iOS 7 on iPhone 5: First Impressions and Performance

In June, Apple announced that it would be delivering a new iOS update to iPhone and iPad owners this fall, an update that it called iOS 7. iOS 7, unlike past software updates, would deliver a brand new user interface, vastly different than one found in iOS 6, while also delivering the usual feature upgrades to the company’s mobile users. And with the iOS 7 release date now upon us, it’s time to take an initial look at iOS 7 on iPhone 5, Apple’s now discontinued iPhone.

Last September, the iPhone 5 helped to usher in new eras for Apple’s mobile hardware and software. From a hardware standpoint, the iPhone 5 delivered the first iPhone that offered a larger 4-inch display, the company’s new Lightning dock standard, and 4G LTE data speeds, the latter of which had been available on Android phones for quite some time.

It also brought a new iOS update along with it, iOS 6 to be precise, an update that followed in the footsteps of its predecessors by delivering hundreds of new features to iPhone and iPad owners, without changing the overall look and feel of the operating system. Over the past year, Apple has worked to improve iOS 6 with incremental updates including iOS 6.1 which offered new functionality for Siri and a new look to the lock screen music player.

Earlier this year, Apple stopped supporting iOS 6 and instead, focused its efforts on a new iOS update, iOS 7.

Read: iOS 7 on iPhone 4s: First Impressions and Performance.

There is hope the Verizon iPhone 5S will support talk and surf at the same time, but it's not clear if Apple can deliver.

The iPhone 5 has been discontinued by Apple.

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iOS 7 debuted at WWDC 2013 and much to the delight (and shock) of those watching around the world, it delivered a brand new look for iOS, a look that prompted Apple to call the update the biggest update to iOS since the launch of the original iPhone. With Jony Ive and his design team at the helm, the software presented a new flatter look than the one conceived by the outgoing Scott Forstall.

Apple also showed off some new features including AirDrop, filters for the new camera application, an overhauled Control Center with new Notifications, additions to Siri, and a whole lot more. The company tagged the iOS 7 update with a fall release date and unleashed an iOS 7 beta that it offered to developers ahead of its release.

After several months of beta testing, Apple announced the iOS 7 release date, giving iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners a September 18th release date, just two days ahead of the iPhone 5S’ arrival.

Today, the company rolled out iOS 7 for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPad 4, iPad 3, iPad 2 and iPod touch fifth-generation. And after spending some time with the iOS 7 update for iPhone 5, it’s time to dig in with some first impressions.

Comedy of Errors

Earlier today, Apple unleashed iOS 7 upon the world, offering it to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners through iTunes and through an Over-the-Air update. The iOS 6 update this was not as iOS 7 did its best iOS 5 update impression and led iPhone and iPad owners on a not-so-pleasant installation process riddled with errors.

When iOS 5 arrived two years ago, iPhone and iPad owners ran into several different errors that prevented them from installing the software. The same thing happened with the iOS 7 update this year as Apple’s servers were evidently hammered with requests from users all over the world.

Users trying to install iOS 7 have encountered an error.

Users trying to install iOS 7 have encountered an error.

Around 10AM PST, we tried getting the iPhone 5 upgraded with iOS 7 to no avail, Apple simply wasn’t having it. After an hour and a half of running into Error 9006 and Software Update Failure errors, Apple’s servers cooled off enough for the update to start the download process. Between the download and the installation, it took more than two hours to get iOS 7 up and running on the iPhone 5.

One would think that after all of these years, all of these updates, Apple would have figured out the formula to handle the millions that wish to download on day one. We guess there’s always next year.

Overall Performance

iOS 6 was running like a dream on the iPhone 5. It was swift, apps rarely crashed (expect for Yahoo!’s Fantasy Football application which might crash more than any software not called Flash), and the device hadn’t randomly rebooted for a number of months. So we were a little skeptical to update the iPhone 5 right at the start, particularly in the middle of a busy work week.

After the nasty installation process, the iPhone 5 rebooted and lo and behold, it had iOS 7 on board instead of iOS 6. New look, new icons, new features and all. And while we have run into some relatively minor issues including some lag in multitasking, keyboard and with some of the animations, for the most part, iOS 7 is smooth and snappy.

The UI is responsive and we haven’t experienced any significant, debilitating slow down within the software are using it extensively for several hours. Apple’s core applications like Mail, Camera (an app that can often be slow) and Weather opened extremely fast and were all easy to navigate.

