Apple’s finally released the iOS 14.4 update and the software could have a tremendous impact on your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus’ performance.
After a year on iOS 13, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have made the move to iOS 14. As expected, iOS 14 is a huge upgrade for both models.
Slowly but surely, Apple’s refining the operating system. In late September it pushed out its first iOS 14 bug fix update (dubbed iOS 14.0.1).
iOS 14.3 has since been replaced by iOS 14.4 which represents the company’s fourth milestone upgrade. Like iOS 14.3, iOS 14.4 brings new features, security patches, and important bug fixes to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users have already made the jump up to iOS 14.4 and we’ve seen a lot of positive feedback emerge as we’ve pushed away from the firmware’s release.
On the flip side we’ve also heard about problems with the software and some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users have encountered bugs and performance issues.
If you decide to download iOS 14.4, note that it requires a rather large download. That being said, if you’re running an older version of iOS, your iOS 14.4 upgrade could be even bigger because the features and fixes from the iOS updates you skipped are baked in.
With that in mind, we want to take you through the most important things to know, right now, about the iPhone 7’s iOS 14.4 update.
- iPhone 7 iOS 14.4 Review
- You Should Prepare for iOS 14.4
- iPhone 7 iOS 14.4 Problems and Fixes
- How to Downgrade iPhone 7 Software
- iPhone 7 iOS 14.4 Changes
- Next iOS 14 Update for iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 iOS 14.4 Jailbreak
Our walkthrough will guide you through the software’s initial problems, the downgrade status, the iOS 14 jailbreak, and the iPhone 7 iOS 14.4 update’s performance.
We’ll start with the iPhone 7 iOS 14.4 update’s performance.
iPhone 7 iOS 14.4 Impressions & Performance
We’ve been testing the iOS 14.4 update on an iPhone 7 for several days now and we’re pretty impressed with the software’s performance.
While some iPhone 7 users have noticed bugs and performance issues, iOS 14.4 is currently performing at a high level on our device.
The software feels extremely snappy and it’s still noticeably faster than iOS 13. Apps open faster and the software’s animations and transitions are crisp.
We haven’t noticed any slowdown in problem areas like Notification Center, Control Center, or the keyboard. There are areas where we’ve seen sluggish performance in the past.
Battery life is very strong at the moment and we haven’t noticed any issues with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. All of these connections are strong.
Our core apps, a list that includes apps like Netflix, Chrome, Gmail, Dark Sky, Asana, and Slack, are all stable. We haven’t noticed any hiccups yet.
App developers are still rolling out iOS 14 support updates so if you’re having issues with your apps, make sure your device is running the latest version.
Overall, iOS 14.4 is treating our device well. We haven’t stumbled upon any massive bugs or catastrophic performance issues in the weeks since its arrival.
As of right now we’re recommending iOS 14.4 to most users. The security patches alone make the upgrade worth it.
That said, if you’re having a good experience on iOS 14.3, iOS 14.2, iOS 14.1, iOS 14.0.1, iOS 14.0, or iOS 13, you might want to wait for more feedback about its performance.
If you need more help making a decision, have a look at our reasons to, and not to, install iOS 14.4.
How to Prepare Your iPhone 7 for iOS 14.4
If you’re planning to make a move to iOS 14.4, make sure you prepare for the upgrade.
While some of you might see a performance boost after upgrading, many others will run into trouble. This is why it’s important to prepare yourself, and your device, for the transition.
To assist you we’ve released a pre-installation guide that will take you step-by-step through the process we typically use before we install new iOS software on our phones. If you’re new to iOS or you just want to play it safe, it could help.
If you don’t have a ton of time to devote to the pre-installation process you’ll at the very least want to make sure your files are backed up before you tap download.
iPhone 7 iOS 14.4 Problems & Fixes
We’re having a great experience on iOS 14.4, but some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users are running into problems.
The current list includes abnormal battery drain, connectivity issues, UI lag, issues with first and third-party apps, issues with Touch ID, Exchange issues, and many more.
If these problems have you feeling leery about an upgrade to iOS 14.4, you might want to hang back and wait for Apple’s next batch of bug fixes.
If your device is already running iOS 14.4, and you’re dealing with issues, have a look at our fixes for the most common iOS 14 problems. It’s a great place to start.
iOS 14.3 Downgrade Closed
If you move your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus to iOS 14.4, and you hate its performance, note that downgrading is no longer an option.
Apple has stopped signing on iOS 14.3 which means you can’t drop your device’s software back to previous version of iOS 14 in an effort to improve its performance.
