The iOS 7 Home Screen Upgrade

Unlock your iPhone, click the Home button, and what do you see? The Home screen.

My current iPhone Home screen looks like this:

iphone home screen

It’s a grid of app icons. Tap one and you’ll launch that app.

Aside from the new aesthetics of iOS 7 and the slow-churn change of various apps that come and go in this space over time, my iPhone’s home screen looks and functions the same as it did in 2007 on the original iPhone OS. And so has yours.

However, I think the Home screen in iOS 7 got a significant improvement right under our noses.

I’m talking about the updated Notification Center, the new Control Center, and the new placement of Spotlight.

Apple implemented some fantastic updates to the Home screen, and did so without making any obvious changes to the way things have looked and functioned since day one. It’s a vast improvement that didn’t require us having to learn anything new or re-orient ourselves to the way we’ve been using our iOS devices for the past 6 years.

Here’s what we can do from the iOS 7 Home screen that we couldn’t do before:

  • We now have one-swipe access to turn on or off our iPhone’s Wi-fi and Bluetooth, enable/disable Airplane mode and Do Not Disturb mode, and lock/unlock the screen orientation.

  • We have one-swipe access to adjust the brightness of the screen.

  • We are one swipe away from being able to launch the Clock app, the Calculator, the Camera, and turning our iPhone’s flash into a Flashlight.

  • We have one-swipe access to the currently playing audio, and the ability to adjust the volume, pause/play the audio, and skip to the next or previous track.

  • We are one swipe away from being able to search our entire phone’s catalog of apps, emails, contacts, notes, music, and more.

  • From any Home screen, we have one-swipe access to our calendar of events for today and tomorrow, as well as the current weather, anticipated drive time to our next routine destination, and a list of all recently updated apps, incoming notifications, and missed notifications.

Since these new and improved features are not tied directly to the Home screen itself, they can be accessed from anywhere on the device — inside any app, and even from the Lock screen.

If Apple had instead chosen to incorporate some of these features by doing Home screen widgets, then access to them would be restricted to only our first Home screen (or whichever screen we’d placed those widgets on).

There is still much growth and iteration that can — and I believe will — happen here. But with iOS 7, Apple has begun to let us interact with iOS in significant ways that don’t require the launching of an individual app. Certain functions of iOS are slowly expanding out of their silos.

The iOS 7 Home Screen Upgrade