It’s familiar, yet different– more inviting and pleasant, and less like a visual representation of technology devices with buttons to click. You’ll read articles that tell you to wait awhile before installing iOS 7, but all four of my iDevices installed the new OS with no trouble. Here’s my list of the funnest tips and tricks.
New, Different, But The Same
Visually, iOS 7 stands in stark contrast to iOS 6, and the initial view can be jarring to your eyes. For the iPhone, the screen looks bigger because there’s more space, lighter fonts, and colorful, almost playful app icons and buttons.
For the larger iPad screen, the reverse seems to exist. The apps seem to make the screen a bit smaller, more compact, yet friendlier and inviting.
Apple says iOS 7 is the most radical change– outside and under the hood– since the iPhone launched in 2007. That’s probably true, and I suspect a few WTF moments from some iPhone and iPad users.
Yet, for all the changes, Apple made iOS 7 more approachable, less dark and foreboding, and broke from the past of textures, buttons, gloss, and shadow to a simpler interface look that does more.
What’s fun and new and newsworthy about iOS 7? After half a day of usage, here’s my first look.
Maps – Apple’s maps has a dark mode that automatically turns on at night, and drop pins display an estimated driving or walking time to a pin location from your current location. Bookmarks are stored in iCloud and can be synced with other iOS devices (haven’t been able to try it on a Mac with Apple Maps).
Safari – Open a webpage in Safari and tap the bottom to view the toolbar. Swipe up on the webpage and the toolbar disappears. Likewise, Safari’s address bar disappears when you scroll down on a page. Safari pages can be shared in AirDrop which alerts another iPhone or iPad user with an inline preview of the page. Safari’s tabs are new and a webpage can be closed by swiping on it to the left.
Clock – I love this. Clocks are displayed as white faces when the sun is shining, and turn dark when it’s dark in a specific time zone location. And, you can choose from analog or digital clock faces. It’s rather a spartan look, though. Clock also has a timer which can countdown within the Lock screen.
FaceTime – Apple’s not-quite-ready-for-primetime video calling gets its own app (taking up another icon space, but easier to access if you use FaceTime plenty). Buttons are gone but tools and settings are obvious, though the menu selection is more subtle, with a virtual wheel that’s visually cool, but not easily noticed.
Centers – Notification Center now syncs to other devices using iCloud and banners are dismissed with a swipe. Control Center is on the other end of the screen, an upwards swipe. Tap on the Flashlight icon to toggle on and it blinks. Surprise. Automatically updated apps now show up in Notification Center.
Text – Onscreen text has a Dynamic Type setting. Drag the slider and the text onscreen gets larger. You also get controls for boldface and contrast.
Automatically – This is a big deal. iOS 7 automatically updates apps in the background (see Notification Center for what was updated), but you can turn it off in Settings (select iTunes and App Store).
Siri & You – Siri has multiple voices that are very human-like, and there’s a setting for Siri to learn how to pronounce your name. Siri also opens apps and Settings for specific apps. And, Siri can access Wikipedia.
Wherefore Art Thou, Spotlight? – There’s no longer a dedicated search screen for Spotlight. Now it’s available from any page. Swipe down on an app screen and Spotlight appears. Swipe up and it hides itself.
Animation City – Animations abound in iOS 7. They’re subtle, but everywhere, including the Lock Screen, Wallpaper, and initially when apps are displayed after unlocking. The reverse of animation is swiping, and there’s more of those, too, including a system-wide swipe gesture to go back to a previous screen within an app. Swipe to the left.
Reminders – I love having reminders that remind me when I get somewhere or leave somewhere. Now Reminders has a location radius adjustment.
Goodbye Newsstand – If you’re one of the many iPhone or iPad users who don’t know what to do with the unused Newsstand app, it can now be hidden within a folder. Oh, and check out the new folders. It’s totally different than in iOS 6.
There are many more features in iOS 7 to count let alone list. iOS 7 is playful and friendly but mobile computing devices have become more complex and complicated, despite Apple’s attempt to brighten the mood with color and space.