Six reasons why you should not immediately upgrade to iOS 7

Six reasons why you should not immediately upgrade to iOS 7

Summary: If you're sticking with an older iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, your preferences may warrant holding off upgrading to iOS 7 straight away. Here are six good reasons.

iOS 7 will begin showing up on compatible devices on September 18. (Image: Apple)

While we still have a few more days to wait before Apple's latest smartphones arrive in our hands, the next-generation mobile software iOS 7 will land on devices from Wednesday. 

iOS 7 is the seventh major iteration of the mobile platform, which according to latest IDC and Gartner figures powers about 14 percent of all smartphones worldwide, compared to Android's massive 79 percent. That said, Apple's iPad tablet share remains strong at about one-third of the market.

The new software includes more than 200 new features, including an overhauled bright and colorful user interface. It also packs in a number of business-ready features designed to entice prosumers and enterprise users.

But not everyone will want to — or necessarily should — install the latest version on their iPhones and iPads.

Before you accept the automatic software upgrade on your phone, or head to iTunes to download the software, think again. Here are six important factors to consider. 

1. Some apps won't be compatible right away

As with almost every new software version, apps often require a modest update at most to remain compatible. But some apps will fall behind simply fail to work — or fail to appear in the update list — because of an incompatibility issue. 

In some cases, apps that were previously available may no longer be due to Apple having to approve each app before it can be downloaded by the end user. The technology giant has updated requirements for existing apps, such as user interface tweaks, and may not receive immediate approval. In some cases, apps can get stuck in the approval queue for weeks.

On the other hand, some apps will be designed specifically for iOS 7 and will be entirely worth the upgrade. 

2. There isn't a jailbreak available (yet)

For some, jailbreaking a phone flings open the gates to Apple's walled garden of in-built features, apps, and services. For others, it's not even remotely important, and in some cases frowned upon by IT departments. That said, as many iPhone owners are bring-your-own-device (BYOD) users, many still prefer to have their devices running customization tweaks and features that non-jailbroken devices would lack.

While few iPhone developers have given a firm timeline for offering their jailbreak wares — it depends on how secure iOS 7 is, as jailbreak tools require exploiting the software's security layers — no doubt many security experts and hackers will be working tirelessly on it from the moment they land their hands on iOS 7. In some cases, it can take less than a day, but with every minor software update comes new fixes to prevent existing jailbreak tools from working.

3. Expect a few bugs and quirks in the first few weeks

According to some estimates, one percent of all iPhone traffic is already using a pre-release version of iOS 7. But that remains a mere fraction of the vast majority who will end up installing the finished and polished software. 

But as the pool widens out to the general public, expect a few bugs and flaws that haven't yet been ironed out. This isn't a dig at Apple's quality control — in any major software upgrade from any manufacturer, you can expect (and likely have at some point experienced) the same. In line with previous years, updates will likely be coming to iOS 7 in the trailing weeks after its initial release to fix anything that users are struggling with.

4. If you're using a work phone, check with IT first

Despite the inclusion of new enterprise-focused features, such as per-app virtual private networking (VPN) and single sign-on support, business users may not be allowed to upgrade to the latest software until an IT administrator or CIO approves the software.

In any case, internal apps or mobile device management (MDM) solutions may not yet be compatible with the latest software, systems may need to be adjusted to accommodate new features, or it may simply be too early for businesses to risk jumping on the early adoption train so soon. If you upgrade without permission from work, you could find your device barred from use on the corporate network. 

5. Older devices may experience sluggishness

iOS 7 is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPod touch (5th generation), and iPad 2 tablets and later. Not all devices come with the same feature set as the brand new iPhone 5s and 5c smartphones, and the latest iPad with Retina display, as they require the latest hardware to work properly. (If the device isn't listed, such as iPhone 3GS handsets, you're unfortunately out of luck.) 

Older compatible devices may still not see the full performance one might expect with the latest editions to Apple's smartphone and tablet lineup. 

Users should be aware that older devices that retain iOS 7 compatibility may be slow or sluggish at times, particularly if the device is low on storage or when running multiple apps at the same time. 

6. Downgrading to iOS 6 may be impossible

Though beta and pre-release versions of iOS 7 allowed developers and software testers to downgrade to the latest stable iOS 6.1.3 or 6.1.4 build, Apple is not expected to extend the same courtesy with the final "gold master" version of iOS 7.

As with other recent major iterations of iOS, it has become increasingly difficult — if not impossible — to downgrade to earlier major versions of iOS unless certain files are saved. Even then, it often requires third-party non-Apple apps, and this process is not officially supported. And for those running the latest devices with A5 and A6 chips, you're altogether out of luck due to the way the software is constructed. 

More on iOS 7:

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Ever taken an English class?

    'As with other recent major iterations of iOS, it has become increasingly — if not impossible — to downgrade to earlier major versions of iOS unless certain files are saved.' Increasingly what? Write English much?
    • Typo

      Now corrected. Next time, maybe less of the snark and attitude, perhaps? Because a quick glance over some of your past comments shows this may be a running trend. Next time send an email, or consider offering something constructive... for once.
      • Don't...

        Don't feed the grammar trolls. They massage their own egos by seizing on inconsequential typos as evidence that the modern world is a fallen place that can't live up to their lofty standards. Other than that, what do they contribute? Very little of consequence.
      • Yeah - but…

        "one percent of all iPhone traffic is already using a pre-release version of iOS 7. But that remains a mere fraction"

        Well yes true 1% is 1/100th so a fraction. 99.9% is 99.9/100 would also be a fraction.

