Sentry’s new App Switching concept makes it easier to move between apps

By , Mar 27, 2013

sentry app switching concept

We’re always in search of ways that iOS can be improved, which is why you’ll see a number of iOS concepts and ideas on iDB that are aimed at making Apple’s mobile operating system better. Take this recent one on multitasking, for example. It’s beautiful.

But not all concepts attempt to make iOS better-looking—some try to make it more functional. And that’s the idea behind today’s concept. It takes the current app switcher, and makes it more efficient by allowing faster access to more of your suspended apps…

The following video was posted to The Verge’s Apple Core forum, by Sentry, under the title ‘Re-Thinking App Switching.’

If the name Sentry sounds familiar—and it should—that’s because he is the designer behind the popular jailbreak tweak Auxo, and many iOS-flavored concepts. And he manages to impress us yet again with this one for a revamped multitasking solution.

Of course, there’s nothing really special about the ‘slide-up from the bottom of the screen’ action that reveals the app-switcher—there are already several jailbreak tweaks that do that. But what is cool is the row that lets you quickly switch between apps.

Think about it. As it stands, to switch to an app that you haven’t used in a while, you have to double tap the Home button and scroll through x amount of rows—sets of 4 per row—to access it. In this method, there’s 7-8 apps per row and the UI is much more fluid.

I really like this concept, and as usual, my fingers are crossed that a jailbreak dev sees it. Of course, what I’m really hoping is that Apple is seeing all of this great stuff these designers are putting out there, and getting some inspiration for future iOS versions.

The next major release of iOS, presumably iOS 7, is expected to be introduced in a few months at Apple’s WWDC event. And while we probably won’t see any significant redesigns in the aging platform, word has it that we could see some subtle design changes.

Anyway, what do you think of Sentry’s new concept?

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.tilden.9 Jamie Tilden

    We’ve really talked about the app switched ad nauseam. It’s as if it’s the only major change in iOS that we’d like to see.

    • http://twitter.com/bw00dsy Brad Hayashi

      Good, point, Jamie. I do think, however, that the reason being is that the app switcher is something that we all use all the time, but find it to be wanting in so many ways.

  • http://twitter.com/sharbeen Sharbeen

    Ok of all the app switcher this is the best one. Hope he gets hired by apple. Well yes some polishing is required ofcourse but brilliant concept!

    • Sentry

      Agreed! (with the polishing :p), like I said in the write-up on the verge posting, it’s an example of what I think an optimum app switcher could look like in terms of speed/efficiency and information/productivity. Would love to see others’ takes!

      • Ben

        You should seriously get a job at Apple. They NEED you.

    • http://twitter.com/rud0lf77 rud0lf77

      If Apple hired everyone who makes good Concepts, it would have to hire millions of persons… You shouldn’t think that Sentry and a few others are the only ones making good concepts, most other ones are just not seen by the people, because they A. do it for fun B. don’t have the luck Sentry and some others have.

  • http://twitter.com/helliwell86 llǝɥɾ

    im an apple fanboy but i am falling in love with android!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zeljko-Nikolic/1646404156 Zeljko Nikolic

      do you really think you could post this on this site if everybody uses android?dream with us to make apple better.and let this dream come true.useless to talk about android.There are other sites ,-)

    • Yashirah

      too bad androids lagg if not i would switch. :) gotta love iPhones BABY!!

  • King

    Hope they add something like this with the iPhone 6 , The home button is outdated

  • JimGresham

    YES.

    • Sentry

      I YES your YES. (thanks ;P)

      • Guest

        It’s cool, but, still, Auxo was your better creation. I have a question concerning your upcoming banner response tweak. Will there be a QC option along with the QR? Will it be compatible with BiteSMS? Will it have compatibility with taking/sending a photo, with the Coconut keyboard tweaks? Will there be an option to open the text window lower than demonstrated in the video? Will it be compatible with LockInfo? Will it have the ability to view full photos without leaving the notification?

      • http://twitter.com/Terry174 Terry174

        You said “a question”, not 381.

      • http://mikelightman.com/blog mikelite

        jesus, don’t exaggerate. I only counted 350 questions

      • JimGresham

        I mean YES all around to everything. Great work.

    • http://www.eraser.org B. Braun

      No! Not another creapy buggy switcher from Sentry pls…

      • EpicFacepalm

        Sentry is the designer, if you think Auxo is buggy, it’s developers’ fault.

