iOS 7 Review
The new, simpler, flatter user interface starts with the installation itself. Both the Apple logo and the progress bar give a hint that things will get much more minimalistic once you install iOS 7. And they certainly do. Once the installation is complete, you're greeted to the new lockscreen, which is... very similar to the old one, really, and will eagerly display upcoming appointments, missed calls and messages, as well as other app notifications.
The UI clearly indicates that you have to swipe to the right in order to unlock the phone, but there are two new elements. There are small handles positioned at the bottom and the top of the screen, indicating that you can pull upwards and downwards, respectively, in order to reveal... something.
Control Center. It is a much-appreciated new addition to iOS, as it gives you quick access to frequently used toggles, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Screen Rotation. It also let's you set the display brightness, use the music player controls, the torch, timer, calculator or some other functions such as the new AirDrop, which allows you to wirelessly share content with other iOS 7 users. The problem with Control Center, is that you can accidentally pull it up if you are scrolling through a list of something (contacts, apps, emails, messages, a web page, etc.), especially if you're using the phone in landscape mode, when there's less room to scroll and you're more likely to touch the bottom edge. Additionally, if you are on the lockscreen and try to open Control Center, you may accidentally open the camera instead, because its shortcut isn't that far from the center (where the Control Center handle is), and the gesture used to start the camera is exactly the same (upwards pull). Still, we definitely like the idea of Control Center and will certainly use it a lot. That's one feature iOS needed desperately. Oh, and by the way, you can access Control Center from each and every screen in iOS 7, including when running an app.
Notification Center. And we have to say, the new one is not bad at all, as it tries to be a bit more human by displaying notifications like "The first thing on your calendar today is "Visit grandma", in 30 minutes," or "Tomorrow: There is one event scheduled for 10:00 AM. Your calendar looks clear in the afternoon." Overall, the new Notification Center looks cool, but we can't really understand why the current weather conditions and the forecast have to be written in text, instead of being displayed in the old way, which was a self-explaining graphic widget. It would have been much more intuitive if we could just see a sunny icon with a large number for the temperature written right next to it, rather than having to read the following piece of text "Mostly sunny conditions with 35 kph winds out of the west. The high will be 21°. Clear tonight with a low of 10°." And is the wind speed really so important to be placed in the Notification Center? Anyways, we might be nitpicking here. Just like Control Center, Notification Center can be pulled down in every screen that you may be in. So no matter if you're playing a game, watching a movie, or something else, checking your appointments and other notifications will always be one swipe away (two, actually: one to display the down arrow, and another one to pull it down).
Anyway, let's turn our attention to the new icons. Well, the icons are... let's just say that they have a somewhat simpler, more colorful, and even childish look to them. Some love them, others hate them, end of story. Actually, there's one more thing - the clock is now animated and will show the correct time. Sadly, the weather app won't - it's just a static icon with a cloud and a sun drawn on it. It's very cool that icons can now be animated (the seconds arrow is moving in real time), but it's a pity that this new piece of functionality hasn't been used for other apps as well. And by the looks of it, it probably won't be open to third-party app developers. Oh well, maybe in iOS 8...
Other than that, the iOS 7 homescreen works in exactly the same way as your old homescreen. You have your icons positioned over multiple pages, you can create folders with icons (that now have an almost unlimited capacity), and, as before, all of the system and app settings are stored within the Settings app. You may also notice that the leftmost homescreen page, which used to be dedicated to the universal 'Spotlight' search feature, is no longer present. Instead, you can access the universal search tool from any homescreen page by swiping downwards (as long as you don't swipe from the top, because that will pull the Notification Center down).
Aside from all that, Apple has incorporated some cool effects like animated wallpapers (as in Android), which look pretty cool and can be interacted with using the accelerometer. Static wallpapers also move around as you tilt your device in various directions, creating a pleasing sense of depth.
Such is the case with the Phone/Contacts app - it has pretty much the same functionality (five tabs: favorites, recents, contacts, keypad, voicemail), but just has a lighter theme. There is one notable new feature, though, and that's the ability to block certain contacts. The same observations are true for the Messages and Email applications.
