So, like bunches and bunches of fellow Apple product owners around the globe, you downloaded iOS 7 onto your iDevice and are a little unsure about some of the features… or you’re thinking about updating but are a bit scared too because of how different it’s supposed to be.
Please don’t fret our pretties! We’re here to guide you through every little part of iOS 7 and to convince you why you should update, even if it is a little bit scary.
There has been, apparently, a few people for whom the download hasn’t worked properly. That sucks, and is solely because so many people have been trying to download it at the same time. If this is happening or has happened to you, all we can suggest is to try to be patient. It will download.
At this stage download errors probably shouldn’t be occurring, as the speed bump of super keen iOS 7ers should have died down. We’ve heard reports of the download taking hours, but this too should no longer be happening. Our download took 36 minutes, and it was super easy.
Our first impression was BLAM BRIGHT AND BLOCKY. Our second impression was a thoroughly great one. Everything is simplified in a way that some part of you deep inside you knew you wanted, but most of you you had no idea until you saw it come to life in front of you.
It looks fantastic, and everything seems to work organically and smoothly and flawlessly together.
For the first couple of minutes after we downloaded iOS 7, the phone was responding a little slowly, particularly in the Photos app, but that only lasted a few minutes, and then everything was working at regular speed.
So. What’s new? What’s different? How do I find the whatsamacallit now?
Follow us into the iOS 7 rabbithole!
Alrighty, so we’re looking at a completely new design with over 200 changes, and yeah, it looks pretty different. But don’t freak out too much. First things first. Now you can slide to unlock on any part of the screen.
Take a deep breath, and take it all in. Look at the icons independently, if you want. Each one is in line with each other, in grid formation, and borderless. They seem bigger than before. The designs on them are simplified, with less detail and fuss.
Jony Ive redesigned the iOS so that each icon looked less like it was a real thing. The note pad no longer looks like a fake representation of a notepad, for instance.
Everything has a white backed interface, which also might take some getting used to, but makes everything look a hell of a lot more simple and and refined and ….unflippety. Yeah. Unflippety.
There is a new color palette. Basically, the new colors are bright, they’re boppy and distinctive.
Each app uses black lettering on a white background and each one has a different accent color. For example in the messages app it’s red, for notes it’s pale gold, for photos it’s blue. The font is, well, Apple calls it more refined- it’s better looking, basically. It’s neater, rounder, tidier.
There’s a few apps that have changes which are mostly aesthetic, so we’ll show you these first, and let you know if there are any small upgrades.
We LOVE the new Calendar. It’s red accented, and allows downward scrolling through the months, the ability to see declined events, and an inbox tab for invitations to events. As with most of iOS 7 it’s super simple and easy to navigate between seeing today as a whole with events hourly and seeing it as part of a month.
Also red accented, the Clock icon now displays the correct time. Sounds funny when you read that first, makes sense the second time around.
As you can see above, some of the clock faces are black, and some are white- simple really, black denotes somewhere where the sun has set, and white for where it is still daylight.
Times can also be swapped from digital to analog by tapping on the city name.
The calculator pretty much works the same as it did before, and as we believe it always will, because it’s a calculator. it calculates, and it’s good at it. Stop putting pressure on it to do more with it’s life already. It’s orange accented, cos it wants to be dammit.
Notes! The app that tech writers everywhere used as an example as Apple moving away from skeuomorphic design! It’s here and it’s definitley not skeuomorphic. It’s the simplest representation of a piece of paper we’ve ever seen, really.
With this version you also have the ability to look at notes separately according to account – gmail, iPhone, or all.
Maps now offers turn-by-turn walking directions and automatic night mode. Walking directions is cool, because we like to walk. Automatic night mode uses the current time in your location and an ambient light sensor to judge which mode, day or night, is more suitable. That’s some future stuff, there.
Within the updated, red accented, music app, you can now play music purchases from iCloud.
No functional upgrades, because it’s the simplest function of all, really, on your iPhone. But now it looks simple, round, and kinda old fashioned crossed with futuristic? Can that be a thing? Like the old rotary phones that had circular finger dialing bits, crossed with the simplistic representation of awesome technology. Yeah, it’s a thing now.
You can now play movie and TV show purchases from the iCloud. that’s… Kickass….
And now a photo of iPhone Antidote’s cat, because why not? His name is Oscarpants. He’s staring into your soul.
