Apple granted patent for iOS app folders, ‘jiggle’ interface

Apple patent iOS jiggle (drawing 003)

Apple Tuesday was granted a patent for how it manages folders on the company’s iOS devices, including the familiar “jiggle” user interface. The patent, awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, describes a “device, method, and graphical user interface for managing folders.” In the 2010 application, Apple said the interface relieves the “significant cognitive burden” and wasted energy traditionally required for moving files and icons on a computer desktop…

Apple argues existing solutions for managing folders on mobile devices require multiple steps:

For example, using a sequence of inputs to create, modify and/or delete folders and content within folders is tedious and creates a significant cognitive burden on a user.

In addition, existing methods take longer than necessary, thereby wasting energy.

The iPhone maker then revealed some interesting insight into its ‘jiggle’ interface for iOS, an action indicating the desktop is ready for manipulating.

“The selectable user interface objects jiggle as though they are floating on water,” Apple remarks in one description of the process.

The company’s U.S. Patent No. 8,423,911 filing outlines a multifunction device which displays a plurality of selectable user interface objects on the display.

In response to detecting the first input, the device moves a first object in the plurality of selectable user interface objects across the display to a location on the display that is proximate to a second object in the plurality of selectable user interface objects.

In response to detecting that the first input meets predefined folder-creation criteria while the first object is proximate to the second object, the device creates a folder that contains the first object and the second object.

At another point, Apple outlines a “folder creation region” on a device’s screen that a user could touch, launching an animation of an empty folder.

That step was actually never included in iOS 4, the first version of the Apple software for its mobile devices. Instead, in current implementation users create an iOS folder simply by sliding one folder icon atop another.