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iOS 8 changes we'd like to see: Safari

Dan Frakes | May 26, 2014
Though the mobile version of Safari has improveddramatically over the past couple versions of iOS, we use it so frequently that its flaws, however minor, stand out.

Though the mobile version of Safari has improveddramatically over the past couple versions of iOS, we use it so frequently that its flaws, however minor, stand out.

Over the past week or so, we've been publishing our wish lists for iOS 8, focusing on (so far) Notification Center, Mail, Calendar and Reminders, Photos and Camera, and accessibility. With a likely iOS 8 preview just weeks away, here are some of the improvements we (and our Twitter followers) would like to see in iOS 8 Safari.

Manage memory better

Among heavy users of Safari, by far the most frequent request we've heard — and one that's at the top of our list, as well — is for better memory management. Specifically, if you've got multiple tabs open in the browser, there's a good chance that switching to a background tab will immediately reload its content. What if you were toggling between two tabs to, say, copy text from one tab and then paste it into a blog post on the other? Say goodbye to any unsaved changes.

Of course, there's only so much you can do with limited physical memory, so the ultimate solution is for Apple to include more RAM in new versions of its iOS devices. But for all of us stuck with current devices, making Safari less enthusiastic about purging pages would be a huge improvement.

Provide a basic plug-in architecture

No, we don't want Flash on the iPhone. (OK, a few people do. But we don't.) What we do want is a way to, for example, integrate the excellent 1Password for iOS with Mobile Safari, the way the Mac version of 1Password works with OS X Safari.

In the interest of security and stability, Apple could even be selective about which developers could take advantage of such integration. But apps such as 1Password are too good, and provide too much benefit to users, to require them to use the kludgy workarounds — built-in browsers and Javascript bookmarklets — they're currently limited to.

Allow printing to PDF

One of our favorite OS X features is how dead-simple it is to save a document or webpage as a PDF: You just click a PDF button in OS X's Print dialog box, and the OS "prints" the current document directly to a PDF file. We use this feature daily to save receipts from online purchases, to save travel documents, to export presentations to universally readable versions, and much more.

It's such an elegant and useful feature that we want it on our iPhones and iPads, too. For example, it's easier than ever to shop online from mobile devices, and it would be great if we could "print" receipts to PDF files, just as we can under OS X. Right now, our only option is to install a utility such as the outstanding Printopia on our Macs, and then "print" to a PDF file via Printopia. But Printopia requires that your iOS device and Mac be on the same local network — and the resulting PDF is stored on your Mac, not your iPhone or iPad.

 

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