iOS 7.1 review

It's trite. It's cliché. But it's what a lot of people are going to say. iOS 7.1 is what iOS 7 should have been. Given that iOS 7 enjoyed less development time than any previous version — 10 months instead of the usual 12, or the 15 afforded iOS 5 — it's certainly understandable. Given that it's taken an additional 6 months — iOS 7.0 was released in September of 2013 — it's also been a long time coming. There are new features like CarPlay, and improvements like manual Siri control and auto HDR for the iPhone 5s. There are also some incredibly welcome bug fixes in iOS 7.1 including an end to the rampant Springboard crashes, the decaying Touch ID fingerprint recognition, and the performance on the iPhone 4. So, despite the long wait, is iOS 7.1 the update iPhone and iPad users have been waiting for?

iOS evolution

How to update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 7.1 over-the-air (OTA)

iOS 7 was first shown off in June of 2013 at Apple's annual developer conference, WWDC. The iOS 7.1 update became available in March of 2014. That's a long time. Previously new versions of iOS x.0 were launched in june with the new iPhones, and x.1 in September with the new iPod touches. iPhones now ship in September and x.1 whenever Apple gets around to it. They are no longer the quick updates they were. For comparison's sake, here are our reviews of past versions of iOS.

Compatibility and updating

How to update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 7 using iTunes

iOS 7.1 is a free update for anyone using an iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini, Retina iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPod touch 5. (As always, not all features are available on all devices.)

You can update over-the-air (OTA) on on-device or over USB using iTunes on Mac or Windows. OTA updates-in-place are typically the fastest, setting up as a new device is typically the best way to get the best performance.

iOS 7.1 and iPhone 4

iPhone 4 owners: Has iOS 7.1 improved performance?

iOS 71 on the iPhone 4 deserves special mention. iOS 7.0 performance on the iPhone 4 was bad enough that it had many people desperate to downgrade. That's nothing new, of course. The bottom end of the upgrade list is often excruciating on the x.0 but picks up on the x.1 or x.2. So it was with the iPhone 3G in its day, now it is with the iPhone 4.

I installed it iOS 7.1 on my circa January 2011 white GSM iPhone 4 and performance does indeed seem to be markedly improved. Where before it would stutter and stammer and otherwise force me to practice my deep breathing and dude-abiding skills, now it's noticeably better. It's not iPhone 5 fast, of course — that old Apple A4 chipset, it ain't what it used to be — but it's at least acceptable now.

If you have an iPhone 4, you'll want iOS 7.1.

iOS 7.1 design

iOS 7 was a design revolution. It scraped away the rich, skeuomorphic textures favored by the late Steve Jobs to expose a new focus on depth, deference, and clarity. From layers of transparency and blur to app bereft of chrome and cruft to new palettes and typography, the playfulness previously found in the interface was transferred to the interactivity. It's the iOS that former head of hardware design, now head of all design, Jony Ive always wanted. But the brutal deadline for iOS 7 meant we got only as much of it as his design team could sprint across the finish line by its September 2013 launch. It should come as no surprise, then, that iOS 7.1 contains more than the usual amount of finish and polish.

Transitions have been tightened and animations sped up. For example, what looked like app icons easing out of warp space to fill the Home screen on iOS 7 now looks like proper jump. The scaling from app to folder to full screen also seems better, the portals between worlds that used to saunter now seem to snap. The effects slowed down the perceptive speed of iOS 7. Now, whether the pixels get pushed or the bits launched faster or not, iOS 7.1 feels faster and that's what matters.

Some of the other changes are more subtle. The Lock screen "slide to unlock" feature, for example, has the same overall look but a brighter, more obvious animation. On the Home screen the green app icons, like Phone and Messages, have deeper gradients. And the "slide to power off" screen now has a blurred background and better looking, round interface elements. That includes a power icon on the slider. Here are the differences (iOS 7 on top, iOS 7.1 on the bottom):

Control Center has a tighter bounce animation now and the brightness and volume sliders have gained bounce animations all their own. Like the rubber banding on the original iPhone, it makes them feel better and more delightful.

The Weather app sees its icons move from outlines to solids. Generally in iOS 7 an outline is used to represent a normal state and a solid a selected state. However, with the animated backgrounds, the solid state of clouds, suns, etc. in the Weather app looks more balanced and are easier and faster to visually parse.

The Phone app has a much-improved call answer screen both for the locked and unlocked state, and better buttons in general. It extends the round theme found in iOS 7 avatars and toggles and makes everything look cleaner and clearer.

Another subtle yet potentially far more frustrating change in iOS 7.1 is how the state of the shift key is displayed. In iOS 6, the default shift key state (lowercase) had a dark background and light, outlined icon. When selected (uppercase), the icon became solid and gained a glow ffect. When double-tapped (caps lock), the background turned blue.

