iOS 7 Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The internet is absolutely loaded with 2 things right now: iOS 7 traffic as people download the latest iOS update and a billion blog posts reviewing iOS 7. I feel it is my job to fuel the fire with my own iOS 7 review.

Firstly, it is worth noting that there are a variety of opinions out there about whether or not iOS 7 is good or bad. Like many, however, I see the OS as taking a number of steps forward and several steps back (as well as some unnecessary side steps). Here’s the breakdown:

iOS 7 InterfaceThe Good

iOS 7 brings about the biggest visual change that Apple has ever put forward. Apple has redesigned just about every single interface and application — I can’t think of anything that hasn’t been redesigned. For those that embrace change (I fall into that camp), the update is very welcome and seems refreshing. For everyone else, many changes will seem arbitrary and frustrating. The good news is that after a week or so, most users will have adapted.

Upgrading was as easy as usual, not including a delay because of overwhelming traffic to Apple’s servers and almost all settings and app data made it across safely to the new OS. Unfortunately, for some reason, my apps did not. A quick visit to the “purchased” section of the App Store app allowed me to re-download the apps painlessly and thankfully all of my app data made the transition.

The best addition to iOS 7 is the introduction of Control Centre for quickly changing phone settings. Of course, this functionality has existed via jailbreak for several years now, but it is great to finally see it baked into the OS as a standard feature.

Based on this, I can finally say that a jailbroken iPhone is no longer an absolute necessity. I still miss my 5-icon dock though.

The Bad
iOS 7 App SwipeThe bad news is that many changes are not just visual and may have gone a step in the wrong direction. Apple decided to rethink many system-wide gestures — some that have worked out for the better and others that add prolonged confusion. Take the new swipe gestures in the default “Mail” application, for example. Apple has decided to change the “swipe for options” functionality from a left-to-right swipe to a right-to-left swipe. This was done, presumably, because of the new OS-wide left-to-right swipe “back” function. However, it just doesn’t feel natural to swipe right to left and is a harder action to perform.

The notification center, by default, has also been made worse. The new “Today” view has been declared terrible by many. Thankfully, you can return the notification center to the way it was by changing some settings.

The Ugly

Call me shallow, but one of my biggest issues with iOS 7 is the overall colour scheme. I call it rainbow unicorn vomit. The fact that Apple got rid of skeuomorphism is fantastic, and most of the menus are dramatically improved visually. However, most of the new stock icons look like off-colour candy and make the overall OS feel more like a children’s toy than a serious new OS.

Some of the biggest problems that you can immediately fix are outlined in a recent Lifehacker article: fixing iOS 7’s biggest annoyances. Some of these frustrating items are:

  • Parallax — the unnecessary, constantly shifting of home screen apps when you move the phone. Distracting and useless.
  • Disable Control Center when in applications — for some apps that require interaction towards the bottom of the screen causing users to accidentally pull up Control Center.
  • Improving battery life by disabling background app refreshing
  • Returning notification center back to its superior old self

iOS 7 Album Artist AnnoyanceAlso, a small but particularly annoying change has been made to the Music app. Instead of selecting an artist and then being presented with a list of albums to drill-drown on, you are given a list of all songs for all albums instead. This makes it much more difficult to get to a specific album since you may have to scroll through every other album before reaching the one that you want (see the screenshot on the left).

Overall, iOS 7 is refreshing seeing as the OS has retained the same look for so long. However, Apple has overdone some of the visual changes and made a number of changes that are unnecessary. Despite some on-going annoyances, most users will quickly come to terms with the new OS and enjoy some of the best features like the Control Center.

What do you think about iOS 7?

Let me know in the comments below.




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13 thoughts on “iOS 7 Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. I know that opinions vary, so for those that read.. Its just an opinion.. I have two iPhones, and after waiting and waiting, the update was available, and I upgraded one, and have been really trying to be open minded with it. Fact is it’s lost some of the features I used most, and added many that I don’t see a need for. notification center, is all but useless to me now, no Facebook, no twitter, no weather… and the control center thing… It really seems cluttered to me, I can pretty much do all that stuff just as fast on IOS 6 with out that… not to mention, for me, the only useful things in there are the camera and flashlight. All the other things I rarely need to change settings for. I don’t like the white, white, white, what’s up with that anyway? and where’d all the buttons go? It’s all just text now. The icons look crappy, like a toy phone you would buy for a 3 year old. No shadows, no depth, I used to like the look a lot, but this new OS is very un-appealing to me, though I’m sure many will like it, and that’s fine. Search?? why change how that is done? Just for the sake of it? Swipe right here, left there, up here, down there… Jeez this OS is just too busy. Another thing is, now, there’s a timestamp on every single text I send or receive. I used to like to take a screenshot of conversations between my daughter and I, and it was a pretty cool picture I could post to Facebook. Not so much anymore, less fits in a picture because of it. I guess a big part of the fact is, I paid a ton of money for something that was just what I wanted… and now, its not at all what I wanted to spend my money on. It’s just like all those other, over complicated, over engineered, android looking phones that I didn’t like, in the first place, that made me want an iPhone.

