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One of the features Apple announced for iOS 15 is Legacy Contacts, a way to ensure that your digital life outlives you – if you would like it to.
The company hasn’t yet launched it, saying only that it is “coming in a software update to iOS 15,” but there are signs that Apple is preparing for its introduction …
Update 12/13/21: Legacy Contacts are now live with iOS 15.2. Learn how to use the new feature in our walkthrough here.Background
As we store more and more data digitally, a growing concern is that all of it could be lost in the event of our death. We’ve outlined in the past the risk to family photos in particular.
We’ve previously detailed some steps you can take today, including leaving device passwords and Apple ID credentials with a lawyer, alongside a copy of your will.
First of all, you may want to think about including your device passwords in a letter with a will. Without that, all the data on them may be rendered inaccessible. That could well include things with huge sentimental value, like family photos or that novel you’ve been working on […]
Your Apple ID also holds the key to everything you’ve ever bought from iTunes. Think about that. In the old days, your family could continue to enjoy your music, books and movies simply by reaching onto the shelf for a CD, paperback or DVD. But every app, every piece of music, every TV show, every movie, every book or audiobook you ever bought through iTunes is inaccessible to them without your Apple credentials. That’s a huge volume of valuable assets they can’t easily access.
But Apple is aiming to make the process a little easier with a new feature called Legacy Contacts.
Here’s how Apple summarizes the feature:
The Digital Legacy programme allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your account and personal information in the event of your death.
The way the feature will work is this. If you want one or more friends or family members to be able to access your iCloud data after your death, you will be able to name them, and provide them with a security key. The key will not be usable while you are alive – Apple will only activate it if supplied with proof of your death, which would normally be a copy of your death certificate.
It’s worth noting that not all of your data will be accessible, as some of it is protected with end-to-end encryption. This includes Apple Card transactions, health data, keychain entries, and browser history.
Macworld spotted two signs of readiness for launch. First, the company has updated the iCloud usage agreement.
With Digital Legacy, you can choose to add one or more contacts to access and download certain data in your account after your death.
If your designated contacts provide proof of death to Apple and have the required key, they will automatically obtain access to that certain account data and activation lock will be removed from all your devices. Thus, it is your responsibility to keep your Digital Legacy contacts up to date.
Second, Apple has a microsite for Legacy Contacts to request access to your account and devices after your death.
Request access to a deceased friend or family member’s account. If you are the legacy contact for a deceased person, you can request access to their account and have the activation lock removed from their devices.
There are links there to two support documents, but these currently redirect to the main support page.
We’ll of course publish a how-to guide as soon as the Legacy Contacts feature goes live.
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Our digital legacy is something we probably don’t think about much as we accumulate data. Our data grows as we use our favorite social media platforms, cloud storage services, and consume other digital services.
Truly, we don’t think about our digital legacy much. As a result, we fail to recognize the importance of organizing it before our time comes.
For that reason, we’ll tell you all you need to know about digital legacy. Simultaneously, we’ll teach you how to set up your contacts on platforms offering legacy contact features.What Is Digital Legacy?
The Digital Legacy Association defines digital legacy as the “available information about someone following their death.” Further, this entity states that your digital legacy is made up of the following:
Interactions you made on social media platforms
Data you created and uploaded
Your accounts on different applications and
Websites, blogs, and many others
Data related to you that were uploaded by other peopleWho Is the Digital Legacy Association?
The Digital Legacy Association is the only professional entity created for taking care of digital assets and digital legacy. Mainly, it functions to ensure that people’s wishes are granted in both the physical and digital realms following their deaths.
The association provides training resources, best practices, and organizes annual conferences. These resources are for informing the general public, governmental organizations, social networks, charities, and other organizations about proper ways to handle the digital legacy and digital assets of individuals and organizations.How to Organize Your Digital Legacy
In the ideal world, organizing your digital legacy should be a walk in the park. And yet, very few platforms offer easy ways to organize your digital legacy. For instance, having full ownership of an account doesn’t mean you can assign legacy contacts on specific platforms.
On the contrary, companies such as Apple and Facebook let you assign legacy contacts without tedious processes that involve court orders and long calls with support teams.
