Fact sheet: iOS 7

Erick Eckel gives you a look at the features and changes you can expect to see with Apple's iOS 7.

iOS 7

This fact sheet will be continually updated with the latest details as we learn more about Apple iOS 7. You can check back and refresh this article to receive the latest updates.

What we know

  • Availability: Fall of 2013, likely mid-September
  • Base price: Free download on compatible devices (iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini, and 5th generation iPod Touch) and included on new devices
  • Distribution: On new iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads, plus via the Apple App Store
  • Interface: With iOS 7, Apple's iOS interface receives a badly needed refresh. The new, cleaner interface and structure boasts more white space and seeks to simplify all user interaction by being purposefully unobtrusive. Frills and unnecessary buttons are gone. Even app icons receive makeovers to keep them consistent with the new design.
  • Control Center: Provides quicker, easier access to apps and settings. A simple swipe enables users to quickly access the most commonly used features, including Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and more.
  • Notification Center: A quick swipe down gesture accesses the Notification Center, complete with information on messages, news alerts, missed calls, and other events.
  • Multitasking: While present in previous iOS iterations, multitasking receives a notable improvement in iOS 7. With the new OS, large preview displays appear for active apps. Users can scroll within the new multitasking view between apps. iOS 7 also automatically updates apps based on the queues it takes from users' behavior.
  • iTunes Radio: Apple's new iTunes Radio will be integrated as an app within the new iOS, but it will initially only be available in the United States. Apple’s streaming music service will customize music selections based on user habits. The service will include some 200 genre-based “radio” stations, download songs directly to iTunes, and view listening histories.
  • Photos: Collections, Moments, and Years are three new smart grouping methods for photos and videos that arrive in iOS 7. The new sorting features organize photos and videos by an event, date and location, or year.
  • iCloud Photo Sharing: Creating a new shared photo stream enables iCloud users to post photos and videos, to which others can add photos, videos, and comments using their own iOS devices. A new Activity view, meanwhile, enables users to track photo stream updates in a centralized location.
  • AirDrop: Emailing or even texting files is old fashioned and clunky. Exchanging files with other iOS 7 users proves to be easier with the help of AirDrop. Using AirDrop, users can quickly share photos, contacts, videos, and other application files using any app that supports Share button integration. Using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and requiring no setup, AirDrop file transfers are quick and easy, and they even leverage encryption to secure file transfers. Users simply need to select Share, and recipients need only to select Accept.
  • Camera: A new square photo option is included within iOS 7’s new Camera app. The Square option joins the Camera’s existing wide, video, and panorama formats. New filters enable customizing images, either before or after a shot is taken. Change your mind later? No worries. iOS 7 allows users to remove applied filters from a stored image.
  • Safari: Browsing refinements will be among the first innovations iOS 7 users notice. Readability is improved due to navigation buttons and bars hiding automatically. Swiping enables users to move back and forth between pages, and a new tab view helps users scroll between active tabs using iOS 7’s elegant new waterfall presentation.
  • Siri: Siri receives several updates in iOS 7. The concierge feature disappears automatically from the display once its work is complete. Improved male and female voices make it easier to understand Siri. Most importantly, Siri’s smarter, as the redesigned interface (which adds on screen prompts to confirm it's listening and displays search results directly within Siri) searches multiple new information sources, including Bing, Twitter, and Wikipedia.
  • Weather: iOS 7’s new sleek and clean interface becomes particularly noticeable within the Weather app, where new animated displays match the new design and make it easier to understand weather conditions at a glance. Weather’s background wallpaper images also change to match real-time weather forecasts.
  • Open in management: New OS improvements also target the corporate environment. New “Open in” controls make it easier for IT departments to dictate which apps and accounts are authorized to open which files and attachments.
  • Per app VPN: Support is now included for automatically connecting VPNs when a specific app is launched. As a result, IT departments can more easily control connectivity to corporate resources.
  • App Store license management: App Store Volume Purchase Program (VPP) can now assign apps to users. When users leave, businesses can retain app licenses. Instead of requiring staff to use a centralized corporate Apple ID, a user can supply their own personal Apple ID, which is not shared with the company. Instead, corporate authorized apps can then be placed in the user’s personal purchase history to enable self-service download, and organizations can revoke licensing at any time.
  • Multiple new MDM options: iOS 7 supports multiple new mobile device management (MDM) configuration options, including the ability to wireless configure managed apps, deploy custom fonts, configure AirPrint printers, and more.
  • SSO: Single sign-on (SSO) support is now available. Existing SSO platforms can be leveraged to authenticate user permissions for a variety of corporate resources.