The company isn’t signing on older versions of iOS either. So if you’re having a good experience on iOS 14.3 or below, approach iOS 14.4 with caution. Once you upgrade, there’s no going back.
If you’re unfamiliar with the downgrade process, take a look at our guide.
iPhone 7 iOS 14.4 Update: What’s New
iOS 14.4 is a milestone upgrade which means it has a blend of features, fixes, and patches. Here’s the full change log for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus:
- Smaller QR codes can be recognized by Camera.
- Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications.
- Fixes an issue where the Fitness widget may not display updated Activity data.
- Fixes an issue where typing may be delayed and word suggestions may not appear in the keyboard.
- Fixes an issue where the keyboard may not come up in the correct language in Messages.
- Fixes an issue where Audio stories from the News app in CarPlay may not resume after being paused for spoken directions or Siri.
- Fixes an issue where enabling Switch Control in Accessibility may prevent phone calls from being answered from the Lock Screen.
iOS 14.4 also carries very important security updates and you can read about those right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.3, you’ll get its changes with iOS 14.4. iOS 14.3 also had a mix of new features and enhancements and here’s Apple’s official change log:
- A new fitness experience powered by Apple Watch with studio-style workouts available on your iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV (Apple Watch Series 3 and later)
- New Fitness app on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV to browse Fitness+ workouts, trainers, and personalized recommendations
- Video workouts added each week in ten popular workout types: High Intensity Interval Training, Indoor Cycling, Yoga, Core, Strength, Dance, Rowing, Treadmill Walking, Treadmill Running, and Mindful Cooldown
- Playlists curated by Fitness+ trainers to complement your workout
- Fitness+ subscription available in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States
- Support for AirPods Max, new over-ear headphones
- High fidelity audio for rich sound
- Adaptive EQ adapts sound in real time to the personal fit of ear cushions
- Active Noise Cancellation to block out environmental noise
- Transparency mode to hear the environment around you
- Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking for a theater-like listening experience
- Apple ProRAW photos can be edited in the Photos app
- Option to record video at 25 fps
- Mirror the front facing camera for still photos on iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X
- New privacy information section on App Store pages that includes a developer-reported summary of the app’s privacy practices
- An all-new Apple TV+ tab makes it easy to discover and watch Apple Original shows and movies
- Enhanced search so you can browse by category such as genre, and see recent searches and suggestions as you type
- Top search results shown with the most relevant matches across movies, TV shows, cast, channels, and sports
- Support for launching App Clips by scanning Apple-designed App Clip Codes via Camera or from Control Center
- Ability to indicate pregnancy, lactation, or contraceptive use in Cycle Tracking in the Health app in order to better manage period and fertile window predictions
- Air quality data is now available in Weather, Maps, and Siri for locations in China mainland
- Air quality health recommendations are provided in Weather and Siri for the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, India, and Mexico at certain air quality levels
- Air quality data in Weather, Maps, and Siri reflects updated national scales for Germany and Mexico
- Ecosia search engine option in Safari
- Addressed an issue where some MMS messages may not be received
- Addressed an issue where Contact groups failed to display members when composing a message
- Addressed an issue where some videos would not appear correctly when shared from the Photos app
- Addressed an issue where app folders may fail to open
- Addressed an issue where Spotlight search results, and opening apps from Spotlight may not work
- Addressed an issue where Bluetooth could be unavailable in Settings
- Addressed an issue where MagSafe Duo Charger could wirelessly charge your iPhone at less than the maximum power
- Addressed an issue where wireless accessories and peripherals using the WAC protocol could fail to complete setup
- Addressed an issue where the keyboard would dismiss when adding a list in Reminders while using VoiceOver
iOS 14.3 also included security updates and you can read about those on Apple’s security page.
If you skipped iOS 14.2, you’ll get its contents with your upgrade to iOS 14.4. Here’s what iOS 14.2 brought to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus:
- Over 100 new emoji, including animals, food, faces, household objects, musical instruments, gender-inclusive emoji, and more.
- Eight new wallpapers in both light and dark mode versions.
- Optimized battery charging for AirPods to slow the rate of battery aging by reducing the time your AirPods spends fully charged.
- Headphone audio level notifications to alert you when audio level could impact your hearing.
- New AirPlay controls to stream entertainment throughout your home.
- Intercom support with HomePod and HomePod mini using iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and CarPlay.
- Ability to connect HomePod to Apple TV 4K for stereo, surround sound, and Dolby Atmos audio.
- Option to provide statistics about Exposure Notifications, without identifying you, to participating Public Health Authorities.
- Addressed an issue where apps could be out of order on the Home Screen dock.
- Addressed an issue where the Camera viewfinder may appear black when launched.