Using Apple products means you store data on iCloud. This includes backups of your contacts, photos, messages, device settings, apps, and many more.
Before Apple released the Digital Legacy Program in December 2023, relatives of deceased iCloud users had no way to gain access to their deceased loved ones’ iCloud data without a court order. Unsurprisingly, even a court order didn’t guarantee access.
Now that you have an easy way to arrange your digital legacy with Apple, here’s how to assign legacy contacts on macOS 12.1.
Head over to “System Preferences” or “Settings” with the gear icon.
Next, you can either choose someone from your account’s Family Sharing or add someone else not included.
Choose how you want to share your access key with your trusted contact. You can share it with a message or print a physical copy.
If you chose to “Send a Message” to share your access key, you can send the template or edit the message.
If you chose “Print a Copy,” you will get a QR code with an alphanumeric code below it and some information that will be helpful to your legacy contact in the future.
After sending a message to your contact or successfully printing a copy of your access key, you will get to the “Legacy Contact Added” screen that tells you how your legacy contact can verify the information with Apple. Make sure to update or correct your birthdate to prevent verification issues.
You can assign up to five legacy contacts. However, these contacts can opt out of your legacy contacts list, which automatically revokes all legacy access granted to them.
Your legacy contacts can request access from Apple’s Digital Legacy web page.
On your iPhone’s home screen, tap on “Settings” with the gear icon.
Tap on “[Your Name] Apple ID, iCloud, Media & Purchases.”
Next, tap “Password & Security.”
On the next screen, tap “Legacy Contact.”
Tap on the “+ Add Legacy Contact” button to start the process.
Next, read and understand what it means to assign someone as your legacy contact and tap “Add Legacy Contact.”
The next screen will show you the names and photos of people in your Family Sharing. If the person you want to assign as your legacy contact isn’t listed, tap on “Choose Someone Else” and select from your contacts.
You may choose to notify your legacy contact in two ways: with a text message or by giving them a printed copy of the access key.
If you opted for sending a message, you can edit the text’s body.
Finally, you’ll get a prompt saying your legacy contact has been added and that they’ll be asked for your birthday to verify the information and gain access. With that, make sure to update your birthday and let your legacy contact know.How to Set Up Google Inactive Account Manager on Desktop
Google allows its users to share parts of their account’s data or notify an elected contact if once Google detects inactivity. Here’s how you can set up your Google account’s Inactive Account Manager:
Next, choose what happens to your Google account’s data once the Inactive Account Manager fires. Select when you want it to fire, and where you want to be contacted for verification before Google takes action.
Next, add the email addresses of the people you want Google to notify if your Google account goes inactive. In this step, you can also set an autoreply that will inform whoever emails you that you’re no longer using your Google account.
The next screen confirms the selection you made. You can also add your contact’s phone number to verify their identity and get access to a copy of the data you selected to share after the Inactive Account Manager fires. If you’d like, you can add a personal message on the same screen.
Finally, you’ll get back to the Inactive Account Manager’s main screen. Here, you can turn off your plan and edit other settings you set up in the previous steps anytime.Microsoft’s Next of Kin Process
Microsoft has a process that can help your loved ones gain access to your Microsoft data after your death. Their Next of Kin Process will give your relatives access to your account data such as emails, attachments, contacts, on a physical drive.
Documentation verifying your death or incapacity
Proof of relationship: Next of kin, executor of benefactor of your estate, or power of attorneyAccount Memorialization on Instagram
This may sound surprising, but Instagram doesn’t have the same legacy contact option as Facebook and Apple. Instead, Instagram only allows people to report your death to them to get your account memorialized or request its removal.
Further, their report and request will only be granted after the person who reported your death provides appropriate documentation or links to an obituary or news article. They won’t get a copy of your Instagram data or get your Instagram account log-in details after their request is approved.Frequently Asked Questions 1. Are legacy contacts limited to immediate family members?
No. Facebook and Apple’s policy on assigning legacy contacts doesn’t limit your choices to your immediate family. As long as your contact is on your Facebook friend list, Family Sharing, or contacts, and they agree to become your legacy contact, you can add them even if they’re not a member of your immediate family.2. Will documentation be required for your legacy contacts to gain access?
