemail, Flash 10, and an app store with a return policy and a sane approval process.

    Oh, I’m sorry – those aren’t iPhone features I want, they’re features I got (well, flash 10 was recently announced by Adobe) when I sold my iPhone, and used the cash to pay off AT&T and buy a T-mobile G1 with both a wired and bluetooth stereo headset (and still pocket US$50). Better yet, the cell phone plan (which has a better data plan) saves me enough to pay for a T-mobile hotspot@home land line with unlimited calls anywhere in the US.

  18. blueMacGroup says:

    Wireless syncing with iTunes

  19. Mathias Rios says:

    Voice Control and Video on Older iPhones (It is possible)
    MMS on the Original iPhone

  20. John says:

    Bluetooth wireless syncing.

    Video out of everything, including keynote and ppt (leave my laptop at home).

    Bluetooth keyboard (leave my laptop at home).

  21. Jonro says:

    Compatibility with Bluetooth keyboards for typing
    An improved Applications Manager that allows you to setup application screens from iTunes
    Ability to switch screen to an alphabetical list view of applications
    A flash for the camera
    Adobe Flash for the browser
    OLED display instead of LCD
    Wireless syncing of iPhone over WiFi
    Biometric sensor (i.e., fingerprint) to lock out phone from other users without having to enter a password
    IR transmitter so I can turn it into a true universal remote
    Make it waterproof
    Consolidated view of all Email inboxes, so we don’t have to check each mail account separately

  22. Matt says:

    The Big One is FLASH!!!!!!!!!!! Dam we got copy and paste can’t we get flash too?

    One nice thing is a Application Lock.
    Away to lock certain applications with a password.
    I don’t have much to hide but I hate giving my iphone to someone
    and wondering what they are looking at.
    I don’t need a photo vault.
    Oppss sorry sweety i was
    buying you a birthday gift and you opened up safari and wrecked the surprise.

  23. Chris L. says:

    1. Allow a double tap of the volume up and down buttons to advance or go to previous track. This would be excellent for quick song switching without unlocking the device. Or at least some headphone adaptors that include the remote feature would be good.

    2. For 3.0 users a quick way to get to the bluetooth menu. I have a connection in my car, but it won’t auto recognize and I have to go to the menu and select the receiving device every time. Maybe just keeping the icon up as an option by the volume controls would do the trick.(like Doc says in first part, that looks sweet)

    3. Adding library access to the alarm clock application. Other 3rd party apps do this, but you have to run the app all night. It would be great to have this ability in the built in apple alarm app.

    4. Wireless sync, but I’m not really that concerned. It would just be extremely cool.

    5. An option to have the music controls pop up every time the hope button is pressed and the lock screen shows up. I know if you double click they come up, but why not just have them up, or better yet, give the option to not have to slide to unlock. Whenever I put it in my pocket I could just click the sleep button to manually lock it, instead of having to manually unlock it every minute or so that it auto-sleeps.

    6. Give users an easy way to switch between headphones and built in speaker for output, regardless of what’s plugged in.

  24. Ryan says:

    Ugh, no flash. Flash is terrible.

    1) Ability to delete native applications (get out, Stocks!)
    2) Ability to remove applications from checking for updates, like in Software Update (ie, I don’t want my Phonesaber to update, but I’d really like the red alert button gone from my App Store icon)
    3) Although I’d like user replaceable sounds (so I could replace the unlock sound with the classic Mac bootup chime!), I feel like this would be used for evil way more than good.
    4) MobileMe Notes Syncing

    Two pipe dreams
    1) Bar code scanner! Bar code scanner! Imagine if you could walk into a store, scan a product with your iPhone, pay with your credit card online, and walk out without ever having to talk to a sales clerk!
    2) Using GPS technology, the iPhone will know if you are in a certain place (movie theater, train car, library) and auto-enable Airplane Mode.

  25. Chris says:

    Actually I would like to see Widgets on the home screen. Show Calender, mail, weather, etc. Instead of all the apps, make an app button on the bottom dock

    OR… just make a dashboard button at the bottom and we can add widgets to it.

    Just widgets in general. kthxbye

  26. 1) Save Google maps on the iPhone for WiFi-less moments (sort of like GPS, but not as good, but good enough to get somewhere without having to pay for it)

    2) Every sound on the iPhone should be customisable

    3) add “pocket touch” functionality: swipe on yur screen from l to r for the next song to play, and visa versa; double tap to pause (I hate it that I have to unlock it, or that I have to press home twice to be able to ajust those things, sometimes I just want the sound to be off instantly, without having to get it out of my pocket)

    4) Put in a 5.x MP camera, come on, it’s the “devide of the future” for some reason..

