5 on Friday: iOS7 Edition

When iOS7 was first released last week, my initial thought was “Gah! Fisher-Price has taken over my iPhone.” Everything became rounded, soft, and because of my wallpaper, pastel. There were good updates, and bad updates to the iPhone with iOS7. Here are both, plus how to improve your experience, as seen from an iPhone 4s and an iPad Mini.

Really, this is more like a 15 on Friday.

The Good

1) Hiding Newsstand – Newsstand (possibly the least useful app on an iPhone) has been a thorn in my side since it was introduced. It just sits there, looking empty and sad. Can’t even hide it in a folder. But with the release of iOS7 I can now put it with compass, stocks, and all the other crap I’ll never use. Still bothers me that I can’t uninstall it, but at least I don’t have to look at it.

 

iOS7 App Folder

Begone newsstand!

2) Built in Flashlight – Why this isn’t standard on phones, I don’t know.

 

This should be built in to all phones.

This should be built in to all phones.

3) Better Core Apps – Weather, Reminders, Mail, Notes, and Calendar. They’re all better than they were before. I even ditched Any.Do and Cal because the improvements made to the stock apps. I was able to ditch my weather app for stock weather. Anytime I can simplify the number of apps I feel I need I’m happy. Plus, no more skeuomorphic design (except for notes and reminders, which insist on looking like they letters are embossed a bit). Plus, we all got to learn the word “skeuomorphic.”

 

iOS7 Notes App

I do however insist on looking like paper.

4) Control Center – Android users have had this for a while; but having things like music control, BlueTooth, and WiFi within a few swipes is useful. You should never have to dig through menus for these things.

 

iOS7 Control Center

Yes, I know Android’s had it for a while now. Just let us enjoy it OK?

5) Notification Center – The notification center iOS now has reminds me a lot of a simplified Google Now, and I’ve written before on my love of Google Now. I’d expect to see this get more functionality as time goes on, to become a true Google Now competitor.

 

iOS7 Notification Center

One step closer to Google Now…

 

The Bad

1) Gradients, Gradients Everywhere – There are so many gradients on iOS7 that I felt like I was looking at an Angelfire page from 1997.

 

iOS7 icons

That’s enough apple.

2) Apps Reloading – For some reason on iOS7 if I’m playing multiple games, the games feel the need to reopen from the home screen everytime I use something else for more than a minute. So if I’m playing Star Trek Rivals and Words With Friends, the apps feel it necessary to restart as I switch between them. Unacceptable.

3) Spotlight or Notifications? – Swipe down to search your phone, and swipe down for notifications. I can’t be the only one messing this up.

4) Game Center – A picture speaks a thousand words. Seriously, WTF is this?

 

iOS7 Game Center

I don’t even know what this is.

5) Closing Apps – It used to be you would do a press and hold of the app you wanted to close, and then tap the X. Now you have to swipe the preview of the app up. Not a bad method, but changing behavior that wasn’t broken is annoying.

Improve Your iOS7 Experience

1) Reduce Movement – Have you noticed when you tilt your phone your icons seem to move over the background? They just kind of hover there? It’s vaguely annoying, and more importantly a drain on your battery. Turn it off by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion.

iOS7 Reduce Motion

2) Darker Backgrounds – Or maybe even a light background with a good color scheme. I had a wallpaper that was a mix of blues, purples, and pinks. And that made the background of my folders look like an easter egg. Changing the wallpaper dramatically improved the look of my phone.

 

iOS7 Home Screen

Happy Easter!

3) Background Refresh – Another fabulous battery drain! Not only that, but this one will eat your data too! Turn it off by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. Unfortunately, if you’re having the Apps Reloading problem described above, this doesn’t seem to help.

iOS7 App Refresh

4) Short Names – Do you have two friends with the same name? Better remember what you’re talking about with each of them, because iMessage now only shows first names or nicknames. Change it to display however you want by going to Settings > Mail, Contacts & Calendars > Short Name.

iOS7 Short Names

5) Turn Off Control Center in Apps – But Nicole, you were talking about how awesome the new control center is. Which is true, until you’re playing Running with Friends and you accidentally swipe the damn thing up. Turn it off here: Settings > Control Center > Access Within Apps. Turn it off on your lock screen while you’re at it.

iOS7 Control Center Settings

 

Have you upgraded to iOS7 yet? What do you love/hate about it?

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