iOS 7 upgrades cause some trouble for casual users

iOS 7 upgrades cause some trouble for casual users

It's easy to forget, if you spend your day reading online info about Apple products, that not everyone who uses an iPhone or an iPad is a hardcore user. Many of Apple's customers don't check tech blogs, so iOS 7 - and its many changes - came as a big surprise. And at least in some cases, as an unwelcome one.

I spend my weekends working in an Apple Specialist - a third-party retailer that sells Apple products - and every day we're open, people walk in every day asking for help with their iOS devices. There's an occasional hardware failure or a broken screen, but most folks who need help day in and day out are experiencing something unusual on their device - either something unexpected is happening or something isn't working right, and they want it fixed.

So over the weekend it was no surprise to see a number of our clients walk in in varying states of bewilderment with devices they'd upgraded to iOS 7.

Most of the folks having trouble had upgraded to iOS 7 reflexively. They saw that an update was available and clicked OK without reading the description of what had changed, not realizing that what they were installing would be substantially different than before.

This includes customers who had been through major iOS revisions before. Some had been using iOS devices for some time, and had purchased two or three of them over years. But iOS 7 was different, and sometimes change can be frightening.

Boy, were they in for a shock after their device restarted.

A few of the customers I helped were convinced that something had gone terribly wrong - one thought that perhaps a virus or some form of malware had taken hold of her iPad. Once we talked her in off that particular ledge, she was still upset that things looked so different. Helvetica Neue, the system font of iOS 7, was very difficult for her to read. (If you're having the same problem, check out Richard Devine's very helpful how to tutorial on changing the system back to a bold font.)

She asked us if we could downgrade her back to iOS 6, and was crestfallen to discover that iOS 7 is a one-way trip. Apple stopped signing iOS 6 installs almost as soon as iOS 7 was out in the world, which prevents you from installing an iOS 6 system image even if you saved the .ipsw file containing the software.

Others were confused by the new interface - even though their apps were still in the same place, it looked so starkly different they sometimes didn't realize it. And doing a major operating system upgrade inevitably causes some disruption as users need to reenter passwords and other credentials they'd forgotten.

At least a couple of customers came in with "bricked" devices - a phone and an iPad that had stopped working all together after being upgraded to iOS 7. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get those working again.

But by far, the most frequent problem had to do with passcode settings. As part of the setup process, iOS 7 asks you to input a passcode - it's a good security feature, but it's also something that only about half of all iOS device users have ever done. You can opt out of setting a passcode, but it's small enough that many casual users assume that it's required. So they enter a code and promptly forget it. And the only way to recover from that is to reset the device, unfortunately.

That's not to say everyone walking in the door had a problem. Many of our customers upgraded to iOS 7 without incident, and many love it. Many were anxiously awaiting it. Though there was still a bit of confusion here and there - like the guy who asked if he put iOS 7 on his iPhone 5, would the home button be able to read his thumbprint.

Anyway, it's just a reminder that while we take for granted that we'll be prepared for and will use what Apple's working on, many consumers out there still consider their Apple devices to be rather mysterious black boxes. For them, iOS 7 is bound to be a surprise - perhaps pleasant, perhaps unwelcome - but they, along with the rest of us, are being ushered into the future.

What sort of issues have you run into with iOS 7? Have you warned people who aren't technical experts away from updating, or are you encouraging them? Are you the requisite tech support person for your friends, family or coworkers? What are you hearing from them? Let me know in the comments, and check these links out for more info on iOS 7:

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

iOS 7 upgrades cause some trouble for casual users

58 Comments

I think iOS 7 is great. However, I have got a niggle or two.
Firstly, the "Swipe to answer" function on my iPhone 5 has frozen a number of times on answering. This means the caller doesn't get an answer and the phone just hangs even when you hit the home button and go back into it.
Secondly I had a number of apps where I've made ring tones etc that no longer function.

Other than that, great stuff.

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Swipe to answer freezing!? Yikes! Brings back painful memories of the HTC Touch Diamond that I had back in the day. Sorry to hear that!
I hope Apple fires off 7.0.1 or 7.1 soon. I've already had my iPad 3 freeze and reboot a few times. Not the end of the world by any means, but a bit annoying (I make sandwiches while it reboots.) ;)

I had to help two guys at work that were huddled around their iphones trying to figure out how to kill apps. I also took the time to show them how getting to search has changed and the control center. They hadnt known about any of it and thought they lost features.

This had to be expected and I'm sure employees were ready for many iOS 7 questions. The aversion most of us naturally feel to change is usually strong and deep.