In iOS 7.0 the default was medium background with dark outline, dark fill for selected, and dark background with light fill for caps lock. Now, in iOS 7.1, it's medium background with light fill for default, light background with dark fill for selected, and light background with dark fill, underlined, for caps lock.

iOS 7.0 seemed to be consistent with the basic guidelines of the new interface in general. The new one isn't as consistent or obvious. It makes it difficult to determine the state the shift key is in, and counter-intuitive to the point that you find yourself uncertain and guessing wrong more often than not. Granted, it could be a lot worse — and was during one of the betas — but it could also be a lot better. Here are the changes (iOS 6 on top, iOS 7 in the middle, and iOS 7.1 on the bottom):

Arguably Apple could change the entire keyboard to reflect lower case vs. uppercase letters but that could add to the cognitive load — find "d", hit shift, lose "D", find "D" again. Either way, iOS 7 wasn't perfect but it was more intuitive than iOS 7.1.

Overall, however, the iOS 7 design is improved and solidified in iOS 7.1, with almost all of the changes being decidedly for the better. iOS 8 likely won't get anything close to the visual redesign iOS 7 got, so whatever quibbles remain iOS 7.1 provides a solid foundation for whatever comes next.

iOS 7.1 performance and battery life

5 tips to fix your iOS 7.1 battery life problems!

Any time Apple updates iOS the same pattern emerges — for some people performance and battery life are markedly improved, for most it stays roughly the same, and for a few, it becomes truly terrible. The same appears to be the case with iOS 7.1. On my iPhone 5s battery life is exactly the same and performance is better (though that's mostly due to the tighter animations).

If you're experiencing problems, whether something went wrong in the update process or an old backup got restored with glitches, you'll want to take steps. iOS 7.1 shouldn't hit your phone any harder than iOS 7 did.

iOS 7.1 and improved Touch ID fingerprint recognition

iOS 7.1 and improved Touch ID fingerprint recognition

Touch ID is Apple's fingerprint identity scanner, currently exclusive to the iPhone 5s. When it senses something capacitive, like a finger, it takes a high resolution snapshot of it. The image is converted to a hash and sent to the secure enclave on the Apple A7 processor. If there's no match, a "no" token is released. If there is a match, a "yes" token.

Every time a finger is scanned successfully, Touch ID is supposed to improve its record and become more reliable. Yet for some people running iOS 7 the process would start off well but instead of getting better it would actually get worse over time. Whether errors were occurring that caused aberrations to grow in the record, or some form of decay was happening with the record itself, for some people it simply became unreliable to the point of unusable.

iOS 7.1 fixes that. According to Apple, Touch ID now has improved fingerprint recognition. So, while things like moisture can still throw off the sensor, the record itself should now work the way it's supposed to for everyone and all of the time.

Touch ID worked well enough for me in iOS 7 but it's worked flawlessly for over a month with iOS 7.1 (including the betas). What's more, if you had problems, it should just start working better. Better still, if you have to or want to reset or redo your Touch ID fingerprint registration, Apple has also moved the Touch ID — and Passcode — Settings out of the General basement and onto the top level, making them easier to access.

iOS 7.1 accessibility, reduced motion, and increased contrast

iOS 7.1 offers several additions to the Accessibility settings, though in this case they all involve altering what are defining characteristics of iOS 7. The first is an expansion of the Bold Font option, which now also enhances the weight of the keyboard, of the Calculator app, and of many of the standard glyphs (icons) like the share button and trash can. Unfortunately, due to the way iOS works, your iPhone or iPad still has to reboot for the Bold Font option to take effect. If you do make the switch, however, here's how the difference looks (standard on top, Bold below):

Reduce Motion now disables the bounce physics in iMessage, switches the scaling in the multitasking interface to a cross-fade, and freezes the animations and scrolling in the Weather app. You can also turn off Perspective Zoom on any wallpaper you set for the Lock screen or Home screen. Here's how it looks (iOS 7.0 on the left, iOS 7.1 toggles in the middle and on the right):

With iOS 7, Apple stripped out a lot of the "chrome" (heavy interface elements) including the embossed button shapes of iOS 6 and previous versions. That left them "naked" — text or icons with nothing around them. The shapes, however, helped with affordance (something that hints at how an interface element should be used). They made buttons look like buttons and their outline showed their touch-targets (the exact area you could tap to activate them). With iOS 7.1, Apple given us the ability to bring them back.

Toggling Button Shapes on fills in the background around a naked text and glyph buttons with a darker color outlining its shape and also underlines naked text buttons on dialogs to make them look more like web links. The result of the former doesn't look exactly right but it will be more usable for anyone who really missed traditional button elements. Here's how it looks (iOS 6 on the left, iOS 7 in the middle, and Button Shapes turned on in iOS 7.1 on the right):

There are also several options to Increase Contrast in iOS 7.1. You can Reduce Transparency to make things like folders and Control Center opaque. You can Darken Colors to make things like the naked text buttons slightly less bright, and you can Reduce White Point to tone the backgrounds down to a step to light gray. Here's what the differences look like (default on top, Increased Contrast below)

That Apple felt the need to add these settings is interesting. It appears to acknowledge that some people had serious usability issues with iOS 7. Rather than walking anything back for everyone, however, Apple simply added options for those who need or want them. My guess is that Jony Ive and team still firmly believe in the direction they took iOS 7, they just feel it's taking the rest of us a little longer to adjust to it than they'd hoped. So, the new settings are a middle ground. Something that's there for those who find iOS 7 challenging or distressing to use.

