iOS 7 on iPad 3: First Impressions and Performance

Back in June, Apple announced that it would be releasing the iOS 7 update for iPad sometime this fall. Earlier this month, the company confirmed that the iPad’s iOS 7 update would roll out on September 18th alongside the iOS 7 update for iPhone. Yesterday morning, Apple made good on that promise and delivered the iOS 7 update for the iPad 4, iPad 3, and iPad 2.

On stage at WWDC 2013, Apple detailed its latest and greatest update to its mobile software, an update dubbed iOS 7. iOS 7 was announced as the successor to last year’s iOS 6 update that brought a whole bunch of new features including Apple Maps and PassBook, but kept the same look as past iOS updates.

Not iOS 7. iOS 7 represents a drastic change from previous version of Apple’s software, introducing brand new icons and a flatter look to go along with new features and existing ones that have received perceived upgrades. The update is one that Apple is calling the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone and it’s hard to suggest that it’s lying.

iOS 7 has arrived for the iPad 3.

iOS 7 has arrived for the iPad 3.

After the announcement, Apple released the iOS 7 beta for iPhone, releasing the iOS 7 beta for iPad two weeks after the event. That, along with some rumors, led many to wonder if Apple would be late in pushing out the iOS 7 update for the iPad 4, iPad 3, iPad 2, and the iPad mini, the four iPad models that would be receiving the new software.

The company answered that question at its iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C launch event on September 10th wherein Apple promised to deliver iOS 7 to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners alike starting on September 18th. Yesterday, the calendar turned over to September 18th and as expected, the iOS 7 update rolled out to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners around the world.

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We’ve already taken an initial look at iOS 7 on the iPhone 5, iPad mini and iPhone 4S, and now, it’s time to offer up some initial thoughts on the iOS 7 update for the iPad 3, Apple’s third-generation iPad.

iOS 7 Installation Problems

Trying to install the iOS 7 update on the iPad 3 yesterday morning was nothing short of a disaster. While we expected to see some issues emerge around the time of its release, we did not expect those issues to be as widespread as they were.

There were errors galore when installing iOS 7 for iPad.

There were errors galore when installing iOS 7 for iPad.

When we tried to update our iPad to iOS 7 Over-the-Air, we were greeted with a Software Upgrade Error that persisted for more than an hour after the software was first made available. Trying to install through iTunes was even more of a disaster as we encountered error, after error, after error.

Finally, about an hour and a half after the software first hit the scene, we were able to keep a steady download. That download easily took 30 minutes to complete and after that, it was on to the lengthy installation process, a process that took far longer than the one on the iPhone 5. So, after nearly three hours of blood, sweat and tears, iOS 7 was installed on board our iPad 3, replacing iOS 6 as its operating system.

Overall Performance

After spending some time with iOS 7 on the iPad 3, it’s clear that it’s not as polished as the experience on the iPhone. It’s far more sluggish (try changing the orientation and watch what happens) and the touch response times are definitely slower than those found on the iPhone. It’s not so bad that it hampers the overall experience, it doesn’t happen often enough to do that, but the lag is still noticeable and there and it’s something that Apple needs to work out in future iOS 7 updates.

For the most part though, things are snappy, applications open up when they are told to open up, and we haven’t experienced any significant crashes since installing the new software.

Battery Life

One of the perks of the iPad is its long-lasting battery life and that’s something that it retains in iOS 7. While we can’t say if there are subtle differences between battery life in iOS 7 and iOS 6, we simply haven’t used it enough, we can say that there are not significant battery drain issues affecting our iPad at the moment.

Instead, the device is performing admirably, even when under the duress of multiple applications being open at the same time, including high powered games like Infinity Blade 2 and Grand Theft Auto.

Bugs

Besides the occasional UI slow down, we haven’t encountered any debilitating bugs that have hampered our experience with iOS 7 on the iPad 3. As we’ve pointed out many times, bugs usually don’t rear their ugly head until a few days after the release date. So, it’s possible that we could find some pesky critters inside the software in the next few weeks but at the moment, iOS 7 seems relatively stable.

Connectivity

One of the big issues that iPad owners had in iOS 6 was with Wi-Fi connectivity. We experienced connectivity issues after installing last year’s iOS 6 update through Apple cured them in an incremental iOS 6 update. In iOS 7, Wi-Fi connectivity is speedy and reliable and we’ve been able to pull down quality data over known and unknown Wi-Fi networks.

