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settings in app or under preferences?

Discussion in 'iPhone/iPad Programming' started by liptonlover, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Which way is better? I've seen plenty of both.

    From a developer's perspective, I think doing it in your app would be easier. Plus, you can use any custom graphics you have on it.

    From a user's perspective I think doing it in the app is better as well. I HATE having to go to preferences, especially for some tiny little thing I want to change. Then you have to quit the app you're in, go to prefs, quit prefs, and reload the app you were using. And if you have a lot of apps with settings in the preferences app, it takes a while to load. Finally, if the app you were using is a big one, it can take a while to load the app when you launch, which is even worse.

    Does anyone disagree?
  2. macrumors member

    I don't have them in front of me at the moment but I think Apple's guidelines (which are what should ultimately dictate what you do regardless of personal opinion) say to place settings that are going to be changed once (login information, for example) in preferences and those that will be changed more frequently (sound effects on or off, for example) in the app.

    Having said that, Apple needs to provide an API that allows you to launch the preferences screen for your app the first time the app is run and then return to the app after changes have been made.

  3. macrumors 6502a

    So all those devs that put sound settings and such in prefs are just being annoying? <_<
  4. macrumors member

    There's definitely less programming involved if you use the Settings app. You just create some plists and most of the work is done for you. You can then access the settings from your app very easily. The main drawback is that you can't do any programming even if you want to. So if you want to verify a login is correct, for example, it's just not possible from within the Settings app. The other big problem, from the user's point of view, is that they may not even realize you have settings there.

    The advantage of having the settings in your app is that you have full control, but that also means you have to do all the work. It's not too hard to create a similar interface, but it does take time and I've run into one actual bug in the SDK as well as a couple of frustrating quirks to work around. The other disadvantage is you have to find a place to put this stuff... not always a problem, but with a small device your interface can get cluttered fast.

    Apple's recommendation is often good, but it really has to be decided on a case-by-case basis. I wanted to put some settings in the Settings app, but I just couldn't because of the limitations.
  5. macrumors member

  6. macrumors member

    Putting Settings in your app is a bit more work that relying on the Settings app, but (as has been pointed out before,) users will be more likely to find them there, and will not have to quit the app to change anything.

    One thing that hasn't been emphasized enough, methinks, is that having your own Settings screen offers you MUCH more flexibility than relying on the Settings app, which is downright claustrophobic in what it will let you do. For example, if the user is using Settings to decide on a soundfield for some part of the app, and the Settings screen is an actual part of the app, they can hear an example of their choice, rather than having to flip back and forth in and out of the app.


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