Quick thoughts on the new iOS 7.1 interface tweaks, speed boost

Sections: Features, Hands On / First Looks, iPhone OS, SDK and hacks, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad

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I dutifully updated my iPad 2 to iOS 7.1 Wednesday afternoon, barely two weeks after installing the iOS 7.0.1 security patch update. I wasn’t really in any rush, but the promise of better performance on the iPhone 4 provided faint hope that some of that might spill over onto the old second-generation iPad.

Alas, it doesn’t seem to have. The old tablet seems no less sluggish than it did with iOS 7.0.x. Backing up my contents before the update also reminded me that I have only 3.8 GB free capacity left on the iPad’s 1 GB flash drive. It’s time for a tablet hardware upgrade soon, which will address the speed issue as well as the dooming free capacity stonewall.

As for visible changes, there are some, but they’re mostly subtle. Optional Button Shapes are back. You now have the options of Reduced Transparency, darker-shade icons and a more subdued White Point. I think I prefer the first two alternate settings, but not the latter for general use, although reduced White Point brilliance would be welcome for long form reading to help avoid eyestrain from glare. You’ll find the options under the Accessibility category in the Settings. A bold font option now includes the keyboard, calculator, and many icon glyphs.

One appearance change you will notice is the keyboard color scheme. The Delete, Return, Caps Lock, Shift, and keyboard toggle keys are now rendered in darker gray than the keypad field. I preferred the iOS 7.0.x rendering with its greater contrast between these keys and the background, but that’s improved a bit with the Reduce Transparency alternate setting.

The the Caps Lock keys now default to dark Gray with a white arrow when off. A white button with a black arrow means it’s set to capitalize one character, while a white button with a black underscored arrow signifies Caps Lock on. It is more logical this way than it was previously, once one gets used to it.

iOS 7.1 keyboard

Caps lock off

iOS 7.1 keyboard

Shift caps

iOS 7.1 keyboard

Caps lock on

For more information, about the changes in iOS 7.1, visit

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  • Dave Wickes

    “I have only 3.8 GB free capacity left on the iPad’s 1 GB flash drive.”. That’s very impressive….

  • Jordy

    I thought that having 3.8 GB’s of space left on a 1 GB flash drive was an impressive thing too….