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Hands on with iOS 7.1: A few good improvements

Michael deAgonia | March 17, 2014
Apple's latest upgrade to its mobile operating system, iOS 7.1, adds some useful touches and fixes some of the glitches that appeared in the previous version.

Another fix involves TouchID, the fingerprint scanner found on the iPhone 5S. Some users found that the TouchID scanner decreased in accuracy over time, but with 7.1, it should work more reliably.

There's a fix for a glitch in the Mail badge — previously it couldn't display more than10,000 unread messages — and notifications are now cleared on your other Apple devices when you answer a FaceTime call.

Interface changes
Some minor interface additions and animations have been added. For instance, when you hold the power button at the top of your device, you'll see an animation for power off. A power button will appear near the top of the screen, and a track with the message "slide to power off" will expand from that button, floating atop a blurred background, making the power-off command and the ability to cancel (located toward the bottom of the screen, just above the home button) a little more obvious. Sliding the onscreen power button to the right now causes the screen to progressively darken.

The power-off animation uses circles instead of the rectangles of iOS 7, and that theme is fairly consistent throughout the interface in 7.1. For instance, the Phone app used to display a large Call rectangle beneath the dialer, but in 7.1, this is now a circle below the 0 button. When making a call using the dialer, pressing the green Call button kicks in an animation in which the phone avatar shifts from its upright position to its side while the button itself fades from green to red, indicating that a press will now hang up the call.

Previously, there were four rectangles that contained the options to Decline, Answer, Remind Me and Message if a call came in while you were using your iPhone. These have been replaced with a circular red Decline button on the lower left and a green Accept button on the lower right, with Remind Me and Message options floating as little icons just above the more prominently displayed Decline/Accept. The layout is the same as before, but the implementation is a little different.

When a call comes in when you're on another call, instead of the options being displayed as rectangles stacked on the screen, they're once again replaced with circular icons, located across the bottom of the display tagged: End & Accept, Send to Voicemail and Hold & Accept.

The Phone application isn't the only app to get tweaks: The month view in Calendar now has a new icon to the left of the Search field that brings up a list of your events. Tapping that same button in the Day view brings up a scrollable list of every event, not just the ones listed for the day.


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