Some apps, however, have really benefited from the new design. One such example is the Calendar. Although it doesn't really do anything new or different, the redesign has made if feel much more modern. Meanwhile, other organizer tools such as the Timer, the Alarms and the Stopwatch haven't gained so much from the redesign, but are still fine and work as expected.
The beloved Safari browser has made some good progress, as it now has a full-screen option in portrait mode, a unified search bar and a new tab view, which tends to be more convenient than the old one. You can still share webpages (now with AirDrop as well), bookmark, or add them to your reading list.
The stock Camera app has gotten a decent upgrade as well - it allows you to choose from a set of 8 photo filters, and it also sports a new 'square' photo mode, for those of you who would enjoy snapping square photos. The panorama picture option is once again here, of course, and so is HDR. If you've been hoping for some more advanced options, such as ISO, sharpness and so on, you're in for a disappointment, because the camera app is just as simple as before. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, because it's incredibly fast and easy to use. If you'd like a more "manual" experience, well, you'll surely find an app for that.
With iOS 7, Apple is introducing iTunes Radio, which is a new free music-streaming service. iTunes Radio is integrated in the music app, and lets you create your own music stations, based on genres. It will show ads to recoup some of the streaming costs, but hey, that's free music we're talking about here. iTunes Radio learns what you have liked before and creates similar alternative stations for you, and it can also remember your history so you have your preferred music on all your iDevices, which includes iOS 7-compatible iPhones, iPod touches, iPads, as well as the iTunes program on Mac and PC, and even Apple TV. By the way, the App Store and iTunes Store have been redesigned once again. They work in pretty much the same way as before, but their visuals have been altered so as to create a more immersive feel. It's a nice change.
iOS 7 also brings a new multitasking system which allows all apps (as in, all apps) to run in the background. You're accessing the multitasking UI in the good old way - by double-pressing the Home key, and we have to say that the new multitasking view works quite well. It's quite reminiscent of Windows Phone's multitasking menu, but better.
Siri, your smart personal assistant... is still here. But that's not much of a surprise. The news is that it has gotten even smarter, as it can now make better searches on Wikipedia, Bing and Twitter, in cases when she can't directly answer your question. You can have Siri do some basic things for you, such as changing the display brightness, or turning on/off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc. Finally, Apple has made the assistant much more customizable - for example, it can now have a male voice and speak in a number of new languages, such as German and French.
The "old" iOS look has been around for 7 years now, and it's been everywhere. We've gotten so used to it, that we're now finding it hard to embrace the new one. Still, we've asked for it. After 7 amazing years, we were ready to see some substantial change in what has been the industry's benchmark OS, and Apple has delivered. The result will surely not appeal to everyone, but if we give it some time, we believe it'll be quite easy to adjust to iOS 7. After all, it's still a great OS with tons of advanced functionality and the richest app ecosystem around.
Probably our biggest complaint about iOS 7 is that it still lacks some sort of widget-like functionality. It doesn't have to be widgets, it can be live-icons or whatever, but as of now, all you'll be getting is an animated clock and a calendar icon that shows the correct date; everything else will remain static. We're sure that such functionality is coming, but it'll probably be at least another year before it can grace our iPhones and iPads. At best.
At the end of the day, iOS 7 is a substantial update. With some useful new features like Control Center and iTunes Radio, as well as a fresh new appearance, the first (and probably most difficult) step towards modernization has been made. This isn't to say that it doesn't need more work - quite the contrary - it does, but with a new management and design team behind iOS, we're sure that only good things are in store for us going forward.
2. msa1988 (Posts: 417; Member since: 30 Mar 2010)
NEEDS WIFI?! I'M NOT NEAR WIFI! YOU SAID IT WAS OTA!!
9. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5954; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
They lied. Of course, they could have meant OTAOWF....
12. msa1988 (Posts: 417; Member since: 30 Mar 2010)
For real! OTA and 'Connected to Wi-Fi' are most certainly two separate things!
45. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5954; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Not if you are Apple. Apple has restricted true OTA updates to small updates from the get-go. Why would they change? Look how long it took them to put a rudimentary notification center into iOS. Be glad they are releasing iOS 7.
48. Chaseism (Posts: 82; Member since: 08 May 2013)
Might have to do with your carrier. The file is about 700MB large...if you don't have an unlimited plan, I don't think your carrier will want you doing that OTA...
57. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5954; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Unlimited plan is definitely a plan the carrier doesn't want you downloading an O/S upgrade on. The only time a carrier wants you to download an O/S upgrade is when there is the potential for you to get billed for exceeding the bucket.
3. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8922; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Apple did a great job with iOS 7 despite the negative feedback it got.
27. stealthd (Posts: 980; Member since: 12 Jun 2011)
I don't think fanboy bickering really counts as negative feedback.
31. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8922; Member since: 14 May 2012)
I forgot to mention websites. Should have clarified that a little more.
70. meowcenary (Posts: 187; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
The UI is too damn white and the UI reminds me of Samsung in some ways. Seriously someone loves Technicolor with a mix of acid over in Cupertino.
90. c.hack (Posts: 519; Member since: 09 Dec 2009)
Most of it is from fandroids still running one of the many versions of gingerbread that will never see an update on their obsolete 6 month old phone. Droid X2 or Bionic anyone?.
I think its awesome my 2 year old iPhone 4S got an OS update and still runs like new. You'll never see that with a droid.
10. msa1988 (Posts: 417; Member since: 30 Mar 2010)
So jealous. I won't have Wi-Fi access for another 4 hours!
29. Sakeem (Posts: 304; Member since: 05 Sep 2012)
Luckily I am at work. Actually upgrading one of the office Ipads and leaving the other one on 6 to make my own comparisons. 1 hour remaining.
49. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4108; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
Too bad they didn't better equip the iPod Touch 4, or else I would be enjoying it, sad. Time for an upgrade maybe?
67. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4108; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
Probably the 5th gen iPod Touch. Or maybe I'll retire my iPod and get the 5th gen iPad/2nd gen iPad mini.
36. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 4165; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
It's probably for the best. Only tmobile and sprint offer unlimited data while everyone else is capped. The amount of data used to download a super advanced OS is probably too much for a cellular connection to handle.
86. gentleman559 (Posts: 22; Member since: 08 Aug 2013)
Verizon is NOT even close to the fastest. I have T-Mobile and my internet speeds blow Verizon out of the water. Might want to rethink your comment. ;-)
66. sriuslywtf (Posts: 278; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)
Good time for a change! Love the attention to detail.
Guys! How about the battery life? Is it good?
55. DaHarder (Posts: 174; Member since: 10 Oct 2009)
Be Warned.... Many of us 'download' the update well enough but everything fails once it gets to the 'verification' stage.
My iPhone 5 iOS7 update had FAILED at the exact same point over 20 times already and neither my iPad Mini nor iPad 4 even get that far.
I'd recommend trying again in a few days so as to avoid the hassle of trying to update on release day.
59. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5954; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
There was a similar verification problem with iOS 4. The verification server went on holiday and refused all verification requests. More than one iPhone and iPad got bricked in that iteration. I am surprised Apple didn't learn from that experience.
64. DaHarder (Posts: 174; Member since: 10 Oct 2009)
Finally Got it To Install... So Far, So Meh?
I'm hoping that there's way to turn off all the needless zooming in and out and other visual distractions as they really make the entire UI feel disconcertingly laggy.
65. Quezdagreat (Posts: 427; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)
I don't remember him saying anything got bricked
72. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5954; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
I was referring to bricking that occurred during the verification problems with the iOS 4 upgrade. If phones/pads are bricking during the iOS 7 upgrade Apple did not learn from their past problems.
8. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5954; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Sounds like a work-in-progress. 8.5 is probably an appropriate score.
78. mobilefuture (Posts: 206; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
8.5 is acceptable if you consider it only as an upgrade to iOS 6. if you compare it to android....then it's a little unfair :/ although i'm still not sure what updates 4.3 had brought :/
16. fuzzkage (Posts: 17; Member since: 29 Dec 2012)
to bad i use h2o prepaid service i will have to wait for the jailbreak to have access to mms services :( ...
18. alaahershy (Posts: 34; Member since: 02 Jan 2013)
If Steve was still alive , iOS 7 will never be like this .....
R.I.P Steve jobs
23. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8922; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Yeah, it would look the same for 7 years in a row. UI overhaul was long overdue.