This is big, particularly for an update of this magnitude. In the past, we’ve seen new updates cause major performance issues but right from the start, iOS 7 has delivered a nice, fluid performance that has helped ease us into the new software on our main device.

Battery Life

One of the things that iPhone owners are concerned about when a major update arrives is battery life. Battery drain is one of the biggest complaints that we see from iPhone and iPad owners after a major update and we will likely see many, many complaints about battery after the dust settles today.

In the past, the battery issues have been widespread. We saw it happen with the iOS 6.1 update earlier this year. However, most of the time the issues are limited to a small percentage of owners.

So far, so good with iOS 7. We haven’t seen any abnormal battery drain over Wi-Fi over 4G LTE and while we can’t say if there is a battery life increase, we can confirm that our device isn’t experiencing anything out of the ordinary.

Bugs

There are always bugs in iOS updates, it’s just part of the game. There will be bugs discovered within iOS 7 at some point down the road but thus far, we haven’t seen any noticeable ones. No random reboots, nothing that is making the device unusable, nothing that really jumps up.

Bugs are often tough to spot in the hours after updating so it’s possible that we will stumble on some down the road. Thus far, we haven’t run into anything that requires an immediate update to iOS 7.0.1 or iOS 7.0.2.

Wi-Fi Connectivity

One of the things that iPhone 5 owners complained about in iOS 6 was Wi-Fi connectivity, or the lack thereof. For months, iPhone 5 owners complained about weak or dead signals or grayed out Wi-Fi connections. Those complaints continued up until today.

As we pointed out, we did have some Wi-Fi issues on the iPhone 5 early in the game but Apple’s incremental iOS updates solved our connectivity issues for good and heading into iOS 7, we didn’t have any issues with our Wi-Fi connection.

So far, iOS 7 is looking good. We’ve been able to snag data when connected to both known and new Wi-Fi networks and both types have offered speedy data.

4G LTE

Another issue that some iPhone 5 owners encountered in iOS 6 were 4G LTE data issues where trade offs between Wi-Fi and LTE would kill data. Other users simply reported LTE that didn’t work. We haven’t experienced those in quite sometime and we aren’t experiencing any 4G LTE issues with iOS 7 either.

Data is speedy on AT&T, per usual, and loading things in both Chrome and the new Safari is snappy, as it should be. We don’t anticipate any major issues with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi going forward but those who do encounter issues are best served by heading into Apple’s forums.

Overall Feel

iOS 7, plain and simple, looks a lot different than iOS 6. And for many, that’s pretty scary considering iOS has looked the same for a number of years now. After using the beta a bit, we knew what we were getting into, but even for those that are scared about the changes, it’s really not going to be that big of a deal.

For starters, here is how our homescreen on the iPhone 5 looked on iOS 6.

The iPhone home screen in iOS 6.

The iPhone home screen in iOS 6.

And here, is how the home screen looks in iOS 7.

Same iPhone home screen in iOS 7.

Same iPhone home screen in iOS 7.

Indeed, things look different, but it’s not going to floor anyone and it’s not going to make things difficult to find. Apps and what not will stay in the same place. Folders look different but act in the same way. Icons looks different but they aren’t impossible to figure out. What we’re getting at is that the look may be different but the overall feel of iOS remains very similar.

If anything, the feel of iOS 7 has improved from iOS 7.

Control Center is Fantastic

Control Center is quite possibly our favorite iOS 7 feature thus far, much like Quick Settings was our favorite feature within the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update. The new Control Center, like Quick Settings, gives iPhone 5 users access to many of the more important, and most used, functions on the iPhone 5.

Control Center is a favorite.

Control Center is a favorite.

By swiping up from the bottom on the home screen or lock screen, users are treated to a mini menu of sorts that allows them to turn Wi-Fi on and off, toggle Airplane Mode, flip on Do Not Disturb, use AirDrop, adjust music, use a flashlight, calculator and more.

It’s simple, easy to access and a feature that we have already used a ton, just a few hours into the iOS 7 experience.

Multitasking

Prior to the arrival of iOS 7, multitasking on the iPhone 5 consisted of double tapping the home button to bring up a tray of icons in order to force close them. That was it. In iOS 7, Apple has upped the ante a bit and users can now double tap the home button to bring up a small preview of the apps that are currently open.