    5) ability to send messages to other peoples laptop’s wih WiFi, sort of like sms, but cooler and nerdier

    6) support of gpSPhone!!! I have drained my battery so many times playing Pokemon, that I’d be fat if I’d have gotten a burger for every one of those times

    7 a) Set different backgrounds for different pages of apps
    7 b) be able to order the apps in catergories (settings, games, entertainment, etc) and have different background for those

    8) it should be able to get me a cool beer

  27. david r. says:

    i’d like to see a “car mode” that would do the following:

    1) increases font size on current track/album/playlist for those whose ipod is mounted further away on the dashboard

    2) add a right or left swipe gesture for hopping tracks instead of having to look for and press the smallish transport control arrows…so eyes stay on the road

    3) disable coverflow so laying the iphone face up in a cubby or glovebox doesn’t send it into coverflow mode

  28. blueMacGroup says:

    Ability to create, delete, or otherwise manage your iTunes playlists from within the iPhone. You should be able to add/remove songs from any playlist. Or be able to create multiple playlists and be able to name and save them.

  29. Jason says:

    Where in the world is Flash support for Safari! I really would love to browse any website without getting weird errors or large amounts of lag because Safari can’t determine how to load the page.

    Themes would be incredible. My iPhone is awesome, but I shouldn’t have to jailbreak it so that I can customize it to be *MY* iPhone. Let the look change!

    Text message sounds are awful and need to be updated. Everyone only uses the Tri-Tone sound because it’s logical and doesn’t sound horrible. Let us make text message sounds in iTunes!

    The ability to hide applications would also be amazing! The iTunes Store on your phone is cool, but I can’t use it 95% of the time. If I’m in my house, I have my MacBook Pro and don’t need to search the store or web on my phone. While I can see Contacts and Stocks being useful to a large amount of business men, I don’t trade that often and I have the mental capacity to open my Phone application to see all of my contacts.

    Short cuts or a drop down menu to other mail accounts would be great. I hate backing up from an email 5 times before I get the option to select a different mail account. Also, displaying all mail would be cool if we could color the mail accounts differently, kind of like Calendar.

  30. @ david r
    Damn right about coverflow, it’s the most useless piece of eyecrap ever and it always shows up at the wrong time.
    It’s only good to show friends how cool an iPhone/iPod touch is, but it actually sucks donkeyballs!

    Oh, and while I’m at it, let me add a 9) to my list:

    9) Increase the accelorometer speed; when I’m in coverflow, it always takes me 2 or 3 tries to get it back to normal music display.

  31. dave says:

    I wish Apple would add the classic iPod scroll wheel to the back of the iPhone/iPod Touch. It would make them MUCH more useful as actual music players.

    The screen works great for everything else (at least for me), EXCEPT for playing music. When I’m in my car, or just walking around, I loved the ability to play/pause/next song completely by touch (even through my coat, so it wouldn’t get wet). Now, I have to physically remove the device from my coat, completely focus on the device, then execute multiple touches to accomplish the simplest thing, like pausing or switching to the next song.

  32. Alan says:

    i’ll add this: ipod as alarm clock!
    damn, what a no-brainer? at least i thought so… i mean the iphone is from apple, right? they got itunes and the ipod, right?…

    sbs settings! (they could integrate it to spotlight…search for bluetooth/ wifi/ brightness and so on)

    consolodated inbox for all alerts (can be modified)

    sime info on the lockscreen

  33. Aldo Johnson says:

    FunSMS – like functionality. Right now if you want to SMS multiple people, you have to do it pretty much one phone number at a time. With FunSMS you can write it once and send it to many in just a couple of clicks. Just like e-mail, basically

    In fact, why not treat SMS/MMS like e-mail? SMS=e-mail; MMS=e-mail with attachment.

    Camera with zoom capability. Perhaps use a fold-optic-lens.

    Flash for the camera, that can double as a flashlight.

    FM Radio receiver, because Internet connectivity is still just a luxury in 90% of the world, including some parts of Washington DC.

    Replace the Home button with a Palm Zire-style mini-joystick. Make the earpiece moveable, to help make it mold better to the ear (or some such excuse). Put the volume buttons on the right side of the phone. Put another two buttons on the lower right side, to zoom the camera (see above). Voila: An iPhone with the controls of a PSP. The ultimate game machine!! 🙂

  34. Huxi says:

    Proper integration into Mac OS X Address Book via Bluetooth.

    Hell, the terribly awful Sony Ericson T68i was able to:
    – Show info about an incoming call in a full-screen overlay, including buttons to accept and reject it
    – Send SMS directly from the Address Book
    – Call a contact from the Address Book

    I seriously don’t understand why the iPhone isn’t integrated as tightly as humanly possible into Mac OS X.

    Another possibilities would be to use an iMac/MacBook as a “hands-free” device, i.e. using microphone and speakers for Audio I/O… I’d certainly appreciate the possibility to accept or reject calls while theiPhone stays in my pocket.

  35. Chris L. says:

    I’m all about those changes to make it more car friendly. I’m trying to think of a way it would work without it draining the battery so much. I think the answer would have to be a mac-like sleep, where you click the home button and boom, full functionality just comes back without the annoying unlock.

  36. ghostshadow says:

    I would love to see some sort of a queue added into the app store. I don’t know how many times I am browsing for an app and I find two or three that I would like to download at once. It’d be nice to have a little check box next to “buy” that we could click to ad to a queue. This way we could download multiple items at once.

    I understand there may be some concern with bandwidth and downloading multiple apps at once over the cell network, but I think something could be done.

