Get ready to provide iOS 7 support

Get ready to provide iOS 7 support

Summary: iOS 7 is coming, and if you are the sort of person who friends and family turn to for support, or support is your job, then you need to get ready.

TOPICS: Mobility, iOS

iOS 7 is coming, and that's caused me to raise my support DEFCON level up a couple of notches. If you have to support iOS-powered devices – either at work or at home – I recommend you get prepared too.

iOS 7

There are quite a number of iPhones and iPads that fall inside my circle of influence. Some of these devices are owned by family members and friends, some are part of my daily work machine, and others belong to clients. As a rule iOS devices are pretty well behaved devices, causing me very little grief in the overall scheme of things, but with the release of iOS 7 scheduled for September 18, I'm already bracing myself for an increase in support calls.

iOS 7 represents the first major change in the iPhone operating system since it was released June of 2007. Over that time Apple has upgraded the platform significantly, adding countless new features, but this is the first time in over six years that Apple has made significant changes to the iOS user interface. And in my experience, people get a little freaked out by significant changes. Don't believe me? Think of the millions of people who bought a PC with Windows XP on it and thought that was the first and last operating system that they needed to get learn.

See also7 things I wish iOS 7 could do

Whenever I raise the idea that people don't like change, and resist having to change their way of working, someone will always point out that all users have, at one point, been happy to learn how to use an operating system, and that learning their way around a new operating system is the same.

My counter to this is that people generally don't mind learning new things, but they find the idea of having to relearn something tedious and hard.

For example, my 80-plus mother-in-law has an iPad. She figured it out pretty quickly, and can shop, browse the web, and keep in touch with people using it. It took her a few weeks to figure things out but now she can navigate around the system with relative ease. But what's going to happen later this week when that notification to update pops up on the screen?

Laying down muscle memory is one thing; changing old muscle memory to accommodate change is another.

So, what are the ways that iOS 7 could trip up users?

Bricking devices

Any time you upgrade the software on a device, there's a small chance that it won't survive the procedure. I've had this happen once and had to have the iPhone replaced under warranty. However, thanks to Apple, I had a new iPhone in my hand the next morning. But if I'd not been covered by warranty, this would have been expensive an expensive upgrade.

Bricked devices are rare though, and it's not really a good reason to avoid upgrading.

New, uncharted interface

I see this as being the biggest stumbling block. Familiar icons are now unfamiliar, there are new user interface elements, and a lot of the furniture have been moved about.

A once familiar place is unfamiliar.

The only way to get over this is time. I recommend that if you are an iOS user and people turn to you for help – the typical Hardware 2.0 reader – then I suggest you put the effort in to finding your way around the system.

No going back from iOS 7

Once you click OK on that update, know that there's no going back. If you know people who might be especially vulnerable to problems following an upgrade to iOS 7 then it might be a good idea to let them know that iOS 7 is on the way, and to remind the that it's OK to put off the update for a while if they're not ready for it just yet.

Battery life drop

People always complain about this following an iOS update, and most of the time the drop is as a result of iOS recalibrating the battery charging/discharging circuit.

A few recharge/discharge cycles usually cures this problem. If not, and the problem is down to the iOS release, then it's a case of waiting for Apple to come out with an update.

Icons all a-changing

A redesigned iOS means that developers are creating new icons for old apps. Since most users seem to identify apps from the icon and not the text. This is a common problem not confined to iOS.

Best advice here is to teach people to organize their apps, and teach them to search for those they can't find.

New themes 

There seems to be an unwritten rule that a good proportion of users dislike the themes that ship with operating systems updates. The familiar has been replaced with the unfamiliar, and it takes time to get used to the changes.

Nothing much to do here than pick a background image that you like and move on.

Topics: Mobility, iOS

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  • refusing to change is no excuse for not changing.

    Like everything, people will adapt. The issue with Apple's iOS is that is was allowed to go stale which means people learned to accept what they hated about it. Now they have to figure out what they hate about iOS 7 and learn to live with hating that.

    Also, your proof-reader needs reading glasses.
    • Changing for bad reasons is unconscionable

      Microsoft is famous for this -- making unnecessary changes which introduce new bugs and infelicities and make users miserable for months.

      Why would Apple want to be seen as following suit? Is there really a good reason for each change? Do the changes reflect well documented needs and fixes or are they mainly cosmetic fluff, much of it bad, as has been advertised? Is this another idiotic move like giving up Google maps?

      I guess we'll see but I, for one, will be in no rush to hit the update button.

      People hate OS "features" for a reason-- often those are good reasons.

