Apple, Inc. released iOS 7 last week, its latest and greatest operating system for its mobile devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). The last time Apple offered an update to its iOS, several IconLogic staffers wasted little time and installed the update. Some of us paid the price for being zealous. There was lost data (a few iPads lost Contacts, Calendars, photos or all three), performance issues and bugs.
This time we resisted the temptation to immediately download and install the new iOS wholesale. Instead, I selected a single iPad 3 to serve as a guinea pig. After backing up the iPad's data, I went to Settings > General > Software Update. The download file is huge--I'd suggest plugging your device into a power source prior to downloading. And because iOS 7 is such a large download, you'll need to be connected to Wi-Fi. Once the download completed for me, it only took a few moments to install the software.
The first thing you'll notice after restarting the newly updated mobile device is that the security keypad has been redesigned (assuming you have assigned a password to your device). Upon accessing the device, you'll then notice that the interface has a fresh, clean look and feel. Personally, I like the new look, but I've read several reviews where people simply didn't like it.
|Images courtesy Apple.com.|
I'm not going to spend any time here discussing the pros or cons of the new look since it's really a personal preference. Instead, I'd like to cover a few of the cooler features I've found and where some of the old features have gone.
Closing An Application: It used to be that closing an application required you to press the Home button twice, which displayed the running applications along the bottom of the screen. From there you would press and hold any of the application icons and tap a red minus sign to close the application. In iOS 7, you still press the Home button twice to display running applications. However, if you press and hold an application icon, you no longer get a minus sign. In iOS 7, you simply swipe up to close an application. Personally, I like the change (once I figured it out). In the old iOS, I constantly had people tell me that the minus sign didn't make sense. Those folks typically confused the red minus sign with the minimize button found in Windows. The general feeling was that the minus sign was counter-intuitive. (Don't even get me started with telling you about how many people intended to close an application, only to delete it. It seems that many folks confused the "x" that appeared on an icon when attempting to delete an application with the minus sign meant for closing an application.)
Searching: In previous versions of the iOS, pressing the Home button multiple times took you to a Spotlight Search window. Since I am constantly losing which screen contains specific applications (and I have around 9 screens), I relied on the Search window a ton. In iOS 7, I was dismayed to find the the Search window appeared to be removed. I quickly discovered, however, that it hasn't been removed, only moved. To bring up the Search window, simply swipe any window down to reveal a Search panel at the top of the screen.
Teaching Siri a Thing Or Two: In the previous iOS, Siri had a hard time pronouncing some words. In iOS 7, you can simply say "you didn't pronounce that correctly" or "that's not how you pronounce that" and a series of screens will appear where you can train Siri. You can now also use Siri to enable or disable such features on your device such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Simply press and hold the Home button to start Siri and say, for example, "Turn on Wi-Fi."
Adding Message Timestamps: If you've sent text messages with the Apple mobile devices, you know that a time stamp was added at the beginning of a conversation. Curious to learn when a message was sent in iOS 7? Swipe the message bubble to the left.
Improving Performance Issues: I noticed that my iPad lagged a bit after installing iOS 7 (I could actually out-type the keyboard, which is saying something given how "fast" I type. After resetting all of my settings, the speed returned. Here are some things to try if you notice your mobile device slows down after installing iOS 7.
- Reset your settings. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings. Note: If you go this route, you will have to enter all of your device settings again (such as your Wi-Fi keys). You won't lose any data, but it takes time to re-enter all of the settings.
- Restart the Device. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds until the red "slide to power off" slider appears, and then slide the slider. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.
- Reset Your Device. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button together for at least ten seconds, until the Apple logo appears. Apple recommends this only if you are unable to restart it.
Found a cool iOS 7 feature? Please share via a comment below.
Note: As with all software updates, there are bugs. One of the bugs I mention above is a loss of performance. Beyond bugs, some of the applications currently on your device may no longer work with the new iOS. Prior to updating to any new OS, ensure your favorite applications either have an update or will continue to work. If you're nervous about bugs, consider holding back on upgrading until patches are announced by Apple. (iOS 7.1 can't be that far behind.)