Apple enhanced the sharing features with the iPhone 5 and iOS 6. In addition to options like email and text, users can now share with Facebook, Twitter and more, directly from the share menu. It’s very handy but also posted a challenge to developers: how to display every option in a way that’s not cluttered or overwhelming. The team succeeded by replacing the text-based list with a grid of icons.
What’s available varies between applications and scenarios. In this post, I’ll look at the various share menus in iOS 6 and point out the similarities and differences. Let’s get started.
One quick aside first. The glasses depicted in the Add to Reading List button above are consistent with the icon in Safari for Mac. It made me remember that there used to be an icon in iBooks that resembled Steve Jobs’ famous round specs, which is apparently absent in iBooks in iOS 6. Bummer.
The Share Button
The share button itself looks like an arrow jumping out of a box. It’s consistent across all of these apps. The one possible exception is in Notes, where the icon appears to be hand-drawn, as are the app’s other icons.
Here’s the share menu in Notes. It’s pretty basic: Mail, Message, Print and Copy. I like the texture in the grey icons. Tap any one to share the note accordingly. It’s odd that you can’t tweet from Notes, as it would make a nice repository of draft tweets. I guess that’s what Drafts is for.
iBooks 3.0 lets you share a portion of text (and attach a link to the original work in the iBookstore). The options are Mail, Message, Twitter, Facebook and Copy.
The App Store
Twitter and Facebook are additional options from the App Store. Note how the top of the share menu lines up perfectly with the edge of the app description. Very nice. Also, the option to copy the app’s URL is very handy.
As you’d expect, iTunes offers the same options as the App Store.
The same as the last two, minus the option to copy a link.
The Photos app is the only one of Apple’s apps to have share options across two pages (note the white dots indicating a second page is available). On the first screen, you’ll find Mail, Messages, Photo Stream, Twitter, Facebook, Assign to Contact, Print, Copy and Share to Camera Roll:
Use as Wallpaper is the lone option on the second screen:
Apple’s Podcasts app features the familiar five: Mail, Messages, Twitter, Facebook and Copy.
There are two unique options in Safari: Bookmark and Add to Reading List.
Apple Store app
Wait, what’s this? A text list! Yes, the Apple Store app has a text-based list instead of pretty icons. Poor Apple Store app.
There’s a look at the share menus in Apple’s iOS 6 for iPhone and iPad. I think it looks great, and the icons can be recognized instantly. Well done, Apple.
Update: Benjamin Mayo notes that the “Open In…” menu also uses a grid in iOS 6, and so it does (see below). As Benjamin says, “[It’s] definitely a better look for that menu, because you can clearly see the Dropbox app icon for instance.”