Pull to refresh. You do it everyday. Probably every hour, maybe half hour, maybe you’re a Twitter addict and you do it constantly. Facebook, Tweetbot, and a number of other iOS apps use the “pull-to-refresh” feature, but a quick look at Apple’s native apps reveal an interesting consistency, the feature is absent.
Turns out, a company applied for a “Pull to refresh” patent and that company is Twitter.
Twitter a patent titled “User Interface Mechanics” with Loren Brichter listed as the inventor. Brichter is the creator of Tweetie, which if you remember, was the app Twitter acquired back in 2010 that would later become the official iOS Twitter client.
However, the pending patent application doesn’t just want to claim the pull-to-refresh command, they want to go after everything that involves issuing a command to pull down a menu.
Methods, computer readable media, and apparatuses for providing enhanced user interface mechanics are presented. In one arrangement, a scrollable list of content items may be displayed. Input associated with a scroll command may be received. Then, based on the scroll command, a scrollable refresh trigger may be displayed. Subsequently, the scrollable list of content items may be refreshed in response to determining, based on the scroll command, that the scrollable refresh trigger has been activated. In at least one instance, it may be determined that the scrollable refresh trigger has been activated in response to determining that the scroll command was completed while the scrollable refresh trigger was fully displayed. — United States Patent Application 20100199180
Hopefully, Twitter doesn’t feel the need to enforce the patent (there’s no confirmation USPTO granted Twitter the patent), especially considering how natural the feature is within the iOS universe. Apple even uses the pull-to-refresh feature in its internal apps like Concierge.