Finally, iOS Control Center!

From the It's-About-Bloody-Time Dept., Apple finally gives iDevice users a fast and easy way to access important settings.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
Caption: Separated at birth? Apple's new Control Center definitely borrows from Android's similar tool, but adds a few handy extras. Screenshot by Lynn La/CNET

If you happened to watch Apple's WWDC keynote yesterday, you probably noticed that one of the biggest crowd responses -- the largest chorus of "oohs" and "ahhs" -- came when Tim Cook unveiled Control Center.

And no wonder: It took Apple six years to add a feature Android users have enjoyed since almost the beginning. If you wanted these capabilities on your iPhone, you'd have to jailbreak it and install SBSettings.

No more. Control Center has arrived -- or will arrive, anyway, once iOS 7 splashes down this fall -- bringing with it a quick-access settings screen that's sure to thrill nearly every iDevice user. (Control Center easily took second place in yesterday's poll asking which iOS 7 feature was the most exciting. Only "the new look" of the OS beat it.)

In case you missed the keynote (and half the ensuing posts here on CNET), Control Center is the swipe-from-the-bottom counterpart to swipe-from-the-top Notification Center. Among the quick-access tools you've have at your fingertips:

  • One-tap toggles for Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and orientation lock
  • A screen-brightness slider
  • Full music-player controls, including now-playing info and a scrubber
  • Access to AirDrop and AirPlay
  • Flashlight, Timer, Calculator, and Camera buttons

Of course, welcome as these options may be, they're not exactly revolutionary. The sound I'm hearing in my head right now is about a million Android users crying out, "So what? We've had that for years!" Eh. Can't you let us enjoy our moment?

That said, I can't deny the similarities between Control Center and Android's own, er, control center. Of course, the latter also mixes in notifications, while iOS keeps them separate. Time will tell if one proves a more practical approach.

Personally, I'm overjoyed by Control Center's arrival, insanely late though it may be. The flashlight alone is a killer convenience, to say nothing of the fast access to Bluetooth and brightness settings (which I use frequently).

What you do think about it? Did Apple rightly borrow a page from the book of Android? Does Control Center have every feature you want? If not, what's missing?

Double-take: Is Apple's iOS 7 really all that new-looking? (pictures)

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