      I wish each change was methodically and clearly documented in writing using ordinary writing rather than "computerese" and "legalese" but I doubt that it will happen. I think we're in for the usually Microsoft-associated quota of misery, especially among casual, nonprofessional, and elderly users.

      Ah well, maybe Windows 8 isn't so bad after all. (No, it is!)
      I guess we'll see.
      M. Y.
      • Windows 8 is good

        Microsoft didn't change Windows just for the hell of it. They recognized that the future of PCs is changing drastically. And in the next few years everything would be touch enabled. Therefore, they made sure they were ready for it with a touch optimized OS.

        I've been using Windows 8 since it launched last year. As a front end developer and designer, I would consider myself a "power-user" to some extent. I find Windows 8 to be a far more efficient OS than earlier versions of Windows. There are many UI enhancements and techniques that make for a much faster and more delightful work flow.

        Just because people can't accept that change, doesn't mean its bad.

        iOS 7 however, is very much a "change for the sake of change" update. It completely lacks any improvements that are dependent on those UI changes. It's really not much more than a reskin. What's worse is they tried to use existing structure that was dependent on chrome effects to build the new flat UI skin. This resulted in some pretty atrocious interfaces on some of their apps.

        Oh ya, and the author really needs to proof read. Eeek!
        • It's more of an attempt at unifying the tablet and PC markets

          Touch-enabled is pointless on PCs. Nothing wrong with making icons bigger for the large and imprecise fingers touching a tiny 10 inch or smaller screen. But is this really necessary for the office use? Touchscreens are pointless if it isn't a tablet-like device because it will always involve your hand levitating or being extended out. No matter what you think of the looks and efficiency of Windows 8, the desktop will have serious problems with ergonomics if this model is adopted. It was a major mistake, which is a shame due to the solid work they apparently did on the kernel.
          Andrej Petelin
        • Windows 8 is a baby taking it's first steps to growing up.... finally,

          "change for the sake of change", spoken like someone who truly has zero idea how Apple thinks... clearly... and who better but a MSFT person to "not get it".... "change for the sake of change" while sounds good because someone is frustrated that an icon looks different, is in fact false... the whole point of iOS7 is to remove elements from the screen to get them out of the way of the user seeing what they wanted to see in the first place.

          iOS 7 is like a 20 year old who finally figures out what is going on.... lots of room to grow, but finally in stride.

          Android is like a teenager, who decides to go punk one week, and mosh pit the next.... not knowing who they are, or what they want to be... waiting for someone to show them the "path".... unfortunately carrying the scares for each rebellion along for the ride to the rest of their life.... (witness the horrific uptake of each new major OS change, leaving vast percentages of users in the old "mosh pit" and "punk" fad from yesteryear...)
          Honk Jhonk
      • Because you can't understand something

        doesn't mean it was changed unnecessary.

        it just means that you can't understand it, while others may see immediately see the change as a vast improvement.
        William Farrel
    • I find the Hypocrisy charming.

      Windows 8 introduced Microsoft's first substantial user interface overhaul to Windows in over 10 years and the media, including AKH tells everyone to downgrade back to Windows 7, and not to invest time in re-learning the new interface.

      Apple, after only 5 years introduces a major user interface overhaul [following Microsoft's lead], and AKH encourages everyone to be patient with it and invest the time to learn it.

      At least try to disguise your hypocrisy some...please. But as they say, if it wasn't for double standards, some people would have no standards at all.
      • Well, learning a new interface shouldn't be an issue in this day and age...

        Today, any general market user interface should be familiar to most people that know how to use a computer. On one hand people have learned to use the software, on the other hand software designers have learned how to design GUIs we find intuitive with the background of at least their last few offerings. Windows 8 is a major GUI change which in my opinion should have been only adopted by mobile devices and a whole new GUI designed for the desktop/laptop and possibly for the larger tablets.

        Apple is probably going to do the same. However, I'd hardly say iOS 7 is change for the sake of change, I thought the big deal about iOS 7 is that it's 64-bit?
        Andrej Petelin
        • iOS7 isn't really about 64-bit.

          Moving to 64-bit didn't require Apple to flatten the interface. 64-bit at this point is a marketing bullet point but doesn't really add much value to the phone. What 64-bit is really about is the future.

          Apple cleverly used the popularity of their iPhone platform to fund 64-bit development in the processor which they can eventually use in more desktop class devices in the future....or at least, they are hedging their bets in case Intel can't provide what they need moving forward.

          iPhone users should be happy to know that the money they put into the 5S for 64-bit processing may not benefit them today, but that money will be put to good use for future devices that they are helping to fund.
          • You're right...

            but you know what? People can decide not to finance Apple's future endeavours and not buy the 5S. Their old phone will still be able to make phonecalls, send texts and go on Facebook.

