iOS 7 is here and many people will be clamoring to update right away. We’ve been testing out the new operating system from the early betas to the gold master. There is a lot to love about iOS 7 and great reasons to upgrade, but rushing in might not be for everyone. We’ve complied a few reasons why you might upgrade immediately, or whether it might be a better idea to hold off.
Great new features
The most obvious reason to upgrade is that iOS 7 is very feature-rich. The update includes clean and useful changes to apps such as Safari, the weather app, App Store, Maps app, and the ability to make voice calls via FaceTime.
Siri has a brand new interface, and includes voice overs in English, French and German. It’s more fluid and human-sounding, and has the power to aid in changing phone settings, recite message, and even conduct search in other apps.
Among the great new features is AirDrop, which allows you to exchange files across mobile devices and Macs running OS X 10.7 and above. It doesn’t work on all devices, but for the ones that do, the ease of transferring files to others is very useful.
Convenient menus and multitasking
The design of iOS 7 flows better than older versions, and a key place to see this is the new layout of menus such as Control Center and Notification Center. These centers can be accessed by swiping up or down, respectively, even while in the lock screen. The Notification Center clearly displays notifications and separates them into lists such as notifications from today, all notifications, or only the ones you have missed.
The Control Center has options to switch into airplane mode, toggle Wi-Fi, control media, brightness, and access apps such as the camera, calculator, and the new flashlight app. All of these options packed into one place is very convenient.
Along with spruced-up menus, iOS 7 also offers improved multitasking to quickly hop between apps. All active apps are displayed in a row of icons, along with card previews. You can quickly switch to an app by tapping on it or shut them off with a swipe up.
More secure and private
While iCloud Keychain is currently delayed, once it’s rolled out the potential for convenience and security is great. This feature stores and encrypts passwords and can even generate new ones on demand. You no longer have to worry about memorizing a whole list of complicated passwords. The best part is the password will be accessible on other iCloud devices such as Macs, iPads, and iPod Touches.
If you want more local privacy iOS 7 now offers the option of blocking calls. Being able to avoid spam, stalkers, or just people you don’t like is a great way to put your mind at ease.
The camera and music gets revitalized with iOS 7. Opening the camera app allows options for photo, square, panoramic, and video captures. The camera’s editing mode allows you to select filters, remove flaws, crop, and even an option to auto-enhance. This allows the native photo editing app to keep up with apps and services such as Instagram and Google+.
The big new service in iOs 7 is iTunes Radio. On the basic free level the music app allows the creation of radio stations filled with different artists. This makes it a great alternative to Pandora, although some users of Spotify might find it annoying not being able to select specific songs. While Apple hasn’t released the current number of songs available, the current library has over 200 stations from labels such as Sony and Universal records, so it should be good.
While we’ve mentioned some of the great new aspects of iOS 7, there are still a few things that you should be cautious about upgrading.
A new OS can be overwhelming and buggy
iOS 7 is a big change to the look and feel of the operating system. Some people could compare it to Android’s leap from Gingerbread (2.3) to Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) several years ago. Icons are re-designed, and many features have been moved around. This can make iOS 7 a bit confusing when you first use it. The only real solution is to test out the OS or prepare by viewing tutorials and previews. Many people who seem accustomed with iOS 7 have actually been prepared by using the many betas that have been released over the previous months. Jumping straight in from iOS 6 (or later) can be daunting, epically if you aren’t an advanced user.
Another issue is that iOS 7 might have unexpected bugs lurking around. The release of iOS 6 had a slew of problems, which were hammered out in time. The chances of problems like lower battery life aren’t super high, but they’re still something you need to be aware of.
Devices and apps perform differently
iOS 7 isn’t created equal on all devices – there’s a clear emphasis on the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. OSXDaily has compiled reports from users experiencing bugs and slow down on older 2nd and 3rd generation iPads, and smaller optimization problems on iPad 4, iPad Mini, and iPhone 4. These devices experienced a higher rate of crashes, freezes, and the need to hard reboot.
Apps themselves might not function correctly or simply look strange. While apps are mostly compatible with phones, as mentioned before, issues are more likely to arise when iOS 7 is on a tablet. It’s up to to individual developers to streamline and update their apps to all devices running iOS 7. While major companies such as Facebook and Twitter will likely take care of this within a few days, smaller companies might take weeks or months to roll out apps with smoother functionality or designs that fit Apple’s guidelines.
Are you using a business phone?
Maybe your Apple device belongs to your company or you use your personal phone to conduct business. It can be a major problem if the software you rely on to work no longer functions correctly. Any of the above problems are a headache for basic users, but if you depend on iOS for critical apps and info, compatibility problems will be crippling.
If you’re considering upgrading to iOS 7 for professional reasons you may be the most likely to hold off for several weeks.
Make sure to back up
Regardless of whether you decide to move forward to iOS 7 or stay put, it’s very important to back up all of your current data and upgrade your apps. It’s a good idea to sync any wanted files with iTunes or iCloud and delete any extra clutter. On older iOS devices, Apple is even making it easier to quickly download the latest compatible version of apps.
While there is no official announcement yet, iOS 7.0.1 and 7.0.2 (along with 7.1) are already showing up in various web logs, mainly tests by Apple employees. The first update is speculated to roll out within a few weeks after iOS 7.0, and could take care of most or all of the mentioned issues. If you have any apprehensions about updating now, wait a week or two for the next version.
For those already aiming for a day one upgrade, we hope you’re enjoying all the new features iOS 7 has to offer!
Have you upgraded to iOS 7?