Shuffling back and forth is easy enough and a simple swipe up dismisses the applications from view. It’s a nice gesture and an improvement over what iOS 6 had on board.

Multitasking leaves something to be desired.

Multitasking leaves something to be desired.

However, it still leaves something to be desired. The previews don’t update until a user enters the application, something that is sounds a lot less frustrating than it is.

it also can’t touch the type of multitasking that is found on a device like the Galaxy Note 3 which allows users to run two apps on screen at once and even lets users watch a video while performing other tasks. Galaxy Note multitasking this is not, but it’s a start and hopefully future iOS updates improve upon this foundation.

Still Won’t Use Siri

iOS 7 brings some changes to Siri, including a new look and some new functionality. As someone who has never bought into Siri, the new look and the new features simply aren’t enough to turn a non-Siri user into a Siri user.

New year, same old Siri.

New year, same old Siri.

There are some nice additions like the ability to check more sources for questions, a better sounding voice, and the ability to play voicemails, but Siri is still slow and hard of hearing. Even with the improvements, she had trouble figuring out what I was trying to do when doing the very things that Apple touted on stage.

FaceTime Audio

One of the more interesting features in iOS 7, and one that many iPhone 5 users might have missed, is something called FaceTime Audio. FaceTime Audio allows iPhone 5S users to make voice calls to other FaceTime users over Wi-Fi or over a cellular connection. Instead of minutes, it will eat into data.

FaceTime Audio has a lot of potential.

FaceTime Audio has a lot of potential.

After using it today, the audio is crisp, when there is audio to be had. It was a bit clunky with the person on the other end fading in and out, even with a strong Wi-Fi connection. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great start and it’s a feature that many iPhone 5 owners will likely grow to love, despite the issues that we ran across today.

Camera

The camera app in iOS 7 is vastly superior to the one found in iOS 6. For iPhone 5 users especially. The application is snappy, something that wasn’t always the case in the older camera application, and it comes with a boatload of features to sweeten the deal.

The Camera application is an improvement.

The Camera application is an improvement.

In particular, the in-app filters are an extremely nice touch.

Should You Install iOS 7 for iPhone 5

iOS 7, at this point, seems to be snappy and relatively bug free. Battery life seems to be on par with iOS 6 as well. It comes with a host of new features including some special ones like the new camera application and Control Center. And in our opinion, the overall feel of the operating system isn’t that drastic of a change despite the new icons, colors and overall look.

The iPhone 5S release date is confirmed by multiple sources for September 20th.

The iPhone 5 is going to be cheap come iPhone 5S release day.

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This is the future of Apple software and the sooner iPhone 5 owners learn about it and use it, the less scary it becomes. So, we recommend installing the iOS 7 update for iPhone 5 sooner rather than later.

Comments

  1. LARRY says

    sorry you all i had no issue i knew better NOT to update at first time of relese i waited till after work it was done in less than 10 mins, good luck i hear lots of issues, good luck to all of you, you WILL GET IT, just takes time for servers to kik up and people slow down, it irritating but its worth the wait, if it fails, walk away and try again, its not going any place its here,,GOOD LUCK :>>>>> finally after 7 years its a nice change a very nice feel and look,

  2. Chenet C says

    Comment installer iOS 7 svp, j’arrive pas a l’installer sur mon iPhone 5.
    Merci de m’aider

  3. Doug says

    If you want your phone to look like a junior high girls….apple, you have succeeded. Jobs would NEVER have allowed this. Im selling this phone asap

  4. Erik says

    Neither my stock Podcasts app nor the Music app will even open much less play any of the music or podcasts I have on my phone.

  5. Rex says

    I have to agree with Doug, the UI looks too cute for me. I’ll be embarrassed to show this to my tech friends.

  6. Amy says

    Has anyone else had a problem with the wifi since the update? We have two iphone 5’s and one works with wifi and the other one wont! Please help!

    • KitNiec says

      I had the same problem with my ipad 2, it started graying out a month before ios 7 was released, so I decided to wait for ios 7 to be released, because i heard that 7 would fix it. Well its still graying out. which sucks, because I’v had it over a year, so it does not have warranty. Any help out there

      • Craig says

        we had the same problem- we accidentally touched the top left corner of the screen and it seemed to come right again- we came back to full resolution and color. It was as though there was a sensor that brought it back when touching the corner.

  7. Selvin says

    Well i had udate pblms but after messing around and tweakng it looka and feel like a beand new phone love it !

