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.

Replace your home-screen app icons with actions

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Home screen actions
It’s easy to make you home screen more useful.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPad’s home screen is a waste of space. The 4X5 grid of icons looks absurd on the 13-inch iPad Pro. In fact, the fact that you’re limited to a grid of app icons is itself absurd. Where are the live readouts from your weather app or stock ticker? Where are the actions to send a message direct to your spouse/boss without opening an app first?

Worse, because the iPad doesn’t have 3D Touch, you can’t do anything useful with those icons other than launch the app1.

Today we’ll fix that. Using a combination of shortcuts, you can add actions to your home screen, instead of apps. For instance, you can create a grid of custom icons which can email a contact, create a new blank file in your text app of choice, create a quick reminder, and so on. Check it out.

How to use a blank home screen on iPad, and why you’ll love it

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Look at this blank home screen. Just look at it.
Look at this blank home screen. Just look at it.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

What’s on your main iPad home screen? Is it organized so that you can find your most-used apps quickly? Or have you decided to arrange the icons by color? Or divided up the grid by adding a row of blank spaces? Those are pretty neat ideas, but today I’m going to suggest you do something even more radical. How about keeping your home screen entirely blank? No icons, no folders, nothing. Just the Dock, Spotlight search, and an easier-to-use iPad.

How to add bookmarks to your iPhone home screen

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These bookmark-metaphor photos are going a bit too far.
These bookmark-metaphor photos are going a bit too far.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you have a website you visit frequently — and who doesn’t? — then you might like to have quicker access to that site. You might appreciate an icon on your iPhone’s home screen that you can tap to launch that site, just like you’d launch an app.

Today we’ll see how to add a bookmark to your iPhone home screen. And if you already know how to do this, check out the post anyway. There are a couple of neat extra tricks in there.

How to add Apple Music albums to your Home screen

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Add any album to your iPhone's Home Screen.
Add any album to your iPhone's Home Screen.
Photo: Karl Baron/Flickr CC

Do you have an album or a playlist that you listen to over and over? Or maybe you have kids, and all they ever want to listen to is that Abba record you hate, again and again. And AGAIN. Are you sick of firing up Apple music and searching around for that record every time you want to play it? Well search no more! Today we’ll see how you can add any music to your home screen, and play it just by tapping an icon.

Check out these amazing, creative iPhone home screens

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squeeze iPhone
Grip and squeeze could be a feature on future iPhones.
Photo: Dan Rubin/Twitter

It’s not like you can ever find the app you’re looking for on your various home screens anyway, so why not do something fancy with those icons instead? Like, making your home screen an expression of your inner chakra, man. Or getting in tune with the color harmonies of the universe or whatever.

Whatever hippie crap you’re using to justify it, the results can be amazing. And who knows — if you arrange your home screens by color, then maybe you’ll actually end up finding things faster.

Pro Tip: How to add blank spaces to your iPhone home screen grid

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blank icon
A blank row helps organize your home screen.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bug Some of the most creative iPhone home screen designs we’ve ever seen use blank gaps to separate icons into groups or to create interesting stepped patterns. But how is that even possible? After all, if you delete a home screen icon, the others close ranks to fill in the space.

The answer is to add blank icons to create those gaps. Then, you can add a blank row to organize your iPhone home screen, or move all your apps the the bottom of the screen instead of the top.

iOS 11 wish list: Features we’d love to see

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iPhone 7
Here's what to expect from the next version of iOS
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

With WWDC 2017 right around the corner, it’s that time of the year when Apple can fix all the annoyances of iOS 10 and unveil something truly revolutionary for the next generation of iPhones and iPads.

Apple is expected to show off all the major features of iOS 11 at the WWDC in a couple of weeks. Surprisingly, the rumor mill has been quiet on what to expect, but that hasn’t stopped a flurry of speculation. We’ve got some ideas of our own too that we really want to see come to iOS 11.

This is what we want in Apple’s next big update:

How to keep iPhone from ruining your square lock-screen photos

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It's hip to be square.
It's hip to be square.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

If you’ve ever tried to set a square photo as your lock screen or homes screen wallpaper, you know that iOS will zoom into the photo, resizing it to fit the entire iPhone screen.

This is fine with some images, but square ones, like the ones you save on Instagram or take with your iPhone’s square photo feature, just zoom in too far, obscuring much of the photo.

Here’s a quick and easy work around that will let you see the whole square photo when you use it as wallpaper.