Severe side-eye for Apple’s podcast “URL”s

Dave Verwer, of iOS Dev Weekly fame, tweeted this helpful iOS interaction

And then in the conversation that followed…

I get that Apple is likely trying to be helpful (while also driving engagement to their first party apps), but this is purely arrogant design to “require” an HTTPS URL to open in a specific app, when that app isn’t even installed.

All other 3rd party Universal Links fall back to the browser if the companion app isn’t installed. Why don’t Apple’s first party links? The App Store marketing page says…

A store that welcomes competition. We believe competition makes everything better and results in the best apps for our customers.

So I guess we’ll soon see the ability to set a default 3rd party web browser or mail client?

iOS toolbar redesign

via Craig Hockenberry.

I’m right there with Craig in wondering why so many common actions were removed.

And while this isn’t specific to iOS 13, it’s always puzzled me why Delete is right next to Reply – especially now on iOS 13 with so much more toolbar space available. That button placement just seems…dangerous.


The way to make a single song repeat in Music in iOS 13 is the absolute dumbest interaction design decision I’ve encountered in iOS in years. Clearly every designer working on iOS at Apple uses Spotify.

Via Mike Rundle; and he’s not the only one.

I consider myself an advanced user, nonetheless, on iOS baffles me nearly every time I use it. It’s just the weirdest damn thing, and I constantly find myself getting lost.

I’ve been an Apple Music subscriber since 2015, and I still have no coherent understanding of how the Up Next queue works.

Is it because I’m in my 30’s and I think everything featured on the “Browse” tab is just the 2019 equivalent of mid-90’s FM radio payola hot-garbage?

The only reason I use Apple Music over Spotify (or, hell, even Tidal) is because every time I’ve attempted to use a competing service, iOS insists on playing the first song in my iTunes library that begins with the letter A whenever I start my car.

Captchas are getting out of hand

I understand the seriousness of needing to prevent disinformation and bots – especially on social media platforms – but captchas are just getting weird and awful.

From personal experience (because I’m crazy), I do most of my web browsing in Safari with 1Blocker set to completely block all cookies from Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon. When I need to explicitly use one of those websites, I use Firefox with an appropriate container. Like I said, I’m crazy and it’s not something I would expect normal users to do. But, hey, fuck Facebook and their tracking methods.

That said, here’s the problem I run into. So many other websites now use reCAPTCHA to verify that their users aren’t bots. And because I don’t have any Google cookies in my browser, reCAPTCHA freaks out and will make me solve a minimum of three puzzles each time. Often times they’re so difficult I (a human!) have trouble solving them. And occasionally reCAPTCHA will simply never let me pass through at all.

I’m worried that at some point doing any significant activity on the internet will require having a logged-in Google account with your history attached to it.

And it’s not just the occasional web forum trying to cut down on spam comments. I’ve been prevented from paying businesses money because they added reCAPTCHA to their payment form.

So, this screenshot of a recent reCAPTCHA challenge is patently absurd for the significant percentage of the population with vision impairments.

(image via @DougCollinsUX)

Going even further. Recently, I had to solve a captcha by identifying pictures of palm tress. Ok, fine. But that seems like an incredibly localized and niche question to ask. Does the world population in general all know what a palm tree specifically looks like? The same question goes for when reCAPTCHA asked me to identify American-style police cars.

Is Google really doing an honest effort to combat bots? Or are they just training their machine learning models as much as they can while we’re all still willing to put up with this mess?

Fingerprint Scammer

I’ve seen App Review miss tons of shady shit, but this one is particularly vile. Granted, it comes from a ten month old reddit post, so I can’t be sure exactly whether or not this trick still works with iOS 13. But that’s not the point. It did work at one point. And it got past App Review.

Just in case it’s not clear: this scammer instructs the user to place their finger on the phone’s home button so they can scan it to provide “personalized diet” recommendations. And as soon as the user does that, they prompt for a $99.99 in-app purchase, which, of course, is instantly approved because their finger is on the home button to authorize it. It’s brilliant.

So, what’s the point of App Review again? To quote Apple’s marketing page for the App Store:

Expertly curated.

We created the App Store with two goals in mind: that it be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps…

We take responsibility for ensuring that apps are held to a high standard for privacy, security, and content because nothing is more important than maintaining the trust of our users.

via @jamxf