Let’s see.. what else is there? oh yeah-
The new Control Center can be accessed by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen. It includes quick access buttons for AirPlane mode, toggling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Orientation Lock, and the Do Not Disturb mode.
It can also be used to adjust volume, brightness and open apps like Calculator, Clock, and Camera. Here is also where you’ll find the much talked about flashlight. ( Interesting fact we just learned- Australians call Flashlights torches. Weird.)
The control center also holds the music player widget, where you can control your music- FF, RW, etc. And yes, we did have skrillex playing when we took this photo because we wanted you to think we were cool. Did it work?
If you don’t want this option because of your gaming preferences or if you just like swiping a lot and don’t want anything to come of it, you have the option to turn it on/off both within apps and on the lock screen via Settings > Control Center.
Improved both visually and functionally, the notifications center is like a little man inside your phone. This guy gives you all the important information you need to know about your day. Messages, calendar events, stocks information, reminders, weather.
You can choose specifically what you want to be displayed here in settings and you still access it by swiping down from the top of the screen.
Now however you get the new ‘today’ tab, and if you dismiss a notification on one device, it will be dismissed on all of your devices. Something new that’s really cool is if you have an appointment in the calendar, the notifications screen will provide location based information like weather and driving times for where your appointment is.
K guys- This is just for those lucky enough to have an iPhone 5 or later, the 4th Gen iPad, the Mini and the 5th Gen iPod Touch. Sorry everyone else.
Similar to a feature popular with Samsung features where users bump their phones together to exchange files and photos- except you don’t have to bump phones together with this feature. Because we’re cooler than that.
Basically – turn it on, tap share in an app and it will tell you nearby iOS users in the vicinity. Tap on the person you want to share contacts, websites, photos, etc with and that person has the option to accept or reject the information. If they accept it, it’s immediately sent over WiFi.
You do have the option to turn this feature off, and to only have people within your address book requesting to send you information. Just in case you were really strict on getting random people on the bus sending you stuff. Not to say that stuff wouldn’t be awesome. It might be.
Yay! Multitasking improvements!
Double tap the home button to run through all the apps that you have running, and now you can see a preview of that app in a ‘card’. Switch between them super easily by flicking through the cards, and clicking on the one you want to go to.
This also permits any app to keep content up-to-date in the background.
What is sweet and a little bit oddly addictive is that to close an app that’s running, you just flick the open image upwards. You can close multiple running apps by using multiple fingers. Try not and say ‘Whee’ when you do it, we dare you.
The camera improvements are really noticeable and really nice.
Instead of toggling with a often super amazingly frustratingly hard to move in a hurry button, you now have the option to swipe to choose a camera mode.
You have the option of shooting in video, still photo, parnoramic and a newbie- square aspect, which is basically cropped and instagram sized. Hipsters and positive outlook memer’s rejoice – there is also the choice of 8 real-time photo filters with iPhone 4S or later, and 5th Gen iPod touch.
To apply the real time filters, simply tap on the colored dots at the bottom of the screen. These can be removed or swapped out at any time, even after you’ve taken the photo.
The photos app has been improved by the addition of a new organizational system and new ways of sharing. You also have the ability to edit the photo and add filters.
Now you can select multiple photos and share them to the photo stream, share them on Facebook, iCloud, mail, message Flickr airplay or print.
Your photos are now organized really neatly into Moments, Collections and Years, with every compartment having location and date information. Tapping on a Year, and then a Collection within a Year will display photos taken throughout the course of the year, which are divided into Moments.
Entire Moments, which are essentially different events, can be shared all at once (via AirDrop, Messages Mail, Facebook and Flickr) rather than on an individual basis.
Spotlight, used for searching and opening files etc on your iPhone, and previously found on a screen to the left on iOS 6, is now found by swiping down from any screen. Not all the way from the top, cos then you might find yourself looking at the notification center and getting all kind of confused.
Try a medium swipe down the middle. There, you go, that’s it. What? We can’t really see you….
You can now scan tickets and coupons etc using the camera function on your iPhone, for use within the Passbook App. If you click on ‘Apps for Passbooks, it’ll take you to Disneyland. Just kidding, it’ll take you to the app store and show you the apps you can get to use in the passbook app.
We have, so far, loved playing around with the weather app. It’s very pretty and includes representations of what it looks like outside at that precise moment, so cloudy or rainy or starry or what have you. For every location it also gives you the Sunset time and a 5 day forecast with minimum and maximum temperatures.
Other weathery type information it gives you is humidity, chance of rain and wind speed. Handy.