I still like the overall design of iOS 7, including the default typography, animations, and contrasts. The naked buttons haven't hurt usability for me but do still seem unfinished, design-wise. Either way, I've not enabled any of the new settings above. However, if iOS 7 was hard for you to read, if it made you motion sick, or if was in any way difficult or uncomfortable for you to use, these news settings will provide some welcome relief.

iOS 7.1 and CarPlay

iOS 7.1 and CarPlay

CarPlay beams select iOS apps from your iPhone to the display in your car. It's not dissimilar to AirPlay and your television but works in a bi-drectional manner and, because there's no external box in between like the Apple TV, it requires car manufacturers to build support for it directly into their information and entertainment systems. Because it also requires a Lightning connector, CarPlay is only available on iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5.

It might seem odd to have a physical cable connection to the car rather than a wireless one like AirPlay in the living room. However Wi-Fi is not yet a standard feature on cars and while losing a connection to your TV is annoying, losing one to your car could be dangerous. Built-in cellular connectivity is also rare, making a physical tether to your iPhone's LTE radio a more realistic option at present.

Apple's been uncharacteristically flexible when it comes to the types of displays and controls that work with CarPlay. That's likely more a reflection of the state of the automotive industry than the experience Apple really wants to provide. Whatever the case, and depending on what's available, CarPlay will work with Siri, capacitive touch screen, resistive touch screen, and even with knobs, dials, and buttons.

Since Siri doesn't have an always-listening option, activating Apple's personal digital assistant requires the push of a button on the steering wheel. Capacitive touch screens, the kind found on iOS devices, are more responsive but can't be used if you're wearing gloves. Resistive touch screens, the kind found on devices from the stone-ages before iOS, are more sluggish but won't force you to remove your racing leather. The knobs, dials, and buttons allow CarPlay to work with the controls already in your car, the ones you're already familiar with.

Because of the variety of controls, and the unique demands of an in-car interface, iOS apps need unique interfaces for CarPlay. Apple calls them "re-imagined". While still in the style of iOS 7, they're bigger, bolder, more glance-able, and hopefully less distracting than their originators on the phone.

If you're worried, however, or would simply prefer to use the built-in system even when your iPhone is plugged in, iOS 7.1 provides a way to toggle CarPlay on or off in Settings.

Built-in iOS apps currently supported by CarPlay are Phone, Music, Maps, and Messages. Apple is also providing support for an extremely limited selection of App Store apps including their own Podcasts app as well as iHeartRadio, Beats Music, Spotify, and Stitcher. Like the Apple TV, getting onto CarPlay requires a special partnership with Apple. Additional apps should certainly be possible in the future but Apple will likely keep the type of apps restricted. No one needs to flap birds, crush candy, net flicks, or edit their iWork while driving after all.

CarPlay phone, maps, messages, music

Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes Benz, and Volvo have already announced and/or shown off vehicles with CarPlay support. Apple says BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugot, Subaru, Sazuki, and Toyota will be building CarPlay compatible cars in the future as well. (No word yet on Tesla, Lamborghini, and other manufacturers — they may simply require more time to build compatibility into their on-board systems, or they may not (yet) have reached CarPlay partnership agreements with Apple.)

CarPlay has only just been shown off and I've yet to try it in person. When I do have the chance I'll update this review to reflect not only my opinions of the choices Apple made but how well the implementation works in the real-world as well.

iOS 7.1 and Siri hold-to-talk

iOS 7.1 brings new, better voices to Apple's personal digital assistant, Siri for Mandarin Chinese, U.K. English, Australian English, and Japanese. It also adds the ability to manually control how long Siri listens. The concept is remarkably similar to the old push-to-talk systems. Hold down the Home button and Siri listens, let go of the Home button and Siri stops listening and goes to work. Apple stresses both those things: that we can control when Siri listens and Siri knows when to stop listening.

It highlights the difference between Apple's Siri, which requires specific user action to listen, and both Google's Moto X and Microsoft's Xbox One. With those devices, whether you're touching them or you're across the room, you can simply say "Okay, Google Now" or "Xbox", tell it what you want, and it'll do it. No button press or physical contact required. To do this, however, they have to be listening to every word you say so it'll know when you say "Okay, Google Now" or "Xbox". (The Moto X even has natural language and contextual coprocessors to make doing so more energy efficient.) For some of us the convenience far, far outweighs the privacy concerns since we like Google or Microsoft and love gadgets and, hey, it feels like something out of Star Trek.