After your next of kin informs Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, or Instagram of your death with proper documentation, both platforms will review the request to memorialize your account. Once your account is memorialized, your contacts can access your data on platforms that have them as your legacy contacts.
Do note that in Apple’s Digital Legacy Program, your legacy contact shall have the access key provided when you assigned them to get into your account.3. Will providing documentation guarantee access?
Unfortunately, every documentation and request has to go under strict review. On top of that, those reviews don’t always end in the favor of people requesting access to your data after your death. This is to protect your interests and to make sure all documentation submitted by your next of kin, benefactors, or executors is valid.
Natalie dela Vega
Natalie is a writer specializing in tech how-tos and gaming. When she’s not writing, she plays PC games and travels. Here at MakeTechEasier, you will see her write about guides, tips, and solutions for Windows and iOS.
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iOS and iPadOS 15 will shed support for older hardware. Based on everything we know, here’s what we believe to be the complete list of supported iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models.
iOS 14 works on all the same models as iOS 13.
iOS 15 may drop support for some older iPhones.
Apple will unveil iOS 15 at WWDC21 on June 7.iOS and iPadOS 15 device compatibility list
Based on all the information we currently have, plus conventional wisdom, educated guess, rumors and reports like this one from Wccftech, it’s fairly safe to assume that the following Apple device models (or newer) will get support for the iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 software updates when the release publicly later this year.iOS 15: Supported iPhone models
iPhone 12 Pro
iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone XS Max
iPhone 8 Plus
iPhone 7 Plus
iPhone SE 2 (2nd generation)iOS 15: Supported iPod touch models
iPod touch (7th generation)iPadOS 15: Supported iPad models
11-inch iPad Pro (1st and 2nd generations)
12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd and 4th generations)
12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st and 2nd generations)
10.5-inch iPad Pro (1st generation)
9.7-inch iPad Pro (1st generation)
10.2-inch iPad (7th and 8th generations)
iPad (5th and 6th generations)
iPad Air (3rd and 4th generations)
iPad mini (5th generation)
This isn’t an Apple-sanctioned list so we’ll need to wait until iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 become official to learn about their official system requirements.System requirements: iOS 15 v. iOS 14 v. iOS 13
Earlier, both iPhoneSoft and The Verifier reported that Apple was planning to remove support for the original iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, third-generation iPad mini and first-generation iPad Air with the upcoming iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 updates.
So there you have it, iOS 15 is probably going to nix support for the Apple A9 chip in the aforementioned devices. For reference, iOS 13 cut off support for the iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, the sixth-generation iPod touch, the first-generation iPad Air and the third-generation iPad mini.
Meanwhile, iOS 14 supports all the same iPhone and iPad device models as iOS 13.Why Apple removes support for some devices?
If you’ve ever owned an iOS device, you probably know that Apple does not build major revisions to its operating systems with specific device models in mind. Rather, it optimizes them for a particular Apple chip as the lowest common denominator.
Subscribe to iDB on YouTubeWhen will Apple unveil iOS 15?
Apple traditionally holds its annual pilgrimage for developers in the summer.
This is called the Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, and this year it will run from June 7 through June 11. Similar to 2023’s WWDC that was basically a prerecorded live-streaming presentation, WWDC 2023 is also going to an online-only event rather than an in-person gathering due to the current pandemic, Apple has confirmed.
Although a developer-focused event, WWDC also provides customers with first glimpses of the features they can expect from the next major software updates.
Apple has already confirmed that this year’s conference will offer “unique insight into the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS.” In addition, WWDC21 will offer a State of the Union talk along with online sessions, 1:1 labs offering technical guidance and much more.
iOS 14 was a major release for the platform, adding things like widgets, the App Library, updates to Messages, a redesigned Siri, and so much more. It was lauded as a key feature update so it would only be natural for iOS 15 to be a smaller update focused on refinements. While brainstorming what made the most sense for an iOS 15 concept, I had to weed out lots of ideas. I chose to focus on small changes to existing apps and features.
