Good news for iPhone lovers, which we know a lot of you are — iOS7 is supposed to be dropping today. Here’s what you should do to prepare yourself for download, and some of the stuff you’ll be able to do once you’ve got it on your phone.
First of all, let’s get this out of the way: the iOS7 will only be available to download for the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5. If you’re still clinging to that 3 from way back, then we commend you for the care with which you must attend to your electronics (how is it even still charging?), but you’re fresh outta luck. On the plus side, if you’re due for an upgrade in your contract, then you can switch to the 4S for basically free! Problem solved.
If you do have a phone that will take the update, then you need to back it up first. We cannot stress that enough: always back up your data before downloading new software. Doing that on the iPhone is real easy, as there’s a little button you can click that will store your data in the cloud, on your computer.
As of writing, the new iOS has not yet launched. Everybody expected it to drop at 1pm EDT today (which is 10am PDT), because that’s when previous iOS updates have been available for download in the past, but it seems a little slow coming this time around. For us, at least.
So here’s what you can expect out of the upgrade:
The closest thing the iPhone had to a control center in the past was the little thing that appeared when you hit the home button twice and swiped left, which allowed you to pause what you were listening to without going into the iTunes or podcast screen. Now that’s been revamped to allow you easy access to Airplane mode, wireless settings, Bluetooth settings, and an LED dimmer, as well as an easy button for your flashlight, calculator, and camera. You can also still play and pause the music from there too, of course.
This isn’t exactly an innovation or anything, as Android has something similar (and better, apparently). But it’s much, much better than what was there before.
Remember that thing we just said about hitting the home button twice? That function looks so much better now now. It doesn’t just show you the apps that are open but also what the screens look like before you click on ’em.
New pull-down notification center
The notification center is good idea, but was poorly executed in the last iOS iterations. Now it’s sleeker and better-designed, with a separate tab for notifications that it thinks you might have missed the first time. For some reason it still wants to tell us about stocks, though. Are there really that many people using their phones for stock updates that every iPhone comes with it?
A better Weather app
I don’t know about you guys, but my iPhone’s built-in weather app has straight-up not been working since Sunday or so. I’m guessing that the folks over at Apple just gave up on it, seeing as this new one’s supposed to be the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel.
It sure does look pretty, with an animated display and new hour-by-hour forecast. The actual information will still be coming from Yahoo!, of course, so if you prefer a different source for your meteorological news then you might want to go elsewhere.
Probably the biggest change other than the control center, this new app gives you a selection of streaming stations that you can access through your phone, iPad, on iTunes, or on Apple TV. The stations are not as customizable as programs like Spotify or Pandora, but there is a “genuis shuffle” function on iTunes 11.1 that claims to be similar.
While we won’t be getting the fanciest of cameras unless we all bite the bullet and buy that 5S, we will get some of the awesome software features that Cook brought out at the keynote, including slow-motion, filters, and easier-to-access panoramic setting. They’ve also brought out a “square” function, which is presumably supposed to translate better to apps like Instagram.
Photos is also getting a revamp, too, which will include “moments,” which organizes your images by the days in which they were taken, and “collections,” which also factors in the locations where they were taken. It just looks nicer, too. Seriously, everything on iOS7 looks real sleek and fancy.
While iPhone 4 users don’t get to hang out with Siri at all, iPhone 4S and 5 users will find that she’s just a bit better at listening to you — specifically, a sound wave shows up at the bottom of the screen when she’s ready to hear what you’re saying. She’s also much more attuned to common Internet search locations like Wikipedia and social media. And she has a new voice that’s less mechanical. You can even switch the voice to “male,” if you so prefer. He doesn’t sound as much like Paul Bettany’s Jarvis from Iron Man as we would like, but it’s a start.
All in all there aren’t that many ridiculous changes that are coming with iOS7, which is good — we are human and thus we fear change. It might be confusing teaching yourself to navigate your touchscreen a different way, but ultimately these are improvements to the way that your iPhone works.
You know, if they ever actually release the dang thing.
- Here’s the video of that 5S keynote event
- And here’s a bulleted recap, in case you hate video
- What does the “C” in 5C stand for, anyway?