With the iPhone and the new Siri option you absolutely have to press and hold down a big, clicky, physical button and hold it down for as long as you're talking. Say "Okay, Siri" and you know what you get? Nothing. You get nothing and more nothing unless and until you're hold down the button. Don't hold it down and Siri won't be listening. For some of us the loss of convenience is more than made up for by increase in control. Siri isn't always listening but we're damn sure it isn't listening when we don't want it to.

If your hands are busy or full or messy, always-listening can seem like a life saver. If you're in the middle of confidential, personal, or sensitive moment, push-to-talk can seem like a blessing.

The best of both worlds might be the ability to tell Siri to enter an always-listening hands-free mode. It could persist for a short period of time or until you tell Siri to stop listening. That way you have the privacy and security of push-to-talk most of the time, but the convenience of always-listening when you're driving, cooking, or otherwise have your hands and attention elsewhere.

It would have the advantage of Apple's business model not being dependent on aggregating our personal data, at least so far, but it wouldn't have all the depth and breadth of Google's services. Some might find that reassuring, others frustrating.

Likewise the on-board voice parsing — no need to go to the network to set alarms or perform other local tasks — and the whole "prescience" thing — preemptively serving up what it feels is relevant information. Google Now has done both for a while now. Siri, however, still goes to the network for everything and still only speaks when spoken to...

iOS 7.1 and Calendar combo-view

When iOS 7 launched the Calendar app got a facelift but it tucked away list view under search and the combination month/list view was nowhere to be found. iOS 7.1 fixes that. There's now a new button on the menu bar that will toggle you between regular month view and combo month/list view

iOS 7.1 and auto HDR

iOS 4.1 brought high dynamic range (HDR photography) to the iPhone 4. Now, iOS 7.1 has made HDR automatic for the iPhone 5s. Where previously you had to toggle a setting to put the iPhone into HDR mode, now you can simply leave it set to Auto and, when the Camera app detects an image that would benefit from separate light and shadow exposure, it'll just take them.

Since the iPhone 5s and its Apple A7 chipset are fast enough that saving HDR is almost instantaneous most people would be best served by simply leaving the camera set to auto all the time.

It's just one more welcome step in Apple's long history of making "every day photos" turn out as well as possible is as many different situations as possible.

iOS 7.1 iTunes Match & iTunes Radio

With iOS 7.1 Apple has added a few extra conveniences to both iTunes Match and iTunes Radio.

First, if you're not already subscribed to Apple's $25 music locker service, you can now subscribe directly on your iPhone or iPad. Second, they've added a search field to their streaming music service above the featured stations section to let you more easily create stations based on your favorites. Lastly, they've added a buy button to iTunes Radio so, if you love a song enough to want to own it, you can quickly move over to the iTunes Store and complete the purchase.

Unfortunately, while iTunes Radio has recently expanded from the U.S. to Australia, it still hasn't expanded to most of the rest of the world, which makes those features accessible to only a small fraction of iPhone and iPad users.

iOS 7.1 and bug fixes

The definitive review of Apple's lighter, thinner, faster, 64-bit iPad Air

iOS 7 was subject to numerous Home screen crashes (re-springs). Every version of iOS has these occasionally. For iOS 7, however, some people had them several times a day, every day. It was not only annoying it made Apple's software look bad. And Apple didn't fix it for 6 months. iOS 7.0.1, 7.0.2, 7.0.3, 7.0.4, 7.0.5, and 7.0.6 came and went without addressing the re-springs. iOS 7.1 beta, however, addressed them months ago. I can't begin to imagine how complex a problem it was or what repercussions had to be handled to properly fix it. But 6 months. Regardless of the difficulty, it should have been fixed faster.

Apple also fixed a glitch with FaceTime notification badges not syncing properly between devices. I'd turned mine off to avoid having to deal with the glitch, so the fix is most welcome.

If you have more than 10,000 unread messages in Mail, iOS 7.1 will display that badge properly now as well. (Though I'd suggest that if you have over 10,000 unread messages you don't really need a badge — you need an intervention...)

Rotating the iPad Lock screen no longer results in the shade layer rotating separately a second later. My brain thanks Apple for this.

iCloud Keychain is now supported in additional countries, but like OS X 10.9.2, Apple has removed the ability to force auto-fill on websites that try to prevent.

Apple has also fixed several security issues, a complete list of which can be found on Apple's knowledge base (opens in new tab)

And, of course, iOS 7.1 also provided the previously mentioned iPhone 4 performance improvements and Touch ID reliability fixes.

Again, Apple didn't fix all of this as fast as they should have, and some of it shouldn't have been a problem in the first place, but with iOS 7.1, at least its fixed now and fixed well.

iOS 7.1: The bottom line

So is iOS 7.1 what iOS 7 was meant to me? No. That's trite. That's cliché. iOS 7.1 is what iOS 7 has become thanks to an additional 6 months of development and design time, experience and realization. The screws were tightened, the rough edges were smoothed, the surfaces were polished.