        Yes it's a good point. The only real test is the release. Can't possibly run though all 100 million combinations in testing.

        Still amused me.
        • well....

          I hate to chime into this but.... he didn't just say fraction, he said "mere fraction".

          One definition of mere in some dictionaries is small.
          One definition of fraction in some dictionaries is portion.

          Therefore, a "mere fraction" can mean a small portion. This is correct usage.
      • Speaking as an English prof...

        I'd never accuse the author of this article of being unable to write, although the error pointed out was indeed an error. There are errors that good writers make and errors that bad writers make. Dropping an occasional word is an error that even good writers can make.

        And in general, it's a good idea not to sign on with any new Apple thing right away :)
        • New Apple releases

          "And in general, it's a good idea not to sign on with any new Apple thing right away :)"

          I would say that's pretty much true with any vendor. I'm always cautious of either a 1.0 release or an X.0 release whether it be Apple, Microsoft, AutoDesk, Adobe or others. Too many companies have left the final testing up to the general population instead of a specific test group.
          • New software releases

            It is much better now than over 50 years ago when I first began using mainframe computers. Software and hardware were disasters, daily, back then, even stuff in use for months. I remember pressing "off" or "power" at least once a shift on most days to clear a machine check. Devices quit working routinely for no apparent reason. Our shop had an IBM and/or a Burroughs (Unisys) rep onsite almost every day for at least 4-6 hours...when they were gone it was a trip to Greyhound Bus depot to pick up parts sent via freight for pickup! Saved a 30-40 mile trip to the nearest parts depot. We learned not to plan anything important on weekends, when extra shifts were a necessity to be on schedule the next Monday morning. And programmers had to beg for compile time due to production priorities!
          • This was the basis of the original FedEx business plan

            Technology at the time was so unreliable and bulky that a logistics industry to move replacement parts from manufacturers directly to businesses in a timely way didn't exist.
          • Stalling Apple gives Microsoft more time to promote their line.

            ZDNet telling buyers not to get Apple. Wow, what's the motive there?
        • As a former writer and editor...

          Such mistakes (and far more egregious ones as well) are common among all writers, but should not get past the editor. It is always the editor who is responsible for polishing the final product before it is released to the public.

          As an editor, I'd be happy to have a submission as well-written as this article. FWIW, one of the worst-written articles I ever had to edit came from a best-selling novelist. As a reader, however, may I suggest you connect a tazer to the nut-sack of your editor and tell him to stop making you look like a goober?
          • No Editor Involved

            Given the frequency of bad grammar on this and other tech blogs I suspect that most articles are never subjected to the rigors of editing. While not limited by the same space constraints as print journalism, blogs face even more severe time pressures. If they took the time to carefully edit their content they would too often be a day late and a dollar short. Bloggers don't have the luxury of the carpenter who observes the maxim, measure twice, cut once. Rather they follow the admonition to act in haste and repent at leisure. Sorry for all the aphorisms but there's a reason they are also called truisms and sometimes they're just too useful to pass up.

            The only time these blogs show the hand of an editor is in the often miscast titles. Which suggests whatever editors are involved are less competent than even the worst writers.

            As for the content of this article, it's boilerplate that can be applied to the first version of anything, from cars to coffeemakers. And criticizing something new is a guaranteed hit magnet for blogs of all sorts. That said, a bit of caution is just common sense for any consumer tempted by the new and shiny - including iOS 7. So even if Zack Whittaker is a card carrying Apple-phobe, while it might be nice if his bias was a little less obvious, his advice is still worth heeding.
          • I disagree.

            I'd rather have it correct than first. If I wanted meaningless rush to be first, I'd watch Fox or CNN. When you're done just print the page and read it upside down, from bottom to top. How hard is that? Bad grammar and composition is just plain lazy and arrogant. What's next, ghetto-speak. This guys job is language. If he can't get that right, what else is wrong in his thought processes?
          • lol Really?

            You're talking about poor grammar when you can't even show that you know the difference in "then" and "than"?
            Elizabeth Paris
      • Zack

        Don't worry about this Cult of Droid TROLL, we appreciate the heads up in this article. By default, most of us do everything you suggest anyway- We don't update until there is a Jailbreak In Pocket ready to be installed. We all waited almost 2 months for eVasi0n, and it was worth it, with iOS 6.1.2 we ended up with a very stable platform and the JB was rock solid. Hopefully, with iOS7 we won't need to get mods like Auxo, or Lockscreen mods to show a Weather Lockscreen. We don't care about any of that flash, all we care about is having a stable iOS that we can Jailbreak and use whatever mods we want that are appropriate to our use. Thanx again!
        • Great move, and the first complaints of Trojans are from your corner.

          I'm not up to reading binary files yet. Good luck avoiding (installing) your own malware.
        • Ever consider becoming the poster child for Android and Apple infections?

          What happens when you bring your JailBroken Apple back to the dealer with a warranty problem?
      • Loved your response

        and I like reading your thoughtful articles too.
      • Snarky?

        Whittaker, your reply was just as snarky and full of attitude as 3rd Policeman. Why don't you hsut up and learn to write properly instead of responding to people who point out your mistakes. We don't write for popular websites, YOU do. Do your job.
        • classic...

          "hsut up and learn to write properly"

          It's like he didn't even see the red squiggly line before he hit Submit. :)