In 2023 Apple’s mobile platform is incredibly polished, but there are still some important features missing from it. Apple’s enhanced focus on privacy, changes they made to the Home Screen last year, and apps like Weather and Stocks could use some updates.
iOS 15 appears to finally be on the horizon, this morning 9to5mac found references to “iOS 15.0” in the latest version of Apple’s open-source WebKit framework. While we wait for WWDC 2023 to be announced, let’s talk about what we might see in the next release of iOS.Home Screen
The Home Screen was huge piece of iOS 14, and with iOS 15, it’s more than likely that Apple will polish some of the enhancements they made. For me, it starts with the ability to resize widgets already on your Home Screen. It’s a small but important thing missing from the current widget set up. The App Library has become integral to the iPhone experience, but the alphabetical list of apps needs to be set free. I’d like to be able to swipe down from any page and access it.
The new page overview was a nice hidden feature of iOS 14. With iOS 15, I’d love for them to make it even more useful. I’d love to be able to rearrange Home Screen pages and remove entire pages of apps. It could even be useful to have a button that adds a new blank page.Privacy
App privacy labels are a major component of Apple’s privacy strategy. But they aren’t any help if a user never sees them. If a user has already installed an app and has had it for a long time, they likely won’t see the privacy labels or the data that’s being collected.
What if after every software update or app update from the App Store, a new launch screen would show up with the release notes? It could also offer customers the ability to view privacy labels after every update in case changes are made by the developer. This could apply to both Apple’s apps and third-party apps. If a developer adds a new label, the user will see it highlighted in the launch screen after updating. The labels would only be shown automatically one time and there’d be a button to view them after every subsequent update.FaceTime
Apple has let FaceTime fall behind the competition, especially amid the pandemic that has forced us all to use video calling platforms more and more. With iOS 15, Apple could add the ability to schedule FaceTime calls with other Apple IDs and attach them to calendar invites.
Screen sharing is another thing missing from FaceTime. You can already share your screen on your Mac using the Messages app, but with FaceTime on iOS Apple could add a new share toggle to the control panel. Indicators in the status bar would tell you if your iPhone is projecting its display.
Screenshots over FaceTime could be a problem, so Apple could require you to approve screenshots remotely if someone attempts to take one.Stocks
The Stocks app rarely gets updated, but there’s been an explosion of stock interest among the general public with the Gamestop phenomenon. It would be incredibly useful if Stocks could let you enter your actual positions and track the value in real time.
Even better, Apple could create a new API so that you can connect the Stocks app with trading services like Robinhood and E*Trade and have your positions automatically added to the app.Keyboard
Emoji are one of the most popular features on iOS, but it’s still missing the ability to save your favorites for easy access. A new favorites tab in the emoji keyboard could be separate from recently used. You could easily tap and hold on an emoji and slide your finger over to select the start icon. It’d be just as easy to remove a favorite.
One feature of the popular Gboard app is haptic feedback on key presses. Apple could add a new toggle so that when typing you’d have physical feedback.Keychain
Passwords are stuck inside the Settings app as of now, but they deserve to have their own home and app. The Mac already has its own Keychain Access app so why shouldn’t iOS? A new Keychain app could let you organize your passwords by category and get quick access to frequently used ones.
Apple could also add a new authenticator to the app so that users wouldn’t need to download apps like Google Authenticator or Authy. With one tap, you could copy a code or generate a new one. Autofill for passwords could even include the code generator so you wouldn’t need to switch apps to generate a code.Nightstand Mode
Apple Watch’s nightstand mode could come to iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models with MagSafe. When an iPhone detects it’s connected to a MagSafe charger or stand, it could display a large clock. Below the clock you’d see the date and any upcoming alarms.
If you wear an Apple Watch to sleep and it detects that you are awake, it could tell your iPhone to illuminate the display so you don’t have to touch it to wake it up.
Nightstand mode could serve as the first feature of an always-on display in the next-generation iPhone and be a foundation for which users could build their understanding of its use cases on.Weather
The Weather app hasn’t received a redesign since iOS 7, and with the acquisition of Dark Sky last year, it’s time for it to finally happen. The new design could be modeled after widgets and show more glanceable data at once. Tapping on a location would expand out to the current full-screen animated view.