Yes, in the case of the re-springs the fix was too long coming and in the case of the shift key the improvement is anything but. However, for everything from the animation speed to the interface tweaks to what could very well be the beginning of iOS everywhere — CarPlay — the update is good. It's very good.

Apple is front-loading new iOS features in the x.0 releases these days, and that doesn't leave much for the x.1. That's what happens when an operating system matures, when obvious holes have been filled, and when competition intensifies. And that also means more substantial updates and improvements likely won't be seen before WWDC 2014, likely this June, when Apple gives us our first peek at iOS 8.

In that regard iOS 7.1 does exactly what it needs to. It takes something that was audacious and impressive, if flawed and unreliable in places, and makes it more than solid — it makes it downright enjoyable.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Think I'll Make a bite to eat before I read this review. It might take a while : ) Sent from the iMore App
  • "The Phone app has a much-improved call answer screen both for the locked and unlocked state, and better buttons in general. It extends the round theme found in iOS 7 avatars and toggles and makes everything look cleaner and clearer." No, it is not "much" improved. It is worse from a usability standpoint. The circles seem out of place and overall it doesn't look any better (though that is clearly subjective) to me, but I can't imagine anyone saying the circles are better buttons...
  • I would agree entirely...I don't think the circle buttons are any better and they seem to out of place...I like having the bar as an option and bigger buttons. Ontop of look, preference, and overall usability, there leaves less room for error!
  • I think the circles are better buttons as they make iOS 7 feel more mordern and I also think Apple changed it to circles because when iOS 7 came out people said that app stole windows phone app design so yeah.
  • 1. Having a huge rectangular hit target almost the width of the screen to end a call isn't really necessary. A circular button will do just fine, because there's nothing in the area of mistaps (the rectangular button from before), it's all dead space. Plus the button is centered on the screen, a comfortable spot for the thumb to tap. 2. The phone/FaceTime app are the native iOS apps for circular shapes and not rounded corners (besides in two places). This puts the app iteratively closer to a complete and unique design. Plus you'll notice that the contact pics are also circular so that helps the user relate those ideas visually. 3. When you're in a call with another person, there's a 50% chance that you even need to tap the End button. Proper etiquette is the person who calls hangs up first. 4. You can also use the power button to end the call and turn off the screen. 5. Once the upcoming iPhone 6 with a bigger screen debuts, the circular end call button will be cleaner and not as "bold" as a rectangular bar would be.
  • The long bar button made operating the phone safer in the car. I know apple wants everyone to be hands free but there are times and people you don't use their phone hands free and for them the button is too small to hit without looking. Sent from the iMore App
  • If you're in the car and happen to be taking a call (which definitely isn't encouraged but sometimes necessary), you can always just hit the power button to end the call and turn off your screen to continue driving safely.
  • Yeah I've done that before on accident trying to save battery power while on a call with low batter. I surprisingly hung up on someone. I just don't think that's intuitive for everyone who doesn't read imore to figure out. Sent from the iMore App
  • In the end, I still think this is just a move to transition from words in buttons to icons as interaction points, and having them in circles makes more sense than a phone icon sitting on a long bar of a button. Slowly taking away the hand-holding verbiage and replacing it with implied iconography and better-utilized screen real estate. I don't think Apple significantly hindered our ability to end a call successfully by changing the size and shape of the End button. The only fault I see in the screenshots above is the Carplay End Call phone shape within the circular button is black and should be white.
  • "3. When you're in a call with another person, there's a 50% chance that you even need to tap the End button. Proper etiquette is the person who calls hangs up first." you just made that up. never heard in my life.
  • so your logic when you receive new information is because you've never heard of it before, it must be untrue? okkayyyy... etiquette isn't hard coded, but if you google enough, you'll find enough sources that agree with what I wrote. but you'll also find a lot of sources that say the exact opposite of who should hang up first. i'm fine with both scenarios.
  • I could not agree any more. Cannot stand the new call screen. The buttons are too small and while they "might" look nicer they certainly are not nearly as usable as they were previously.
  • "No, it is not "much" improved. It is worse from a usability standpoint." agreed. the circles' tap targets are too small, especially for my senior father. part of what made iOS so popular w/ anyone from any part of the world was its ease of use...the big glassy buttons were intuitive and easy. now, not so much.
  • I do agree, it is a better upgrade. Although...I am experiencing some glitches. For example, just the other day my iPhone 5 started a really fast fade when I unlock to the home screen. Also, when I am in an app and I get a notification banner, and I swipe it away really fast, the background of the banner goes clear, and the words bunch up. Another glitch (had it in 7.0) when I send a text, every so often, the sound you get when you send a message doesn't go off. No, my vibrate switch is not on. When I restart my phone, it fixes the problem. Not huge problems, just minor things. I still love the reliability and easy use of iOS.
