iOS 7 update: online forums awash with complaints, pleas

User postings about new Apple iOS 7 show confusion, ignorance, frustration, and victories

Online Apple forums are awash with confusion, frustration, ignorance, and desperation as thousands of existing iPhone and iPad users trying to update and use iOS 7, which was released yesterday. But there are also plenty of jubilant posts about successful downloads and flawless operation.

By their very nature, support groups are intended to help with problems. So it’s hard to form a clear idea from just reading these posts of how the total number of iOS users updating to iOS 7 are actually faring.

After hours of working, or trying to, with iOS 7, some users are drawing strong and stark conclusions.

ios 7

Credit: Apple

“Ultimately, to me, iOS7 is a large collection of arbitrary changes that bring no new real functional advantage over the previous configuration, and the interface itself is just plain ugly,” posted jw1950, at the MacRumors forums, describing himself as a long-time user of multiple iOS and OS X products, after downloading iOS 7 to his iPad. “Instead of a slick looking dock, we now have a solid opaque rectangle that the docked icons lie flat on. Instead of sophisticated dimensional icons, we now have 8-bit-style flat color images. I am NOT loading 7 on my iPhone…It’s made my deliberations over whether to upgrade to a 5s come to a full stop.”

[APPLE iOS 7: 7 Best New Features]

The problems cover a wide range of issues. Some users clearly are unaware of the changes in the UI, for example that you now swipe right to left to delete emails, not left to right. There are a surprising number of complaints, both rancorous and baffled, about improperly sized wallpapers and no apparent way to fix them in iOS 7.

Some found typing on the virtual keyboard in iOS 7 was painfully slow, at least initially. Some reported problems with accessing their Gmail accounts. Another complaint was that Notifications were no longer working after the OS update.

Others reported that their iPhone 4S was unusable; others that their iPhone 5, after installing iOS 7, was now repeatedly freezing.

Finally, there is a spirited debate over whether iOS 7 has improved or worsened battery life for current iPad and iPhone users.

Simple changes in familiar UI features are baffling some users. “what are the 5 little dots in the left hand corner that appear after update to ios7?” asked Bella Alexandria.

GeekBoy.from.Illinois had her answer: “The dots replace the old signal bars.”

For Leelee694, the stumbling block was “how do u close out an app[?] I used to be able to click the home button twice and hold down an app and hit the x so how do u do it now?” Zane W came to her rescue: “double click the home button and swipe the app window up and off the screen.”

“Email can no longer be deleted by swiping in iOS7. Ouch!” posted CyberKnife, at Apple’s support forums. But another user, swordfish5736, countered “It can. The swipe to delete is no longer left to right it's right to left now.”

There were conflicting experiences with Siri, which for the first time, with iOS 7, is no longer labeled as “beta” software by Apple.

“Did any of you guys notice, Siri got worse?” asked dmahen. “They improved the voice with tone and everything in the Betas, and now we have a sucky Siri in the Final.”

But sharbeen replied, “To me Siri improved a lot. Recognizes my voice way better.” Another user, timmit1217, tweaked some of his settings. “You have to go back into settings to turn Siri on after the update otherwise your only using the "Voice Control" which completely sucks so definitely turn on siri,” he wrote.

Some iPhone 5 users found their phones almost unusable after the update.

“I updated my iPhone 5 to the new ios 7 now im having major problems that i didnt have before,” posted jo3dapro . “phone keeps freezing non stop which leads to it turning off then back on. but it still has the problem when it restarts. pleases somebody help me fix this...”

A group of other users echoed his experience. “I am having the exact same problem,” wrote Don J Will, of Orlando. “When I connect to iTunes after about 5 minutes of the iPhone being frayed out "syncing" and inaccessible (very annoying) I get an error that says ‘iTunes was unable to load data class information from Sync Services. Reconnect or try again later.’”

