Dear Apple: Please Make the iPhone’s Native Interface Like the Remote App.

Apple’s iPhone Remote application is great. It’s so convenient to control an entire iTunes library — and any AirTunes speakers — from any iPhone or iPod touch.

But instead of telling you how great it is I’d rather take the time to request that Apple add the Remote app’s interface improvements to the iPhone’s native iPod interface. In my opinion, the native iPod interface on the iPhone/iPod touch no longer makes it the best iPod ever. The Remote app’s interface supersedes it. Let’s take a look.


Below are listings of playlists from the native interface (top) and the Remote app:

The latter is more useful. Not only because it displays the number of items in each playlist, but also because it displays the lists’ icons. Currently, when you sync a playlist to an iPod it doesn’t retain the icon for being a folder, smart playlist, etc., but I find it useful to know this information.

Song Listings.

Below is a song listing for a selected playlist in each interface:

What a difference. Two changes make the latter much more useful.

  1. The artist is listed below each song. This is huge for me when I’m in a playlist and want to scroll to a specific artist. The way I do it now is by recognizing artist’s song names to see where I am in the alphabet, which is cumbersome.
  2. There is a line of dots along the right side for quick scrolling. You can scroll the usual way, of course, but now can also run your finger up and down this line for rapid movement. Wonderful!

Some of my playlists are quite large, and these easier methods to keep track of the artists and scroll in a playlist are incredibly useful to me.


There’s another great new interface improvment in the Remote app:

Search! I’d love to have this on the iPhone right now. Hit the button, type in your artist, song, or whatever and you get the same live updates as you do in iTunes on the computer:


I strongly suspect these interface improvements are because the Remote app was designed to navigate an entire iTunes library. The native interface would fall well short of that function for anyone with even a moderately-sized library. In other words, the improvements were necessary to make the Remote app a lot more useful than it would have otherwise been.

However, having created these interface improvements, I hope Apple brings them to the native interface as well. My iPhone has only 750 songs (8 GB, but I use high-quality encoding for larger files) and I could still make full use of these. I’m already frustrated by their absence when using the iPhone’s native controls. And if I hold out for a 32GB iPhone — which I’d like to do — I’ll have four times the music and the current interface will be even more of a hindrance.

Truth is, after using the Remote app for only two weeks the iPhone’s native media interface looks almost primitive to me.

46 thoughts on “Dear Apple: Please Make the iPhone’s Native Interface Like the Remote App.

  1. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  2. I would just like a search function in the iPod app so when I want to hear all the songs from a specific artist including songs that they are featured in it can put them all together.

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  7. You nailed it. Just complaining about the over-simplification of the native interface and the obviously missing features. Didn’t realize why I liked the Remote app *so* much. Thanks for pointing this out. What we need is a proper suggestion submission website/form/etc to Apple that captures all these ideas and comments. I know they’re are a number of them already but a consolidated list would be perfec. I’ve already started a list of my own on the notes app….


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  9. I like to add that Remote app doesn’t control Party shuffle!
    Remote app should be connected a bit longer after you turn off the screen!
    Remote app is a killer app for parties!!!

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  14. ======================
    Apple – are you listening to us?!?!

    Playlists of hundreds of songs, and the iPhone iPod app only gives us a list of Song Titles, in font 30! Are you expecting us to memorise all of our song names??

    iPhone 2.0 ….. this simplified display of playlist contents was last seen on the original Nano – but iPhone v2 doesnt even deserve the update?! Seriously, look at the usability of the entire iPod app package, not just introducing CoverFlow.

    I have requested this as a feature enhancement with Apple, I suggest that all others concerned about this half-baked excuse for a modern iPod do the same. The more complaining the more chance they’ll take it seriously:

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