Home / Mobile / Mobile Phone / iOS 7 / Mail, Calendar, Reminders and Notes

iOS 7 Apps: Mail, Calendar, Messages and Contacts

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

iOS 7 Apps: Mail, Calendar, Reminders and Notes

Sticking with the practical theme for a little longer, Apple has given each of the Calendar, Reminders and Notes apps much-needed makeovers. The Calendar and Notes apps were both plagued by 'fauxness', while the Reminders app always looked dank and uninviting.

And from a superficial view they're all vastly improved. Notes remains very simple, but that's fine: it has a simple task and does it well. Need more complexity? Get Evernote. Reminders, meanwhile, has a similarly bright and breezy appearance, and remains an underrated app. A serious to-do app it isn't, but its location aware reminders (not a new feature) and integration in the 'Today' view turn a once neglected app into a seriously useful tool.

The Calendar app looks vastly better, too, but its limited features is harder to forgive. It's a solid, slick and very usable app that will please the majority just fine, but it lacks the more advanced features that make third-party apps like Sunrise a must-have for most iPhone owners. It can't, for example, accept and deny Facebook invites, or connect to meeting invitees via Linkedin.

It's similar story for the Mail app. It's a superficial improvement that does the basics well, but Gmail users will want to stick with the Gmail app and it won't bring Mailbox devotees rushing back. The main improvement is more complex search, which is welcome, and the new swiping motion to reveal the 'Trash' and 'More' options is nice, but they're refinements rather than huge leaps.

It's the first example in many that Apple has really focussed almost exclusively on the 'how' and not the 'what' of its native apps. That's fine for the majority, but anyone who demands a little more will be disappointed.

iOS 7

iOS 7 Apps: Phone, Messages and Contacts

Apple's focus on revamping, rather than seriously improving, its core apps is clearer still in its Phone, Messages and Contacts apps. Again, none are fatally flawed in any way and they're slick and easy to use, but in doing so it has ignored a few opportunities.

For instance, it would be nice if it were possible to mark messages as read without actually entering the message. It's time wasted to do so when the message is short enough to read in preview, but swiping from the left only allows you to delete whole conversations, not dismiss all new ones in it.

There are some nice visual flourishes, such as initials substituting for profile pics where there is none, but that's about it.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

danielfrisbee

September 18, 2013, 9:13 pm

is there going to be such an depth look at other phone operating systems?
I use my phone for phoning, texting, emails, and maps/internet on occasion, plus listen to the radio, music and occasionally watch videos.
Is there really any difference between the different options? I ask this sincerely as my phone is falling to bits and I'll soon have to face this dull choice. Windows phone so far as I can tell at least looks a bit more functional.. ?

DigitalFury

September 19, 2013, 3:36 am

At last, a fair iPhone/iOS vs. others/Android review from TR. Reading that 5S vs. S4 piece pictured the 5S and iOS 7 as the 2nd coming of Christ.

iOS 7 is a very good upgrade, but it (along with the 5S) will not convince people (like me) that have switched to high-end Android-based phones, to switch back to the iPhone.

Maybe if iOS 7 had killer features, instead of mostly playing catch up, but as your review pointed out, I just do not see them, and iOS is still as closed/restrictive as ever.

Once you have tasted the freedom and flexibility offered by Android, it is hard to go back.

star-affinity

September 19, 2013, 3:31 pm

Can you perhaps list a few examples of what this freedom and flexibility gives you in practice? I'm curious.