“I got the same issue with my iphone 5 and I have tried all the usual fixes,” posted bigbadjon99. “I have done a factory restore via iTunes still the same, I have done a DFU (Download Firmware Update) mode restore [and] still [the] same issue. I have restored the phone and opted to setup as a new phone as not to install any of my data or apps just in case it was something there and still the same issue.”

Finally, he just gave up. “I have now successfully restored the phone back to IOS 6.1.4 and the phone is working fine with all my apps and data restored,” he posted. “Anyone got a solution to this yet?” So far, no one has.

A lagging post-update virtual keyboard was a problem for Flyingtrumpeter and his less-than-2-month-old iPhone 5, after the iOS 7 update: “There is a 5-7 second lag between when I tap a key and when it is processed and displayed making the phone almost unusable.”

The same problem plagued pwb503, of Corvallis, Ore., on his iPad mini: “You type a few words and it gets the first four or five letters then pauses for 10 seconds or more before writing the rest of what you had already typed...  It has rendered the iPad Mini nearly unusable at this point.”

But he found a solution: “Fixed it! Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset All Settings. Now everything works great,” he reported.

There’s a lot of confusion and anger over battery life. A rancorous thread at MacRumors was launched with a reference to an Ars Technica battery test comparing iOS 7 and iOS 6. The writer concluded that for iPhone 5, battery life was less under the new firmware. That triggered complaints, and complaints about the complaints. But it also pointed out very different user experiences.

“I actually think that my battery life has gotten better, but I don't even remember the last time I was on ios 6, so I could be wrong,” posted aimee.elizabeth. “don't really care what the exact battery life is down to the minute; as long as my phone lasts me for the day then I'm golden.”

“In my experience, battery life is 25% better with iOS 7,” asserted dumastudetto. “It's incredible. So yeah no proof these charts are accurate.” Another user said his post-update battery life had improved 15%-20%.

But others were dismayed by how fast their battery was draining. “My battery on ip5 feels like as if it was broken now on ios7!” wrote chfilm. “I'm considering bringing it to the store, because I wake up in the morning, it has 53%. I make one 5 minute phonecall: 39%! Seriously??!”

Several users suggested doing a restore from backup and then checking the settings, in part because iOS 7 supports a much greater range of dynamic activities, with apps automatically checking for updates or interacting with cloud-based locations services. “Everyone always says this but I've restored from back-up since my 3G and never had the battery issues,” wrote Jimrod. “I just check all the settings when a new iOS is installed and make sure anything likely to be an issue is turned off.”

“With the right settings. It lasts,” glacies posted. “Bluetooth off; Parallax off; Background app off; System services for GPS mostly off; Static wallpaper. Reset all settings with every update. It doesn't take that long to set up again. Smooth as silk.”

After the update, some users had problems with Apple’s location services. “After installing iOS 7 in an IPad 3 I find that maps do not locate me and I cannot get location services in settings to switch on. I have a 3G model with good wifi,” one user reported.

Mike245 had a similar experience but found a solution:  “After updating to iOS 7 for some reason my settings were changed in restrictions,” he explained. “My solution was to got to General>Restrictions>Location Services and set to Allow Changes. It then allowed me to turn services on. For some reason it reset itself to ‘Don't Allow Changes’ during the upgrade.”

While iOS 7 will support fingerprint-based authentication instead of typed passcode in the iPhone 5S, that’s not an option for current iOS device users. Some are struggling with passcode problems after the update.

One user reported “I successfully downloaded and installed iOS7. Then a screen came up which said welcome in various languages so I selected English and then a passcode screen came up. My passcode had been 5 digits, but this only allowed 4 digits. I tried inputting the first 4 of my passcode and then when that didn't work, I tried every variation of it that I could think of. Now my iPad is disabled. How do I get past this problem?”

Another posted that he successfully installed iOS 7 on his iPad 2. “Then a screen came up requesting a passcode,” he said. “It would not accept the passcode I had set before and is now disabled. What needs to be done to fix this issue.”

So far, there isn’t an app for that.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnwwjohn_cox@nww.com

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