      • Guest

        Sentry is the one releasing it, so it’s his fault if he doesn’t care about the bugs.

      • http://www.eraser.org B. Braun

        Auxo is one of the worst tweaks i ever puchased, nearly as waste of money as Intelliscreen was and is.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mista.bozack Mista Bozack

        totaly true!

      • Antzboogie

        Auxo is not really buggy maybe you are lol.

      • Gray

        No, honestly, Auxo has some bugs. It’s constantly crashing my springboard. I’ll hit the home button to go back to the main screen from an application, and try to double-tap to open the app switcher, only to restart into safe mode. It happens a lot.

        I’m not removing it regardless, Auxo is incredibly useful. But it definitely has some major bugs that need to be worked out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vainstar Hermès Vainstar Chu

    its nice

  • http://twitter.com/MohamadAmin4 Mohamad Amin

    I think having that in iOS would be great. Just like Cody’s said, not only does it give you a nice and a new better app-switcher looking, but also it ditches the “annoying” Home button double-tap. Zephyr gives you that option, of course, but think how extraordinary would having that as a native iOS tweak with no need to jailbreak. I’ve seen numerous iOS 7 concepts, and they look terrific so far. I really hope that Apple breaks the ice between its ideals and people’s demands and make an entirely new iOS experience.

  • seyss

    shit, finally a concept I like

  • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

    Love this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000945354629 Avery Massenburg

    I hope this becomes the next Auxo. I would pay double for this!

    • Goku63

      I woud’nt pay double, 0.99$ is enough

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000945354629 Avery Massenburg

        But Auxo only adds previews and toggles, otherwise it’s the same old lockscreen. This is something completely different and much faster.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

    Love this! I hope they get rid of the home button on the iPhone 6. I know it is iconic, but as things these days are getting smaller and thinner, apple should remove it or at least make it smaller.

    • iospixel

      I’ve been saying this for a while. When they reboot the series move the home button to the side of the device and give me an edge to edge screen. That’s if you wanted to you know break the mould. Again.

      Once iconic. No longer original or required for the gesture based OS of tomorrow.

      • Goku63

        The current size and shape of the home button is perfect as for me…
        Surely they can make it glowing, or something like that.

  • Beta382

    Another example why the stock switcher is so good. While this is *pretty* (as are most concepts), I don’t think it would be good in implementation usability-wise.

    It is slower: From a usage standpoint.

    While the swipe up to invoke is nice (aside: I don’t like the current double-click-home-to-open-the-switcher implementation, that is what we have Zephyr for.), and then you can keep your finger on the screen to select an app, this new ability to just flick to the app you want ends up being much more prone to error (which slows you down considerably) if you want it to stay fast. Also, at any given point in time, you are covering or close to covering an icon (the main source of information to let you know what you are switching to), slowing down your information intake. Finally, as an inherent property of a preview in general, it is information overload. The easiest way to identify what you want to go to is the icon, followed by the name. The emphasis in this concept is clearly on the preview, which, although it gives the illusion of seamlessness, slows down the app switching process. Furthermore, if the user were to be able to ignore the preview and focus only on the icon for speed of switching, it would totally defeat the purpose of the preview in the first place.

    It is slower: From a development implementation standpoint.

    It is a general rule that for every new bit of information you have to display, there are two options: a) Allow for faster access to this information by keeping it ready to use (which slows everything else down), or b) Access this information only when you need it, slowing down the access to allow for the rest of the experience to be smooth. On today’s devices, it simply would be a slower experience using something as full of information as this, especially for as simple a task as switching from one app to another in the fastest way possible. You want this experience to be fast and smooth, and capturing/displaying full screenshots while doing this would inherently make it slower.

    This being said, it is a nice concept, and I quite enjoy seeing new interface ideas like this. I just think that Apple really hit it good with the current design, as it focuses on what is important and nothing extra; a very good mixture of function and usability.

    • Sentry

      Quite a few assumptions here, but i’m glad for the interest.

      ‘Flick the app you want’ is inaccurate, it’s simply releasing your finger. Nothing quite odd or ‘much more prone to error’ unless you’re also failing to tap the standard app icons. Here’s something you can try; call up the keyboard and put a key in your mind on the A-L row. Now swipe to that key starting from the far left side of the screen and release on the one you were aiming for. Most can do that, and this is with far more crammed hit points than large app icons.

