iOS 13.1 is still pokey


I don’t use any Apple point-zero release on principle, let alone a phone or a Mac. Ah man, that was so good. But iOS 13.1 feels like the roughest point-one Apple OS release in a long time. Features are still broken or missing, and applications routinely crash.

These have all likely been pointed out before in radars and on social media, but they’re ones I’ve been grappling with since last week:

  • Bluetooth tethering and AirPlay are unreliable. You can pair it with your AppleTV as many times as you want, but it still prompts you to do so.

  • Podcast and audio players un-pause without prompting on my desk, so when I go home I’ve lost my spot.

  • On/Off sliders scroll the page without toggling when tapped, perhaps about 10% of the time?

  • The Notes application interprets certain Markdown syntax to rich text, but it’s impossible to backspace out of lists.

  • The system-wide tab control colour has been replaced with lozenges with almost no contrast whatsoever. I’m nearsighted so I can see it fine, but I worry for anyone else.

But the worst hit is poor Mail, which even in the latest releases has lost much of its fit and polish:

  • The UI is inconsistent. The root Mailboxes screen has a pale grey header, and individual mailboxes are white. The footer toolbar has a border in list views, but not in individual messages, regardless if either has scrollable content behind them.

  • The footer toolbar UI elements aren’t centred. They’ve sunk on the mail screen, and float too high in individual messages. It looks really cheap, like a third-party Android skin.

  • The animations between screens are janky. When you tap a message in a list view, the other view slides to the side, but the old toolbar just abruptly disappears in a flash of white. When you tap Edit in a list view then tap a circle to select a message, the grey behind the message goes darker faster than the rest of the message.

  • Subject lines are huge now like Windows Phone, so they almost always wrap and take even more screen real estate. This is on top of the needlessly large, system level application headings we got a couple of versions ago.

  • But worst of all, you can’t flag an email or mark it as spam from the message itself anymore. This is absolutely, mind-bogglingly, head-swivelling bananas!

These may sound like minor quibbles, but they weren’t a problem before. I used to say I preferred desktop Mac and iOS because I liked them, but lately it’s morphed into because other things are worse.

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