10 ways iOS is now more Mac-like

After the Big Sur reveal, there’s been a surge of articles about how the Mac has turned iOS-y. Here’s one example. But how about the reverse?

  1. iOS 13 introduced a Files app (ala Finder), that can even browse USB disk drives!
  2. iOS 14 finally allows customisation of Mail & Browser default apps.
  3. iOS 13 on the iPad has support for a mouse or trackpad, with a (perhaps better) adaptive cursor!
  4. iOS 14’s date time pickers are now more Mac-like.
  5. iOS 14 has a Picture in Picture mode, just like Safari.
  6. iOS 14 has an App Library, just like Launchpad (well maybe a lot better).
  7. iOS 14 has widgets, just like… Widgets on the Mac. No these (much older) dashboard widgets on the Mac.
  8. iOS 14 supports encrypted drives, just like much older Mac versions.
  9. iOS 13 brings custom font support to the App Store.
  10. And finally, with iOS 14, iPadOS apps are looking a lot more like Mac apps, and even Universal Search is looking a bit like Spotlight.

I think this list proves 2 things:

  1. You can make comparisons across Apple’s platforms. There is a lot of cross-pollination and prior art.
  2. iOS has slowly, but steadily become more akin to a Mac in the past few years.

Here’s 5 more things I wish Apple borrowed from macOS:

  1. Running iPhone apps windowed on an iPad.
  2. Running signed apps outside the App Store via Gatekeeper. If it’s a by default turned-off option, perhaps flagged under warnings, only “power users” will turn it on. And it’ll solve the number 1 source of frustration advanced Mac users have about iOS.
  3. Bring versions of developer focused apps such as Xcode, Terminal, Activity Monitor, et. al. Make the iPad developer friendly.
  4. Introduce proper multiple audio support.
  5. Allow some mechanism to run long-running processes, perhaps after adequate warnings. Running long-running downloads on iOS for e.g. is a terrible experience right now since you can’t “switch away” from the app.

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