Well, I am on day 2 of my two week long iPad experiment and it should come as no surprise that I am still not impressed. As a self confessed Android Fanboy who gets lectured about the greatness and overall simplicity of iOS, my expectations are rather high. Today’s post is about a feature that is fundamental on Android but seems completely disjointed on iOS, the simple “Back” button.
If you are an Android user, you are used to seeing either a physical “back” button below your screen or an always persistent sideways “⛛ ” button on the bottom of the screen at all times. This button accomplishes one simple task which is to take you back one page to the previous activity. If you open an application settings screen, you can easily make a change and press the back button to resume your work without having to do much thinking. iOS does have a concept of a “Back” button however the implementation is a bit disjointed and fragmented. For the record, the Back button is not unique to Android, it was a staple in WebOS, PalmOS and even my old flip phone.
The images below show 3 examples on how the Back button is in 3 different places on Apple’s own built in applications.
Unlike Android, iOS seems to rely on individual the developer to implement a back button within an application. These back buttons could be located in several places (at the discretion of the developer); sometimes it is in the top left corner and sometimes along the bottom. The problem with this is that a back button in the top left corner is a huge issue with a 9 inch tablet as I need to interrupt my task and reach up to the top corner, the problem is not so bad on a smaller phone which I assume is why the iPhone did not surpass the 4.5 inch mark for a long time. Not to rub salt into the wound but…
In my opinion, iOS would see a huge benefit if it adopted an Android Style back button at the bottom of the screen as this seems to be the best location regardless of device. It would give the OS/Applications a uniform look and feel.
Pros and Cons