The first 24 hours with iOS 7

Will Kelly gives his first impressions about updating to iOS 7.


I took the plunge on Wednesday, September 18th, to update both my iPad and iPhone 5 to iOS 7. I set an alarm for 1:00 PM EST and ran the update while I continued working on other things.

It took me around an hour to download the update, and then I spent some time exploring iOS 7 between other projects.

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Making the update

Quite a few users reported problems upgrading to iOS 7, but the update on my iPhone 5 and iPad went rather smoothly. There was a temporary hiccup in bandwidth, but I attribute that to updating two devices at once over my Wi-Fi network and/or lots of bored geeks in my area with the same idea. Figure A shows the update in progress.

Figure A

Figure A

The iOS 7 update in progress.

My first reaction was to find a way to turn off how the icons “fly into the screen” after you enter your security code. In an email that I dashed off to my editor, Sonja Thompson, I also remarked that the iOS 7 UI looks a “bit cartoonish.”

There is a tooltip (Figure B) for the Spotlight change, but this still might take the longest for me to adjust to. You have to swipe down from the middle of the screen to pull it up. 

Figure B

Figure B

The Spotlight tooltip.

Another nuisance was that iOS 7 repositions the Facetime icon on the iPhone’s home page. This knocked off all my carefully setup icons and folders.

Folders now also have group pages. So, if you update to iOS 7 and think you’ve lost an app, just open the group and swipe. Figure C shows an example of an open folder in iOS 7.

Figure C

Figure C

An open folder in iOS 7.

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Do my apps work?

The app updates ran in the background while I was reviewing an Android app, of all things, for TechRepublic. I spent my breaks checking out the following core iPhone apps:

  • Evernote, the app that holds many of my article ideas and research, required an update on my iPhone. The opening screen displayed a synchronization fail error, and then two random notes and two seemingly unrelated folders appeared (none were recent folders or notes). My issues around this app were by far the worst during this experience.
  • Mailbox opened up and worked well. I was able to send and receive email just fine. In fact, I think iOS 7 makes the app look better. Mailbox even dropped an iOS 7 update when I was finishing this post.
  • Mynd Calendar opened up just fine and worked perfectly for me.
  • Omni Group released OmniFocus 2 for iPhone to take advantage of iOS 7’s new features. So far, this is the only app I use regularly that's offering a paid iOS 7-specific update. Since sync issues I had with the previous Omnifocus version still persist with iOS 7, I’m currently not sure if I’m going to update it.

The biggest test for me was call quality, and that seemed fine on two business and personal calls. Answering calls is a bit different because of UI changes, and I still need to try the new answering a call with a text message feature.

Another big test was text messaging. I found the black text in gray bubbles on a white background to be very flat. It reminded me of newsprint. Figure D shows text messaging in iOS 7.

Figure D

Figure D

Text messages show up bland and flat.

4:00 PM - 6:00 PM: Out and about with iOS 7

When I went out to hit the gym and run errands, Mailbox choked up on me. I tried to force close the app the old way, but it didn’t work. With iOS 7, I had to select the app and then swipe up to force close it.

Also, while retrieving voice mail, I found the voice mail controls (Figure E) to be difficult to use one-handed. 

Figure E

Figure E

New voice mail controls.

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM: Exploring iOS 7

It’s not an enterprise feature, but I gave iTunes Radio a try, because I listen to a lot of music -- whether I’m sitting in a cubicle, an office, or working in my home office or café. While it probably won’t replace  my Spotify app, iTunes Radio might be the next new listening experience for users who need to have ear buds.

I also thought that the default iOS email client made better use of swiping to archive and delete emails. Apple could be taking some lessons from the Mailbox and Boxer apps playbooks with this latest release.

On the down side, the background animations are a neat parlor trick, but I'll have to turn them off to quell the annoyance factor.

9:00 PM - 5:00 AM: Recharging batteries 

Even early adopters and TechRepublic contributors take a break from iOS 7.

5:30 AM - 12:00 PM: Getting control over iOS 7

The alarm clock on my iPhone rang this morning as usual. The more time I spend with iOS 7, the more familiar it feels to me.

The Control Center (Figure F) is a huge improvement, in my opinion, because it centralizes controls for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, music, calculator, and Airplane mode. 

Figure F

Figure F

The iOS 7 Control Center.

The Notification Center (Figure G) is also an improvement, because it makes it easier to calendar events, the weather, and email alerts. 

Figure G 

Figure G

The iOS 7 Notification Center.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM:  Lunch with a side order of iOS 7

I had a conversation at lunch with my friend and former co-worker Phil about iOS 7. Phil’s an early adopter and a very visual person (he’s a photographer). He said that OS updates are fine as long as they bring him technology benefits. He has a personal iPhone and his office doesn’t have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, so enterprise features don’t register with him.

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Final thoughts

I was on the fence about upgrading my iPhone, because I had a poor experience upgrading my old iPhone 4 to a new iOS version. And based on other users' difficulties, I feel fortunate that this update went smoothly for me. There are some significant changes with iOS 7, but I’m sure that I’ll get used to them over time. Tim Williams, director of project management for Absolute Software, offered some tips for supporting iOS 7 in the enterprise, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how iOS 7 helps promote the enterprise and BYOD initiatives.

Have you updated to iOS 7? If so, what are your first impressions? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.