Information could be more accurate and sourced from Dark Sky instead of the Weather Channel. The same awesome notifications about upcoming precipitation that made Dark Sky so useful could come to the built-in Weather app as well.Home
HomePod and HomePod mini are important pillars of Apple’s HomeKit strategy, and the Home app should reflect that. A new HomePod tab could let you access settings for all of your HomePods in one nice place. But a new feed called “What’s Happening” could show you all of the audio playing on your HomePods as well as things like alarms that are currently set.
You could even see what’s playing on your Apple TVs in the new What’s Happening feed and access the remote directly from there.
Since the HomePod has no display to show you what you’ve requested of it, a new Siri History page could be added to HomePod settings so you can see any request that has been made. Apple wouldn’t record any audio and all of the transcripts would remain local on your HomePod, although projected to your iPhone.MagSafe
The animations that appear when you connect a MagSafe accessory to the back of your iPhone 12 are really nice, but they can be cumbersome. A new toggle could let you reset them if they stop appearing or disable them completely. You could even see all the details of a connected accessory like the color, release date, and more.“Release Notes”
Swipe down on any page for the App Library
See all installed apps in the A-Z list
Combined Siri suggestions and suggested apps
Tap and hold an app to drag it to any page
Resize existing widgets
Tap and hold for the context menu and tap resize
Choose from all available size classes for that widget
Edit Home Screen pages
Rearrange pages on your home screen
Delete entire pages and send all apps to the library
Add new pages with a tap
Release notes upon launch
When you launch an app post update, you’ll see the release notes
You can create custom bullet points with icons in addition to standard release notes
Privacy labels are accessible for users who never see the App Store listing
Updates to privacy labels are highlighted to the user after an update to them
Works with Apple apps and third-party apps
Schedule Facetime calls
When creating a new calendar listing you can create a future call with invitees
Checks for invitees’ Apple IDs before confirming the future call
Share your iPhone or iPad’s display
Tap the new share button to project your device’s display to a friend
Take screenshots of callers’ devices remotely with their approval
Status bar indicator tells you when you’re sharing your screen
Track your personal positions
Enter stocks you own manually and track their value in realtime
New positions tab separates stocks you own from stocks you follow
Connect with stock trading apps
Like TV channels, connect to apps like Robinhood & E*Trade
Automatically adds stocks you own
The new News tab lets you follow your favorite business news sources
Scroll over to the far left page of your emoji keyboard for favorites
Tap and hold an emoji and slide your finger over to star it
Tap and hold favorite emoji and slide your finger over to remove it
Enable haptic feedback for every key press on your iPhone
Removes passwords from Settings and sets them free
Organize your passwords by category
Quickly access your frequently used passwords
Add services you use two-factor codes with to Keychain
Quickly copy the code with a tap or generate a new one
Large clock displays the time when your iPhone detects movement
Shows your next alarm
Lets you know if your iPhone is connected to wifi and how much battery is left
Only appears while your iPhone is on a MagSafe charger
Apple Watch integration
The display will illuminate if your Apple Watch determines you’re awake in Sleep mode
Modern design shows you more information at a glance
Tap a location to expand the animations full screen and see more information
Quickly add a location to your Home Screen as a widget
New app icon reminiscent of Dark Sky
Dark Sky integration
More detailed precipitation graphs sourced from Dark Sky
Notifications for upcoming precipitation
New HomePod tab
See all of your HomePods at once
What’s Happening feed with playback, alarms, and more
Drag and drop HomePods to create and remove stereo pairs
Siri Request History
Read transcripts of what has been asked of Siri on your HomePods
The transcripts remain local on your HomePod but are projected to your iPhone
New Settings panel
Enable or disable MagSafe animations when you connect accessories
See information about your MagSafe accessories
Check if an accessory is genuine
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No matter if it is called the “iWatch,” “iBand,” “iPod,” or something else entirely, a wrist-worn Apple wearable device will likely be announced in October, and the software it will run will set the scope of its capabilities. Besides the new functionality for the iPhone and iPad, iOS 8 includes many new wireless protocols, applications, and features that open the door to several capabilities for a wearable device.