Overall Feel of iOS 7

Many people out there are going to be scared to install iOS 7, given that the update is being hailed as the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of iOS. Don’t let that moniker intimidate.

The home screen in iOS 7 for iPad.

The home screen in iOS 7 for iPad.

The overall look of iOS 7 is different than that of iOS 6 but the overall feel isn’t going to be that much different. iPad 3 users will still be able to get around the operating system and while applications look different, they are still as intuitive as the applications that were installed with iOS 6. While it may be a little confusing at first, after a day with iOS 7, it feels like we’ve been using the operating system for months.

Apple does a fantastic job of ensuring that its software is easy to use, even for newcomers, and we haven’t had a hard time making the adjustment.

Multitasking is Superior on iPad

One of the features that iOS 7 brought along with it is enhanced multitasking. Instead of getting a row of icons when the home button is double tapped, users now get tiny screens that show what a user was last doing inside a particular application. It’s a nice gesture though again, like the iPhone, it’s still a bit clunky and slow, particularly when trying to swipe away apps.

The new multitasking feels great on the iPad.

The new multitasking feels great on the iPad.

That said, the experience is far superior than that of the iPhone thanks to how big the icons are. Users can switch back and forth between apps with ease, thanks to the screen real estate. It needs some work but it will certainly be a welcomed and widely used feature amongst iPad owners.

Control Center is King

Maybe our favorite addition in iOS 7 is the Control Center. iPad owners can now swipe up from the bottom of the home screen or lock screen and get a Control Center that allows users to enable or disable Wi-Fi, switch Airplane Mode on or off, adjust music, fiddle with screen brightness – something that is key for things like games and movies, and more.

You're going to use Control Center. A lot.

You’re going to use Control Center. A lot.

Again, thanks to the sluggish UI, trying to pull it up Control Center has been difficult at times. We’ve also seen our iPad lock up temporarily when opening the world clock option. Fortunately these have been rare occurrences and they haven’t muddled with one of the best features offered within the new iOS 7 update.

FaceTime Audio Will Be Used A Lot

FaceTime Audio is another feature that arrived in iOS 7. It allows iPhone and iPad owners to make audio calls over FaceTime either over Wi-Fi or over a cellular connection. The experience on the iPad version actually was better than the one on the iPhone. The calls were loud, clear and were not marred by issues.

This is a feature that we will likely be using a lot on both the iPhone and the iPad and hopefully, Apple continues to improve the call quality and performance of it.

Netflix Issues

We use Neflix extensively on our iPad 3 and last night, the application was giving us all sorts of issues. Not only did it crash, but when it did work, it was sluggish and slow.

Netflix has been giving us issues in iOS 7.

Netflix has been giving us issues in iOS 7.

We expect these issues to get fixed in a future update but for the moment, the Netflix experience, at least for us, is clunky and unpleasant.

Still Won’t Use the Camera, Or Siri

iOS 7 brought the new camera application and new features to Siri to the iPad. Problem is, we still consider the iPad to be a horrible camera, particularly on-the-go, and even the fantastic camera application that iOS 7 offers won’t be enough to persuade us to use it.

iOS 7 delivers a great camera app, we just won't be using it.

iOS 7 delivers a great camera app, we just won’t be using it.

As for Siri, she is as unreliable as ever as she still has a hard time figuring out our queries. And unfortunately, she needs to understand the questions before she can deliver answers. She’s not a mind-reader, at least not yet.

Should You Install the iOS 7 Update for iPad?

The short answer is yes, unless the iPad is jailbroken, in which case it’s best to hold out for an iOS 7 jailbreak. The longer answer is that most, if not all iPad 3 owners should be thrilled with the update. It adds some fantastic functionality and the new look will grow on users after using it for awhile.

Those who do install should note that there are still some issues with iOS 7 for iPad, namely lag and sluggishness, but those aren’t deal-breakers, they’re just minor annoyances that will get worked out.

iOS 7 is the future and iPad owners would be smart to hop on board.

Comments

  1. Maneesh says

    Looks like apple is now following android. They will probably be claiming that they came up with these features first now.

        • Sejongcamus says

          It’s not about just cramming a whiz-bang feature onto a phone — it has to actually work well to get mass engagement.

          Great Android did it first. If it had been any good, we wouldn’t have to google it to find when and where it was done. Even you can’t name the phone off the top of your head.

