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iOS gets a facelift with iOS 7

If you've been happy with the way your iOS has looked on your device for the last few years get ready for a big change. At Apple's World Wide Developer Conference earlier this year, the latest version of iOS was shown off and when it's officially released you'll see some big (and little) changes in features and aesthetics. Things are going to look different, but we're here to help guide you through the changes.

New look

iOS has long been known for its skeuomorphic design, but that is changing with iOS 7. This time, Apple is opting for a more "flat" design, with bolder colors and gradients. This is immediately evident in the default icons. While the rest of the operating system wont have the gradient style of the icons, it will have the flatter look. Mail, Messages, Safari, and even the Settings panel all showcase this new design.

New features

A fresh coat of paint isn't the only thing happening in iOS 7, as Apple is introduces new features like Control Center, AirDrop, and iTunes Radio.

  • Control Center: A big appeal of Android over iOS was the ability to quickly access device settings; that will change with the implementation of Control Center. With a simple swipe upwards from the bottom of the phone, you can quickly access settings like Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, WiFi, music controls, flashlight control, and more.
  • AirDrop: One of the quickly accessible options is new one called AirDrop. AirDrop, previously only available in OSX, brings the ability to quickly share text or photos with other iOS users.
  • iTunes Radio: Another new feature for iOS 7 will be iTunes Radio, which as it sounds, streams radio stations right from iTunes.
  • iCloud Keychain: If you have an Apple desktop or laptop and keep your passwords in Safari, now you can access them directly from your phone. No longer will you need to remember that password for the new site you just signed up for, as iCloud Keychain keeps your devices in sync.

New features in old apps

Some of the current default app options are also going through a bit of change.

  • Multitasking: Before iOS 7 you would just see a line of icons at the bottom. Now you will see previews of each app and have the ability to "swipe up" to close them.
  • Notification center: This not only looks different, but it operates a bit differently too. Rather than just seeing missed notifications you will also be presented with your calendar and upcoming appointments.
  • Camera & Photos: The camera has a cleaner and simpler look to it. With iOS 7 you can still get gorgeous shots, but now you can apply filters directly in the camera app, no more need for a third party app. And if you've been having trouble managing your photos, the updated Photos will create 'Collections' that can sort your photos by location or year.
  • Safari: As stated above, there is a new "flat" look to iOS 7, which extends into Safari. The bottom navigation bar is more square and the tab preview is now a scrolling preview.
  • Siri: Siri now has a clearer background and new animation when receiving commands.
  • Find my iPhone: If you're paranoid about losing your iPhone hopefully you're signed up for this free service from Apple. With previous versions you could simply turn off Find My iPhone, but with iOS 7 there is a new security measure that requires your password to deactivate it.

There is a lot going on but the one thing that remains is the user friendly aspect of iOS. So while it may take a few moments to get re-situated with the look and feel, once you get comfortable with it, it will ultimately feel like the same old iOS.