Let’s take a look at how each major iOS 8 feature plays directly into Apple’s ambitions for a wearable computer, below.
The main idea of the modern smart watch is for the user to be provided with quick access to glance-able information on a small display. The iPhone App Store is loaded with news apps, sports apps, and media playback apps that are perfect for the phone’s 4-inch screen. But when it comes to smaller displays, optimization for that new size and interaction from the wrist is necessary.
With the new Notification Center widgets system, Apple could apply the mini applications to the iWatch’s display and source data from the iPhone’s full-scale apps. Apple has already demonstrated an eBay widget and an ESPN sports widget, and those programs seem intuitive for access on the wrist. Even more so, Apple’s iPhone Calendar, Weather, and Reminders widgets would be perfect for an iWatch.
Apple could even build an entire ecosystem of third-party widget apps on the iWatch, sparking an entirely new gold rush for app development on a brand-new platform.
Quick Toggles for Contacts, Notifications, More:
With a small display accessible from a wrist, the software controls will need to be quickly accessible and easy to tap. In iOS 8, Apple has made access quicker to recent and favorite contacts quickly accessible in the Multitasking view, made managing email require less taps through the system, and made responding to notifications more intuitive.
Of course, the Apple wearable device will be capable of making phone calls, and the new user-interface for doing so in iOS 8 feels natural for a watch with its large circular icons and quickly accessible buttons for actions.
Being able to respond to notifications with large buttons like in iOS 8 will be critical to managing notifications on the smaller display of an iOS-based wearable. As seen with devices such as the Pebble, people like to manage notifications from the wrist, so an easy-to-use experience for this from Apple will be essential.
Messages, Photo/Video, Voice Memos:
It may seem straight of the Jetsons, but iOS 8 will unlock the ability for an iWatch user to bring the watch up to their face for them to shoot off a quick voice memo. The ability to now more quickly send messages, especially with your voice, sounds like it will be a critical (and killer!) feature of the iWatch. We have no idea if the watch will have a camera (like the Samsung Galaxy Gear), but if it does, iOS 8, too, has the ability to now more quickly send pictures and video clips.
Health App and HealthKit:
Handoff for Personal Hotspot:
Handoff for Phone and SMS:
As an extension of the iPhone, the iWatch will need to be able to make phone calls and receive all of the iPhone’s text messages. Not just iMessages, but SMS texts as well. iOS 8 builds in the technology for non-iPhone devices to receive and make both phone calls and SMSs through the iPhone’s cellular chip. This technology will likely translate seamlessly over to an iWatch and will be critical for the product’s success as an iPhone accessory.
iCloud Photos and Storage:
As a smaller device that is worn on the body, it is unlikely that the iWatch will have vast amounts of storage. Instead, the device will need to rely on wireless networking and iCloud to retrieve content. While it is uncertain if the iWatch will have a full blown Photos app like on the existing iOS devices, the new iCloud Photos feature uses technology that could be critical to the iWatch. The new iCloud Photos system allows photos to be stored in the cloud (and not on the device) and viewed on an iOS device. This is a departure from how photos and My Photo Stream formally worked on iOS.
With its small display, it will be difficult for Apple to squeeze in a full QWERTY touch keyboard on the iWatch. But with QuickType, perhaps Apple could enhance the keyboard to efficiently fit on a smaller screen. The new predictive text technology could make it so Apple only needs to provide certain keyboard characters at a single time.
We reported that Apple will introduce a new Lightning-based headphone standard with iOS 8. This means that headphone makers can use the Lightning port to connect the headphones to iOS devices. We don’t think that this will replace the 3.5mm headphone jack on existing iOS devices (like the iPad and iPhone), but perhaps the likely much thinner and smaller iWatch will be unable to fit a standard headphone jack. Maybe the new Lightning Headphone system is designed for the iWatch.
Realmac Software has a similar theory about iOS 8 and the iWatch, and they add that some developer APIs like Extensions and Metal could be perfect for the iWatch. Take a look at their post as well.
