iOS 7 Review: Significant changes improve iPhone

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Apple’s logo for the new iOS 7. The update has drawn comparison’s to Android’s interface.

Apple’s most recent update changed pretty much everything about the iPhone we all knew and generally loved. Significant features include a new look for notifications, updating apps automatically, the amazing iTunes Radio, and something that I don’t get to enjoy since I have a 4s; Air Drop. Color schemes are new as well as the icons for most apps from the contacts list to the photo gallery. iOS 7 has been described as an Android look-a-like, and to me that is obvious. Now that I’m used to everything, I have to say, it is pretty great.

The first thing I noticed about iOS 7, since immediately after downloading it I had to start texting my friends about it of course, was the new look of conversations. The little bubbles that had previously shown texts were gone, replaced by flat text boxes. Which at first, I absolutely could not stand, but now, it is good enough. After exiting my texts, I went to my home screen and moved my phone around and played with the 3D effect that makes the background seem like it’s far away from the app icons. I love this, and I cannot stop looking at it. The lock screen is another part of the phone that looks completely different. The passcode buttons are now circles that take the color of your background. Switching from screen to screen seems much smoother with this update. Although everything looks so much different, and this startled me at first, actually using it is basically the same.

Control Center is the most convenient new feature. You can swipe it up no matter what you are currently using your iPhone for.  Control Center includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth access, brightness control, Airplane mode, easy access for the calculator, camera, and alarm, as well as all of the music controls. It also includes a flashlight, which previously was only available through downloadable apps. The top pull down menu is for notifications. This shows you more than the old one in different tabs, such as calls and messages you have missed throughout the day, and a section that shows what you have scheduled for the day. I have heard some complaints about this taking up more space than it previously had, but I will take it since it shows more information.

Safari was not left alone in this new update either. The URL and search bars are combined now, much like Google Chrome. Being used to the Google web browser, this would have been more convenient when I had first gotten my iPhone in July, but now that I had finally gotten used to their separation after a couple months or so, it was another noticeable change. Having multiple windows open at once looks extremely different now as well. The windows appear vertically, and are layered. To close them, you just swipe them aside. To go back or forward to a page, just swipe left or right as well. This is easy, but also annoying at the same time since I often do it accidentally.

iPhone 5 users will be thrilled with the AirDrop feature. I know very little about this since it is not supported by my apparently outdated technology, the seemingly prehistoric iPhone 4s. From what I have seen you use AirDrop to share photos quickly. Just hit share, and you can automatically see who around you has the feature turned on. Then, just tap who you want to send it to. After further research, I discovered that the recipient can either accept or decline the request.

The camera and photo apps have become instagram-y in some opinions. But once again, this only applies to iPhone 5 users.  There are now nine filters to apply to your photos.  There are also different frames, as well as a mode where you can hold the button to take continuous shots. Instagram-y perhaps, but it also looks more professional.

The part of iOS 7 that I love the most is iTunes Radio. Yes, it is much like Pandora or Spotify, but it is still a nice thing to have included. You can also use it wherever you have Itunes. For those who consider this an Apple vs. Android war, mark this as a point for Apple. Android does not have a streaming radio built in like this.

Siri became better with this update as well, which quite frankly, should have been the first thing on the list to fix. Now Siri can be changed to become a male voice. Siri also seems a tad faster to respond when I tell or ask her/him to do things. There is a new sound wave for speaking with Siri, and results he/she gives you now come up on the full screen.  The most useful new addition to the helper is that Siri can now complete actions that have to do with your phone’s settings, such as adjusting the screen brightness, playing a voice mail, or turning on Bluetooth.

As soon as I could, I turned on automatic updates. I never really cared what I was getting with a new update of my apps because I would just figure it out as I went along. For people who want to know what they are getting with certain apps this might be a slight downfall for them, but all I know is I never have to press update on six different apps ever again.

To quit apps now, still double tap the home button just as before. But now, instead of having to hold down the home button and tap every single app in the thumbnail in just the right spot to quit it, all it takes is the simple swipe of a finger on the large preview that is now shown. This is also useful when working with two apps at once, because just double tapping the home button brings me the large previews, and makes it so much easier to switch between them.

Overall, I really enjoy iOS 7. At first it was complicated, but once I got used to it, I realized how modern it is now. Learning how to use changed apps was definitely the hardest part. However, the new features, like Control Center and iTunes Radio are marvelous. I truly think that iOS 7 was worth the wait and the short-lived unfamiliarity.