    1. Thanks for the comment Dan. I definitely agree with most of those points. I’m a fan overall of a clean interface but they definitely overdid it. I 100% agree about the icons. The stock icons look terrible. A total joke. I like some of the new gestures and hate others. Many of the new gestures are unnecessary changes to old ones. We will certainly get used to these changes like anything else, but hopefully Apple will back pedal on some.

  2. I want the old calendar back. I use this daily and HATE the new one. the old one you were able to stay in the MONTH view and see the daily events at the bottom. Now you HAVE to click on the day and then scroll through the times or it will not show you have any events!!!!!! DRIVES ME CRAZY.

    As far as iTunes…. I used to go to my genres and hit shuffle.. WELLLL that’s not an option anymore!!!!

    I did not know about the swiping right to left until now…STUPID.

    I like the overall appearance.. makes me feel as though I just got a new phone! however, I wish there were some things they would have just left alone!

    GOOD things= flashlight, calculator, clock, camera on control screen. As well as the airplane, wifi, Bluetooth, dimmer etc…

    1. I certainly share your frustration Kristina. Apple made many unnecessary changes. Usually with an update you get more options, not less, so it is insanely frustrating that Apple decided to take away so many things that you used to be able to do in iOS6. The Music app got hit the hardest in my opinion. It was virtually flawless as it was and now it is significantly more flawed.

      1. I’m with you on the Music app. While I do like the *ability* to play all songs by an artist in album order rather than just alphabetical, I also miss being able to select a specific album without having to scroll through ALL the albums. Also, this is kind of a specific problem, but it’s my biggest peeve with iOS 7: I play my music in my car through USB (it’s a Kenwood stereo system FWIW), and prior to the update I could turn my car off and/or disconnect my phone and when I reconnected it would resume playing where I left off. Now, however, as soon as my car turns off, the music app effectively “stops” (not just pauses), and when I reconnect it goes to the default of playing the first song alphabetically in my music library. (And since in my case that song is “Adam’s Song” by Blink-182, that’s a really depressing way to start my car ride). Anyway, if anybody else has had this problem, it’d be good to know just cause it means they might fix it eventually.

      2. That is definitely a huge flaw Gordon, I’ve noticed it myself. I, like you and many other people, I assume, like to listen to an album from start to finish and it is extremely frustrating having to remember where you left off when you shut off the car. I can attest to the fact that it happens with bluetooth too. I find myself listening to the first half of the album again before realizing that I had already been halfway through . . .

      3. Gordon I feel your pain; my biggest annoyance is when I plug in my iPhone to the car stereo it goes to the very firs song alphabetically, and not play the last song I was listening to when I took it off the car dock. – THIS IS VERY ANNOYING. I got the iPhone more for the music that other functions and now this!!!

  3. No more ‘Search the internet’ option from the spot light search? That was easily the number one thing I used on my phone! I also dislike the way the music is set up, but this I noticed later because I don’t play music from my iPhone. (WAY too much, not gunna pay for the cloud…I love my iPod Classic :))

    1. Oh wow, I didn’t even know you could do that. I relied on a jailbreak app to add a search to notification center, which was awesome. I guess we will have to wait until an iOS 7 jailbreak to get the functionality back that we want.

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  5. There are two other ways often used to listen to music, that were easy with iOS6 and are now almost impossible :
    – With iOS6 you could listen a whole genre, for instance listen to all the piano jazz music. very useful and pleasant for a party. It is now impossible with iOS7, or so tricky that you wont do it.
    – With iOS6 you could listen to all the songs that have love (or any other word of course) in their title, or you could listen to all the releases and covers of a song. It is now impossible with iOS7, unless you create a list and add all the songs one by one. Try it !

    I think that the answer is TapTunes, a free app that does all these things easily..

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