by Brad Moon | March 11, 2014 2:39 pm
Apple (AAPL) released iOS 7.1 today, and if you have a recent iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you’re going to want to upgrade it.
Unlike the emergency iOS update from several weeks ago, this one’s all about a better user experience. While the key new feature included in the update to last fall’s iOS 7 release is support for AAPL’s recently announced CarPlay auto integration technology, Apple has polished the new user interface first introduced with that massive iOS update, fixed some bugs and improved Siri.
Apple doesn’t put out a new iOS update without having good reason to do so, and the company makes the update process easy — two reasons why iPhone and iPad owners lead all other mobile operating systems when it comes to keeping their devices up to date.
Here’s what you need to know about AAPL’s new iOS 7.1 update.
Chances are, you won’t care about CarPlay support right now, but if you’re planning on buying a 2014 car from one of AAPL’s CarPlay partners, then you’re going to need the new iOS 7.1 update to take full advantage of features like Apple Maps on the dashboard, Siri control of your iPhone’s voice calls and texts along with iTunes Radio.
Without this new iOS update, sliding behind the wheel of a CarPlay-equipped vehicle will be a less-than-thrilling experience, at least when it comes to iPhone integration. That’s just one good reason to download the new iOS update.
Ever heard of the “white screen of death”?
If you own an AAPL iPhone running iOS 7 and you let your battery level get down to 40%, there’s a decent chance you haven’t just heard of it, you’ve experienced the crash. The iOS 7.1 update fixes this particularly annoying bug.
Also squashed is a problem where the iPhone 5s Touch ID sensor would forget your fingerprint. That should be motivation enough to download the iOS update.
Siri is Apple’s personal assistant, a key iPhone feature and an important part of CarPlay. Siri has had some growing pains, but AAPL has been addressing the issues one by one.
In the new iOS 7.1 update, Siri gets a little bit smarter by offering manual control. Some iPhone users found Siri would cut them off in the middle of a query; naturally that leads to poor results.
If Siri on your iDevice is prone to cutting you off mid-sentence, this new iOS update lets you hold down the Home button when speaking to Siri, who will then wait patiently until you release the button.
The iPhone 5s now has HDR on by default for its camera, while the Calendar app finally lets you view events by month.
If you are still rocking an iPhone 4, you might have held off on upgrading to iOS 7 because of the performance hit the new operating system has on older hardware. However, AAPL would much rather you were on its latest OS, even if you’re not yet willing to upgrade to an iPhone 5s –it’s safer for everyone to be on the latest version, and it’s easier on developers.
So the iOS 7.1 update includes tweaks that Apple says will result in iPhone 4 users experiencing “improved responsiveness and performance.”
If your iOS device can run iOS 7, then it’s eligible for the free iOS 7.1 update. Here’s the complete list of supported devices:
Apple makes it dead simple to download and install a new iOS update.
From your device, navigate to Settings, General and click Software Update. If your device is eligible to run iOS 7.1, you’ll see it.
Alternately, plug the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch into the computer hosting your iTunes library and it will prompt you to OK installing iOS 7.1 directly from iTunes.
Whichever method you choose, make sure to back up your iOS device first. As I said, Apple’s pretty good at making it easy to install a new iOS update, but better safe than sorry.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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