            It is true that the 64-bit is more about the future and you are probably right about desktop class devices.

            Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. I don't like GUI change for the sake of change and while I do believe a good looking UI is worth developing (so the progress to a 3D GUI makes sense as far as I'm concerned), although functionality and stability should be at the top of the requirements' list.

            So yes, I do think Apple are "pulling a Microsoft" here.
            Andrej Petelin
          • While you might not like change 'for the sake of change',

            I'd like to point out that the vast majority of anti-Apple commenters constantly bemoan the fact that iOS hasn't visibly changed in almost 7 years and are now complaining because it IS changing. They like to insist repeatedly that Android is "better" because it's "customizable", which in itself is an empty argument because it implies the OS HAS to be customized.

            iOS 7 is changing the look for multiple reasons which seem to imply that in the near future the display may become near-transparent, making the icons seem to float in mid-air and giving a more three-dimensional look to the overall display. While I can visualize the concept, I'm not certain the execution will come across as smoothly as it could. Things are going to look and somewhat work differently with these changes and if you're going to change any of it, you might as well update all of it.
          • Looks like Windows to me

            Interesting to see the panning by the iSheep of the new flat Windows interface. And now, lo and behold, Apple in their infinite creativeness has just hitched onto that same wagon.
            Of course they couldn't make their icons live - that would have been too obvious. And they couldn't allow for anything but a static grid of icons - that would be like admitting that Android and Windows had really won the game.
          • Don't change for the sake of change... really

            I guess you should go back to your rotary dial phone and handset then. Why change that it worked and worked well..
          • You see? This is exactly it.

            A phone keyboard was a major improvement over the rotary dial. A mobile phone is a major improvement over a fixed cable connection. A colour screen is improvement over the monochromatic display. A modern mobile phone is more convenient because it is a Swiss Army knife... you can use it to call people, as an alarm clock, calendar, internet-enabled computer... each of these things coming to use made our lives easier. Changing the icons and shuffling them about? The result is, as the author says, a need to change muscle memory. If it also doesn't look better I don't think it can actually be called progress.
            Andrej Petelin
          • Nice spin. Unfortunately, that future will happen sooner

            Than you think. You see, the A7 is a 64 bit processor. Apple's iOS7 has a 64 bit kernel. All that is needed for this hardware are 64 bit apps.

            I read today that Apple has invited developers to submit 64 bit apps that will run using the iPhone 5S 64 bit SOC.

            It won't be too long before developers will optimize their apps for this smartphone, IMO.
          • This is yet another change for the sake of change...

            A 64-bit optimised app? Great... what will it do? The main reason for the 64-bit desktop operating systems was the simple fact a 32-bit system cannot handle pointers for more than 4 GB of RAM. Now, a 4 GB iPhone app is not really something that we're going to see really soon, is it? If you can have state of the art video games (which are cutting edge 3D graphics applications) still being developed as 32-bit applications I don't really think the need for a 64-bit smartphone app is that great. What are people going to do, run Photoshop on their iPhone?
            Andrej Petelin
          • Your argument is circular

            You say there is no reason to make a 64-bit smartphone because there are no 64-bit apps to take advantage of 64-bits. Yet, there is no reason for programmers to make 64-bit apps when there are no 64-bit smartphones to operate them. Hence the abscense of 64-bit phone and 64-bit apps becomes a self-fulfilling cycle, until someone breaks it.

            The same with your GUI remark: a functional, stable and "good looking" GUI is "worth developing" just as long as it is not for (in your opinion) done just for the sake of change. In that case, why release a new phone at all? To say that there must be a clearly defined use case "need" before product development shows you are a follower, not an innovator.
          • What I said was

            a change for the "prettier" is good, as long as it's not made at the expense of functionality and stability.

            What I am saying is there is no point in making a 64-bit processor for a phone if you aren't going to equip it with more than 4 GB of RAM.
            Andrej Petelin
          • A question for you Andrej,

            Exactly how much "RAM" are today's phones utilizing? That's a tech spec that is almost never mentioned while everybody argues about on-board memory vs plug-in SD card memory. Even tech reviewers have pointed out that the plug-in cards cannot be used in the same way on-board memory is and as such the phones with only 2-4GB of on-board memory suffer in operating speed compared to those with 8, 16 or more gigabytes.

            Maybe, just maybe, iOS 7 is actually capable of accessing all the iPhone 5s' on-board memory as RAM, even the 64-Gig model.
          • Well the MicroSD has its limitations

            That's normal. But the on-board flash memory is not the same thing as the LPDDR.
            Andrej Petelin