How Apple could fix the iPad home screen in iOS 13 [Opinion]

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Ipad home screen
It this really an appropriate home screen for the powerful 2018 iPad Pro?
Photo: Apple

According to rumors, iOS 13 will bring a redesigned home screen to the iPad. It’s about time. The grid of apps might have worked fine on the iPhone before the App Store, but after nine years of using the expanded version on the iPad, the joke is starting to get old.

So, if Apple is finally ready to make a home screen worthy of the iPad, we have a few suggestions.

iPad home screen in iOS 13: Time for change

We’re not the only people hoping for a change to the iPad home screen. Over at Macworld, Jason Snell makes some great predictions, from closer-together icons, to a more detailed status bar, to Today widgets on the home screen.

I like the last one. You could have a weather report, or a stock ticker, on the main screen. You could have an area of the screen dedicated to certain VIP notifications.

And with the Today View freed up, you could use its swipe-right position to house workspaces. These would be pairs of apps, and their associated Slide Over apps, in save-able workspaces. This would solve Split View for many people, letting them create semi-permanent app layouts for various specialized tasks.

Folders, documents, Stacks

At the risk of having your iPad home screen end up as cluttered as your Mac desktop, having often-used folders and files on the home screen would be fantastic. The current Files app kind of has a recent-items folder within it (long-press the app icon, but not too long). However, it only half works.

The Mac’s new Stacks desktop would work great here, allowing you to keep a lot of stuff on your home screen without cluttering it.

App list or Launchpad

With the home screen now home to other items, what about the apps? I’d like to have only the apps I choose appear on the home screen. The rest could live in a list, or even a grid-like popover to help people get accustomed to it. The list would also respond to search — a search bar would narrow the list of apps as you typed, making it easier to find apps for split-screen multitasking.

It would be a lot like Launchpad on the Mac.

Shortcuts on the home screen

I’d like to be able to put a shortcut on the home screen, and drag a file, photo, text snippet, link or whatever onto it. The shortcut would then process whatever I drop on it. Speaking of which:

macOS Mojave Finder-style buttons for shortcuts in Files app

macOS Mojave’s Finder has Quick Actions. These would be great in Files app.
macOS Mojave’s Finder has Quick Actions. These would be great in the Files app.
Image: Apple

This isn’t a home-screen request, but I’d like a shortcuts bar in the Files app. It would work like the Finder’s Quick Actions in macOS Mojave. You’d pick the shortcuts that you want to live there, and you could run them on the currently selected files with one tap.

iOS 13: Surprise, surprise

One of the neatest things about Apple is that it always surprises us. My list above would certainly improve things, but it lacks the Apple touch. Apple’s strength is that it completely reinvents something in a way nobody else thought of, and yet right away it seems like the most obvious solution. Hopefully we’ll see some of that magic in iOS 13.