  8. Judy says

    I appreciate all your input. I am still trying to decide whether to upgrade or not. I am still a newbie to the tech world. Thanks again.

  9. Jodie B says

    i believe the new update looks very girly. i am a girl but i feel sorry for the men out there. ive been tweeking and learning how to use the phone properly with the update. The airdrop is a little difficult to load up cause you have to swipe it up, but in a certain way. I am thinking of going back to the old iOS 6 but ill give this new update chance. hopefully they will allow further customizing of the phone (especially the default apps) so it doesnt look so girly.

  10. PD says

    Initially the battery charge button was showing green. Now it has gone thatboring black and white. How can I get that green color?

  11. Dan says

    Hate the new look. Very flat and boring. Hi-tech phone with a simpleton look. Looks like something you would buy for a little kid.

  12. Neu says

    iOS7 has turned an object that was a joy to see into something at which I can barely look. The OS is simply ugly and it cannot be made to look bearable on home screens because, despite all that has been said about colour co-ordination, the amount of different flat colours employed appears cheap, tacky and kindergarten-like… Welcome to your new Poundstretchers kid’s iPhone. Grouping same coloured apps together, holding less apps on each page and using mainly dark backgrounds might make it look just marginally less repulsive, but I actually get depressed when I use it now. (The screen shots in this article show it perhaps looking well towards its worst possible in iOS6, masking the significant difference.) I have no problem with the flat concept and all the other usability changes and the redesign of the Apple apps – I like the idea and welcome the change in principle – but frankly, even then, I find the design execution totally underwhelming. Steve Jobs must be spinning in his grave. This reminds me of the kind of mistake that happened when he was gone the last time. What has been lost here is that Mac OS and iOS improvements in functionality have, in the past, almost always gone hand in hand with the kind of improvements in visual design that lend joy to the user experience. This does not do that. I work with a number designers, all of whom are iPhone users that I am absolutely certain will be weeping at the sight of this mess. The mix of new and old-style icons is an eyesore that will gradually change, however I suspect this will also often be for the worse – I woke up this morning to find one well-loved app had changed overnight and now looks like it had been redesigned by a child on something midway between a ZX81 and a Spectrum. One real problem is that the design of iOS6 was far more capable of aborbing bad third party design without compromising its overall aesthetic. Sadly, I expect that this OS change will severely damage sales. I have never before, for the briefest moment, ever remotely considered getting anything other than an iPhone. (My flat is filled with so many Apple products I must be a virtual shareholder) I waited ages for the first iPhone, rather than buy one of the many uninteresting mobile phones that were available at the time. Today, for the first time, other new phones look suddenly look much more attractive. Jony Ives is a fabulous, possibly even unmatchable designer of hardware – but that does not seem to be true for OS design. Please get someone right for the job, Apple. This needs un-******.

  13. stina2010Stina says

    I HATE the new look and now my 3G and Wifi doesn’t work. Thanks Apple.

    Does anyone know how to fix this so I can get online again??

  14. Natstelle says

    My battery life has been sucking since update to ios7. I’ve employed all the tricks to improve battery life. I’ve reset and restored. Sitting overnight with no use I’m down to 51%. That never used to happen.

  15. Carmela says

    Just got a iPhone 5 new and I uploaded ios7 now my camera has gone. Why !!!! And I don’t like it can i go back

  16. Andrew says

    ios7 is killing my battery. Once a day recharge has not turned into a third recharge and im not even through the day yet. I have cut it down to the bone as well as running apps and notifications are concerned…. mm not good!

  17. Work harder says

    “There will be bugs discovered within iOS 7 at some point down the road but thus far, we haven’t seen any noticeable ones.” – Really? Have you pulled your head out and looked? I mean the first thing to notice is that the wallpapers no longer scale properly.

  18. Joshua Adams says

    What a bunch of whinny people! Just downgrade or shut up. No wonder change takes so long to happen.

  19. Jim says

    The black on white with thin font lines it totally unreadable! Especially the phone keypad. Just what my 65-year old eyes DON’T need!

  20. Jim says

    Change happens when people identify what is wrong; not when they “shut up” and accept the status quo!

  21. Michelle says

    OS is ok. Battery drain is horrific. On the order of 1% per minute with minor use on my 4S. About 1% per hour when left alone. Already extremely lean on services.