Each feature added in iOS 8 adds functionality and makes the iPhone a better platform for both users and developers. But many of them seem even more powerful when put in the context of a wearable device, and we believe that many of these features will be key points of the future product.
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Thinkapps’ Build Blog has published a few designer mockups showing what popular third-party applications might look like on Apple’s new smartwatch with some interesting results. The apps were created by several different designers, and you can see that each app maintains some of the branding and design you’d expect while conforming to the smaller wearable UI and its new input devices like the Digital Crown.
Above you’ll find the design for Facebook Messenger, which features a contact view made up of circular contact photos with online indicators that closely resembles the watch’s home screen. The message view sports a single reply button that presumably uses the device’s built-in dictation capability to compose a response.
Below you’ll find designs for apps like Beats Music, Skype, Uber, YouTube, and more. Keep in mind that these designs are hardly official, but represent the types of user interfaces you might see when the folks in Cupertino release the Apple Watch early next year.
The theorized watch version of the Apple-owned Beats Music maintains the same “Now Playing” screen design and the round genre bubbles that define the iOS version. The circular design language actually fits in fairly well on the Apple Watch without much coercion, since most of that UI also relies on circles.
The Skype design uses similar incoming call controls to those of the iPhone, with round accept and decline buttons matching their smartphone counterparts almost exactly. Circles are present throughout the UI, as is the case with most Apple Watch designs. Incoming text messages can be replied to using a series of canned responses or through dictation, just like native SMS and iMessages.
The bite-sized version of Yelp forgoes the popular circular interface elements for something packed a bit more densely with information. Native dictation and map views are combined with an overview that provides quick access to a venue’s phone number, location, rating, hours, and more.
Two different designs were published for the Tinder app. The first uses circles for photos and positions controls in the corners of the screen like some of the stock watchfaces. The app’s signature swiping mechanic is left intact, and the messaging system uses a combination of built-in replies and dictation like the native text messaging solution.
The second design takes a different approach to some elements. While swiping is present, most other controls are relegated to a Control Center-like menu that slides up from the bottom and presents options for using a “doodle” feature that functions like the built-in feature of the same name.
The YouTube design uses a grid of circular thumbnails, which unfortunately may not be the best shape for a video. Tapping a video on this grid brings up the player, which sports YouTube’s usual red play button and progress bar as well as the view counter and controls for liking or disliking a video, or changing the volume. It seems unlikely that users would want to watch a significant number of YouTube videos on such a small screen, though it could be used for casual viewing.
The Apple Watch mockup of Beats competitor Spotify uses a similar design for its Now Playing screen, but the similarities end there. Instead of a cluster of genres to choose from, the Spotify app makes use of a full list of artists which doesn’t display as well on the small screen and likely makes a difficult tap target. A much more convenient grid of album artwork is also present, which seems like a more appropriate design for a watch.
The Uber watch app mockups blends in well with the OS even though it maintains much of its own design. Circular displays for search progress, driver photos, and other elements fit in nicely, and the screen is uncluttered for the most part. Users can dictate a location and see driver ratings and car info from their wrist, then call a the driver directly from overview.
The Lyft car service also got mocked up by Thinkapps’ designers, though it features a less refined inerface than the Uber version. Most of the screen consist of large square images that can presumably be swiped to move to the next one. A single “request Lyft” screen proides a quick look at your car, driver, and destination.
Not much had to be changed to make the Moves app fit in on the Apple Watch. The iPhone version of the app already makes heavy use of circles, including on its icon. All that really needed to be done here was to fit the existing screens onto a smaller display. With very few minor tweaks, the app feels right at home.
The Pinterest mockup doesn’t really fit in with the iPhone version’s look or the Apple Watch design language. It uses menus filled with text which don’t seem to fit very well on a watch, along with small controls jammed into a control bar at the bottom of most screens. Pinterest as a whole doesn’t seem like the type of service you’d really want to browse from your wrist, likely due to its heavy use of images and the requirement to display a lot of text—neither of which work well at this size.
You can head over to the Thinkapps blog to get some more insight into what the designers intended for each mockup.
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