  • Great article. I enjoyed reading it. Sent from the iMore App
  • anyone else having a problem with brightness on their iphone 5s after the update. mine keeps getting stuck at a very low brightness level and the only solution I've found is to restart my phone. it's happened three times since the update to 7.1, never had the problem before.
  • I miss full-screen caller ID. Craig said at WWDC that my friends never looked more attractive. Now, they look like icons and I can barely see them... and they certainly don't look attractive. Other than that, 7.1 is great.
  • I agree. I would like to have the full screen picture back
  • With reduce motion enabled, the animation now going back to home, or double clicking to multitask, now makes me more motion sick than before the update with reduce motion enabled. It is a change like this that makes me wonder "why". I'm telling you, they added animation, when my "enabling" of an option is because I wish to have less animation. And, reduce white point does not improve battery, for those who read my other post. Worthless update.
  • no it isnt. just because you have some motion problem doesnt make it worthless to me at all.
  • "For some of us the convenience far, far outweighs the privacy concerns since we like Google or Microsoft and love gadgets and, hey, it feels like something out of Star Trek." Thanks for putting into words why I never really used Siri but find myself using the touchless controls on my Moto X more and more. I like feeling like I'm asking "the computer" questions like something out of Star Trek.
  • It sounds like it WOULD be fair to say that iOS 7.0 should not have been released without the more important update elements present in the subsequent releases. Considering the severity of some of those flaws in iOS, I don't think "trite" is the right way to label such valid criticism.
  • Great review Rene! I had trouble adjusting to iOS 7.0 with the removal of the skeuomorphic design. The operational features of iOS 7 such as swipe to close apps was great but the UI seemed too bland for me. The release of 7.1 was very welcome as it gave me the ability to change the contrast and boldness to levels that 7.0 couldn't do. I also like the weather icons change to include fill rather than just outlines. Then I noticed something. As I switched to the heavy bold text of 7.1 and decreased the white point I found that I actually preferred the display of 7.0. I did leave the Darken Colors on. Now I wouldn't go back to the look of iOS 6. I do hope that Apple continues to allow this type of individual control and actually give users more control such as selecting witch apps are controlled in Control Panel and I would like the Weather in Notifications Screen to return to icons rather than text.
  • The circle buttons are ugly and too small. The phone has become more dangerous to use while driving. My car is too old for Bluetooth and carplay. I don't always have my headset on so I occasionally have to answer and hang up manually and the button is just too small to hit it without looking. Safety while using the phone app should be priority number one. I also hate the slide to unlock text. It looks like a crappy graphics render from the late 90's. I also find it harder to read. I also hate the new short shock vibrate when you get a message in iMessage while the app is open. Why can't I turn off vibrate when I get a message while using the app? I see the message come in. I don't need a jolt to tell me so. I turned off vibrate because of it. I've missed important alerts but my hand doesn't get a tiny jolt every few seconds when I'm in a lively conversation. Sent from the iMore App
  • get an aftermarket head unit in your car, preferably a double-din model w/ big touchscreen. problem solved.
  • Curiosa: I've noticed when you flip up control center (in locked screen mode) it kind of lags little little, compared to when the phone is opened. When you've gotten a notification in locked screen mode it's less laggy when flipping up the control center, just like when it's opened. Did any happen to notice? I have iPhone 5 Sent from the iMore App
  • I don't see any lag but it bounces pretty violently regardless of how slow or fast I pull it out. I wish it were more subtle. 7.1 didn't solve the conflict with control center and shortcut for international keyboard. Tapping and holding the globe button on the keyboard until the keyboard selector pops up and then dragging up to select one often causes control center to appear and get in the way. Sent from the iMore App
  • It's a button. Not a swipe. If your swiping it, that'll summon control center. If you just tap and hold you should be fine.
  • Apple seems to have fixed the location-based Reminders bug. Previously, the Reminders app had to be running at least in the background for location-based alarms to work. After updating to iOS 7.1, I tested that feature with the Reminders app closed. And it worked just fine.
  • I'd rather be able to kill an app and know I'm not draining battery or that an app is no longer tracking me. To me 7.0 fixed this problem and 7.1 broke it again. Sent from the iMore App
  • those background processes arent the same as a full-fledged foreground app running. apple knows what theyre doing, and they know the background processes arent as bad as people think they are....which is basically superstition and voodoo.
  • Question when restoring your iDevice to new (not backup) can / should I sync contacts from iCloud or should I put them in manually. I already restored to new (not backup) iDevice but did sync contacts from iCloud. Would appreciate anyone help on this. Thank you in advance.
  • You can sync from iCloud.
    Additionally, even if you Restore from an iTunes backup it's fine & if you feel you still have problems just Restore via iTunes.That solved restarts & reduced storage space from 'Other' in iTunes for me.
  • I always restore or update from iTunes never from OTA. I already setup my iDevices has new. I sync my contacts from iCloud after setting up new iDevice. Battery still draining at rapid speeds. I believe it's the LTE and 4G connections that's draining my iPhone 5s fast. On WiFi I last pretty long.
