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....

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iOS 7's camera app looks quite different from its predecessors, and it's both simpler to use and more powerful.

There's a new Square mode for the obligatory Instagram-style shots of your dinner - and the obligatory retro filters are a tap away thanks to the icon at the bottom right of the screen - and you can move between camera modes by swiping the mode names just above the shutter button.

iOS 7

As before you can toggle HDR, the flash and switch between front and rear cameras with the icons at the top of the screen.

Square isn't the only new option. You can now shoot photos in burst mode by pressing and holding the volume-up button on your device, and if your hardware supports it - and for now that list begins and ends with the iPhone 5S - you can access the new Slo-Mo mode for slow motion video.

If you have an iPhone 5S there's also a new Auto mode for HDR which, as you might expect, uses HDR whenever it thinks that will deliver the best photos.

Photos has been overhauled too. The Photos section automatically organises your images by date and location, creating a collage of all your images.

iOS 7

Tap on it and you'll be taken to that year, and if you tap on the little location detail above the collage you'll be taken to a map that stacks your photos on the places they were taken.

It's a nice touch, as is the new Collections feature: it groups images according to when and where they were taken, and it works very well.

For example, it knew the difference between photos we took at a gig in Glasgow's SECC venue and photos we took at the Glasgow Science Centre, which is only a few hundred yards away.

Photo Streams have been revamped too. You can now create or access shared photo streams, and you can both comment on and Like particular photos in those streams.

When you click Like a little yellow smiley face appears. You can also share images via Airdrop, which uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for local file transfer.

It's Apple's alternative to NFC and strongly suggests that as far as Apple's concerned, the acronym stands for No F***ing Chance.


iOS 7

Months after iOS 7 launched, and with iOS 7.1 now in the bag, I'm still not sold on the redesigned Music app: it's a little too stark for my tastes, and the promised iTunes Radio streaming service still hasn't launched in the UK.

Maybe it's because I spend so much time using it, but iOS 7's music app feels the most different - and I'm not sure its red text on white is an improvement.

It covers the basics perfectly well, however, and the organisation of music by artist is better than before.

I miss Cover Flow too, which has been dumped in landscape mode in favour of a grid of album covers - faster, yes, but less fun, and if there isn't an image available you get horrible text rotated 45 degrees.

The bigger images in the Artists view are welcome, though, and if you have multiple records by the same artist they're grouped accordingly.

Like Music the Videos app gets the new flat interface, and the overlays are semi-transparent when they appear over a clip. There are also new sounds for ringtones and alerts.

Game Center

iOS 7

Good news for anyone phobic about green felt: it's gone in iOS 7's Game Center, which eschews the casino tat of old for something brighter and bubblier.

The bubble app icon wasn't just a pretty design - it's been pushed throughout the service. Essentially, the Friends bubble shows your friends list, the points bubble records your achievements and as you might expect, the Games bubble takes you to your Game Center-compatible games.

Each game has a profile page, leaderboards (if appropriate) and any achievements you have yet to unlock.

If you're playing turn-based games the Turn bubble will let you know when it's your go, and the Challenges bubble lets you know of any gauntlets your friends have thrown down for you.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) 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. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.