Apple's iOS 7 Update Now Available For you

Apple's iOS 7 shimmers and glides. The so-called flat design looks cold initially, but soon seems cutting edge. Dive into the settings, and you'll uncover wonderful improvements in security. A new "share sheet" comes off as much more intuitive than the buttons we've come to know so well. Everything's different, but this is a time for closing your eyes, making the leap, and embracing change. The iOS 7 is available to install on compatible Apple devices, namely the iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, and fifth-generation iPod touch. For a model-by-model list, see our complete list of devices that will run iOS 7. The iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S will come with iOS 7 already installed on them. Apple released the final code for iOS 7 on 18 September, and it's free to download to any compatible device. There are a few ways to download it, and you'll want to back up your device before you do! We have a complete set of instructions in our step-by-step guide on how to download iOS 7. If you're ready to roll now, just go to Settings > General > Software Update to install the new OS.

iOS 7 looks stunningly different. The stark differences between iOS 6 and iOS 7 are most apparent when you look at before and after images back-to-back. You'll notice a lack of 3D. Icons sit in a flat layer that seems to hover just above the screen's background – and changing the wallpaper to suit the new design is a must in my book. (Experiment: Set that old water droplet wallpaper behind the new app icons, and watch the horror of the two worlds colliding). The design of iOS 6, and really all versions of iOS prior to version 7, had icons that looked like buttons. As some design experts have pointed out, there's even an imaginary outside source of light that shines down on the app icons. It’s a skeuomorphic design, and buttons look like they are what they represent, rather than just images on a screen. In iOS 7 that external source of light casting shadows and so forth is gone. The new look evokes computers and a true digital experience that has little to do with real-world physicality.

The photo editing tools are still fairly limited. New preset filters similar to those in Instagram and the Twitter mobile app are underwhelming, seeing as users came to rely on separate photo editing apps long ago. The ability to shoot photos in a square aspect ratio, on the other hand, is better than some have let on. Profile pictures for online accounts are generally square, so iOS 7's default makes it easier to take a good headshot in the first place, rather than crop it later. A few tweaks help the panoramic feature in the camera work a little better, but the panoramic capability itself isn't new to version 7.

You should download it and install it (be sure to back up your device first, though), explore it, tinker with its settings, and develop your own opinion about the design. But let it warm on you, first. You might find yourself initially turned off by the look, but in little to no time, this new world will quickly feel like a second home.

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