iOS 7.1: An MSP Guide

Scott Calonico

cloud backupIf you run a busy MSP, you’ve probably already had a few calls about iOS 7.1.

iOS 7.1 is the first “major” update for the latest iteration of iOS for Apple devices.

Although it’s only an incremental update, it’s actually fairly significant.

In fact, speaking subjectively, it’s probably more noticeable as an update than the jump from OS X Mountain Lion to OS X Mavericks for most Mac users.

In this article, we discuss a few key points about the changes in iOS 7.1 to prepare you for the questions you’re likely to get from clients.

The Good

iOS 7.1 gives the iPhone 4 a boost:

People still using the iPhone 4 are generally beginning to notice their phones starting to creak a little in day-to-day operation. iOS 7 definitely didn’t help, making phones that previously felt “a bit slow” feel genuinely sluggish and obsolete.

iOS 7 brings some improvements to those still using the iPhone 4. Arstechnica say that the update makes things at least tolerable for iPhone 4 users, with a number of tweaks that make usage “more responsive.”

Minor graphical tweaks are largely positive:

There’s nothing new in iOS 7.1 that makes the phone feel much different, but there are various little tweaks: “Slide to unlock” looks a bit more snazzy, and the phone dialler interface is a little less cluttered.

Furthermore, changes to animations seem to result in devices feeling a little more snappy in daily use – so no complaints there.

Control centre is more responsive

This may be purely subjective and as a result of other performance tweaks, but the iOS 7 control centre, accessed by sliding from the bottom of the device, seems far more reliable in operation—tending to work first time and not requiring such an accurate motion.

The Bad

The update is a pain

Yes, you can update to iOS 7.1 “over the air,” and yes, the process is invariably reliable. However, a LOT of people have 16GB (or even 8GB) iPhones that are almost permanently full. In these cases, users must either clear out a load of media or conduct the upgrade via USB.

With most people now using iCloud and / or iTunes match, we’re reaching the stage where people don’t USB sync as a matter of course. Given the fact that a 32GB USB key costs from just $15, Apple really need to stop being so tight with built in storage, as this makes things unnecessarily tricky for users.

Music is a mess

Apple’s decision to replace attractive shuffle and repeat buttons with garish text options in iOS 7.1 seems a little non-sensical. This alone wouldn’t be worthy of comment, however we have seen at least one iPhone (a 4S) where the music library has become a complete mess on 7.1 following a local delete and a USB sync.

It seems like the “iPod” part of iOS wasn’t given quite the TLC it deserved as part of this update. We hope that this is addressed in the next incremental patch.