Apple patent shows contact info could be displayed on the iOS Home screen

iPhone XS Max
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

It looks like Apple wants to make the iPhone’s home screen a little more useful. The company filed a patent for home screen icons related to a contact, essentially meaning that in future versions of iOS, you could be able to call a favorite contact from the home screen.

It’s important to note that the new patent is a continuation of one that was filed in 2008, so it could be that Apple is reviving a concept that it was working on in the early days of the iPhone.

Of course, the concept isn’t all that radical. Android phones have been able to add deep links to apps for some time now. Traditionally, however, iPhones have been stuck with icons only for apps. Apple has been opening that up a little over the past few years, especially with Siri Shortcuts, which allows users to quickly access Shortcuts at the tap of an icon. Considering that, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple add more similar features to other apps, like the Contacts app.

Adding contacts to the home screen, based on the patent, looks pretty straightforward. All the user would need to do is open up the contact in the app, then tap a button that says “Add to Home Screen.” Users would then be able to tap on the Home screen icon to access the contact card. It’s currently unclear if users could create icons, for example, that call a contact rather than simply open up the contact.

The patent does, however, describe a smart implementation of the tech, too. For example, it notes that “in one aspect, an icon associated with an entity can be temporarily displayed on the mobile device based on the proximity of the mobile device to the entity.” In other words, if you’re near a friend you’re trying to meet up, the contact icon for that friend could show up on the home screen for a short amount of time, allowing you to quickly and easily get in touch with them.

It will be interesting to see Apple start getting into allowing users to customize the Home screen a little more. Google has been experimenting with intelligently showing contact information too — though through so-called “Slices,” which are displayed in the app drawer, instead of on the actual Home screen. It’s entirely possible that the new feature could show up in iOS 13 — though we’ll have to wait until WWDC 2019 to see if that ends up happening.

Product Review

Screen snags aside, the Galaxy Fold is an exciting step toward a foldable future

Samsung's Galaxy Fold is the company's first foldable phone, with two screens, six cameras, and a dual-cell battery. The phone may be delayed due to display issues, but that doesn't stop us from asking -- what's it like to use?
Product Review

The Xperia 10 Plus feels great in your hand, but you'll still want to put it down

There has never been a better time to buy a smartphone with an unusual design, and one of the cheaper models out there vying for your attention is the Sony Xperia 10 Plus, with its 21:9 aspect ratio screen.

The iPhone’s Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts could land on Macs this year

For its desktop computers, it appears that Apple may continue to draw from the iPhone for inspiration. iOS 12 features, like Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts, are believed to be making their way to MacOS this year at WWDC in June.
Social Media

Facebook says it unintentionally uploaded email contacts of 1.5 million users

Facebook says that over the last two years it unintentionally uploaded the email contacts of 1.5 million users as they signed up to the social networking service. The process has ended and the email addresses are being deleted.

Best iPhone 7 Plus screen protectors to shield your big, beautiful display

Cracked screens are expensive to replace. Fortunately for you, we've rounded up what's available in terms of protection for Apple's large iPhone 7 Plus. Here are the best screen protectors you can buy.

Add style and functionality with the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases

No tablet should be without protection, especially an expensive one. Check out our picks for the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases, so you can add some protection, functionality, and style to your new device.

Amazon cuts prices on Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 3 smartwatches

In the market for a new smartwatch? The Apple Watch is the best one, and right now it's a little more affordable than it usually is. The Apple Watch Series 4 and Apple Watch Series 3 are both available at discounted prices straight from…
Home Theater

Bose QuietComfort 35 II wireless headphones get a $93 price cut

Good head-fi is expensive, but a premium set of headphones is worth it. The excellent Bose Quietcomfort 35 Series II is on sale right now from Rakuten with a two-day coupon code that can save you more than 90 bucks.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for April 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for April 2018.

Weird Galaxy View 2 is a TV-style tablet to take your mind off the Galaxy Fold

Samsung may be about to resurrect a product line that last saw an entry three years ago. Renders of the Galaxy View 2 show it's sticking to the tablet-that-thinks-it's-a-TV formula.

The latest Apple iPad Pros get steep discounts on Amazon

The iPad Pro is now in its third generation, and the 2018 refresh of this premium tablet is, hands down, Apple’s best one yet. It’s on sale right now, too, for a good discount which can let you score one for as little as $675.

These parental control apps will help keep your kids' device habits in check

Looking for extra security and monitoring on mobile devices? Take a look at the best parental control apps for limiting time and keeping watch on your child's phone usage and behavior. We have the top options for Android and iOS here.

The OnePlus 7 Pro will have four launch events to celebrate its release

The OnePlus 6T may still be new, but we're already looking ahead to the upcoming OnePlus 7. It will use the Snapdragon 855, and may have a new pop-up front camera, too. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 7.
Smart Home

The Houzz app now lets you virtually tile your floor with augmented reality

Augmented reality is starting to be a real bonus to apps like Houzz's View in My Room 3D tool, which recently added the ability to measure how a tiled floor might look in your living space.