iOS 7 Upgrade Considerations and the Best New Features in iOS 7
Behind the radical new look and retooled user experience are some easily overlooked capabilities you’ll enjoy.
Released this past week is the new iOS 7 from Apple. There are several things to consider before beginning your upgrade.
Verify Device Support
First off, you need to ensure that your device will run iOS 7.0. Below are the list of devices that will work with iOS 7:
- iPhone 4
- iPhone 4S
- iPhone 5
- iPad 2
- 3rd generation iPad with Retina
- 4th generation iPad with Retina
- iPad Mini
- 5th generation iPod touch
Remove Unused Apps
Next, we recommend reviewing your list of apps and removing any ones that you don’t use anymore. To delete an app, tap and hold an app icon until it starts moving, then tap on the X icon to delete. If you do end up needing the app in the future, simply re-download it from the App Store.
Update Installed Apps
After pruning up your installed apps, launch the App Store and ensure that the remaining apps
are up-to-date. Many apps, have already released iOS 7 app updates so you’ll be able to use them as intended on iOS 7 as soon as your OS update is complete. With iOS 7, app updates will automatically be downloaded for you; take a minute to cherish the last time you’ll be forced to manually install app updates.
With your apps up-to-date, you’ll minimize the wait for a lengthy list of apps to update as
Make a Backup BEFORE upgrading!
You’ll want to be sure to back up your device(s). Not only is this something you should be doing
on a regular basis, but it’s something that’s especially important to do right before upgrading an OS. Should anything go wrong, you’ll be able to restore your device with the same settings and information currently stored on it. The more recent the backup, the more recent the information capable of being restored will be.
You can back up your device using iTunes or by letting iCloud take care of it for you. Unsure how to back your device up, or which method to use? Rick Broida walks you through each process, making sure your comfortable with either method.
When a major version of iOS is released to the public, it’s almost always accompanied by an
update to iTunes. The update usually adds new features to iTunes, but it also brings with it compatibility for new devices and the new OS.
You can check for the updated version of iTunes on Apple’s site shortly after the release of iOS 7, or check for software updates on your Mac by clicking on the Apple Menu icon followed by Software Update. Windows users can use the Help menu in iTunes and click “Check for Update.”
Make sure to set aside at least an hour or two for the update to complete.
The key changes lurking under the all-new surface
Switching to iOS 7 is a shock: It looks really, really different, and some apps — Photos, especially — work very differently. Once you get past the new UI, you should discover some very useful capabilities. And a few stumbles, like the harder-to-find-and-use local search on Web pages.
There are a couple dozen new features worth your while, including automatic app updates, shared browser links in Safari, and more detailed feedback from Siri (which can now be male or female).
Android’s quick access to commonly used functions through its notifications tray is a boon, especially in Samsung’s feature-laden version. Now, iOS 7 makes using common features easy, and it doesn’t mix them with notifications. Swipe up from the bottom to open the Control Center to access Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and Rotation Lock or Mute (whichever the physical side switch is not set to). You also control playback of music, videos, and podcasts, as well as manage AirPlay.
There are also quick access buttons to the Camera and Clock apps on all iOS devices, plus the Calculator app and new LED flashlight on iPhones. If you have an iOS device with a Lightning connector, you can set up AirDrop file-sharing feature here.
Switching between and quickly closing Apps
Double tap your iPhone’s home button to quickly switch between apps. You can close an app for good by swiping it up and flicking it out of the way. This will help save battery on your phone by closing unneeded apps.
Easier Sharing to Facebook, Twitter, etc.
You can link iOS7 directly to Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, and Flickr. This makes it easier to share stuff you find on the web or your camera roll. You can sign into each service under Settings.
New Ringtones and Alert Sounds
iOS 7 has a bunch of ringtones and alert sounds. Change them in Settings / Sounds.
The Music app has a free Pandora-like streaming music service. Type in an artist, song, or genre and iTunes will create a customized radio station for you. It’s free, but you’ll have to listen to some commercials.
Larger Font Size to help your Eyes!
iOS 7 has skinnier fonts. If that bothers you, adjust the size under Settings / General / Accessibility / Larger Type. Drag the slider at the bottom on the screen to adjust the font size.
Block Unwanted Calls and Texts
You can block certain phone numbers from calling or texting you. Go to Settings / Phone / Blocked to add numbers or people already in your contacts to your blocked list.
Timer in the lock screen
The timer in the included Clock app is very handy, such as to get alerts about parking meters about to expire. But until iOS 7, if your iPhone was locked, you had to unlock it and go to the app to see how much time you had left. Now, the countdown displays in the lock screen, and you can dismiss the timer alert sound there as well.
Today view in the Notification Center
The Notification Center has been expanded in iOS 7 to add two panes: Missed, showing only alerts and messages not already seen, and Today, which shows you the weather, a snapshot of your calendar, and optionally, your tracked stocks and a summary of tomorrow’s day. It’s a very handy way to see what’s shaping up right now.
Driving directions from OS X
OS X Mavericks adopts iOS’s Maps app, which can send maps and driving directions from your Mac to your iOS device. They show up in the iOS Maps app, ready for you to follow while driving or walking, and they remain in your bookmarked directions for access later if needed.
More email management
The Mail app in iOS 7 has several changes that make for easier use. One is the new set of options that appear when you flick to the left over a message or select messages and tap More for both iPad and iPhone. When you flick, you get the More button in addition to the Trash button, and from More you get the options in the message view’s Mark and Move controls. When you select multiple messages, tap Mark to get your options. The Move to Trash option is very handy.
Also handy: When you tap Edit in the message list but select no messages, the Mark button becomes Mark All, to quickly flag or mark as read all of a mailbox’s messages.
Another welcome Mail enhancement is the addition of predefined smart mailboxes, such as Unread, All Drafts, and Attachments. You can display any or all of these mailboxes, which show aliases to messages that meet their respective criteria, and you can order these mailboxes in the mailbox pane as you see fit. Now you can see in one place just your unread mail or find all the drafts you had saved across your mail accounts.
You can also add mailbox folders to the mailbox list, saving you the step of drilling to the Accounts section, then navigating to those folders each time. It’s great for mail folders you use frequently.
Coming soon to iOS, iCloud Keychain does two things you’ll appreciate. One is that it can save credit card information entered on websites, so you don’t have to keep reentering that data. (Relax: You still need to enter the CVV code, as iCloud Keychain intentionally does not retain that verification code.)
The other is that your saved passwords and credit cards are synced across your Macs and iOS devices if they’re signed into the same iCloud account and have iCloud Keychain enabled. Apple has added extra verification to protect iCloud Keychain data, so another user would need more than your iCloud sign-in information to enable it. Use the Safari controls in the Settings app to manage the saved passwords and credit cards.