  • Oh Yes ! First world problems :) On a serious note, I've always had trouble restoring SMS via iCloud (don't know if it really happens) so i stick with iTunes. Another option, for Contacts backup & Restore that i frequently use is McBackup Pro.
  • iOS 7.1 really slows down my ipad 4, the animations are too slow
  • Try backing up using iTunes & then Restore. Then restore from backup again.
  • I'd love to have the option to disable the shade on the wallpaper. There's many images I'd like to use, but can't because iOS decides that it needs this horrid black gradient at the top. It bugs me, especially if the image includes people, since then their faces get darkened. It's distracting and honestly doesn't match the rest of the OS. I'd love to disable it. I'd like it more if it were off by default, and you can enable it manually.
  • As I had commented on the recent article about Siri; I think it's important to mention the "Raise to Speak" option that's been available for a while, as it is a button press free for activating Siri. Sent from the iMore App
  • The time picker seems to work better. I think the touch target has been adjusted, and the options may have been reduced. I'm not sure, but I can"flick" the wheel and accurately stop it where I want now.
  • another feature they added, if you are playing music, open up the control center and touch the song that is playing, it will open the app that is playing music. they sorta has this feature on iOS 6, when you double click and scroll to the left for music controls, whatever app that is playing, the icon would appear there. i missed that with 7.0. Glad they added it back with 7.1, even though its in a sneaky way.
    NOTE, doesn't work from lock screen, which kind of makes sense.
    Just wish you could fast forward or remind from the control center too!
  • this is a major problem
  • That's a LOT of good work Rene, thank you. I think that the justification that the richest company in the world, with arguably the best design team, could not come up with a finished design on one of its main products reflects so badly at Apple the even I, an usual critic, have trouble believing. I completely disagree with the "not enough time to get everything right" argument, and I think that flies in the face of everything you always say about Apple, the atention to detail, the fixation with quality and user experience etc. iOS 7 came out exactly how Ive wanted, and after a few months and a lot of criticism, the company decided to make a few adjustments to please the general public. Sometimes famous designers make personal choices that they feel that are great, and everybody will love, and in the end almost nobody likes, I think that is mostly the case here. Some of his choices were widely criticised at the time, since the first screens came out, and nothing was changed, even after many designers around the world produced mockups that were so much better than what was presented by Apple, some including modifications now included in iOS 7.1. The excuse at the time was that those were rough mockups, but the final product was exactly the same. I also think that opening and closing the article with the trite and cliché line is a veiled criticism at people who criticise Apple, but in this particular case the criticism is well awarded. Apple messed up, but in the end recognized its mistake and corrected it. So yes, iOS 7.1 is exactly what iOS 7 should have been and a lot of people pointed that out at the time, even yourself, regarding speed and animations if I remember correctly.
  • I think the shift key is an improvement. I could never work out whether the old one was on or not.
  • Who is the lucky person getting a phone call from Georgia? Also why can i not decline a phone call that comes in when phone is locked?
    I know can just push the sleep/wake button to silence it, but want to be able to decline.
  • Still no number editing facility in dialler. Have to start afresh, if wrong input & if you copy paste a number from a website but the area code is different, then > copy-paste in Notes, edit & copy-paste again. Silly !
    Outdoors in bright sunlight, FaceTime is a better option for dialling your contacts. In fact it's become my go to dialler. I like the contrast.
  • Yes there is a number editing ability in the dialer ... the instant you touch a number two icons appear at the top - a backspace button (on the upper right) and a "+" icon on the upper left to add another caller.
  • Barely ! Try editing the 4th digit in a 10 digit number, inserted either manually or copy-pasted from another source.
  • Why would you make the caller picture tiny. There are so many decisions apple makes that are not my style or particular taste it is amazing.
  • Thanks for the great review. I think it should not be understated how important the ability for an iOS device running 7.1 with an Apple TV running the most recent 6.1 update to be able to use AirPlay. At our university, this has been the number one showstopper for departments and staff to purchase iPads because of our more complicated networking setup that would not allow iPads to wirelessly display to the projectors or TVs in our classrooms and conference rooms. With this problem being 'fixed' or 'eliminated' the adoption rate at higher education institutions will increase even further. This is really a big deal and should be getting even more press than it has been.
  • I throw-up a little bit in my mouth every time I turn on my iPhone and see the new inconsistent-with-the-rest-of-the-home-screen black/darker "slide to unlock" text. And iOS 7.1's "shift" key obscure color redesign. Why Apple, why??!
  • HOORAY the Touch ID is finally usable & now I realise what a fantastic addition it was to the iPhone 5s & there's a lot of things Apple can do with Touch ID in the future because it makes so much sense. I'd stopped using it on 7.0 because is was about 15% reliable now on 7.1 it's 90% reliable & I frigging love it. Overall love 7.1, I Also use the new bolder buttons. It's all good. Sent from the iMore App
