Why I’m excited for Control Center in iOS 7

Sick of all the discussion around iOS 7 icons or the “flat” design? So am I! Don’t worry, I won’t bring those things up again, I want to focus on a tiny little corner of iOS 7 that I see changing my day to day routine.

As far back as I can remember, nerds have been begging Apple for toggles and widgets. As an Android convert, toggles were one of the things I missed the most. I watched as iOS 5, then 6 came and we weren’t given much more than a Bluetooth toggle in the Settings app. Now in iOS 7 Apple has given us a taste of the good stuff with Control Center.

Control Center is an interesting new feature that either goes too far or not far enough depending on who you’re talking to. Let’s quickly go over what you can control:

  • Airplane Mode
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Screen Lock
  • Brightness
  • Music controls (track position, play, reverse, forward, volume)
  • AirDrop
  • AirPlay
  • Flashlight
  • Clock
  • Calculator
  • Camera

Whew, that’s a lot! Control Center will be available at any time and can even be accessed from the lock screen. I haven’t played with iOS 7 yet so I’m not clear on how all this works but I have a pretty clear idea of what I’ll be using most.

Flashlight

I use a flashlight app almost every day and it’s not all that easy. Most of the apps I found have quite a delay and they require you to unlock the phone, find the app, and then wait for it to activate the LED.

Having no experience with the toggle in iOS 7, I’ll assume Apple can access the LED much quicker than a 3rd party app and since you can access Control Center from the lock screen, that cuts down on several steps.

WiFi/LTE

I seem to be in the minority of folks who want to toggle my WiFi off/on a few times a day. While I’m at work I use our vendor network which can be insanely slow at times, hence I often find myself jumping into the Settings app to shut it off and rely on my cellular network.

On my iPad, I often swap between WiFi and LTE. Sadly it appears LTE won’t be one of the toggles available in Control Center although I haven’t seen the iPad specific version so perhaps I’m wrong. I tend to keep the LTE radio turned off until I need it as the battery drain is noticeable even if WiFi is being used.

Bluetooth

The bluetooth radio is another battery suck that I tend to keep off as much as possible. The only time I use my bluetooth is in my wife’s car since she has a modern vehicle with one of those fancy stereos. While iOS 6 brought a much easier BT toggle, I’d still rather not have to dig into the Settings app.

I think the moral of the story here is, the less I have to go into Settings the better.

The Rest

What about the rest of these things? Some of them seem a little out of place. Do I really need to access the clock or calculator on a regular basis? I suppose they make sense but I’m not sure I’ll be using those options all that much.

One opinion I’ve seen a few times is that in the future Apple might open that bottom row up for app actions. Imagine a world where inter-app communication were finally allowed. I get giddy just thinking about it!

Yeah, yeah, I hear you Android people, I know you’ve had that forever. It’s one of the things you can loft high above iOS users heads, I’ll never deny that.

Conclusion

I started using these headers and now I don’t know how to stop. So here’s a conclusion.

I can’t wait for Control Center. OK honestly I can’t wait for iOS 7 but these easy to reach toggles have me giddy!