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iOS 7: A Complete Guide To New Features & Changes

Apple has been quite unpredictable when it comes to new releases. Of course, the new iOS updates do come out around this time of the year, but you can never tell what changes will be awaiting you once you install the new firmware on your iPhone. iOS 5 was a huge update and brought a staggering number of new features to the mix, while iOS 6 didn’t have too many shiny new things as it focused on perfecting the existing features of the platform. The latest in this line, iOS 7, has been termed by many as the biggest change to ever come to Apple’s mobile platform since its initial release. iOS 5 might still win in a comparison of features, but there can be no denying the fact that everything regarding the UI and the overall feel of iOS has been completely revamped. iOS 7 bids adieu to skeuomorphism, and embraces a flat, simplistic look. Having said that, the update doesn’t do too bad on the features front either, with plenty of new additions making sure that users get the best out of their iDevices with the utmost ease.


Supported Devices

You might be very excited about iOS 7, but as always, only a handful of iDevices are compatible with it. Here is their complete list:

  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 4s (missing a few features)
  • iPhone 4 (missing many features)
  • iPod touch 5G
  • iPad with Retina display
  • iPad mini
  • iPad 2

In our experience, the 4s is only missing AirDrop and some of the more obscure changes, but the iPhone 4 has a very stripped down version of the update.

How to Install iOS 7 on Your iDevice

Look for the update badge on the stock Settings app. If it is not there, launch the app and head to the ‘Software Update’ section of the General menu in Settings. The update should show up there if your device is compatible with it. Do make sure that you have a good internet connection before attempting the OTA update.

An alternative way of updating your device is connecting it to iTunes, and letting it look for any pending updates. If all else fails and you are really desperate for iOS 7, simply grab the firmware file from a reputable source and flash it to your device via iTunes. To do this, connect your device, hold down the Shift key (or Option key, if you are on Mac) and press the ‘Restore’ button in iTunes. Now, you will have to direct the tool to the IPSW file you downloaded, and let the magic happen.

State of the iOS 7 Jailbreak

It took a long time for iOS 6 to get jailbroken, but things are looking a bit more rosy for iOS 7. The famous jailbreak developer pod2g has claimed that he is already working on some exploits found in the latest update, which might lead to the release of a working jailbreak for iOS 7 in the near future. Having said that, if you are still on iOS 6 and rely on Cydia tweaks quite heavily, you might not want to update just yet, as there is no guaranteed timeframe available for a jailbreak release. You can, however, make use of the tweaks and themes available for iOS 6 to give it the iOS 7 look.

Guide to Major New Features

  • The New Photos App
    Organizes your photos and albums in a timeline-like view. Also offers a few really good photo effects.
  • Camera App Changes
    There are real-time filters, a square photography mode, and burst capture.
  • Control Center
    A collection of system toggles, music controls, and app shortcuts that are accessible from anywhere on your device.
  • iTunes Radio
    Apple’s new music streaming service, incorporated into the iOS 7 Music app. Lets you create online radio stations based on the song or artist of your choice.
  • Siri Enhancements
    Siri has a new look, and ties in with Twitter much better than it previously did.
  • Safari Changes & New Features
    A great tabs view, and a menu that gathers all shared links from your social networks.
  • Notification Center Overhaul
    Has three separate tabs: one for missed notifications, one for pending notifications, and another that shows any extra information.
  • Smart Multitasking & Background App Refresh
    Preloads content in various apps after learning your usage patterns. The App Switcher tray is also more graphical now. Moreover, certain apps can be set to auto-refresh their data in the background.
  • AirDrop
    Initially an OS X-exclusive feature, the NFC/Bluetooth file sharing alternative AirDrop has made its way to Apple’s latest mobile OS. It is available on newer iDevices and only allows iOS 7 to iOS 7 sharing for now.

Lesser Known New Features

As with all other iOS updates, this one contains a few hidden gems, which we’ve compiled in our list of lesser known new features and changes in iOS 7.

Tips & Tricks For Battery-Life Improvement, Privacy & Productivity

We’ve also compiled a list of useful tips and tricks to improve your iOS 7 experience, give you greater battery life, enhance privacy and productivity.

It goes without saying that the interface outweighs most, if not all, of these changes. To learn more about it, read our post on UI changes in iOS 7.

The update has got a lot of people talking, but it remains to be seen whether its adoption rate matches that of iOS 6 in the coming months. Do let us know if you like what you see in iOS 7, or if you think the skeuomorphism looked better than the new, flat design.


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