      Another false assumption is your finger covering the icon. Not quite accurate. In reality there is enough space provided below so that upon swipe up, the ‘end point’ would adequately fit your thumb being underneath the ‘highlighted’ app icon. Not slowing down information intake at all in this regard, on the contrary it gives the user more focus on what they’re navigating to as it’s where there finger already is.

      As for the previews slowing down the user, that’s a pretty grandiose brush to paint with. Previews slow down the user when they impede identifiability. This isn’t the case when they are adequately sized, such as in a desktop setting. The same goes here. The user doesn’t navigate to the preview, the preview is presented to them when selecting (i.e. ‘hovering’) the app they’re about to go into. Thus it serves as merely a transitioning stepping stone, blurring the line between using the app and switching to it. Your point may be valid if not for the input mechanism being one swoop.

      Lastly, to the ‘development’ point, I don’t worry my self with what would be smooth and what wouldn’t as far as coding. That’s the developer’s job to make possible, not for a design’s job to work around. And really, I don’t think this would be too taxing at all if done right. If every design were approached with this mindset nothing would be where it’s at today!

      I’ll be honest, slightly grasping for straws with a few of these points to me. :p But really, I do appreciate the interest! Thanks!

      • seyss

        I really liked your concept man.. I rarely like concepts. I hope chpwn or other bad ass tweak developer could get this breathing

      • Beta382

        Don’t get me wrong, I love this concept. I just think that if/once made, I would find that it didn’t improve my app switching experience (and I would buy it if made to try and see if my original assumption was wrong, to be fair). I am not a fan of previews in general; they get in the way on my Win7 desktop. If taken from the Win7 preview size and sized down proportionally to a iDevice screen, you would end up with something like Auxo (which is probably the best preview-based concept I have seen, to give fair credit).

        On the development point, that is totally expected. However, there are points at which R&D hits a wall and can go no further, and at that point a balance must be found between “this would be awesome” and “this would be implementable”. I would love to see this made, but the sucky thing is that most of the “top-tier” devs (i.e. chpwn/rpetrich/phoenixdev/etc.) don’t go for concepts like this, and it usually takes “top-tier” to make full-function replacements work smoothly and without a hitch.

      • SimonReidy

        Given your great work with taking Auxo from concept to reality, is this something that will be developed into a tweak as well, Sentry? Or are you just putting the idea out there for now?

      • Guest

        I guess you didn’t get it, yet. Sentry does not develop the Tweaks, he makes the Assets for them and the Concept…

      • http://www.eraser.org B. Braun

        The lack of this concept: if you are using it in the car or while walking it’s odd to switch to the desired app

      • Damian W

        true, it could be frustrating to swipe to proper app while being busy doing other things.

    • http://twitter.com/bw00dsy Brad Hayashi

      *Whew* After reading through your post, I think I tend to agree with you. You’ve pretty much analyzed this concept, maybe even over-analyzed. :) In sum, I think all you are saying is, give me all or as many icons as possible in one eye shot, then my finger can go directly to the desired app faster.

      I agree. That’s why I do not like Auxo as well. I did like CardSwitcher in grid view (9 icons on a page) but it did not ID the app, just gave a preview, therefore totally slowing down the process. You had to stop and think “What am I looking at?” before you could pick the right one.

      I, for one, really do not understand why the iOS “multi-tasker” can’t just show a whole page instead of the puny one row. Then you could see everything that you had running. This concept is some pretty eye candy, pretty functional, too.

      It could work for me as I’m assuming that sliding on the icons is optional. But then again, this concept uses all of the screen anyway, so why not just show all of the running apps instead of just 7?

      Eye candy is great, but I just want quick, speedy, and efficient functionality.

      • Beta382

        Well, back to the point of info overload, there is such thing as too much. “All or as many” to an extent; a full page switcher with icons would be pointless (might as well go back to the SpringBoard!) I think that beyond two rows of icons, it starts to become a bit cluttered, and we get back to the switcher slowing you down because there is too much to process.

      • bw00ds

        I disagree. With screens as small as they are (not considering iPads, just phones and Touches) a full screen of icons would not be overload. Unless you had tons of apps running and you tweaked it so that you crammed more than 5 x 5 or 5 x 6 on the screen. *That* would be overload. With the familiarity of icons, the brain can process quickly what it would see on a 4″ screen.

