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iOS 7.1 Features: What's new?

Andrew Williams



Apple has released iOS 7.1. It’s the first significant update made to the iPhone 5S and iPad Air OS since iOS 7 redesigned the platform back in September 2013.

Here’s what is new in the latest version of the operating system.

CarPlay integration

One of the main changes in iOS 7.1 is that is makes way for CarPlay, the in-car system that lets you control your in-car entertainment and GPS with Siri. You won’t see it as an app, but it now incorporates the back-end needed to make it work within a CarPlay system.

We’ll start to see the first CarPlay vehicles roll-out later this year. Find out more about it in our CarPlay feature.

iOS 7.1

Parallax wallpapers switch

A feature introduced in iOS 7 was parallax wallpapers. However, some people experience nausea or performance issues when using these ‘scrolling’ wallpapers. Consequently, Apple has added a switch that lets you turn off the parallax effect completely at the point when you set the wallpaper.

It’s a minor interface tweak, one that makes sure iOS doesn’t turn anyone off.

Get more out of your iPhone or iPad with our iOS 7 secrets and tips guide

Male and female voices for the UK

Before iOS 7, we in the UK only got to experience Siri with a rather plain male voice. You can now choose between male and female voices, and the tone of the male one has altered. It has a little more character than before, with a slightly camp-sounding inflection.

Some other languages also get new Siri voices – Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Australian English.

Auto HDR on iPhone 5S

One of the more useful tweaks in iOS 7.1 is an Auto HDR mode. It switches HDR on when it’s needed, but this is only available in the iPhone 5S. We imagine this may be down to the extra computing required causing a tiny, tiny slowing-down of the camera app in older phones like the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S. Apple gets funny about these things.

HDR is indispensable when you want to take backlit photos, or shots of anything with very bright and dark areas. It increases detail in each extreme and usually solves and overexposure issues.

Better Siri interface

iOS 7.1 lightly tweaks the way Siri works. It listens while you press down the Home button, making it a little faster to respond rather than the way it used to function.

You can still use it as before, though, using the on-screen microphone button to make Siri listen.

Performance increases for older devices

Apple says it has increased performance in older iPhones, specifically the iPhone 4. This is the oldest phone that supports iOS 7, and it suffers from some quite un-iPhone-like performance issues when using iOS 7.

We assume Apple received a barrage of complaints from iPhone 4 users, and it has focused on improving the situation in iOS 7.1. Using an iPhone 4? Let us know how it performs with iOS 7.1 in the comments.

iOS 7.1 2

Redesigned dialler

The dialler and call screen have both been given a slightly visual refresh that’s more in-line with the style of iOS 7 as a whole. Rather than having to swipe across the screen in a green block to take calls, there are now separate accept and reject buttons in the typical green and red colours.

It’s the sort of change you notice for a day and then forget forever, but it’s there.

iOS 7.1 1

New unlock, power off animations

In a similar vein, the power off and unlock sliders have been given a minor tweak. They’re now more prominent. Functionally, there’s no real difference, though.

Is it worth upgrading?

The iOS 7.1 update doesn’t make any dramatic changes. Most of you might not even notice any difference, but as there are seemingly no destructive changes, there’s no reason to hold off uploading. Those who benefit the most this time around are iPhone 4 who, we’re told, get an appreciable performance boost.

Next, read our Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5S comparison

David Kent

March 11, 2014, 5:32 pm

Upgraded my 4 to this this morning - It runs noticably better, and searching why bought this article up and explains it - Its a warmly welcomed improvement for me, now just to fix the screen and rear covers!


March 11, 2014, 5:38 pm

I am using an iphone 4 and i can say that 7.1 is much better than the software before. My phone responds faster! 👍

Pete Robertson

March 11, 2014, 8:27 pm

We've been told to hold off upgrading to iOS 7.1 on our corporate phones. Apparently it breaks the Afaria Management System and access to Corporate eMail systems. Which is a shame because as an iPhone 4 owner I am desperate for any performance improvement.

malachi baldry

March 11, 2014, 8:33 pm

i just got it and i have a iPhone 4. ITS FRIGING EPIC!! the phone runs soother its worth it iPhone 4 users.


March 11, 2014, 9:15 pm

what the fuck happened to the battery it's run out too fast


March 11, 2014, 11:37 pm

Surely the biggest improvement that you didn't mention, and the main reason I upgraded is for the return of 'list view' within the calendar app. This is so much better to scan through your month of dates and see what you have planned on a particular day.


March 12, 2014, 1:16 am

They need to update the way the map looks and to add siri to the iphone 4..


March 12, 2014, 1:28 am

Agreed! It's so much more convenient!!! You can also check out a different full analysis of iOS 7.1 on GadgtMag! Check it out now


March 12, 2014, 3:26 am

That shift key is doing my head in though.

Prem Desai

March 12, 2014, 8:33 am

iOS 7 was little more than a skin/theme change. 7.1 , apart from Carplay, looks like a correction to 7!!!!


March 12, 2014, 9:32 am

I suggest you do a hard reboot (turn it off and on). Normally sorts those kinds of issues out after a software update.


March 13, 2014, 1:26 pm

Yes definitely Apple need to look in both.

Chris Olson

March 13, 2014, 3:27 pm

Calendar list view is a huge plus. Performance on the 3rd gen ipad is also very much improved.


March 13, 2014, 11:07 pm

I'm using an iPhone 4 and an IPad Mini, a few other changes that I have noticed. On the calendar applications certain holidays for the country you are in appear. The update certainly makes the iPhone 4 run faster, smoother and without crashing. Also the applications starts up quicker.

L Philips

March 28, 2014, 6:21 am

iPhone 4 performance is lightning fast now in 7.1, it was agonizing before. Shift key though yeah that's tough to get used to. I love the bold new font on the keyboard too

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