Developer uncovers drag and drop support for iPhone in iOS 11

One of the standout features in iOS 11 is support for drag and drop, which allows iPad users to easily move things such as links and images between applications. Though, the feature is limited to iPad users as Apple works to make the device more of a PC replacement.

Developer Steven Troughton-Smith, however, has discovered how to enable inter-application drag and drop on iPhone…

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Smith explained in a series of tweets that drag and drop on iPhone is currently hidden deep inside the iOS filesystem, but that it is there and has seemingly been tested and considered by Apple as a potential feature.

Drag and drop works similarly on iPhone to how it does on iPad. For instance, it supports dragging an image file from Photos between albums or even all the way to a Messages thread. There’s also support for dragging links and bookmarks.

The question that remains, however, is what Apple’s plans are for the feature. Currently, drag and drop can’t be enabled by the end-user, but rather via the iOS simulator. Smith speculates that one possibility is Apple will make the on-screen home button with the iPhone 8 a “drop target” for drag and drop.

If Apple’s gonna have an onscreen home button on the iPhone 8, it would make a lot of sense to spring-load it for drag & drop. A drop target.

He also explains that once people see drag and drop in action, they’re going to want it on their iPhone and the feature will nearly instantly be copied by jailbreak developers, thus pushing more people to jailbreak their device.

Drag & drop being such a transformative feature, once people see it working [on jailbroken iPhones], they’ll want it. Here’s the thing—if Apple doesn’t enable Drag & Drop for iPhone, everybody will want to jailbreak to get it. That isn’t in Apple’s interests.

Clearly it works great, and they’re using it internally. If you want to see drag & drop on iPhone, you’re going to have to make some noise.

If Apple is indeed saving drag and drop support for the iPhone 8, we’ll have to wait until September to see it. Nevertheless, it’s notable (and somewhat surprising) that Apple is even considering drag and drop for the iPhone.

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