I am not a youngster anymore, and those of us who are Baby Boomers using iOS7 are having difficulty with the pale keyboard letters, numbers, and other characters. I have turned on Bold-Faced type, but it doesn't seem to apply to the keyboards. Since I don't always have my reading glasses handy while using the keyboard, I sure wish Apple would take pity on us older folks and make the keyboard more legible to those of us with declining eyesight!

This is a legitimate concern. The extremely thin standard font is hard to read in places, especially on a 3.5 or 4 inch screen

Yes, that's helpful advice for someone who wants to go on using an iPhone. Thank you so much for your invaluable contribution. Now please let the grownups talk.

I think it was a valid suggestion. On Android you will get a bigger screen AND the ability to choose a suitable font. No reason to be rude.

Can't help to remember some people poking fun at Microsoft for the changes on Windows 8, and how common people were having problems using it, and how Apple software was so much intuitive and just worked. Not so funny when the problem lies with iOS, eh?

At least with Windows users did have the option of downgrading to the previous version. I think this should be standard on iOS too, tell users that they will not receive further upgrades but give them the option of going back to a previous version. As it is, it's designed fo force the the version down on peoples throats, just like Cortés scuttilng his ships so his soldiers could not flee.

I have never really thought that approach by apple is the best plan. I know they want to force people onto their system but i've always felt that sort of handholding/strongarming is a negative not a positive.

I've been using the betas all along so iOS 7 feels like an old hat to me now. I have been asked by family, friends and co-workers about it and about upgrading. About upgrading I tell them if they have an iPad 2 or iPhone 4 to stay away from it. Most of the new features are turned off for those devices and with them being on the bottom end of the upgrade list the experience will not be optimal. What I have heard varies I've had friends who have been dying to use iOS 7, a few even upgraded to 4s and iPhone 5 for it. My wife hates the new look of the Calendar app and I've heard that from a few other people as well. My wife's teen sister says iOS 7 looks more like Android now or as she calls it "more like a Samsung now".

Battery life is no good with ios7. While charging and using the phone at the same time I notice the the charge decreases instead of increasing and the phone gets really hot. By the way I have the 5

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Mine was too, for about the first day. Then it settled down. I figured it was doing Spotlight indexing and other stuff that's likely to make it run hot as it builds internal tables and databases. Since then, not a problem.

Someone on iMore wrote an article about turning spotlight off, and I couldn't be happier since I have never used it before and didn't even realize this was possible.

I really think Apple should have a fridnly iOS 7 welcome screen explaining the change after the update s installed. Maybe show the old icons versus new and explain that the apps look different but function better than b4. They should have also had that the first time someone opened the app switcher it displayed a mini layover explaining how it worked--same with Spotlight, and control center.

Which, as this article makes plainly obvious, is a majority of iOS users.

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Everyone I know that upgraded loves it. There only annoyance I found is the three different keyboards. Black for entering passcodes, white for general use, and the older gray for apps that aren't upgraded for iOS 7. Even if you ignore the gray one, that still leaves two different keyboards.

I don't like the new sound that the phone makes when I plug in the lightning cable. That's my only complaint. However, I have one wish...swipe keyboard.

Anyone who had an issue with iOS 7, other than maybe a bricked phone, should really consider going back to a flip phone.

So because iOS 7 imitates many other platforms, and many people don't like those platforms, all those people should go back to flip phones?

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No, not like, I'm was referring to people that can't figure out how to work the phone due to a few minor changes.

Find Friends is not working correctly. All settings are correct on both phones, but unless both parties have the app open, you cannot see the other person. This was never that way on IOS 6. However, I love everything else about IOS 7. Changed to a bolder type so that it was easier to see!

On the whole, I've been impressed with iOS 7. It is faster than I thought it would be on my iphone 4s and things in general are very intuitive. I have one major issue - about once a day, it will crash on the passcode screen when typing in the passcode or hitting OK. The only button that does anything is the power button which turns off the screen. Nothing else works after that and the only way to get back in is to hard reset the phone (holding power + home.) Other than that, I have no regrets with upgrading.

Many buy the phones to keep up with the Jones never taking time to learn or progress. iOS 7 a long time coming, there be some minor bugs to iron out but that's expected. I'm impressed.

updated my iPhone 5 to new IOS 7 the night it came out using iCloud. Love the new IOS 7 and having no significant issues with battery life or apps not working, HOWEVER, I noticed that siri has slowed down quite a bit. When it asks me "how can I help You" and I say "Test so and so" it seems like it takes twice as long as in IOS 6.1.4 to register. then after I say "send" it also takes about twice as long as before. Not really an issue since I am not a heavy siri user, but this is the ONLY thing that I see that has changed moving over to IOS 7.

iOS 7 is pretty cool, but not without its bugs and small issues. I warned my mother-in-law the day before it dropped to wait until I see her so I could explain it all. Its not that I think she isn't capable of figuring it out, its like Peter said; its surprising for someone not expecting it.

