Unless you're a gadget reviewer, you can't get your hands on the new iPhones just yet--but if you're using an iPhone 5, 4S, or 4, you're going to get a really nice present today. Within the next few hours, Apple is going to release the brand-new version of iOS, iOS 7, to your phones.
When is the update coming?
Soon! Probably around noon or early afternoon ET, judging by previous software update timing.
How do I get it?
Easy! Open your iPhone's settings app, which (at the moment!) looks like a bunch of gears. Hit the option that says "General," then "Software Update." Your phone will look around for the update; if it's available, it'll let you do it right over the air. If it's not available yet, don't worry about it, it'll come soon enough. Then follow the on-screen instructions; you'll be able to do this without plugging your phone into your computer, though you may be required to connect to a Wi-Fi network.
Is there any reason I shouldn't update?
Well, since it's not out yet, I can't tell you if it'll crash your phone. But it probably won't. I'll be downloading it as soon as I can, if that tells you anything. Backing up your phone is probably a good idea; you can do that easily through iTunes. Just plug it into your computer, open iTunes, click on your iPhone in the left-hand sidebar, and under the "Summary" tab, click "Back Up iPhone," making sure it's backing up to your computer.
So what even is iOS 7?
Wait, how did you get this far without knowing what this is? Fine, no judgments, I'm glad you're interested. So! iOS 7 is the new version of the operating system for the iPhone. The operating system is the underlying platform on a given computer-like gadget; on your computer, you might run Windows or Mac OS X. On your phone, you might run iOS or Android or Windows Phone or BlackBerry OS. (Haha just kidding, you probably don't run one of those last two.) Anyway, iOS has changed a lot since it was introduced in 2007, but it hasn't changed very much visually. iOS 7 won't wildly change the way your phone works but it will very much change the way your phone looks.
You'll notice a totally new color palette, with cool pastels and primary colors rather than shades of blue and grey. The philosophy of the design has changed, too; before, Apple used something called "skeumorphism," which basically means trying to make digital things look like physical things. A note-taking app, for example, might have a design with a spiral binding at the top, like a reporter's notebook. This is considered by the tech elite to be a slightly outdated way of designing things; the modern view is that digital doesn't need to look like anything in the real world, but can be simpler and cleaner, without unnecessary flourishes. This sort of philosophy is called "flat design," and the new iOS is a full-on flat design update.
Feature-wise, the biggest change is called the "Control Center." It's a new, faster way to change basic settings on your phone, like turning the Wi-Fi on and off or changing the brightness. To get to it, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Easy!
Search is in a new place. To get to the search right now, you go to your homescreen and then swipe from left to right, as if the search bar was its own homescreen page just to the left of your apps. Not anymore! Now you swipe down from the center, which reveals a search bar at the top of your homescreen. I'm not really sure why this is better! On the other hand, it doesn't seem worse, so, um, just get used to it, I guess.
Multitasking is also totally different, but now it's much better. Double-click the home button to open up a list of all your running apps, as always, but instead of showing just a line of icons at the bottom of the screen, with iOS 7, you'll see a nice big row of thumbnails, showing exactly what's going on with your phone. Tap them to switch to that app, or grab it and swipe it upwards to close it, as if you're tossing the app into a garbage can in front of your phone. (This is an interface stolen from an old OS called WebOS, in case you were wondering. It's a very good one.)
And finally there's one new feature called Airdrop that's designed to let you share things easily. You can get to it with that "Control Center," and it'll let you beam a photo or certain kinds of files--not sure which kinds yet--to an iPhone or Mac nearby. Pretty cool!
I go to my settings on my phone (16 GB iPhone 4s) and it says the update is available. I had to make some room for the download originally, but once I did that, I just get a message that says:
"Software Update Failed - An error occured downloading iOS 7.0"
Anyone else getting this? There are a few of us in our office with Apple devices, and all of us are having the same problem. On iPhones and iPads.
It's best to wait a couple of days before updating, when there's less traffic and you're sure the whole update process works fine. I've once done an update asap and it messed up my phone.
Wrong. Windows Phone user here. Pop Sci should stop all this sponsored sarcasm - it's sickening. Otherwise, good to read this. I'm excited to see changes in iOS.
Sounds like you still didn't have enough room. I have tons of space and was able to download and install iOS 7 this morning with no problem, also on an iPhone 4s. I was careful to backup before starting though.
I'm guessing thousands of people are trying to get the update. I have a plain vanilla 4 and, though I was able to download the update, the update failed. But a complete restore installed iOS 7, and I retrieved all my apps and data from my backup (yes, do this with a cord attached to your computer, and initiate it from the iTunes device management; there you can also create a local backup if you don't have one already). It took some time (an hour?) to do all this, but, even for the iPhone 4 it is a nice refresh.
I updated my phone, wish I hadn't.
The slide to unlock, is not bright enough, the time, the font is thinner, and to weak. The log in panel, is not bright enough
The icon colors, I don't like, and feel insulted that apple knows what I want
The user needs to have the ability to customize, not apple.
I have other apple devise, I am not going to update.
If apple allows the user to select font, color, then yes.
This is similar to Microsoft who updated their software by changing the location of features, and look to justify a change, but reduced productivity as the user has to relearn the software.
Change for the sake of change, is not always good.
Because of file sizes, I found it is easiest to update through iTunes on your desktop computer. Make sure you have plenty of time for downloading and updating.
Don't worry about the brightness or size of the "slide to unlock" since it works on the whole screen.
The brightness of the log in panel depends on your background, so try it out by changing to some of the new backgrounds that come with your update. Light text will have some shadow to contrast on lighter backgrounds. Darker backgrounds work best for me. They also have Dynamic Backgrounds that move.
You can customize many things in the iOS7 look. For text go to Settings, General, then Text Size. Also try Settings, General, Accessibility for Bold and Zoom.
There are many, many changes that work great. Try reading the updates on their site and viewing their videos.
Enjoy, experiment and have fun ... be at one with your iPhone.
(I am not affiliated with Apple or iPhone ... only a user)
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One iOS7 serious issue for parents or people trying to keep tabs on the whole family is that Find Friends has essentially become useless. You can only keep track of people who keep the app running in the background all the time.