    • Guillermo Flores says

      something is wrong maybe you should do a full restore and upgrade to ios7 again, I installed the beta in my 4s and in my iphone 5 and it was ok, not as much as 1% a minute with light use.

  22. Terry says

    I did have trouble install iOS7 but it did eventually install. My complaint is that most of the screens are white. I mean BRIGHT white. Don’t open them up in a dark area unless you want everyone within a mile known you’re using an iPhone. Try to read an email in a dark conference room and you will be the center of attention. I have my phone set a about 20-25% just to make it bearable. Also my many others the icon are a joke. My elementary level daughter’s both said it looks like candy. Great, I have a Candy Apple iPhone with Candy Cane Icons not and technological wonder of a phone. My daughter’s 2nd gen iPod have far more sophisticated icons than my 5th gen iPhone. I am now questioning my purchase of the iPhone.

  23. Gray says

    It is probably the worst thing apple have done nearly as bad as Windows 8. The worst element is battery drain on my iphone 4S. It was bad before now its a complete joke, I am on my 3rd charge cycle of the day. Why cant they get this right. Yet another company with a monopoly that dont really care about their customers just the profit margin. Wish I had never upgraded that will teach me not to trust apple anymore. Next move is to dump my Macbook, iPad and iphone switch over to windows maybe they can sort things for a while.

  24. Sylvia says

    Ok, all my friends have the new iOS 7 and I love the new look but my problem is WHY CAN’T YOU GET THE IOS 7 FOR IPOD 4th GENERATION!!!????? Will you ever have that fixed? Cause it’s really stupid that iPod 5th generation can get iOS 7 but not the forth!!!

  25. Neil says

    Disappointed with IOS7. All cosmetics. Even BlackBerry 10 on Z10 is a far better os these days.

  26. Anna B says

    I have upgraded my iphone 4S and now the wifi doesn’t work. The on/off slider is greyed out so can’ t even turn it on. Is anyone else having this problem?

    • To Scared to Update says

      I have a 4s with the WIFI greyed out and it was running 6.1.3, I never tried to crazy fixes I saw on the Internet only resetting the network on the phone and rebooting and after a while that stopped working and it was a good thing that i was eligible for an upgrade and got the 5 but I am not going to upgrade to 7 any time soon

  27. MT says

    My Wi-Fi greyed out about 3 months after I installed iOS 6.1.3. I’ve been without it for about 3 months now and have been waiting patiently for the release of iOS 7. I was hoping this would fix the problem. I can tell you that it did not. Maybe, with some luck, this will work for you. Luckily my 4S is still under warranty and I will be sending it in immediately.

    • dt says

      My Iphone 4s has same WIFI and Bluetooth issue after IOS 6.1.3 upgrade. I was waiting to upgrade to IOS 7 to get the fix for WIFI issue but for me IOS 7 didn’t work…After upgrade to IOS 7, I still same issue.

  28. grumpy since getting ios 7 says

    Consider yourself lucky if ios 7 did NOT download.This is the most immature looking thing i have ever seen looks like something a grade schooler designed would have .No wonder they kept it under wraps so long. too hard to read on a small screen and the options to help in this regard fall far short. They need an option to keep the visuals as before or legacy icons. Looks like a toy although an expensive one. better yet give rollbacks to those who want them until apple tries to fix this mess.

    • Robert Shelby says

      I agree 100%. Call the iOS 7 app “Legacy Look”. Hope someone is reading the feedback and “listening”.

  29. Bill Gates is Laughing says

    My apps have disappeared. $300 worth of purchased games gone. Thanks Apple…how do I get a refund?

  30. deslos says

    same here, ipad2 upgraded to ios7, works fine with home wifi.
    iphone5 upgraded to ios7, connects and looses the wifi all the time.

  31. Robert Shelby says

    iOS 7 simply looks cheap. Like someone attacked my iPad with a crayon and is sitting at the back of the room giggling. Performance glitches are everywhere. This is definitely only a beta system that has to be vastly improved upon before it can be considered equal to or better than iOS 6. Apple needs to get to work!

  32. RobinE says

    WiFi greyed out and battery life a disaster – burning about 4% per hour doing nothing (and with all battery saving tips applied). Unless Apple very quickly produce a software update to fix the mess, its goodbye Apple forever!

  33. Jean Kirshner says

    How do I send a photo to a contact, and how does that contact get the photo onto his camera roll?

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