iOS 7.1 review: Apple finally gets it right with iOS 7


When Apple unveiled iOS 7 last June, it was clear that it was going to be a drastic change from what we had known iOS for six years. It was also the first ever design overhaul, headed by Jony Ive and not Scot Forstall. However, when iOS 7 was released to public with the new iPhone 5S, it became apparent that the new UI was still a work in progress and had quite a few rough corners. Last night, Apple started rolling out the first major update to iOS 7 after its release in September last year. iOS 7.1 not only brings new features, but also fixes quite a few issues and bugs that have plagued users for quite some time now. As mentioned in our earlier story, the update also breathes a fresh life into aging devices like the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the iPad mini. Let’s take a look at how iOS 7.1 performs. 

iOS-7-1-review-UIOne of the first things that you are likely to see is the host of design tweaks introduced in the new update. Compared to before, the design elements are also much more consistent this time around. So instead of a mixture of round and square-ish buttons, now everything is round. This wouldn’t matter to a lot of people, but for a person like me with borderline OCD, I like consistency in every aspect. Apple’s designers have also toned down the trippy colors from iOS 7, and the OS now looks a bit dark and sober rather than make you feel as if you are tripping on LSD.

The designers have also made things like the ‘Slide to Unlock’ bar and the ‘Clear’ button in the Notification Menu merge into the background rather than standout as a button. This again maybe a small change for many, but it does add to the premium-ness of the OS. As mentioned above, nearly everything is rounded so be it the icons, the call button on the phone dialer, accept or decline buttons when receiving a call, or the power off slider, they all take advantage of this new design language.

The next thing I noticed post the update was just how snappy the phone had suddenly become. The simplest of tasks like sliding down the Notification Menu or sliding up the Control Center has seen a noticeable bump in speed. Animations in general have become a lot smoother and there is hardly any lag visible during general use.

iOS-7-1-review-keyboardOne of the improvements that I have really enjoyed is just how smooth scrolling feels. Be it scrolling through songs in the Music Player or through apps in the multitasking menu, the effect is smooth as silk. In fact this makes you wonder why Apple didn’t get it right when it released iOS 7 last year. The keyboard too has got a few tweaks, which now looks bolder than before and the shift and delete keys standout so you don’t hit them by mistake. The keyboard performance too has been improved and there is a noticeable smoothness when typing.

iOS-7-1-review-phone-iconsTalking of features, Apple has added a decline button when you receive a call, which is a big deal as now there is no need to press the sleep button to decline a call. It took Apple just seven years to get something as basic as declining calls right. Another feature that I really like is HDR toggle switch on the camera. Yes it was there earlier too, but it was always disabled by default. Now, the default setting is Auto and you can change it to On or Off for every time you fire up the smartphone’s camera. However, this is available only on the iPhone 5S.

Another welcome feature is the ability to toggle the ‘Parallax Motion’ while setting wallpaper. This makes more sense for people on older devices where this effect used to hog the battery and also slow things down.

It is too soon to judge if these performance bumps have had any effect on the overall battery performance. On the plus side though it is safe to report that there is no battery drain and after updating my phone last night I still had battery left till after lunch time before I had to connect my charger. Apple’s changelog also mentions that they have fixed the Touch ID sensor bugs, but again it is too soon to comment on it. But since last night, the fingerprint scanner has worked flawlessly and in fact it too has become slightly quicker than before.

iOS-7-1-reviewOverall then iOS 7.1 update has brought in a lot of welcome changes, tweaks and features that will be appreciated by everyone. The OS finally feels stable and more like a complete package than before and gives a clearer picture of what Apple really wanted to achieve with iOS 7.

Photos: Paranjay Dutt

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  • Apple lover

    am using ios 4 and i don’t see any performance enhancements after the update. It just some skin updates. The Camera and call history still have lag’s.

  • carpleror

    There has always been a decline button when receiving calls, it’s only when the phone is unlocked though. The locked screen still doesn’t have one.

  • Vijay

    Are you talking about the performance even on iPhone 4? Is it really snappy ?

  • Bruce Statler

    One feature they removed from the final release was the “dark keyboard” accessibility. As a visually impaired user this was a feature I was looking forward to as the keyboard was extremely hard to read with the skinny font Apple was using. I will say the improvements they did make to the keyboard are welcoming and does make it easier to read but still wish they would have left that feature in the final release.

  • pankaj

    apple new ios 7.1spoiled my 4S ,just apple become a shit after loding new ios.wi-fi not working frequently hanging and lot of other bad stories

  • rg

    downloaded 7.1 and lost all information on ipad “picture, music, data” it is now just like new with no information..totally sucks

  • Itai Sargani

    I must disagree with the writer. This time, Apple got it all wrong.
    I was ok with iOS 7 and 7.03, but after upgrading my iPhone 4 to iOS 7.1, the battery now lasts for 24 hours (instead of 36 hours or even longer, with 7.03). At night, i put my phone on air plain mode. It used to take 0-1% over night… now it takes like 8 – 12% (the phone literally does nothing.. No communication, and no screen is working, and still, it consumes a lot of battery power).
    This is not the only bug… There seems to be a problem with the slide to answer/unlock that sometimes doesn’t work.
    I used to have this problem with earlier version of iOS, like iOS 4, and 5 (I’m not sure if I had it with 6), but I never had it with 7, 7.01 and 7.03
    Now I get it often… and it is not a HW issue, since the phone works fine.
    My wife calls and I can’t answer the call. (To be correct, the whole touch screen doesn’t seem to be active, not just the “slide to unlock” area)
    I’ve found a trick to overcome this problem:
    I put my finger on the proximity sensor, and the screen goes off. Then I remove my finger and the screen goes on again and now the touch screen works again.

    My theory is that due to a bug, the screen goes on (it phone is located on a lather case) and the proximity sensor detects the case and prevents the touch screen from getting touch events.
    However, when I put it out of the lather case and try to answer, the touch screen does not re-activate.

    Putting my finger over the proximity sensor, simulates the scenario of putting it near my ear, which deactivates and reactivates the touch events, which fixes the problem.

    These kind of things only making me want to make my next phone not an iphone (I don’t know what it will be, but I know what it don’t be)