Apple Books has been my go-to reading app for years for one very specific reason: its page-turning animation is by far the best in the business. Sadly, that disappeared with iOS 16 and has been replaced with a new animation that makes it feel like you’re moving cards through a deck rather than flipping through a digitized version of paper. And despite trying to get used to the change since entering the beta in July, I still feel like Apple destroyed one of the last ways my phone brought joy to my life.
For those unfamiliar with Apple’s Books app (formerly known as iBooks), I’ll try to explain the hole that has suddenly been cut in my reading life. Before iOS 16, the app would play a page-turning animation when you tap or swipe the left or right edge of your device.
It wasn’t just cheap, ready-made animation, though; it was one of the pinnacles of the skeuomorphic aesthetic that ruled Apple’s mobile operating system. The animation is different depending on whether you swipe from the top, center, or center of the screen and follow your finger; if you swipe from the bottom and then go up, the “page” curls up instead of flipping to the side. If you start swiping, change your mind and move your finger back to the edge, the “page” will fall back down, unturned.
As far as I know, that experience is completely gone in iOS 16, replaced by an animation that wouldn’t look out of place in a Tinder rip-off or PDF viewing tool. I’ve searched every screen in Books and Settings I can think of and haven’t found a way to get the old flipping animation back. The only option I’ve found to change the page-turning experience is the one that eliminates it completely by turning the book into a single vertically scrolling page, which I somehow find even more offensive than the new one. animation (although, just to be clear, that was also in the old version of the app).
Now I’m not going to sit here and criticize why all the other reading apps I’ve used fell short of the Apple version in its heyday – how they either don’t bother to include a page turn animation or don’t get the nuances capturing shadows and how a real page responds to your touch. Not because I don’t want to, of course, but because I feel it’s better to just show you a bunch of GIFs so you can see for yourself.
Fans of e-readers might argue that I should read on a dedicated device that isn’t as subject to ever-changing software – and I’ve admittedly found that a physical page-turn button causes the same itch Apple’s animation used to , even if the transitions on e-ink displays are usually pretty huh. But even buying a Kobo or Boox or something like that wouldn’t help me with the dozens of books I’ve already bought on Apple’s platform.
I’m sure there are plenty of people who think this is absolutely ridiculous to complain about; i just can to feel people type “wow, slow news day?” comments. And yes, I fully admit that this may be a somewhat petty article about a very small thing that probably won’t matter to a whole lot of other people. But it was really a feature that made me choose to buy e-books on Apple’s platform rather than someone else’s – and since most bookstores and reading apps are broadly the same, they’re really the details that lock you into an ecosystem. The iOS 16 version of the Books app has some really good upgrades, but it’s no longer a joy to use; and to me that is a real shame.