There’s a whole lot of promise and potential in iPadOS 15. Even with some options like SharePlay lacking from the preliminary launch, others like Fast Notice and a dramatically easier method to multitasking already enhance the day-to-day expertise of utilizing Apple’s tablets.

However Apple certain did handle to bungle the homescreen.

As my colleague Chaim talked about in his overview of iPadOS 15, the homescreen format is not constant between vertical and horizontal orientations. I’ve been utilizing the 12.9-inch iPad Professional since 2018, and as of iPadOS 14, the homescreen grid was at all times 6 x 5 irrespective of how the iPad was being held. This allowed me to arrange devoted rows for issues like photograph enhancing (I edit lots of my overview images on the iPad), audio apps, video apps, and so forth.

See how icon positioning stayed the identical on iPadOS 14? That was good.

However with iPadOS 15, Apple threw a wrench into all that. When the iPad is in panorama mode, I nonetheless get the 6 x 5 format. However now, as quickly as I change to vertical / portrait, the grid inexplicably adjustments to five x 6, with icons flowing down into the row beneath them. A lot for my makes an attempt at group and holding issues tidy.

It’s a irritating change, and it leads to a really apparent quantity of wasted area on the sides of the display. The icon spacing in vertical orientation will get nearly comical on this huge, pixel-rich show in case you do drop in some widgets, as you’ll see later.

One of the best rationalization I’ve seen for this discount in icon density is that it was essential to assist the extra versatile widget placement and nonetheless maintain every little thing wanting considerably uniform and aesthetically pleasing. It additionally has to do with how Apple maps out widgets on the homescreen. In his overview of iOS and iPadOS 15 at MacStories, Federico Viticci surmised that Apple selected to “return to a non-dense grid that allows for both widgets and icons at the same time.” However I’m simply not on board. Notably on iPads, we’re on the level the place at the least having the choice for a extra tightly-packed grid would unlock new promise and creativity. Apple nonetheless doesn’t even allow empty gaps between icons or widgets. As an alternative, the corporate stays weirdly devoted to its restrictive, always-from-the-top-left placement.

I’m certain there are various unbelievable widgets on the market at this level, and the brand new XL measurement — unique to the iPad — does open up extra potentialities for calendar widgets and different productiveness instruments. However personally, I simply don’t discover myself utilizing them usually, and I used to be completely okay with the previous type of holding widgets anchored to the left of the primary homescreen, the place they may very well be pulled into view when wanted after which simply dismissed.

iPadOS 14 solely supported widgets within the “today view.”

However then we transfer on to iPadOS 15. And my first criticism comes proper at the beginning. For some motive, Apple finds it acceptable to plop a number of widgets onto your iPad’s homescreen instantly after the replace, which can throw no matter ordering you had earlier than into disarray. It seems to be fairly dangerous. Right here’s mine on first boot following the iPadOS 15 improve, the place in portrait we drop from 5 columns to 4… on a 12.9-inch display… all for the aim of showcasing widgets:

Homescreen chaos. What an exquisite introduction to a brand new software program replace.

Yikes. What a ham-fisted manner of introducing a brand new characteristic to clients. Why not simply display these extra versatile, put-them-where-you-want widgets in a post-update video as a substitute of wrecking precise homescreens? I’d be irked if some macOS replace dumped a bunch of random junk onto my desktop, and I’m equally irritated by what Apple’s performed right here.

It additionally illustrates the numerous tradeoff that comes with widgets: as quickly as you add even one, irrespective of the dimensions, you’re down to simply 4 columns for that homescreen in portrait mode. On a show as expansive because the 12.9-inch iPad Professional, that’s brutal. And once more, it’s all due to Apple’s fixation with the grid. It is a downside of the corporate’s personal making. Not less than you’ll be able to cram a ton of apps into the dock, I suppose?

With just a little rearranging, I used to be in a position to get again to the place issues had been earlier than — however solely within the panorama orientation. As I discussed earlier, portrait is now restricted to a 5 x 6 grid (even when no widgets are current), and there’s no setting to vary this again to the previous format. All that wasted area. And for what? That is even noticeable on smaller iPads; in his review of the new iPad Mini, Marques Brownlee couldn’t assist however discover the padding on each side of the homescreen.

Even the brand new iPad Mini has wasted homescreen potential.
Picture: MKBHD (YouTube)

It’s honest to level out that in iPadOS 14, there was wasted display actual property on the prime and backside of the icon grid when in vertical orientation. However I believe it’s much better for familiarity and muscle reminiscence to keep up the identical app positioning and format in each eventualities, so I discovered that acceptable. This? Not a lot.

What frustrates me most concerning the new homescreen is that it’s unimaginable to make rows for particular functions, since one icon will at all times reflow into the following row whenever you maintain the iPad in portrait. Certain, folders exist, however that’s an additional faucet.

Some have identified that iPadOS 15 now lets you customise completely separate layouts for the homescreen when in portrait and panorama, and it’ll keep in mind what goes the place as you turn between them. So you’ll be able to create a unique search for every orientation. That’s neat! However the preliminary jumbled mess when altering orientations is jarring, and having separate layouts doesn’t repair the difficulty of icons leaping round. At present, you’ll be able to’t delete an icon or widget from one format and maintain it within the different.

With iPadOS 15, the homescreen is 6 x 5 in panorama and 5 x 6 in portrait. (Complete icons range by iPad sort and display measurement.)

As of the brand new replace, Apple has additionally ditched the handy panorama “today view” that displayed the date and time with widgets beneath — all whereas holding your apps in straightforward attain. Your decisions now are to place widgets instantly on the homescreen or, in case you choose to maintain them off, you’ll be able to swipe proper for this blurred slide-over model, which is effective, however much less elegant:

The good homescreen right this moment view is gone, however you’ll be able to nonetheless slide in widgets from the left if you’d like.

Some will see this as a really minor inconvenience and keep on with updating to iPadOS 15 for all the different advantages. Because the App Library is now there, you’ll be able to even go within the full reverse course and cargo your homescreens up with widgets all over the place and only some app icons. If that’s you, don’t let me cease you. On the entire, it’s an excellent launch.

However I’m actually hoping in a future software program replace, Apple will add a setting to revive the previous format that stored every little thing extra constant. It’d be even higher if the corporate made the grid extra customizable on the entire. If we’re letting individuals select between new and previous Safari designs, why not supply a selection between having extra issues on-screen or a much less dense grid that’s higher optimized for widgets? There’s already a “Home Screen and Dock” part in settings, in any case. Letting you regulate the grid to your liking is one thing that Android telephones and tablets already get proper. It’s not an enormous ask.

For me, widgets aren’t well worth the homescreen wanting totally different based mostly on how I’m holding my iPad. And I’m not alone, with different iPad homeowners on MacRumors, Reddit, and elsewhere venting about these adjustments. A few of them have downgraded again to iPadOS 14.8 till there’s an answer. I’ve now performed so for the second time (I wanted these screenshots) even when I’ll miss Fast Notice, the much-improved multitasking, and different refinements of iPadOS 15.

I don’t understand how lengthy I’ll keep on the older software program. As soon as iPadOS 15 is a little more polished or provides SharePlay again in, I would replace. However a well-known homescreen that works the best way I anticipate counts for lots.


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