          I think it was Motorola, only know bc they made that tweet this week that showed they forgot about their own attempt w fingerprints on a smartphone. Axiom or something.

          What I’m excited about is hoping Apple will have done it better this time.

        • beattheboards says

          I dont understand why people have an impression, that their opinions have a voice! Android copies Apple or its the other way round.. who cares? Just enjoy what ever device you have!

          • Martin says

            You’re totally right, all this kind of discusses sounds to me like in the 90′s when kids compared who peed farther…

    • beattheboards says

      I dont understand why people have an impression, that their opinions have a voice! Android copies Apple or its the other way round.. who cares? Just enjoy what ever device you have!

    • john zap says

      my one year old ipad3 is so slow, that envy the smooth experience of even cheap android tablets.

      i bought it and 1 month later they released ipad4, and now they ruined my device. I am done with apple… nothing but junk promises…

  2. CanadianMacFan says

    Are they only showing 9 apps at a time in a folder like on the iPhone on the iPad instead of the 20 that were shown in iOS 6?

    • Churlish says

      It was only 12 apps before, not 20. Folders now let you flip through multiple pages so can now store 50+ games in one folder if you like.

    • CanadianMacFan says

      I updated and it only does show 9 apps at a time in a folder. I think this is a poor design choice. There is a waste of such a lot of space to show more apps and it makes you have to flip to see other apps that were visible before. No wonder they allowed pages in folders. I would have preferred to have kept the 20 apps visible.

  3. riekaO says

    This has broken my IPad. Not just sluggish – freezing at times. A nightmare with Safari…

  4. Cfranks@ bigpond.com says

    Well I hate it and want to go back its slow and sluggish and looks crap. Safari a mess.

  5. TS says

    I just installed this on my iPad 3 and ever since, it keeps shutting down and freezing. I wish I would’ve just left it alone…

    • Kathi says

      I have not upgraded my Ipad 3 yet but did call the Apple company and spoke to someone who was very helpful, his name was Thomas. I was told when you download to do it through ITunes rather than your ipad and when finished go into settings, general and hit the button that says reset all settings., If not the ipad will think it is still in IOS 6 and that this should help. He said anyone having trouble afterwards should make an apt and go to the Apple store and they can resolve it. I hope this helps. I don’t know how you downloaded it but try it this way.

  6. Terry Loewenberg says

    The Newstand app doesn’t exit properly, the icons are dumbed down, Netflix is buggy, the vaulted Apple ecosystem is slow, and the new look reminds me of something that wouldn’t appeal to anyone older that 12.

  7. Captain Hook says

    I don’t need to become a beta tester guinea pig for Apple.
    I’ll be waiting for the bugs to be worked out before I jump on board with iOS 7.
    Apple should have worked the bugs out before allowing a general release.

  8. Vinit Tyagi says

    Try setting a new wall paper in settings… Its damn slow…. Also the keyboard fels like a typewiter while typing this comment….#iPad3 with iOS7

  9. HH says

    Can’t get netflix to work—deal breaker for this user! Need that fix ASAP. Also can’t access iTunes Store. Other things seem to be simple and useful improvements, but store and netflix need a fix quick!

  10. TS says

    I posted earlier about it freezing on my iPad 3, but after FINALLY being able to turn the device off, then back on…it seems to be working ok now.

  11. Nuke says

    I installed ios7 on my iPhone 5 I want the old look back. This look is like looking at a sheet of paper

  12. Gemma McCann says

    horrendous, slow and parts of my ipad are unusable because they crash and are too slow and I have to reset it all the time to get any apps to work. I’m very frustrated

  13. Amit says

    Am i the only one having problems with sound,espacially with siri and in safari?
    Cause it’s sounds like a radio from the time usa had two more big towers LOL

  14. Michael says

    Anyone having issues with orientation? My iPad3 wont show anything in landscape, unless you’re willing to read sideways… screen doesn’t rotate.

  15. Andrea says

    The appearance of everything is as if a young child drew it! It’s horrible and amateurish.

  16. AP says

    I’m on an IPAD 4, did the update to ios7, and do not have filters or pano on the camera feature.

  17. LDB says

    I just want to thank all of you for sharing, I’ll wait to update my ipad3. Safari is bad enough as it is.