Turning on bold, and saying yes to contrast really helps. I still like iOS7. 6 was getting old.

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I was very excited with the update on closing apps. Conning from BlackBerry the old way of closing apps on iOS was lame.

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My daughter and I love the iOS 7 design. I have no problems at all reading the font, with or without my reading glasses. My partner doesn't like the design, but when I mention that I thought iOS 6 would look old after using 7, he was skeptical. Then I showed him
Newsstand and iBooks side by side. He was taken back that the comparison highlighted the clarity of the Newsstand app.

A few family members have had trouble finding/using things on iOS 7, like times on messages, multi tasking etc, but once shown are happy to know and not at all disgruntled.

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Nice article Peter and well written with many good points made as you always do. Luckily I have not had any if anything in terms of major issues. In fact i have been bragging that tether to pushing the button to download and install it took me 16 mins and you did not read it wrong totally trouble free and I waited a week to let the servers cool down a bit so I had one setting to change and that is it and since then things have been smooth on my 4S running 7. Next comes the 5S in October from my local Apple store or Apple if the store does not have have stock as I am going for a Space gray 32 GB. Thank you for the article and keep up the good work.

Personally I'm only running in to battery life issues that I wasn't having even on my beta builds. I won't compare battery life to my pre-beta 4S - phone is getting older after all.

Luckily a lot of my friends who use iPhones are the type of people who will know what they are getting in to when they download something. Their reactions have been mixed about the design (something I'm growing to dislike as time goes by).

Specifically one of my friends is pretty disappointed by the calendar app and the lack of an agenda view. She's trying out some third party apps I recommended but she's not usually in to that kind of thing. I'm waiting on some family members to get back to me.

I'm having battery life issues (only wifi, no cellular data, excellent 2G network)
Pre iOS 7- Usage-9hours, Standby 14hours
Post iOS 7- Usage 7hours, Standby 14 hours
Other than that, some minor crashes, dropped frames, increased app load time, heating issues and animation glitches
Nothing I can't live with.
What bugs me the most is Whatsapp.

I understand that not everyone in the world wants to or cares about learning how to use technology, but man, I wish some would put SOME kind of effort into learning and remembering the basics like how to search for something on Google and copy/paste.

I was watching sportsnation today and Max Kellerman was complaining about how upgrading to ios 7 "ruined his life." Obviously an exageration but he clearly hates it. Marcellus Wiley was making fun of him for being stupid and upgrading. Me i'm with the people that hate it so i didn't touch the upgrade. I used the beta and didn't like so ios 6 is as far as i go for now with ios.

i don't do tech support for friends cause i'm closer well i'm not that guy but i did warn my mother that it was coming months before she bought an iphone 5 and she said she was ok with it. So if she hates it it's her fault. Oh and funny i heard a guy complaining about it last saturday night in the mens room line at a bar. Not for everyone and others simply will be fine with it.

My iPhone 4S upgrade went smooth as silk. My iPad 2 is a different story. A pop up window keeps appearing reminding me that there are new iCloud rules. When I click to read it I am sent to Settings. This occurs every few minutes since upgrading to iOS 7. I have taken to clicking "not now" just to avoid dealing with this. Any ideas how to stop this?

My iPhone 5 took about 5 hours to update OTA. After that, no problems. I absolutely love iOS 7. Seems snappier, newer. Don't really care much about the icons. It's the functionality that's important.

My wife was upset at me, though, for rushing to do the update on her iPhone 5. She's not very tech-oriented and when she tried to take pictures at a wedding, she kept sliding the camera to video and couldn't get out of it. Biggest fight we've had in a long time!

Three quibbles: 1) "Swipe to Answer" has locked up a couple of times. 2) User wallpaper is huge and cannot be resized smaller, and. 3) Inbox shows Flagged email even though there is none and the box is empty.

I have an iphone 5, I played with the beta and really dont like the change, I find the fonts very hard to read, The only reason i updated to ios 7 was because of iOS 6 using 4-500mb of data a day all by itself.

Upgraded to iOS 7 just like everyone else, and for the most part I'm happy with the changes. It's cool to see that the icons "move" depending on your viewing angle. The only issue I have is that my iPad keeps dropping the wifi connection...at random times. I didn't have this problem before the update so that's what I'm blaming it on. If anyone has any ideas on this, it would be awesome!

The upgrade bricked my iPad 2. I took it to Apple and they said it was hardware issue and wanted $249 to swap with a refurbished one. I don't think this is right. I've already given them enough money. It should just work. Am I alone in this? If I can find enough other users experiencing this problem, we should be able to get Apple to do the right thing and fix our iPads for free.