It’s the Little Things: The New Share Sheet In iPadOS

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There are a lot of major changes and new features in both iOS and iPadOS 13. However, sometimes it’s the little things that initially go unnoticed that have a big impact on everyday usage. For me, the new redesigned Share Sheet is one of those small but impactful changes that just clears things up a bit and makes a good feature that much better.

The current iOS Share Sheet can be traced back to the major changes to the basic design of iOS in iOS 7. While that visual style has been adapted over the last six years, a lot of the basic concepts still remain. While more changes came with App Extensibility in iOS 8, the Share Sheet has remained largely untouched since then.

Until now. While it wasn’t one of the big tent pole changes revealed on stage last week, the Share Sheet is a “nuts and bolts” part of iOS that many of us use multiple times a day. That makes any change a big deal to people like me. This much-needed revamp cleans up the design, making the different sections and features much more organized and easy to understand.

There are a couple of obvious difference between this version and what we had in iOS 12. First off is a clear title at the top showing exactly what you are sharing. This adds clarity as you search for the correct app or action to go with.

Next up there is an updated sharing shortcuts section. Originally this was designed for AirDrop only, but it has now been opened up to other recommendations, as well. In my case, there are several iMessage shortcut recommendations. If you email via the Share Sheet often, you should get that as a choice, as well.

The App section has changed the least amount in iOS 13. However, those changes are meaningful. In the past, depending on the app, you could have quite a string of choices in this list. While you could sort through the apps and show or hide them, that can be tedious for a long list.

The new Share Sheet flips that script, with only eight apps and a More button available. Now the clutter is offloaded to the revamped More section.

As you can see here, this is no longer just an editing menu. Now you can scroll through this easy to read list and more easily select from a wider array of choices.

The Apps list is still your place to organize your application for sharing and working with data, but now you only have to worry about the top eight. The five in Favorites will always show up first, with the last three depending on your apps as they change over time. In my opinion, this is just a cleaner and easier way of doing things.

The Actions section of the Share Sheet saw the biggest changes in iOS and iPadOS 13.

As you can see here, Actions are now always shown in a vertical scrolling list. This is FAR clearer and easier to use than before, as it is now possible to display a lengthier text description of each Action. In the previous Share Sheet design it often wasn’t clear what some items in the Actions list did. One example is why some apps would have Actions as well as an entry under the Apps list. With a better description, it is clearer and easier to see what the purpose of each Action is.

While many more choices show up under the new Actions than you get in Apps, there is still room for additional choices and ability to organize under the More option.

As you can see, there is no Favorites section under Actions. This is just a straight list. However, you do have the ability to re-order apps and to hide apps from showing up in the main Share Sheet’s list.

None of these changes to the Share Sheet is groundbreaking, but then again, they didn’t need to be. This has been a strong functional feature since iOS 7, even if the form needed some work.  Apple did a really nice job of touching up the form while only enhancing the function. That is just the kind of evolutionary change that can take a good feature and make it great. Again, sometimes it’s the little things.



James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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