iOS Geek

code and general geekiness.

URL Today, Gone Tomorrow - iOS Settings

How Many Taps?

I think that most iPhone users would agree that iOS settings are not the most user friendly of screens to navigate and by definition, I don’t think that they can be, as they cover tweaks and tunings that the average user won’t even know are possible. That’s not to say that settings are never visited; I just think that if a way was found to make it easier for a user to toggle their wifi/bluetooth or turn off 3G, then it would be embraced by users and developers alike.

Currently if you want to toggle your bluetooth settings, assuming you are already on your homescreen…

  1. Tap Settings
  2. Scroll to General
  3. Tap Bluetooth
  4. Toggle button

How about turn off your 3G connection…

  1. Tap Settings
  2. Scroll to General
  3. Tap Network
  4. Toggle 3G

Most things are 4 screens away. If an app used bluetooth and bluetooth was switched off, then the user would be asked to quit the app and follow the above instructions. It would be a lot easier and cleaner from a usability point of view if an app could send the user directly to the bluetooth settings, if the user so chose.

Please give a warm welcome

In iOS 5, Apple made it possible to go directly to the settings area you wanted with one URL call. This can be done in your own application using:

[[UIApplication sharedApplication] openURL:[NSURL URLWithString:@"prefs:root=TWITTER"]];

or the URL could be called from within mobile Safari.
I don’t know who first found these, but they have been well documented and a quick google for ‘iOS settings URL scheme’ finds various sources of information.

Try them out

My latest app started out as a settings shortcut helper (I’ve previously blogged about its inception) and I open-sourced the settings functionality of it.

Swiping down into notification center and having your settings there is the easist use of these shortcuts IMHO, so if you are able to sign your own applications then I’d recommend trying it out. If not, then the images should give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Github - Settings Swipe

Enhancement request

In the latest iOS 5.1 beta’s, these URL’s are no longer available.
Maybe they will make it in the next official release but their future is unknown. In the meantime we can try and show Apple that there is sufficient demand for this feature by requesting an enhancement request via their bugreporter.

If you find them useful, please duplicate rdar://5864941
The open radar comments are at Open Radar - URL scheme