Developer tweaks iOS 11 to enable drag and drop on iPhone

In yesterday’s tweetstorm, iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith explained that he had successfully turned on full drag and drop support on iPhone by making some changes to the iOS 11 developer beta code.

After adjusting a few settings in a preferences .plist file within the UIKit framework to make it work, he posted an iOS simulator video showing the ability to drag items between different apps on the phone.

The implementation is a bit clunky because iOS 11 does not bring the iPad’s much-enhanced Dock to iPhone, meaning your must use both hands to switch apps while dragging an object.

Normally, iOS 11 does support drag and drop on iPhone out of the box, but only within apps.

For instance, the new Files app allows you to drag a file and drop it on a folder. You can also drag a file with one finger and tap the Back button with another finger to move it to a different location. However, true inter-application drag and drop is not possible on iPhone without making changes to the iOS 11 developer beta code.

Apple has not talked about basic drag and drop support on iPhone at WWDC.

We’re certainly not expecting any miracles in subsequent betas in terms of providing feature parity for drag and drop across iPhone and iPad. For the sake of completeness, Troughton-Smith did speculate that inter-app drag and drop may be reserved for iPhone 8.

“If Apple’s gonna have an on-screen Home button on iPhone 8, it would make a lot of sense to spring-load it for drag and drop,” he wrote on Twitter.

Would full drag and drop make sense on iPhone, do you think?