What's New with Apple's iOS 7?

Apple just released its newest operating system for mobile devices, the iOS 7. What does Tech Talker think of it? And should you upgrade to the iOS 7? Find out.

Eric Escobar
5-minute read
Episode #94

Last week I did an episode on Apple's newest iPhone, the 5c and the 5s. The release of the release of the new phones coincided with the release of Apple's newest mobile operating system, iOS7. In this week's episode I'll be covering some of the major features in iOS7 as well as many of its hidden gems.9

First of all, if you're not an Apple user, then I appologize for my second Apple episode in a row. If you're a Windows phone user or an Android user, let me know what you'd like to hear about by posting a comment on the Tech Talker Facebook Page!

What's New in the iOS 7?

The New Look: Apple's iOS 7 has a pretty different look and feel to it than the earlier operating system. It looks much more flat and much more like a cartoon. Many people love it, while others think it looks too much like a children's video game. I'm of the latter opinion (but I also generally don't like change). This move to a flatter interface may lead to the icons of apps to start changing as well. Popular apps such as Facebook have already intergrated this flatter design into their icon.

Going off the new look and feel is the moving background. If you pay close attention, you'll notice that the background moves around as you move the phone. This is called paralax, and it gives the phone and icons more depth and a sort of 3D effect. It's not a game changing feature by any means, but it is kind of cool! 

Now, let's look at some of the more useful features.

Siri:  Siri has a new male voice option. And you can also now tell Siri how to pronounce things. I have a few friends with unique names, and man, oh man, Siri would just butcher their names every chance she got! Well now you can tell Siri "That's not how you say that" and correct her (or his) pronunciation.

Siri also has a few new search features, such as better context awareness, and she can help manage your voicemails. I'm not a really big Siri user, but having this feature might be pretty handy if I was trying to get through a backlog of voicemails.

Folders: I really like to keep my phone organized, which just comes with being an engineer. So I'm particularly thrilled that the folder limit has finally been lifted. Before, Apple would limit how many apps you could put into a single folder, but now you can put as many as you want - phew! Now I don't need to have 3 games folders. I could hardly sleep at night until now.

Control Center: Expanding on ease of use, the iOS 7 also has a brand new control center. This is basically a menu that allows you access to phone settings you would normally have to go digging for. For example, your can now easily turn Wifi on and off, you can toggle, airplane mode, Bluetooth, and even turn on the light of your device. All of these things may sound pretty minor, but if you have ever needed to change a setting quickly (and who hasn't?), you know what a pain it is to go digging into your settings . Now with the control center, it's just a quick swipe away!

Multiple Apps: The iOS 7 has also improved on running multiple apps. It's smart enough to know which apps you use most, and will keep them updated more frequently than other apps in order to conserve battery life. For example, if you're always checking your Facebook page but almost never in your Instagram, it would load more notifications and information in the background for Facebook and wait to upload information from Instagram until you opened the app. This is probably not going to be something you'll notice, but it should help a ton in terms of conserving battery.

Block Contacts: If you've ever had an annoying phone number send you text messages or calls, you understand how frustrating it can be. Your only real course of action was to call your phone company and have them blacklist the number. Well now the iOS 7 allows you to block pesky calls. If you have children or teens getting unwanted texts or prank phone calls, this is a simple way to block the unwanted communication without having to get your phone company involved. I could write a whole episode on why this feature is extremely important and useful (I'm sure Mighty Mommy would agree).

AirDrop: Another feature added to this release is AirDrop. AirDrop allows you to send files to other devices wirelessly that are near you. This is handy when you're trying to send anything to another iPhone. Normally when I needed to send someone pictures and contacts, I would have to message them, which was a hassle because then the receiver would have to save the attachment from their message. Now with AirDrop you can share a ton of stuff, such as apps, pictures, links, map locations, and pretty much anything that has a share button on it. It's pretty cool and will make sharing information with fellow iPhone users much easier.

Automatic Update: The iOS 7 comes with automatic updates for your apps. I'm not the biggest fan of this feature because I like to wait and make sure that the latest app update won't break the app or remove a feature that I really liked. But luckily, you can turn it off the automatin and manage your updates manually.

Timestamp and Read Emails: Another minor improvement is the additional of a timestamp on every message. With previous operating systems, you would only see the timestamp of the beginning of a conversation thread. Now, the date and time will be displayed after every message. The iOS 7 now also allows you to check all of your email messages as read, which may sound kind of dumb, but when you add a new email account to your phone and it loads 200 emails as new, having a "Mark All" button is pretty convenient.

FaceTime Audio: Lastly there's a feature that is pretty amazing...if not used for its intended use. Let's call this one a little life hack. FaceTime will now allow you to make audio-only calls. You're probably thinking "So what, Tech Talker. Why would I ever want to do this?" Well I'm glad you asked!

I currently have friends traveling abroad who are relying on free WiFi to communicate back home. Often these WiFi networks aren't fast enough for full FaceTime, but with a pure audio stream the connection is plenty fast to carry on a normal conversation. This means no minutes being used and no expensive traveling charges, just WiFi and a native iOS app. It's pretty nifty and I'm sure will be very useful in your future travels.

Well, that’s it for today! What's your favorite part of the iOS 7? What about your least favorite? Share your opinions with us at Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker where you can also post questions or suggestions for future episodes.

Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at techtalker.quickanddirtytips.com

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!



About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.