    I would also like it if they would address the page refreshing in safari. I know the latest 3.0 has fixed this a little bit, doesn’t seem to happen as often as it used to, but it still happens and it annoys the hell out of me. I hate it when I am flipping to one page, open a new tab or open another app and then go back to safari, or to the previous tab / window, then to have the page i was viewing refresh on me. I don’t really see this as being a feature. To me, it’s more of a nuisance than anything.

    I would also like to see the Mail updated a bit. I think 3.0 is really powerful, but it’s going to be limited to the apps that are installed. I don’t know why we can’t have a more “Mac-esque” mail application. Better organization, attachments, etc.


    I really do like the look of the SBsettings, it would be nice to have a one click / swipe access to core system utilities.


    Something I have been thinking for a while is that we could double tap the home button to have the standard menu come up and there would display current open apps (if multi-tasking is enabled some way), we could scroll through them by flicking up and or down. Swipe to the left to reveal a close button if we want to close the background app. I don’t really think multitasking is necessary perse. I think if more developers should implement the save state feature in their applications more. This would add a great deal of “multitasking” ability. Or maybe have a list of the most recent opened applications when you double tap the home button.

    Not sure.

    Those are just some things I have been thinking about for some time.

  37. Merry Prankster says:

    Ya know how on incoming calls the iPhone scans your address book and puts up the name and photo of the person calling or just the number if it doesn’t find the number in your address book?

    I would like the ability to send calls straight to voice mail if the incoming number isn’t found in the address book.

    I’m really tired of telemarkters calling.

  38. Aldo Johnson says:

    Some other things:

    More pages to the springboard (64 pages now, 128 next year?)

    Automatically put apps in alphabetical order in the Springboard

    Ability to have more than 16 apps on 1 Springboard page. Each Springboard page should be able to be scrolled down; just like with Contacts. Oh, and just like in Contacts, have the alphabet running down the side also.

    Ability to name each page of the Springboard: e.g. the 1st page can be the catch-all “All” apps; You can then name the 2nd page “Business Apps” the 3rd “Games” the 4th “Utilities” etc. This way the iPhone can have folders ability without breaking with its traditional interface.

  39. I need cut and paste and arrow keys on the keyboard.

  40. WFT says:

    I want winterboard and flash (or force hulu to finish that rumored app)


    • Be able to search instantly things like google/wikipedia/yahoo/etc when typing in Spotlight. Surely this is obvious, (Just like the Palm Pre) and it can link you straight to Safari. I usually use the google search app but would be so much easier if it was built straight into the OS.

    • Be able to add any words to the iPhone built in dictionary. This would expand the capabilities for the touch keyboard. Or do it so that if you type a word a lot then it gets known by the dictionary.

    • The Calendar app is too restricting. Apple need to build in week view when the iphone goes landscape. This would allow much greater use. Also reconfigure month view, because the one tiny dot tells me nothing about each day.

    • When people have over 100 apps now iPhone it becomes so difficult to keep them organised. Give us some kind of Stacks or Categories option. Preferable something you organise on your iTunes then it syncs it into that category. (and of course you can also organise them on your iPhone)

    • On lock screen or just generally in Status Bar there ought to be icons for missed calls, texts, voicemail, new email messages, etc. Necessary for when just using the phone on a daily basis.


    • 3 finger swipe in safari to get to next/previous window.
    • 2 finger tap on video screen to pause/play videos, rather than having to tap to bring up options and then tapping pause.
    • 3 finger swipe on video screen fast forwards/rewinds video without having to bring up options by tapping once.
    • 2 finger swipe to reach final home screen.
    • Be able to click on a movie’s album art, or a small blue arrow to give more details of that movie/TV show. Extra details include showing larger image of album art, director, actors, date of release, rating, full description, etc. I use my iPhone so much for watching movies, but when using it it feels so restricting.
    • Landscape mode in Weather app shows a 24 hour weather.
    • Add places (and maybe faces) to photos which are geo-tagged. So it links to straight to maps (or address book)

    These are all pretty necessary features or features which it should have to upgrade the iPhones usability. Also they are all simple OS upgrades rather than hardware.

  42. John Patten says:

    For users of Outlook/Exchange using BMW bluetooth (lots of us here in Europe) -allow transfer of Contact categories instead of just the general conatcts folder contents. The BMW bluetooth phonebook can only handle 500 entries whereas lots of people these days have 1000+ contacts. Using categories would allow the creation of a car category and allow contacts to be selected for in car dialling.

  43. A. Emre Ünal says:

    I would want the ability of syncing Google Maps bookmarks with Google Earth on your PC/Mac. I really would like this one.

  44. Chris Liveris says:

    I feel that there should be an option when you are playing your music that you can view a visualizer.

  45. Rob says:

    Email attachments other than photos and videos. Why can’t I email a PDF or an XLS file? Come on! (And of course some sort of file system or document folder to store such attachable files.)

  46. Marc van Maastricht says:

    Three-finger swipe to adjust screen brightness:
    – up: brighter
    – down: dimmer

    Fast access to screenbrightness THE feature I actually use SBSettings for the most!

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