        The difference between a Springboard and a page full of icons, of course, is load up time. Now that you bring up Springboard, how long does it take you to find the icon you want? Not much time at all, correct? Sure, you have the positioning memorized probably, but you also have the icons memorized, too.

        Also, if you have THAT many apps running to fill a whole page, then I say it still would be faster to find than having to swipe through to see more icons, then restarting the process of icon recognition.

        At any rate, MultiStorey is a great find and works really well, I think.

    • http://www.eraser.org B. Braun

      Try Zephyr with Mission Board Pro and your’e good to go…

      • http://www.facebook.com/mista.bozack Mista Bozack

        you absolutely right dude!

    • bw00ds

      I’m with you Beta382 on this one. I say, what is the advantage of seeing a preview, anyway? It’s not like any app has several instances running or several docs open at once. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean it is efficient. So can anyone explain why a preview is necessary that it would make you change your mind as to whether you would switch to that app or not? I’m not challenging you, just curious as to the answer.

  • http://twitter.com/reloadedhead Tom García

    Beautifull! But I preffer the WebOS based concept of yesterday.

    • Guest

      *cough*retard*cough*

  • http://twitter.com/SleetuiChan Sleetui Chan

    Well will this tweak actually NOT crash like Auxo does or what b/c I sometimes think developers need to release a fully workable, debugged hack.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

    Nice, easy to use, what more can a user want in all honesty.. .

  • irvingt13

    Ok. Sorry if this is a dumb question but what is the name of the tweak? I searched App Switcher and couldn’t find it in Cydia.

    • Damian W

      would you mind reading the article first?

      • irvingt13

        Ok. I read it again. And I really don’t see the name. I see the maker”Sentry” and App Switcher. But like I said I searched it and it didn’t come up.

      • Beta382

        Read the very last line. Place unusual emphasis on the last word.

      • Damian W

        it is only a concept or idea how switcher should look like. This tweak does not exist yet, and probably will not appear in Cydia for a long time if ever.

      • seyss

        it is not a tweak yet, just a concept

      • irvingt13

        Lol. My bad guys. I missed the word “Concept”. Thanks for not eating me alive.

      • Damian W

        no worries.

    • Guest

      Usually I would start offending you now, but instead I am telling you how pitiful you are…

      • irvingt13

        Hmm. I see. Even after I know you had to have seen that this was corrected, u still had to be a very sad person. But it’s ok. I know you’re probably some really fat guy who’s stuck in the basement watching porn all day and reading tech blogs and is so miserable that you’d try to make other miserable with u. Or some insecure guy/girl who was probably bullied as a kid; rejected by others and is now the hiding behind his “guest” disqus ID trying to make others feel stupid. You didn’t make me feel stupid asshole and I don’t need your pity. I knew it was dumb on my part so u gets no credit. So go back to your shitty little miserable,touched by his father, lonely life. Have a great day pitiful shithead! Lmao!! Oh and I won’t respond to anything else you may say after reading this “rud0lf77″

      • http://twitter.com/rud0lf77 rud0lf77

        Hah. You are probably everything you said and now try to make others feel bad. But you can’t and do you know why? Because you are nothing.
        You have to understand that your last few sentences were actually proving that you are some little shit which was (or is) hated by his own parents and never achieved anything in life. It’s really sad to know that people like you exist, it would be a gift to mankind if you decided to shoot yourself. Really, that’s no joke. Please, take a gun to your head and pull the trigger. Nobody is going to miss you. Have a nice day, little kid.

      • irvingt13

        Your response with you “trying” to go harder just proves I hit a sore spot. Lmao. I can almost guarantee I’ve achieved more in life than u. The fact that you sat in front of a screen and replied awful things to more than one person on here proves u have no life. I said I wouldn’t respond but u are so funny. U probably refreshed your browser every couple of seconds waiting for a response. Lol. I will leave this alone now because I have a real life to get to and not stare at a glowing screen for ever. Have a great day shithead.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zeljko-Nikolic/1646404156 Zeljko Nikolic

