Apple has released iOS 7.1, an updated version of its operating system for the iPhone, iPad and the iPod Touch. We detail some of the notable features in the update.
Apple’s new iOS 7.1 software was released earlier this week and has brought along with it a wide range of fixes, improvements and new features for compatible iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices.
There are refinements to the design of the operating system; updates to Siri and the accessibility controls; and fixes for buggy features. Most notably, Apple has apparently repaired a bug that was causing iPhones running iOS 7 to restart without warning.
We list out five of the key features that you have to try it out right away.
Apple has finally made it possible to disable the annoying parallax wallpaper effect without eliminating the nice zooming transition and animations when opening and closing apps. To do this, first ensure that “Reduce Motion” is toggled off in Settings > General > Accessibility. Then go to Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness and tap your lock screen wallpaper. Toggle “Perspective Zoom” to off and tap set, then do the same thing for your home screen wallpaper.
iOS 7.1 includes a number of enhancements to Apple’s virtual personal assistant Siri. For instance, Siri doesn’t know when you’ve ended a question or a command and often misinterprets a pause as the end of your query. But in the new iOS 7.1, you can easily correct Siri’s poor manners. Simply hold down the Home button until you’ve finished your entire question or comment. Until you release that Home button, Siri will wait patiently before offering a response and potentially interrupting you.
Also, in the new iOS 7.1, Siri’s voice, language and accents have been improved too, so as to sound more authentic and natural. You can either choose a male or a female voice in UK English, Australian English, Canadian English and of course, the plain-old American English. Non-English language options include, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Italian.
When Apple first released HDR mode for iOS devices, the option only existed for it to be turned on or off. The all-or-nothing approach wasn’t a horrible idea, but HDR photos aren’t always necessary. With iOS 7.1 on the iPhone 5S, Apple has set HDR mode to automatic by default so that you don’t have to alter the HDR setting before every photo.
When iOS 7 launched with its redesigned interface, the buttons were replaced with simple text labels. The change seemed like an decent idea to match the buttons with the toned-down approach of the user-interface as a whole in iOS 7. But for some, having to guess what’s a button and what’s simply a text label was a pain. With the release of iOS 7.1, Apple has added the option to bring back the familiar button shapes across the operating system in both native and third-party apps. The switch to enable button shapes can be found in Settings > General > Accessibility. Once enabled, you’ll immediately see the outline of the button at the top of your screen show up.
You should be able to download the latest iOS update by going into your Settings app (it’s the gray gear) and then General and then Software Update, where iOS 7.1 should be waiting for you. You’ll want to plug your iPhone into the wall (or at least have a fully charged battery) and to connect to WiFi Internet before you download, both for speed and so that you don’t eat up your data.
This is a large update, representing 2.5GB of data, so you might have to delete some photos or music to make room for it. And as always, make sure you’ve backed up your iPhone’s data via iTunes or iCloud before you start, just in case something goes wrong.