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All the details you need to know about Apple’s iOS 7

Planning to upgrade your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to iOS 7? There's a lot to know about Apple's revamped mobile operating system. I've summarised all the major points here, and you can find more detailed information about each point in the relevant links.

What's new in iOS 7?

We took a quick early look at iOS 7 in this video, which you might want to check out for starters.

To sum up, the major change is in the design — and the changes are all-encompassing. For example, you'll notice new icons, a new look to the app folders, a seriously improved control centre, and a radically different display for sharing buttons, now called the "share sheet."

But you'll also see design changes in the moving parts, too. For example, there's a whole new way to access the search bar (you can flick down, instead of swiping to the leftmost screen or tapping the home button), as well as a completely different multi-tasking bar (which now looks a lot like Android).

Take a look at our article on what's changed from iOS 6 to iOS 7 to see exactly what's new with your own eyes.

Will my device run iOS 7?

Here are the devices that will run iOS 7:

iPhone: The iPhone 4 and later can get iOS 7, but not all the new features will be available to some older phones, though. For example, the iPhone 4 does not have Siri or panoramic photos, so none of the improvements that affect those two features will be on that phone.

iPad: All Retina display iPads and the iPad 2 can get iOS 7, but not the original iPad.

iPod touch: As for the iPod touch, only fifth-generation devices will be able to get iOS 7.

You can see more details about which features are included for which devices in this complete list of devices that will run iOS 7.

How do I get iOS 7?

Sometime around 18:00 BST (13:00 EST) later today, iOS 7 will be free to download on supported devices. You can download it "over the air" (via Wi-Fi) or by connecting your device to a computer and initiating a download of the new operating system by checking for updates in iTunes.

For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to download iOS 7.

I recommend that you don't download iOS 7 during the day, today. If you can contain your excitement long enough to make it until sundown or later tonight, you'll likely install the operating system much faster, due to stress on Apple's servers upon initial release.


iOS 7 has a lot of great security features and enhancements. We recommend you read up on many of them and enable the ones that are opt-in. For example, there are new tools for limiting advertisers from tracking your web history, and it's a really good idea to familiarise yourself with those settings so that you can easily use them to your advantage.

What else is there?

I discovered five overlooked features in iOS 7. These nitty gritty changes are important but got pushed aside in some of the coverage because they don't look sexy.

Any let-downs?

Don't get your hopes up too much concerning the revamped Photo albums. They're better now that they display images parsed by date, but the Photos area is still far from great. You still can't rename photo files, rearrange them, add captions, or tag them in iOS 7.

As much as I liked the blocked numbers feature (which lets you block incoming phone calls, text messages, and FaceTime requests from numbers you choose) I don't like that the number has to be listed in your Contacts for the feature to work. In other words, if you get a robo-call and want to block that number, the only way to do so is to first create an address book entry for that robo-call number. And if you use iCloud to sync your contacts, then that unwanted number is now spread across all your connected accounts.

What else? We saw a lot of changes to keychain, Apple's next-best thing to a dedicated password manager, which will now work across iOS devices — but it can't generate secure passwords on your phone, meaning you still have to make up passwords for apps. Including that feature seems like it would be an easy win.

A QR code reader has been added… to Passbook of all places. We think it would have been better to incorporate it into the camera itself or mobile Safari.

What do you think?

If you want to share your favourite (or indeed least favourite) change in iOS 7, you can do so in the comments below.