  18. Grr says

    Keyboard not working properly at times, safari zooms in and out making it imposible to see anything, apps close unexpectedly… Im so anoyed, used to love my ipad now i dont know what to do… So disapointed and frustrated

  19. goldaroda says

    I think Tim Cook is trying to destroy Apple. First the maps, then the lousy ipad mini screen, and now ios 7. My brand new ipad mini ran real racing 3 so smooth with ios 6 and now with ios 7 real racing 3 is freezing my ipad and so are the other heavy games. Man, Steve Jobs would never allow such disasters fall upon his products.

    • Richard C says

      Exactly the same experience here… Real racing 3 on iPad mini was great fun, now it has become impossible to play :(

    • Arun says

      I too have an iPad mini… This update is horrible. Keyboard response is slow , real racing 3, clash of clans are horribly slow and often crash…. It feels like I’m using age old 486 computer. God only knows what apple’s QA has tested.

  20. Paula M says

    My keyboard on the iPad 3 is sluggish, and if I want to capitalize words within a sentence, my typing has to come to a complete stop to hit the shift key or else the word won’t be capitalized. It’s also dropping characters within words, and spaces due to the sluggishness. Yuck.

  21. Kathi says

    I am happy I have not updated my IPad 3 to IOS 7. I am going to hold off until the next update comes out, hopefully with bug fixes. Get your act together Apple.

  22. Rahul says

    Why is it that the control center lacks color adaptiveness in iPad 3. Also I have noticed that instead of glass like notifications effect you have a semi transparent black background in iOS 7. Apple should have added these design changes for iPad 3 users.

  23. Mk says

    For anyone wondering,our household has ipad4, ipad2, iPhone5, and iphone4s. ALL four of em are runnin iOS7 and doing a beautifully…color me surprised but her ipad2 is actually running as good as in most areas, and even enter in some…the only real hiccup Ive seen on her 2 or 4s is when switching between letters and numbers while she is typing. But other than that both of her machines are still pushing as quickly as they were before.

  24. Michael R. says

    IPhone 5, 64 gig model, iOS 7, keyboard freezing after so many letters and Netflix stuck on a permanent red screen.

  25. Sun says

    I just upgraded to iOS7. Everything works but my iPad3 is much slower now. There is a wait time between what is typed and that appears on the screen. Same with retrieving emails etc. Apple must come with an option to downgrade to iOS6 which is far better. Please don’t upgrade or you will regreat as I do now.

  26. Joe says

    This iOS 7 update is a total disaster.
    Below are the faults sand what I’m not happy with.

    1,When you want to use a photo as a wallpaper, it zooms right in, you loose half the photo when it’s saved as a wallpaper.
    2, the response time is very slow when you want to crop or cancel a wallpaper.
    3, when you move and scale a photo, there is a big delay, the response is very very slow.
    The white key board is hard on the eyes, the dark key board when searching is way better. We should have the option on selecting the color of keyboard display.
    4, the graphics display is very poor.
    5, the apps look very cheap and nasty.
    6, it’s not user friendly, more complicated to use now.
    8, text is very thin.
    9, when on a web page, the icons above are cheap, not user friendly, don’t work as good as previous version.
    10, before you could lock your screen to portrait by double pressing the home button and slide across and select lock screen. This feature has now gone and I can’t unlock my screen.
    11, Apps are more complicated to use.
    12, this update was a total disaster.
    13, why is the keyboard white, and when you search for something the keyboard is dark grey, the dark grey is better on the eye. Why didn’t Apple give the customers the option of selection there own colors. Apple only thinks about them selfs and the people who can’t design a “BETTER UPDATE”

    I believe Apple did not test the update properly before releasing it to the public. This will be the very last time that I’ll be buying an apple product.
    The whole graphics display looks very cheap, it’s like apple have taken 10 steps backwards, like 10 years behind

    • Kathi says

      I saw this on the APPLE WEBSITE. When you use the home button to open iPad don’t swipe to open, instead there is a small bar on the bottom of the screen looks like a long dash, swipe the long dash up, that opens the control center, tap lock orientation button to unlock control center. I hope this works for anyone having troublešŸ˜¶

  27. Dima (@dshendrik) says

    I want my iPad 3 back on iOS6, which was a perfectly functional device until iOS7. What’s wrong with trying the software and downgrading? Now Safari crashes, performance is sluggish, even typing causes delays. I have to constantly restart iPad, and no signs of jailbreak in near future… Please fix it Apple, as much as I like new groundbreaking additions of iOS7 such as moving wallpaper (I wonder how they figured this one out), and an lcd inspired theme from a guy who should probably stick to his daytime job of making iPods, none of this new “ground-breaking” additions comes close to fluid and responsive iOS6.