- Addressed an issues where the keyboard on the Lock Screen could miss touches when trying to enter the passcode.
- Addressed an issue where Reminders could default to times in the past.
- Addressed an issue where the Photos widget may not display content.
- Addressed an issues where the Weather widget could display the high temperature in Celsius when set to Fahrenheit.
- Addressed an issue where the next-hour precipitation chart description in Weather could incorrectly indicate when precipitation stops.
- Addressed an issue where Voice Memos recordings are interrupted by incoming calls.
- Addressed an issue where the screen could be black during Netflix video playback.
- Addressed an issue where Apple Cash could fail to send or receive money when asked via Siri.
- Addressed an issue where the Apple Watch app may unexpectedly close when opened.
- Addressed an issue where workout GPS routes or Health data are prevented from syncing between Apple Watch and iPhone for some users.
- Addressed an issue where audio is incorrectly labeled as “Not Playing” in the CarPlay Dashboard.
- Addressed an issue where devices could be prevented from charging wirelessly.
- Addressed an issue where Exposure Notifications is disabled when restoring iPhone from iCloud Backup or transferring data to a new iPhone using iPhone Migration.
iOS 14.2 also brought security patches to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and you can read about those right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.1, you get its changes with your upgrade. If you’re interested, you can read more about iOS 14.1’s bug fixes in our roundup.
If you missed iOS 14.0.1, you get its bug fixes with your upgrade to iOS 14.4. Here’s what iOS 14.0.1 fixed:
- Fixed an issue that could cause default browser and mail settings to reset after restarting your iPhone
- Addressed an issue that could prevent camera previews from displaying on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
- Fixed an issue that could prevent your iPhone from connecting to Wi-Fi networks
- Resolved an issue that could prevent sending email with some mail providers
- Addressed an issue that could prevent images from appearing in the News widget
As for iOS 14 itself, the iPhone 7’s version of the operating is robust. The devices miss out on a few features, but all of iOS 14’s key components are on board.
iOS 14 includes Widgets on the home screen, improvements to Messages and Maps, the new Translate app, and a laundry list of changes to Siri.
We’ve put together a guide that will take you through some of iOS 14’s best features and it’s worth a look if you haven’t been following along.
If you’re moving to iOS 14.4 from an older version of iOS 13 you’ll, again, get the features and fixes from any updates you skipped. We also have a guide that goes over the latest iOS 13 features and you should check it out if you’re playing catchup.
Next iOS 14 Update for iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus
Apple’s got a new iOS 14 update on the way.
The company’s confirmed iOS 14.5, another milestone upgrade, and the software is currently in beta testing ahead of a public release later this year. iOS 14.5 will roll out in early spring though we don’t have a specific date yet.
iOS 14.5 will carry new features, bug fixes, and other enhancements. As of right now, it looks like it will be a huge upgrade for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users.
For more on iOS 14.5 and the beta, please check out our guide.
iPhone 7 iOS 14 Jailbreak
Avoid iOS 14.4 if you’re jailbroken or want to jailbreak your phone.
Apple plugged up the exploits used by these jailbreaks so there’s no telling how long it will be until we see tools for iOS 14.4 and future versions of iOS 14.
Install iOS 14.4 for Better Security
If security is important to you, think about installing iOS 14.4 right now.
iOS 14.4 has important security patches on board and you can read about them right here. These patches will help protect your iPhone from harm.
If you skipped iOS 14.3 you'll get its nine security updates with your upgrade. You can read more about them on its security site.
iOS 14.3 also included a new privacy information section on App Store pages that includes a developer-reported summary of the app’s privacy practices.
If you skipped iOS 14.2, your iOS 14.4 update includes iOS 14.2's 24 security patches. You can learn more about the patches on Apple's security website.
If you're still running iOS 13, iOS 14.4 include iOS 14.0's security updates.
iOS 14.0 brought 11 new security patches to the iPhone. If you're interested in the exact nature of these improvements, you can read about them over on Apple's website.
In addition to those patches, iOS 14 comes with some security and privacy upgrades including improvements to Home/HomeKit and Safari.
For instance in Safari, you can now tap the Privacy Report button to better understand how websites handle your privacy.
With iOS 14 on board you can now get information on the App Store that will help you understand the privacy practices of apps before you download them.
There is also a new recording indicator that will appear at the top of your screen whenever an app is using your microphone or camera. You can see if an app has used them recently in Control Center.
Researchers also discovered that Apple brought a new "BlastDoor" sandbox security system to iOS 14. The system is meant to prevent attacks from occurring via the Messages app.
You can read more about "BlastDoor" right here.
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