33. DaNTRoN (Posts: 135; Member since: 23 Jul 2012)
i agree that Jobs would not have passed ios7, as is. he loved skueomorphism. it was his dream for the desktop. i think he thought of the 'desktop' environment. Apple, of course, lives on without Steve, but if anyone thinks Apple is at all on the same path there is a disconnect between them, and reality.
not that Apple is worse off, as if you come to a fork in the road, neither path is right of wrong. you can either look at the forest or look at the tees, i believe Apple, now, is looking at the trees. Jobs took note of the forest.
84. pml122689 (Posts: 1; Member since: 20 Sep 2013)
I totally agree. Some of the functionality is nice though most of the changes seem unnecessary (almost like they're trying to attract and appease droid users) but I feel like my phone screen looks like a child's toy now. Doesn't feel like apple to me.
32. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8922; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Hundreds and millions of Android users.
34. tedkord (Posts: 5261; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
People who have actually used them and realize how useful they are.
Here's a partial list of some of the things that rabid iFans didn't care about in the past:
Notification drop down
Quick setting toggles
40. Sakeem (Posts: 304; Member since: 05 Sep 2012)
Good point. Sometimes you don't care about something until you have access to it. That goes for both sides.
71. Nimpuz (Posts: 8; Member since: 15 Mar 2012)
Yeah, when Android tried to implement things that iOS had had first they would call Android a cheap copycat OS.
But when it's vice versa iFans would say "Android isn't the first who put that in their OS, you know..."
So much for logic...
43. E.N. (Posts: 2362; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
Most people I know have widgets on their Android phones but don't really use them for anything, myself included. They look nice, but aside from that not very important.
50. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4108; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
The only widget I use just for aesthetic reasons is the stock 4.2 analog clock on my main home screen. Otherwise, I use widgets pretty regularly. That's just me though.
47. Quezdagreat (Posts: 427; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)
Widgets are for people who are too lazy to open a app. We didn't care about those features because they were on android.
52. DukeX (Posts: 327; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)
Nah widgets are for people who dnt have time to scroll through millions of app pages. If you owned a car shop would you remove tires with a basic tire iron or freakin power tool? Exactly....
62. Quezdagreat (Posts: 427; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)
That is a terrible excuse. I'm pretty sure a widget would not give you all of the features of the actual app.
68. DukeX (Posts: 327; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)
An excuse is not using any at all. I have a hotspot widget. You only need to setup your hotspot settings once. My hotspot widget makes it easier to turn on and off. Same thing with my data widget. Along with the traditional android power bar that controls brightness,wifi,Bluetooth,etc.
69. Quezdagreat (Posts: 427; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)
I thought all of that would be in the notification center. If swiping down from the top of the screen is too much, then that is just being lazy
73. JunkCreek (Posts: 406; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)
On Android, when using custom launcher, mostly, it just swipe down from the homescreen/Apps Drawer.
No big deal. Prefer notification center on 4.0.4, just click it on the right bottom and the notification center pop up.
Btw, it is iOS article now.
Widget? Only using time, calendar and switch widget. No need weather.
81. mobilefuture (Posts: 206; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
Actually Sense UI doesn't have connectivity toggle options in the drop down menu bar so it's pretty helpful, the stock power tool bar :)
80. mobilefuture (Posts: 206; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
Actually they are useful. I don't even have to open my App drawer anymore. Unlock my phone and everything is right where i need it. More easy to operate my phone :)
37. LG_is_the_best (unregistered)
I don't like apple, but I'm still jealous my one, and only iOS device (iPod Touch 4) won't get iOS7
39. Legnaldo (Posts: 34; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
I do like the overall look of the new iOS I just wish they went in a different direction than almost purely cosmetic. Dont get me wrong I think its great they finally added the quick settings area but if your going to put all that money in R&D you would think that they could have brought something truly unique and new to the table in terms of features. At least for those who are still diehard Apple fans it shouldn't be that hard for them to get used to it. I'll be waiting to see what they bring to the table next year I guess.
41. Android4Ever (Posts: 86; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)
I can't imagine being a itard... lmao!
56. Ikechukwu (Posts: 149; Member since: 03 Oct 2011)
Honestly I can't either. Just saying, don't hate me.