Compasses are pretty cool. And that’s not just because the girl we have a crush on has one tattooed on her arm. Erm… anyway. This one has the red accent on north.
It looks really nice, and now includes a built in level that you swipe to the right to access. If you double tap on the level screen you’ll zero it out at any angle.
( A level is used to see if surfaces are… level… )
The Game center got a pretty nice makeover. No more fake green felt and wood, now there’s only colorful bubbles of glee on a white background.
Siri can now be a dude or a chick, depending on whatever reason you have for having a preference.
She/he can also now pull up restaurant reviews, change settings, it has integrated Wikipedia, Twitter search, and Bing web search results, it can post to Facebook, and play Voicemail.
Also, if you have a hard to pronounce name, like Gargumel, Siri will attempt to learn to pronounce it. How nice.
We googled ‘really big folder’ and this was one of the first hits. we’re going with it. Now you can fit as many apps as you want within a folder, with multiple pages.
WHAT IF I LOSE MY PHONE?
iOS 7’s got your back, that’s what.
My iPhone Activation lock means that if you lose your phone, or it gets stolen, then it’s incredibly hard for those awful robbers or the people who find it to use it. Basically, no matter what they try and do in order to use it – erase the device, reactivate it, etc, they won’t be able to do anything without your iTunes password.
Now you can see when a text or an iMessage was sent/received! Pull message bubbles to the left, and you can see exactly when it was you sent/ received that awesomely awesome text.
You also have the option to change how names are displayed within messages. Go to Settings > Mail ,Contacts, and Calendars > Short Name ( down the bottom under Contacts). Choices include first name and last initial, first name and last initial, first name or last name only.
App Store improvements.
With the App store upgrade, you can see apps that other people in your area are using in the ‘popular near me’ option’.
Apple has also added a new “Designed for iOS 7” section to the store. It highlights apps that have been updated or released with an iOS 7-style design, including notable offerings like Evernote.
Safari looks really nice, and that’s coming from folk who generally prefer Chrome. Safari has itself a new tabbed layout. Tabbed pages can be closed quickly by swiping the page to the left.
For those looking for a more private browsing session, you now only have to click the ‘private’ button when a new window is created. Do Not Track can be enabled within Settings > Safari.
Scrolling now hides the app’s controls like in Chrome . You can OPEN AN UNLIMITED NUMBER OF TABS, and scroll through them using a vertical card-like view.
Now there is also a tab in the bookmarks panel that shows links shared by your friends on Twitter and other social media sites.
iOS 7 brings new ringtones, alarms, alerts and system sounds. Although for the traditional at heart, unless it makes you feel too old, you can still access the old one’s filed under classic.
Personally, we kinda like a phone to sound like a phone, but then we saw that this is what happens if you google the word classic.
FaceTime audio calling. Everyone loves FaceTime. Bringing friends together no matter where in the world they’re taking shots/having grandchildren.
Block Phone Numbers: You have the ability to block phone calls/messages/FaceTime requests on iOS 7. Simply go to Settings > Phone > Blocked to add contacts that will be prevented from contacting you (Their attempts will be sent to voicemail). Take that, Stalker Mc Stalkersons.
Automatic App Updates: You can have all your apps download their updates automatically, if going to the app store and doing it manually troubles your soul too much. If you go to Settings > iTunes & App Store, the default setting is off for all automatic downloads, but turning them on means you’ll never have to trouble your soul with it ever again. Warning: this can use battery when you don’t want it to and you can’t pick and choose in between apps.
iTunes Radio can be accessed from within the Music app! Go here to learn more. We’ll be writing a review of iTunes Radio shortly, so keep your eyes peeled and your ears pricked.
All in all, what a fantastic update, and super nice that we get kinda a new phone, even if we’re not actually getting a new phone. Doubly sweet for those who are getting a new phone tomorrow or in the next few weeks and are getting a double whammy new hardware new software BLING BLAM!
We feel like we’ve given you a pretty comprehensive run down of iOS 7 and the changes hidden within, but if you feel like delving a bit more into the ins and outs, Apple has made available free iOS 7 user guides on the iBookstore. At the moment, guides are only available for the iPad and iPod touch but a book targeted at the iPhone will likely follow.
Our final opinion in one sentence? Looks like iOS 7 kicked a Goal.
Images courtesy of Macworld, Funnyjunk, All4humour, tumblr, cultofmac, imore, idownloadblog.