    This concept is ok but i have a better one:Imagine to invoke the appswitcher like in the video but the the small app icons should be like overlaying scrollable cards from the down left side of the screen to the upper right corner.The preview should be in the upper left corner and the opened app before the switch should be in the down right corner.The imagination is this:Invoke the appswitcher withe swipe up,put your finger in the middle of the screen,then scroll through the cards forward with up-right drag or back with a down-left drag.The middle sized preview in the left upper corner changes to the desired app but the lower right side preview is the opened app and stays the same.and now:still holding the desired card drag your finger to the upper left preview to chang app or release the appswitcher and click on the lower right side to return to your opened app.the positive on this idea is that:if you open the appswitcher,after closing, again you can switch between two apps by clicking the upperleft or the downright preview.this concept is very comfortable for your thumb.in the video you see:when he opens the last app(maps) his thumb is down right and very near to your “hand”.thats unconfortable.i hope somebody understands my german-english…in my idea there should be a left or righthanded option.would be a very good design,tooThink about it…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zeljko-Nikolic/1646404156 Zeljko Nikolic

      the same prob with the thumb on the apple switcher if you just use one hand to control the iphone…like most of us i think..give me a thumb up if you like it!!I typed an an hour for that… :-)

  • http://twitter.com/MrAxlee Alex c:

    Lets hope Sentry actually gets this one made rather than making us all excited and not deliver.

  • sadaN

    Shut up and take my money!

    • seyss

      gay

  • Byron Davis

    Wave launcher does this on android.

  • iBanks

    Reminds me of the tweak “Dock” from back in the day with the little star burst in the corner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Makavelli.1 Joseph A. Ahmad

    I like where they’re going with this, but I’m not sure how I feel about the activating method. This is one I’d have to see come to life and actually see.

  • jay

    Always say that apple can’t change the whole iOS because they are not like android were you can get one update a life cycle of a phone and apples iPhone 3GS still can run iOS 6!

  • jay

    Do I want to install that? Hell yeah but to risky because of no more jailbreak!

  • http://twitter.com/HeitorStifler Heitor Castro 

    Better than the current app switching but I rather that Jesse Head’s concept.

  • http://twitter.com/MikeyHundredsss MIKEY☠HNDRD$

    App Switcher there, App Switcher here, App Switcher concepts, everywhere.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      yup and no real backgrounding option at all this is very sad..

  • Jeff H

    i liked it better back in the day when things were just released no concept needed

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      welcome to the generation of hype.. everything is hyped up these days.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    OOMG can a dev please work on backgrounder please.. all the damn switchers to switch to apps tat are not even running

    • http://twitter.com/rud0lf77 rud0lf77

      Dude, stop. You are asking for a Backgrounder Tweak on almost every post about development of a Tweak or Concept.

      • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

        umm go to hell … they can make 100000 damn switched teaks but not pone real back grounding tweak???? i will ask for it until it is made and you can get comfortable in hell..

      • Guest

        I was not insulting anyone, you little kid.
        Nobody wants a “real back grounding tweak” (a Tweak for real multitasking), you are one of the few idiots.

        P. S.: Can’t wait for you to join me in hell.

      • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

        “Nobody wants a “real back grounding tweak”" < that is the dumbest thing i have seen written on the internet ever so you are no longer worthy of responses…

  • David Villamizar

    How will he do if he got more than 7 apps at once?
    How will he reach the others?

    • Kurt

      Apple won’t allow it.

  • Kurt

    I like it. Anything webOS-ish is a good thing in my book.

  • Antzboogie

    Love the new concepts looks very fresh and sleek.

  • http://www.facebook.com/PwnHkr Dylan Lane C. Knox

    They really should implement this feature in iOS. it looks amazing, and i might even switch my android for something like this. But only because of this =P

  • Tim smith

    How about u stop making concepts and creating them for real

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      no we dont need anymore damn switchers..

  • Chindavon

    Oh I like that. Gives it a Mac feel and looks smooth and new!

  • iospixel

    That would be kinda of cool. Perhaps an area of the screen susceptible to a double tap or press and hold even when the device is locked. I don’t think an apple logo mind, although there is always one on the device…

  • http://www.facebook.com/mista.bozack Mista Bozack

    BYE BYE auxo!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sam.alphaone Sam Sproul

    makes me think that there would be too much of a learning curve with this, Apple Store employees would forever be asking questions about how this works.

    assuming this would ever make it into the real iOS

  • BoardDWorld

    It’s like Ubuntu Touch only it runs from the bottom and not the side.