iOS 7.1 beta 4 is out and it’s currently being combed through by developers inside Apple’s developer program. With the iOS 7.1 update now in its fourth beta and with rumors flying around, we want to take another close look at the next big iOS 7 update for iPhone and iPad and breakdown everything that we know, and want, from Apple’s upcoming upgrade.
In November, Apple released iOS 7.0.4 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Since then, the company hasn’t released any other updates to its iOS 7 operating system leaving some owners in peril thanks to bugs, and others, searching for information about what awaits them after the iOS 7.0.4 is replaced.
Thanks to Apple’s beta program, we know that there is a very good chance that Apple will be skipping an iOS 7.0.5 update for iPhone and iPad. The same month that saw the iOS 7.0.4 release saw the release of the first iOS 7.1 beta, an update that has now been replaced three times.
Yesterday, Apple released iOS 7.1 beta 4, the fourth beta release of an update that is almost certainly going to be the next update for iPhone and iPad owners. And for those that have used an Apple product before or have been following iOS 7.1 developments, there is a reason to be excited about this update in particular.
iOS x.1 updates historically have served as the bridge between two major iOS updates. In the case of iOS 7.1, it will be iOS 7 and the rumored iOS 8 which should arrive later this year alongside a new iPhone 6. Apple’s iOS x.1 updates almost always come with an assortment of enhancements and fixes and they usually come with some new functionality. From what we’ve seen and heard, iOS 7.1 will feature both.
Now that iOS 7.1 beta 4 is out, we’ve been able to glean some new details for iPhone and iPad owners. We’ve also heard some new things about the iOS 7.1 update and its release date, so, we have decided to breakdown the iOS 7.1 update situation for a second time.
iOS 7.1 Release Date
We’re now in the fourth version of the iOS 7.1 beta which means that Apple is progressing towards a public release for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. And while the company won’t say how many betas it intends to use during the iOS 7.1 testing process, rumors suggest that the company could still be a couple of betas away from the end.
According to BGR, a site that has proven accurate in the past with iOS update information, Apple plans to use six iOS 7.1 betas before the update is released to the public. It’s not clear if the company plans to use the sixth beta as a Gold Master or if it will be another update released after that that serves as the final version.
What’s clear though is that Apple is moving closer to a public release of iOS 7.1. The iOS 7.1 release date was previously rumored for March and it appears that that hasn’t changed. With two betas remaining, that timing seems to fit given Apple’s history of taking two weeks or so to release new beta updates.
At this point, iPhone and iPad owners should have both February and March circled on the calendar as both months seem likely, at this point, for an official iOS 7.1 roll out for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
iOS 7.1 Features
Besides the iOS 7.1 release date, the most important thing to iPhone and iPad users are the features and fixes on board the iOS 7.1 update. And thanks to the beta process, we know about a number of features that could find their way to the final version of Apple’s brand new iOS 7 update.
The first two iOS 7.1 betas coughed up a number of details. iOS in the Car, for one, is expected to be a major component of iOS 7.1. References have picked up inside Apple’s betas, a sign that Apple intends to finally release the feature that was promised at the WWDC conference all the way back in June.
We also saw other smaller tweaks emerge including improvements to the speed of animations, a more visible section for TouchID and Passcode settings, and a new animation for Control Center. The beta also appears to have added a new list function to the calendar.
iOS 7.1 beta 3 and iOS 7.1 beta 4 expanded upon these features adding a number of user interface design tweaks. As we pointed out, iOS 7.1 beta 3 changed the look of several applications including the Phone App, which now utilizes red and green circles instead of rectangles. The third iOS 7.1 beta also included a new option to dismiss the parallax effect when changing the background, a brand new look to the shut down screen, and some small tweaks to the keyboard.
The look of the music controls also fall in line with the rest of the UI changes, and according to Macerkopf.de, iOS 7.1 beta 3 brought the ability to delete the update OTA files that often clog up space for iPhone and iPad users.
iOS 7.1 beta 4, from what we’ve heard, includes some minor tweaks but is mainly focused on bug fixes and improving the overall iOS 7 experience for iPhone users. That said, here’s what the update seems to have brought along with it.
Contacts Option in the Dialer
We’re hearing that these is a new contacts option inside of the dialer, also known as the Phone App, which allows users to more easily add a new contact or add to existing contact inside of iOS.
It’s a simple addition but one that should come in handy for those that are constantly networking and adding new numbers.
According to MacRumors, there is more “bounce” inside of the Messages application. This makes sense given that the Control Center toggle received the same animation change.
Slide to Unlock/Power Off
Finally, the slide to unlock function that is now more prominent than it has been in the past. The key thing here is that it’s much brighter than it was inside iOS 7.0.4. The changes also apply to the Slide to Power Off function which received a revamped look inside of iOS 7.1 beta 3.
3 Things iOS 7.1 Needs to Fix
Random reboots continue to plague iPhone 5s owners in particular. The springboard issue has been an ongoing iOS 7 problem and one that has existed since last year. It’s not clear if the iOS 7.1 update will fix this issue in particular but BGR claims that Apple is working to patch up memory leaks.
So, in other words, there is a very good chance that iOS 7.1 will fix the random reboot issues that iPhone 5s owners have endured since the release of iOS 7 and the iPhone 5s.
We’ve been experiencing lag on the iPad 3 since the release of the iOS 7 update back in September and while we’ve seen the experience marginally improve from update to update, the lag issues still exist inside iOS 7.0.4. Sluggishness impacts actions like opening folders and scrolling from home screen to home screen. Apps don’t open up as fast as they used to.
We’ve heard that iOS 7.1 greatly improves the overall performance on the iPhone and iPad and hopefully this translates to the public release as the lag issues are still a major problem for some iPad owners.
Recently, we were pointed in the direction of a major iOS issue that seems to be plaguing many iOS 7 users. It seems, according the Apple’s discussion forums, that users that utilize the stock Safari browser are encountering regular crashes. There doesn’t appear to be a temporary fix for the issue, leaving users hoping for a fix inside iOS 7.1.
We haven’t heard about anything specific though the rumors that suggest Apple is working on fixing crashing and lock up issues inside iOS 7.1 are definitely a good sign. This one thread has over 50,000 views so it’s clear that this is an issue that is impacting a larger number of iDevice owners.