Below, we round up the top 5 new features and improvements that make iOS 7.1 such a huge step above iOS 7.
1. Accessibility Option: Switch Head Control
The so-called Switch Control option in iOS 7.1 lets you set up gesture shortcuts. In other words, you can tilt your head to the left or the right to control your phone. The video above outlines how this works.
These head controls only work if you are facing the front camera on your device. Switch Control can be accessed from the Settings menu.
Select General > Accessibility, and then scrolling down to “Switch Control.” Next, turn the control icons “on” for Switch Control and Auto Scanning. Finally, tap on “Switches” to create a new control.
2. Improved Touch ID
After upgrading to iOS 7.1, TouchID hasn't failed me yet! The original settings must have been far too conservative.
— Nick Farina (@nfarina) March 10, 2014
For iPhone 5s owners, one of the coolest features is the TouchID reader on the front of the phone. This enables one-touch logins and purchases. However, it’s been a really frustrating feature as well. Prior to iOS 7.1, TouchID had an issue where the sensitivity would “degrade” over time, causing people to have to re-calibrate their fingerprint readings periodically.
As soon as iOS 7.1 is installed, most users have found that their existing TouchID problems are no more. This is great news, especially with other smartphone companies releasing fingerprint-enabled phones of their own.
3. Auto HDR Camera Functionality
Auto HDR in iOS 7.1 is pretty cool. pic.twitter.com/ywc07a4tGI
— Josh Ong (@beijingdou) March 10, 2014
Auto HDR actually isn’t available to all iOS device owners. This special camera mode is only available on the iPhone 5s. To set Auto HDR in iOS 7.1, go into your Camera app and tap the “HDR Auto” text at the top of the screen.
But what is Auto HDR, anyway? HDR stands for High-dynamic-range imaging. HDR is a relatively new camera feature for smartphones, and it aims to help people take gorgeous images. The iOS 7.1 HDR tool allows the camera to make a snap judgement about whether HDR should be on, or off.
HDR is ideal for shooting in natural light, low light, or taking pictures of cityscapes and landscapes. However, HDR can actually interfere with taking certain types of photos, such as images of people in motion.
By taking the guesswork out of shooting photos, Auto HDR is a really helpful feature in iOS 7.1.
4. Siri Manual Control
So that’s something new for Siri in 7.1 pic.twitter.com/vU2W6apjqt
— ravirajm (@rv1raj) March 10, 2014
iOS 7.1 has some great new Siri features, including Siri voice options that have a more natural sound. But the really nice addition to Siri is the ability to use manual control. Instead of relying on Siri’s “intelligence” to determine when a person has stopped talking, users can now press and hold down the home button while speaking, and then release when they are done talking. This makes Siri work a lot better in situations where there is a lot of ambient noise.
5. The Return of Old Calendar Functionality
Users now have the ability to display events in the Calendar’s month view layout. This was a popular feature in iOS 6, but was lost in the transition to iOS 7. With 7.1, users can finally restore this feature in the native Calendar app.
The video above outlines all of the visual and structural changes to iOS 7.1.