I’m gutted of Apple Music’s landscape mode which is still missing in iOS 16

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The sheer popularity of the iPhone makes no other operating system more important to Apple than iOS. That’s why Apple’s big annual iOS updates are always highly anticipated.

During this year’s WWDC keynote held on June 6, Apple announced iOS 16 and as usual the update was expected to bring many new features and improvements to pre-existing features – and indeed, it did not disappoint.

In Apple’s own writing:

iOS 16 enhances iPhone with all-new personalization features, deeper intelligence, and seamless ways to communicate and share.

Apple and “personalization” have hardly coexisted in recent years, but we are starting to see the company moving towards the liberation of users, but always with certain limits.

For example, while iOS 16 went along with widgets, you can only have them in a rectangular shape as opposed to Android, where you have room to reshape and resize them.

iOS 16 Widgets

Another great addition that comes with iOS 16 is support for Face ID unlocking in landscape mode. For years since the arrival of the iPhone X, using Face ID has always required holding the phone in portrait mode.

That changes with the release of iOS 16, although Apple has limited the feature to a handful of iPhones, likely the latest iPhone 13 models.

While it might seem like a minor addition, Face ID’s lack of landscape mode has been very annoying in some use cases, like in bed.

Even more frustrating is that iPad Face ID has always supported landscape unlocking since its inception. For some reason, the iPhone had been left out. But it is no more.

Face ID unlocking isn’t the only part of the iPhone that lacked landscape orientation support. Apple Music also hasn’t supported landscape mode on iOS for years, and it seems iOS 16 doesn’t change anything.

Interestingly, other Apple iOS apps like Notes, Calendar, Mail or even Safari browser support landscape orientation in iOS. But Apple Music is still lagging behind.

Safari-for-iOS-landscape
Safari (iOS) in landscape mode

Sure, you can watch videos on Apple Music when the iPhone is in landscape mode, but that’s about it. With audio files, you cannot do anything to tilt the screen orientation, even if the phone is not locked in portrait mode.

It’s possible Apple has no technical reason to omit landscape orientation support for its Music app. But not having it is pretty disconcerting, if you ask me.

For starters, modern iPhones come with built-in stereo speakers. When held in landscape mode, the speakers are much more audible for such a small handheld.

But since you can’t use Apple Music in landscape mode, the sound quality from the stereo speakers becomes suboptimal when listening to music in portrait mode. And typically Apple has a solution for that: buy their AirPods.

There’s no doubt that AirPods are top-notch music accessories, but it would be nice to have a great audio experience from the iPhone’s built-in stereo speakers without spending more on another Apple gadget. This only requires a simple app update.

AirPods-Pro

The lack of landscape mode in Apple Music becomes even more apparent when driving a car whose head unit does not support CarPlay. In this case, we rely heavily on Bluetooth to connect to the car audio system.

When I’m on the road, I prefer my phone mounted on the car’s dashboard in landscape mode. This is especially useful when interacting with navigation apps such as Google Maps or even Apple Maps.

Since the phone is mounted in landscape mode, interacting with Apple Music with the app stuck in portrait mode isn’t the best experience for any driver.

If anything, you’re forced to unmount the phone from the dash, browse the Apple Music app while holding the phone in portrait mode, play whatever music you want, and then reassemble the phone.

For someone behind the wheel and trying to stay focused on the road, it’s a less than ideal experience. Again, this is something Apple can fix with a simple app update, but here we are.

Apple-Music-FI

The fact that even the Android version of the app doesn’t support landscape mode suggests that it has nothing to do with the base operating system. This is just one of those weird Apple decisions that will hopefully be taken into account in the future.

My only fear is that Apple Music will take as long as it took to bring Face ID landscape unlock support to the iPhone, but I really hope I’m wrong.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments. As for the Twitter poll below, the results will be shared after a week of polling.

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