Apple’s new iOS 7.1 software was released earlier this week, and it brought with it a wide range of fixes, improvements and new features for compatible iPhones, iPads and iPod touch handhelds. Now it’s time to point out a few key additions that you really should check out right now.
Sharon Vaknin at CNET has compiled a quick list of four must-try new features in iOS 7, and we have added a fifth that will definitely be appreciated by many users.
Kill parallax, keep the zoom
First up, Apple finally made it possible in iOS 7.1 to disable the annoying parallax wallpaper effect without eliminating the great zooming transition animations when opening and closing apps.
To do this, first ensure that “Reduce Motion” is toggled off in Settings > General > Accessibility. Then go to Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness and tap your lock screen wallpaper. Toggle “Perspective Zoom” to off and tap set, then do the same thing for your home screen wallpaper.
It’s as easy as that.
Teach Siri some manners
iOS 7.1 includes a number of enhancements to Apple’s virtual personal assistant Siri.
They’re all appreciated to some extent, but CNET has compiled a collection of terrific advice on how to make sure Siri is always working for you instead of against you.
Bring back the buttons
One of many complaints people had about iOS 7 compared to earlier versions of Apple’s mobile software was the fact that the tap targets in this new minimalistic OS were very confusing.
With iOS 7.1, however, users can now add button shapes to the software’s text-only tap targets.
Adding button shapes is simple. Just go to Settings > General > Accessibility and toggle “Button Shapes” to on.
Enable HDR Auto
iOS 7 had an awful bug that caused devices to constantly disable HDR each time the camera app was closed. In iOS 7.1, Apple repented for its annoying mistake by introducing a new “HDR Auto” setting on the iPhone 5s that will monitor the surrounding lighting conditions and enable or disable HDR automatically.
To enable this great new feature, simply tap “HDR On” or “HDR Off” at the top of the screen with the camera open. Then select “HDR Auto” and you’ll never have to think about it again.
New visibility options
Apple’s iOS platform is a clear leader when it comes to accessibility options for the disabled. There is no close second. For those with relatively minor vision problems though, some accessibility features in iOS 7 were a bit drastic.
In iOS 7.1, Apple has addressed one such issue by adding new fine-tuned options for increasing the contrast on the screen of your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and tap “Increase Contrast.” You’ll now find three separate options in iOS 7.1.
“Reduce Transparency” will remove all of the transparency effects in areas including the home screen dock, folder backgrounds, the Control Center and the Notification Center.
“Darken Colors” will do just that: Darken all of the colors on the device’s display to make them more visible.
Finally, “Reduce White Point” will make whites on the screen less bright, which is another way to improve visibility.