iOS 7 review

The iOS 7.1 update addresses many of our original concerns

iOS 7 review
Look at it. So flat. So different... wait....

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.


Contacts might not sound like the most interesting bit of a mobile OS, but there is some genuinely useful new stuff here.

As before, Contacts in iOS 7.1 cram a lot of information into very little space, with icons for text/iMessage and calling next to the phone number and for FaceTime audio / FaceTime video. You can share contacts by message, email or Airdrop or block the contact altogether.

When you do that, all phone calls, messages (including texts) and FaceTime requests will be blocked. You can also store additional information such as anniversaries, Twitter names and useful information such as their partner's name or the name of their line manager.

Messaging and mail

The glassy green bubbles of iOS 6 are gone: iOS 7's messages are flat blue balloons (green for texts). The most recent message is the darkest, with earlier messages fading into the past.

Timestamps are hidden by default - swipe left to see them - and while contacts' names are shown in full in the message list, they're abbreviated to forenames only in conversation view.

iOS 7

Mail is better than in iOS 6 too. You can trash messages with a swipe, you can move messages to the junk mail folder and searching has been improved to cover all mailboxes at once. It's all very reminiscent of Mailbox, the nifty email app recently acquired by Dropbox.


The version of Safari in iOS 7.0.6 was a crashy nightmare for me, but it's perfectly stable in iOS 7.1.

The interface still divides opinion - the semi-transparent browser chrome means it takes on the colour scheme of the page you're visiting, which is often pretty horrible.

However it is fast, can sync bookmarks and tabs with your other devices and the Reading List and Shared Links features are handy for storing and discovering interesting things respectively.

Both iPhone and iPad versions of Safari have a single integrated address and search bar, and bookmarks are supplemented with the reading list and shared links from your Twitter feed if you have Twitter integration enabled.

iOS 7

Safari also gets iCloud Keychain in iOS 7.1, which stores passwords and card details across all of your devices.

Tab switching takes place in a 3D stack of cards, from which you can also toggle Private mode, and in a nice touch the address bar offers not just search suggestions but preloading of the first suggestion on the list (you can disable this in Settings > Safari > Smart Search Field).

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.