iOS Needs Location Based Hardware Profiles

Something occurred to me the other day while walking to my car and fiddling with my iPhone to turn on bluetoothBluetooth Fiddling in order to enable hands-free. Apple should implement a hardware profile system that would allow you to setup a number of different profiles to manage device settings. I haven’t googled this, so someone else has probably already suggested this, however, here is my take.


With the current settings implementation in iOS, you have to dig a few layers deep into the settings menu to enable bluetooth. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to keep bluetooth enabled all the time. Why waste battery unnecessarily? Maybe I’m lazy, but all that tapping just frustrates me sometimes all the time.


You might say, just jailbreak and use SBSettings. I’ve done this in the past and it is fantastically handy to be able to swipe the status bar and have direct access to your most used hardware settings. Obviously jailbreaking is always an option, but not everyone wants to do that, nor should they have to.


Why not have a system similar to the Network Locationslocation setting in the Network preferences pane in OS X? That setting allows you to configure various network settings depending on your location (Does anyone actually use this?). It is great for laptop users that need different network settings at home and at work (wifi on/off, manual IP/DHCP etc). 


Here is how I picture this working in iOS:


  • You define a number of different locations. Could be: Work, Home, Car

  • At work you need the phone configured in the following way: wifi on, bluetooth off, VPN on.

  • At home you need wifi on, bluetooth off, VPN off.

  • In the car you need wifi off, bluetooth on, VPN off.

  • When you change the location (perhaps on the top of the Settings page, above Airplane mode) all the configured hardware settings change.

Obviously these scenarios could be more complex and include things like tethering, location services and pretty much anything you can change in Settings. It could even go so far as to incorporate ringer settings (although not silent since that is controlled via hardware). The idea isn’t to setup ringer profiles (ala Motorola or Blackberry phones), but whole device hardware settings, depending on the location. 


I know, this starts to seem very un-Apple like: too technical, nerdy etc. but every time I go to turn on bluetooth, I wish for it.


There are lots of ‘Apple should do this’ and ‘Apple should do that’ but I have no doubt that they could pull this off with their usual elegance. Good idea? Bad idea? What do you think?