iOS 7 problems? You’re not alone…

Blogs Michael Grothaus 17:03, 28 Nov 2013

Fear and loathing in iOS 7… a journey into the buggiest update Apple has ever released

I have to admit, when I first laid eyes on iOS 7 in June, I thought it was the most hideous thing I’d ever seen. I even thought it was hideous in September when I installed it on my iPhone. However, once I started to use it the design elements started to make sense when you added motion to the equation (except for some of those ugly-ass icons, which are still ugly).

But while iOS 7 can be seen as a much-needed software win for Apple, there’s one dirty little secret which is widely reported in Apple’s support communities, which, of course, Apple will never cop onto: it’s the buggiest iOS update Apple has ever released. 

iOS 7 was rushed

The launch of iOS 6 in 2012 was heavily marred by Apple’s Maps. All the benefits of iOS 6 were swept under the rug as Apple’s new mapping solution—specifically how bad it was—made headlines. Around the same time Android was heavily gaining ground and began to make Apple’s once-groundbreaking OS look old and stale.

The bad press surrounding iOS 6, the freshness of Android, and the aging look of iOS understandably got the boys in Cupertino a little worried, so many of its software resources were thrown into reversing the tide with iOS 7. However, making and designing a completely new OS in a matter of ten months is something even Apple, with all its resources, should never have undertaken. 

Bugs are one thing, problems another

When iOS 7 shipped it took less than 24 hours for major bugs to become apparent. There were bugs with iMessage, bugs with sounds, bugs with battery life. Bugs, bugs, bugs.

But saying iOS 7 should have been bug free wouldn’t be fair. After all, any new OS is sure to have bugs. That’s just the nature of technology.

Even if you have a thousand engineers working on an OS and then another ten thousand developers testing it, there is no way any company can catch all the bugs in time for the first release. That’s why so many bugs usually crop up in an x.0 release.

However, bugs are one thing, serious problems are another. “Problems" usually result from rushed products that don’t have enough time in the development phase.

Apple used to be a company that would avoid rushing a product at all costs, however, recently it has seemed to have its product cycles dictated more by market forces (ie: what Wall Street wants to see Apple do) than ever before—and that always leads to rushed development.

And now, even after three point-upgrades to iOS 7, some major problems persist. Here are the top three readers have reported to me, and which I have experienced myself:

1. Unresponsive touch screens: It seems that there are plenty of times a user will tap a controller (a button or textual menu) and nothing will happen.

This is especially obvious in the music controls in Control Center—one of the best new features of iOS 7.

iOS has always been praised for its responsiveness, but it’s fair to say it has lost some of that much-earned praise in the transition to iOS 7. Many taps, from the Control Center to buttons inside Mail are frequently not registered the first time you do them. 

You can also see examples of touch problems with iOS 7’s new Notification Center. Swipe down from the top of your screen so Notification Center appears. When you swipe down, make sure it’s on the “Today” screen by default. Now quickly swipe left so you move to the “All” screen.

Half of the time this first swipe won’t actually move you to the “All” screen. Instead it will move the home screen icons behind Notification Center to the next page of icons. 

2. Lock screen locks you out: The lock screen seems to be too good at its job. There are plenty of times when the lock screen temporarily locks you out of your iPhone.

For example, several times I have received a phone call and I’m not able to slide to answer. At first I thought my iPhone was faulty, but then some other readers reported the same issue.

When this happens the only option I have is to miss the call, restart the phone, and then call the person back. Not being able to answer calls on your £600 phone is never a good thing.

3. iOS 7 shuts down: This is the most annoying problem of all. I’ve experienced this on my iPhone—as have many readers. Many readers also said they’ve seen this on the iPad, though I haven’t experienced this problem there.

What happens is I’ll be using my iPhone to do any task—checking email, browsing the web, texting—and suddenly the Apple logo will appear, the iPhone will power down, and then it will restart itself. Your phone randomly restarting isn’t something that should happen in a GM release—it shouldn’t even happen in a beta. 

Quality, not Wall Street’s wants, matters

If you ask me what the best mobile smartphone operating system is on the market today, I’ll still tell you it’s iOS 7. From a design and UX perspective, iOS 7 is better than Kit Kat, it’s better than Windows Phone, and it’s better than BlackBerry.

The fact that iOS 7 has problems and is still better than all other mobile OS’s is a testament to just how good iOS 6 was, which is what iOS 7 was built upon. And iOS 7 in its own right is a beautiful mix of static design, motion interfaces, and new technologies.

Given all this, it’s a shame Apple couldn’t hold off on its release a little longer—as it clearly should have—to work out all of iOS 7’s problems. 

Instead, they seemed to cave to Wall Street’s expectations of what their release schedule should be and rushed iOS 7 out in time or the all-important holiday season. For a company renowned for quality, I hope they won’t make this mistake with iOS 8. 

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