I'm about to start using a Nexus 7 (second gen.) tablet and I have been using an iPad 2 for two years. Will be an interesting experience to see how locked in I've been… ;)

funny bunny

September 19, 2013, 11:07 pm

Let me tell you wat's new and so cool about this update. So my friend updated his iPhone 5 to i0S7• He goes like ''dude no iPhone user will ever switch to any other phone now.i0S7 is so cool'' n I'm like ''Really, so what's the coolest feature?" He tilts the phone & the icons move a little and he goes like see? I'm like "see what?" and he goes ''the wallpaper". I couldn't hold my laugh. Like "Seriously"!!! So this is the point where Apple has brought is users to while trying to maintain their so called standard n premium look. Lol.

romy

September 20, 2013, 1:00 pm

I think this debate between iOS and Android will never stop but it comes down to personal preference. I have been using both platforms for the last 4 years. At the end of the day, ios is very much functional and stable with virtually no crashes. Android is more playful and crashes quite often ( I have the S3 and Note 1). It is just like choosing between a flashy car with bells and whistles and a high end sedan that might be having less of the new technologies but is good at doing what it is supposed to do well. That is how i see the iOS and as long as it is stable and has the programs that i need i will have a soft spot for it.
By the way I find iOS 7 refreshing, and it gives a new life to my iphone 5.

Larry E

September 22, 2013, 8:17 pm

Most important for me, especially on the tablets, is you don't have to put up with that crappy iOS keyboard anymore. The Swype and SwifyKey apps are great keyboards, but the Dragon Voice dictation on Swype is spot on and makes it REALLY easy to dictate long emails or 2-3 sentence texts.

star-affinity

September 23, 2013, 8:02 pm

Alright. I think Apple might open up a little more when it comes to keyboards in the future. We'll see.

Anyway, dictation is built-in for text input in iOS too. And you can also download Dragon Dictation if you wish. But you mean it witks well in conjunction with the custom keyboards avaliable for Android?

Larry E

September 23, 2013, 9:53 pm

Yeah, I've tried iOS voice input and Dragon's separate tool, but the experience was so horrible, it made me want to type less on the iPad and head over to my PC when I needed to send an email over 1 paragraph.

The Dragon dictation is built into the Swype keyboard. The voice input on SwiftKey is pretty good, but if you do a lot of typing, I'd suggest going with Swype.

Both keyboard creators have been begging Apple to let them port to iOS to no avail. Maybe soon, we'll be able to welcome iOS to 2009.

astro_man

September 24, 2013, 7:48 pm

Keyboards would be a great example, but also the ability change pretty much any app as the 'default' app. You don't like the default browser? Any action requiring a browser be used can be switched to FF, chrome or dolphin easily.
Same goes for music, you can use any player (and even use a file explorer if you want) to open up automatically when an action requiring one is launched. This gives you much more flexibility as to which format you can eventually read too by default (e.g. FLAC)

Launchers would be another great android features. Nova and Apex are the two biggest ones and they let you customize pretty much anything in the interface (default actions for adding apps, opening them, the way your folders look, how they display information, etc.)
Lastly, I would say widgets are a great feature, especially on tablets where screen estate is not so much of an issue. They show instant information about anything you want without having to actually open the app. It could be weather, email, magazines, etc.

When I open up someone else's phone and I start using it, you really realize how I've personally tweaked so many things in android and that I have really formed habits around these customizations. They fit best what I do with my phone, not what someone else thinks I should be doing it.

Sam

October 27, 2013, 12:30 am

I have an android and love all the customizations but I hate the UI. Ilove the design of ios7 30x more than android. Its more simple and enjoyable yhan the cluttered and random ui of android

Peter Williamson

November 25, 2013, 1:24 pm

al those things you mention can be done on almost any modern phone.
Some do some things better than others.
I have Windows Phone and am very happy with it. I have found an App for every use I want(so far).
Droid and Windows phones can do anything the iPhone does, many of them for much cheaper cost and some can do things the iPhone cannot do(NFC, cordless charging)
Go to a shop, have a play, ignore the salesman, chose what YOU want.

HelperDude

January 2, 2014, 3:38 pm

IOS and Android both have there pro's and con's, I love IOS on my 4S because if its design and it's fast enough.

star-affinity

January 26, 2016, 9:59 pm

So, where are we now two years later? :)

I have been using SwiftKey for quite some time on iOS now and like it a lot! The implementation of third party keyboard hasn't been totally worry free on iOS, but now it's working pretty stable I think. I have also had some issues with third party keyboards on Android so…

comments powered by Disqus