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Hands on with Apple iOS 7.1: What's new? (pictures)

Apple's latest version of iOS 7.1 for iPhones and iPads lands with a bevy of new features, bug fixes, security patches, and improvements. Here's what you need to know.
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By Zack Whittaker, Writer-editor on
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iOS 7.1 available for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch (5th generation)

Apple has released iOS 7.1, the latest update to its iPhones and iPads. The software was made available for download on Monday, a week shy of six months after a radically redesigned iOS 7 was released.

Here's what's new in iOS 7.1, including bug fixes and user interface improvements.

Read more: Apple releases iOS 7.1 for iPhone, iPad with bug fixes, new features

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Phone app tweaked with rounded buttons

The iPhone's main feature, the Phone app, has been redesigned with rounded buttons instead of square spaces. The background still blurrs through when a button is pressed.

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Touch ID software improved

For iPhone 5s users, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor has been improved significantly, with the aim of reducing how many attempts it takes to recognize an authorized user's fingerprint.

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Add a contact directly from the Phone app

From the Phone app, you can now add a contact directly by tapping in a person's phone number, and tapping the circled plus button to the left.

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Switch between dark and light keyboards

Users can now switch between light and dark keyboards from the Accessibility settings.

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Easier to see when upper-case mode is enabled

The keyboard has also been improved to make it visually easier to see whether or not the upper-case mode has been enabled. Tap twice on the shift key to enable capitals.

From left-to-right: Caps lock mode, shift mode, normal lower-case mode.

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Icons flatter, more refined

A very slight visual change has been made to the Message, Phone, and FaceTime app icons, making their color darker and the graphics flatter.

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Improved accessibility with Button Shapes

For those struggling to see where the buttons are in the upper-left and upper-right hand corners of menus, it's now easier to see with Button Shapes enabled. This is one of numerous accessibility improvements made to iOS 7.1.

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Granular accept/decline call controls

You can now reject a call from the Phone app when a call is received by pushing the red "decline" button.

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A small aesthetic change to the power controls

In keeping with the rounded design changes, the power off screen now features a different, more circular slide-off switch.

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Push-to-talk to Siri

Siri now knows when you're finished talking to it, by using the Home button as a "push-to-talk" control. Hold the Home button down when you're asking it a question, and release it when you're done.

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Better spoken language in Siri

Siri's voice for certain regions is far more natural, clearer, and easier to understand than before. No more of this robotic-type audible feedback from your iPhone or iPad.

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Reduce parallax from the wallpaper options

You can now choose whether or not to enable or disable the "parallax" effect — the background motion feature — from the screen where you set your wallpaper, instead of diving deep into the Settings app.

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Calendar lists brought back with iOS 7.1

Daily scheduled items are now displayed at the bottom of each day chosen in the Calendar app, giving users an at-a-glance look at what's ahead on their schedule.

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CarPlay lets you hook your iPhone to your car

CarPlay, previously known as iOS in the Car, is included in iOS 7.1, allowing users with select vehicles to hook their iPhones to their car displays. This enables phone calling, maps and navigation, and Siri-based functions while you're driving.

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