  28. Dr. Roborkian says

    Th iSheep all love iOS 7 but there is major lag on iPad even for iPad 4 users. I have uh iPad 3 and a Nexus 4. It’s amazing how Apple gets away copying the BlackBerry / WebOS PlayBook multitasking. I don’t like the new folders. Typing this comment is a chore and lagging badly. I don’t hate iOS 7 but I definitely preferred the performance of iOS6 on my iPad 3. I definitely will not be recommending iPad2 / mini users to upgrade unless they fix the iLag7. Apple says they don’t need quad and more ram but it’s clear now that the do. Especially when software upgrades come out for older hardware.

  29. Glo says

    Son updated my I-pad to 7 question how do I close the apps that are open???? holding it down to close doesn’t work.

  30. Moi says

    A disaster! Now I can’t stream video content. Keeps loading, I get audio for 2 seconds before it freezes. And the look is retrograde: typical designers, making something look hood, but you can’t use it. I am going to swap to Samsung and never by these expensive apple products again.

  31. Ana says

    I’ve updated iOS 7 from my iPhone 5 and I can’t access iTunes and Netflix. Please fix this problem ASAP!!!! Wish to go back to iOS 6. :(

  32. Stuart says

    Ios 7 ruined my ipad. So slow and sugish it cant even keep up with 1 finger typing. Touchresonse is awful. Browsing is no loger feasible. Thanks apple

  33. azicat says

    To be honest, IOS 6 was pretty laggy and unstable on my iPad 3 to begin with. Safari would crash on a regular basis, especially when viewing pages with javascript.

  34. Sharon says

    If you are visually challenged DONT UPGRADE to IOS 7. Its hard on the eyes, the keyboard is grey on grey as the top part of safari. Its slow and laggy even when typing and i hate the way the pages come about now. Its not meant for older gens. Thanks for absolutely nothing Apple, LOVED my IOS 6 But teenage son talked me into upgrading and for the life of me i cannot find a way BACK! :( I only have one question to Apple…WHY????

  35. Mrs Sutherland says

    How do I stop the screen rotating to what it wants instead of what I want with the ios 7?
    How do I hide the location of images in photos from appearing?
    I would really like to go back to ios 6.

  36. Jerry Green says

    Agree with this upgrade to version 7 being a disaster. In addition to the above complaints, I can’t use several of my apps, like YouTube & AARP’s online games; it simply bounces me back to the iPad’s home page. Nothing works right and I can’t go back to my version 6 because Apple won’t allow it! At one time, I thought Apple was better than my PC, but now I’m having to rely on my PC because my ipad 3 won’t work with my favorite apps.

    • RLB says

      You can’t have upgraded to iOS 7.2 since 7.1 hasn’t even been released. 7.1, hopefully will fix the issue. Most importantly, many news bits from MacLife and Macworld including many others warned us NOT to upgrade until 7.1 was released. So, if you upgraded after all these warnings, then it’s your fault, not Apple’s.

      • hixion81 says

        It’s due people like you that Apple won’t fix its errors. Does Apple pay your bills or something? How dare you blame a user when is Apple which is supposed to release ANY version of software with a minimum of quality?? Perhaps a user should consult third parties before making an upgrade that is recommended by your wonderful and infallible Apple? All people here (including me) should be forwarding our complaints to Apple to make them know that some users say NO to these kind of things.

  37. Petrus Vermaak says

    Anyone who as clash of clans can tell u that it crashes every ten seconds. If you tap to quickly the app simp, crashes, and the moment the keyboard comes up it crashes. Also it is now impossible to connect with either Game Center or Face Book on clash of clans, supercell made an update to “fix” it, but nothing changed, and in safari when i type the keyboard sometimes type whatever it wants! RUBBISH, ANY I THOUGH WINDOWS WAS PATHETIC!

  38. ian walker says

    I absolutely hate the update on my ipad 3 and personally think it has ruined a very good os, The whole thing seems slower and loads more glitchy than the previous version. I am also not a fan of the flat look and in my opinion it actually seems a step back rather than forward.

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