Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

iOS 7 – the first 40 or so hours

iOS 7 home screen screenshot Not long after 6pm BST on Wednesday, I started downloading iOS 7 to my iPhone 5, having backed it up first. However, I did ignore some of my own advice and updated it over the air, rather than through iTunes. This was because the update wasn’t showing in iTunes, which turned out to be because I hadn’t updated to version 11.1 previously.

Anyway, I’ve had a chance to play with it, and whilst just about everyone else has already given their opinions, here’s what I’ve liked and what I think should be improved.

The good bits of iOS 7

  • The new look. I much prefer the new look of iOS 7. It’s much brighter and fresher, and makes better use of the iPhone 5’s larger screen and retina display. I’m particularly pleased to see the back of some of the uglier skeuomorphic elements.
  • Control Centre. Really, really pleased with this. It makes skipping tracks and turning off Wifi so much easier than before. In particular, it now shows the artist and album, and not just the song title (when compared with double tapping the home button and swiping left on iOS 6)
  • Task switching. I much prefer the new task switcher, accessed by double-tapping the home button. It’s good to see a preview of the apps and not just their icons. Closing apps by swiping them up is also much easier than before.
  • Mail. I’ve been using Sparrow up until now, but the Mail app on iOS 7 is such a big improvement that I’ve gone back to it. Things like pull to refresh and gestures make it a lot easier to use quickly.

Screenshot of Control Centre in iOS 7

…and the bits that could be improved

  • Battery life. I had to disable Background App Refresh for many apps, and the ‘Parrelax’ effect, in order to get my iPhone’s battery life back to normal. By default it was chewing through power much more than usual.
  • Photos. Whilst I’m glad that Apple has tried to subdivide photos into sensible groupings, this doesn’t seem to work with my pictures. The ‘moments’ seem rather arbitrary with very weird locations. I have some screenshots in there and they’ve been bundled as being taken in Staffordshire, even though I haven’t been anywhere near there in two years.
  • Calendar. It looks better on the whole but it feels like a lot of functionality has been removed from it – the list view in particular is hard to find. I’ll be sticking with Sunrise which has an iOS 7 version in beta at present.
  • Stacks. I don’t like the new stacks (where you can group several apps together). Whilst I’m pleased that each stack can hold more apps, I find them more unwieldy than before.
  • Slow animations. The new animations are nice, but some could do with just being a little bit quicker.

I also had some initial problems with the sound quality in Siri, but I will save this for another blog post. Despite my criticisms, however, I am really happy with the update. It feels like a bigger change than the move from the iPhone 4 to 5, and didn’t cost me anything.

One Comment

  1. I’m a little over 24 hours in and in general I like the update overall. Not entirely sold on the new icons mind you. And the font took some getting used to. My wife’s response after she upgraded her phone? “Oh, this looks awful”. I suspect it will have to grow on her 😉

    Like you I thought the animations are a little laggy. And I’m glad you brought up the issue with photo collections. Mine were all over the place. Grouping photos I took from different areas of the state as being taken at home. Er, no.

    And you may have seen on the Twitters that I was having a devil of a time getting third party apps to be able to access the camera roll.

    Turns out there are entirely different settings that override each other and not intuitive. Settings->Privacy->Photos gave no indication that any app had even asked for permission. Turns out it’s Settings->General->Restrictions->Privacy->Photos (obviously, duh) and for whatever reason that was set to not allow modifications to the camera roll.

    Once that was sorted, I’m golden. And I even upgraded to iTunes 11 in the process – a year later than everyone else. Go me!