  • Rene thank you for your review. I think overall iOS 7 made things smoother whether through update but also far less Siri hanging up on "I am very sorry...," - Siri still really needs to go local especially with CarPlay. However I do dislike Apple taking full pictures away from the caller screen (actually all pictures as even the small circle comes up late). I am not exactly alone in this if you venture to this thread you will see 17 pages of fairly unhappy customers...
  • What a review... I'm a little winded now, but I have to say - this is the best, most comprehensive review of iOS 7.1 that I've ever read.
    Well done Rene!
    * iOS is still missing tighter parental controls and more sophisticated storage management options. Sent from the iMore App
  • Great review Rene. I like almost all of the changes....but hate the little circle for incoming call images. It reminds me of some old TMo or ATT commercial....don't remember which exactly....but there were popup heads in circles chatting in those pharmaceutically happy voices. I liked the old, full screen image. But then I can't see up close without glasses so perhaps i'm biased that way. I wish I could use iTunes Radio but I hate commercials of any kind. iTunes Match is still broken....if you own more than 25K songs....and iTunes Radio thinks I don't subscribe to iTunes Match....another broken piece. I guess it works for most but I'll likely not renew this fall. It is a shame. I would gladly pay extra to get all my music integrated. The brutal work arounds for dropping your collection under 25K are absurdly Rube Goldberg and ultimately defeat the purpose of a single collection. Rant over. Happy with the update and no performance/battery issues on iPhone 5 or 4s.
  • My Safari Browser is almost unusable. Some pages just don't load at all. My Chrome Browser is working fine. This is happening on a week old iPad mini with retina display with 128gb of storage. Was working great before update. Ruined the ipad for what I bought it for. I am bumming out. Anyone have ideas. Checked the forum and many having same issue. Sent from the iMore App
  • Ever since iOS7.0.6. and still on iOS7.1 both me and my wife had huge battery drain on our iPhone 4S and stand-by was equal to usage time. We finally found the solution to a post of another user on the Dutch Tweakers forum. There seem to be a bug within a certain Dutch coupon app called 'Scoupy' which drained the battery completely although GPS setting was turned of and also 'refresh on background' was off. They file a fix for their app which isn't in the app store yet. We removed the app and our usage/stand-by time is again as normal (higher stand-by time then usage time) and best of all a 'normal' battery use as it was the case on iOS7.0.4. I hope this could help someone. I'm wondering if the iBeacon changes in iOS7.0.6/7.1 together with a bug in the Scoupy app could be the cause? Maybe this is also with our similar apps you have on your phone.
  • I currently have the iOS 7.1 version for my iPhone 5s. The only thing I can say is AWFUL. Since my phone has updated to the iOS 7.1 everything has literally been going wrong. My phone freezes continuously, Siri barely wants to work and on top of that sometimes my phone gets an one of these bad moves to where it does not even want to call out. I do not know about other iPhone customers but the calling out part is what concerns me the most. I upgraded to an iPhone last year and it was working just fine with the iOS 6.0 version I believe that's the version I had. Now with this recent upgrade in their recent launch of the iOS 7 .1 has literally upset me so badly I want to start a riot. I have a small child and I need my phone to work continuously. True Enough I know all phones are not perfect but they should be running neck & neck with the word Perfect. Lord forbid if I was in a desperate emergency and need it to use my phone I would literally be a goner. True story.... Another thing, I also noticed a lot of customers are leaving feedback with similar issues as mine yet they have not attempted to fix the problem. My point is if you're going to launch something new take the time out to make sure it's working properly. Higher a few testers or something hell I will volunteer to be a tester for free. Just fix the issues. Glancing at the comments solves NOTHING. Sent from the iMore App
  • Folders are still stupid on ipads, considering how big the screen is you still see I think the same amount of apps at a time on a folder in ipads as you do on an iPhone. Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • There is some bugs that need to be work out there some of my apps will not open up because of 7.1 I hope apple fixes this real soon. Sent from the iMore App
  • Its a MESSSS! In my iphone 4 when I try to check my notifiactions in the "Notification Center" the phone reboot! Why?
  • YEA! I have IntelliScreenX7 on my iphone 5S with iOS 7.1 ;) (YES! I have jailbreak) someone asks how do I jailbreak? the answer is simple, independent developers have created their version of evasi0n which can be downloaded from this page: :) Best regards
  • After install IOS 7.1 on Iphone 5, my wifi connection slower than before. Hope Apple fix this..
  • Cars that can sync iPhones can they be upgraded with car play or is it not necessary Sent from the iMore App
  • I just noticed that when you have reduced motion enabled and tap on a link to Safari it will fade in instead of the changing app animation. For me this was the most notable visual change
  • I haven't updated yet because I'm seriously thinking about "jailbreaking" as to add customazation to my 5s, but from reading and looking at the photos of this well written and long review, I can say that there are some things I liked better on 7.0 and some things I like better on 7.1 (I like the 7.0 call screen a lot better)......Thanks for the review Rene
  • I'd say Steve Jobs is turning in his grave with the new iOS 7 / 7.1 design and functionality....