iOS 7 has some great features that I could go on and on about somewhat endlessly, but one of my favorites is being able to designate which apps on my iPhone can use my wireless operator’s LTE data connection and which ones can only use WiFi.
I’m not on an especially frugal data plan or anything, but I generally like to avoid lecherous network access from the dozens of apps on my phone especially when LTE in my neck of the woods isn’t exactly blazing fast consistently but also due to general anxiety about battery life. So I disable a lot of background data access, geofencing is only allowed for a few selections like OmniFocus, and some software that I am happy to work with offline and sync up later. App Store is a great one to disable, given some apps are quite large.
There is a huge problem with this however. The majority of software I use is painfully stupid about this and absolutely annoying about it. This is compounded by push notifications still working over LTE and then either absentmindedly or accidentally opening a notification that launches an app that I prefer only work over WiFi. When you launch an application that you don’t allow to use the mobile operator’s data network, some of them spam several dialog box alerts such as games that require a login to play online.
This small wall of shame will illustrate my point better:
But there is one app in particular that I noticed today was behaving much better than the rest — Byword! It uses a polite and quiet notification in the bottom of the screen just to tell you that it’s happy to let you write away on a draft of an article or document but that you are, in fact, offline. I like that far more than the nagging dialog boxes telling me that I disabled the cellular data connection. No shit it’s disabled — I’m the one that disabled it! Rather than talking to myself on the bus about how stupid pop-up alerts are, Byword let me grind out a draft of a document without giving me grief about not being able to reach Dropbox and even smartly cached my documents from the last time I ran it.
Savvy readers will note that Byword’s data access is enabled in the first screenshot I posted — on the bus ride home I needed to make sure my documents were updated with my mobile edits before I got back to a computer. That’s right! I can even decide to turn access back on again whenever I want!
These types of hand-waving alerts are something that iOS should either let the user disable entirely or developers should take the initiative and follow the fine example set by Byword — these types of interruptions are second in frustration only to endlessly interrupting me in order to ask me to write a one-star review on the App Store.
I salute you, Brett Terpstra. Salute him yourself on app.net @ttscoff or use TweetBook, if you’re not into the whole ADN thing. And after you buy a copy of Byword for iOS or OS X, buy MarkedApp2. You’ll thank me later.
Brett Terpstra is not the author of Byword — I don’t know where I got it into my head that he was responsible for it! The recommendation to buy his MarkedApp still stands, however. I use MarkedApp2 with vim, BBEdit, and Ulysses, in addition to previewing my Byword documents.
(Sincere heart-felt apologies to MetaClassy’s Jorge and Rúben, obviously I think you’re awesome. Just apparently not awesome enough to learn you were the authors until @ttscoff told me that I’ve made a huge mistake.)