I’m not usually an early adopter when it comes to software and apps. I prefer to hang back, wait for everyone else to find the bugs, then download when I’m convinced it’s actually awesome — or when my apps finally stop working with the current software.
This week, though, I downloaded iOS 7 on launch day. There were too many new features I was very excited to have. Mostly, it was all about real, live photo steam sharing. And increased app and controls on the lock screen. I waited most of the day for traffic to die down, then set about updating my iOS.
Three hours later, my phone was finally working againm and I absolutely hated it. I spent a huge chunk of time yesterday tweaking settings, rearranging icons, and learning to love iOS 7. Because, you guys, group photo stream sharing is really awesome.
Now that I’m officially Team iOS 7, I have a few tips to help you fall in love too. Or, at least hate it a little less.
- Choose a simple background. I loved my Colts schedule background. It was a genius way to quickly lookup game times at any given moment. Sadly, busy photos and text just don’t work on the home screen anymore. A solid color is your best bet. I chose the purple from my personal blog. Because duh.
- Turn off Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a huge battery drain, and it was the first thing I disabled when I bought my iPhone many moons ago. It is reactivated with this update, for some reason, and it took me most of the day to figure out why my battery was dying so quickly. There’s a simple fix, though, because Bluetooth is one of the settings added to the new control center. Swipe up from the bottom, then click the Bluetooth icon to turn it off. It’s easy to quickly activate it again when you actually need to connect. Here you can also quickly disable wifi, activate airplane mode (awesome for charging your phone super fast in an emergency), and so much more.
- Turn off background apps refresh. You can multitask like never before with the new iOS 7. The problem is that allows apps to use your resources (aka battery life) in the background even when you don’t need them. A quick look at Settings > General > Background App Refresh will show you what apps are taking advantage of this new feature. I turned off everything that I didn’t actually need to be working in the background, which left mostly maps. For everything else, I am happy to wait the 30 seconds it takes to refresh once I pull up the app again.
- Activate accessibility options. Apparently, the developers at Apple have super senses. Or I am old and blind, but I prefer the former. Head into Settings > General > Accessibility to activate all the tools that make iOS 7 actually readable. For me, that was Larger Type, Bold Text, Increase Contrast, and Reduce Motion (which helps control some of the weirdness with the new animations).
- Embrace the 80s. The icons in this update all looked flat and vaguely Original NES to me. Bright, fluorescent colors in text messaging were a bit off-putting at first, too. Some of it feels very reminiscent of website banner ads, circa 1996. Once I chose to view it as retro, I hated it a little less. Sorry, I don’t have a real fix for this one.
- Delete unnecessary 3rd party apps. There are a few things built into iOS 7 that meant a hearty goodbye to extra apps. I freed up nearly a gig of extra space just by deleting 3rd party reminder, flashlight, and level apps. I also deleted plenty of apps I hadn’t used in awhile, in an effort to free up the extra 3.1 gig of space the download requires.
- Get a handle on email. See that little notification icon on my email? It’s usually non-existent. Not because I’m some Inbox Zero Ninja, but because the notification used to only display the number of unread emails among the last 25 or so that the iPhone had downloaded. Now it shows them all. So, um, yeah. This is going to force me to catchup because I really don’t like numbers flashing at me. (So don’t call me, okay? That one is never getting fixed.)
- Adjust folders and rearrange icons. You can now have more apps per folder, which is awesome. Except you can also have less apps per screen. That means the 12 apps I used to fit in one folder has been increased exponentially, but only 9 display on one page. Muscle memory had me opening the wrong apps a lot, because they’re slightly off-kilter in the new format. Spend a few minutes rearranging icons in a way that both makes sense and keeps frequently used apps in a similar spot on the screen.
- Customize your notification screen. The notification screen (swipe down from the top) has more options than ever. Which means you have a lot of useless info up there, as IGG Sara (from Solid Gold Eats) pointed out. Head back into Settings > General > Notification Center to customize it. AKA remove all the stuff you don’t need to know, like stock options for example.
- Create a photo stream sharing group. (Or, join the Indy Geek Girls to be added to ours!) Seriously, this is my very favorite new feature. You could always share photo streams, but it was one way. As in I could upload pictures to share with you, but you couldn’t add your own pictures to the same stream. Now, you can create a group photo stream and allow everyone to fully share it with you. It’s perfect for family, groups of friends, or a community of bloggers (ahem) to share photos from events together.
Once you get your iPhone settings reconfigured, I think you’ll find that iOS 7 is actually pretty awesome. I love having things like the brightness, wifi, and a calculator right at my fingertips in the lockscreen, and I’m totally in love with the updated photo streams. Now that my settings and apps are organized the way I want, I believe iOS 7 is going to increase productivity and save time throughout the day.
How are you feeling about the update, Geek Girls?