Apple released iOS 7.1 recently and it’s already topping the charts as the most widely installed Apple operating system at the moment. This version of the operating system is currently installed on a higher percentage of devices than the most recent Android operating system, 4.4/KitKat.
Version 7.1 was released February 21st and specifically addressed several security flaws in 7.0. There are also a number of improvements to the interface as well as some bug fixes.
A Higher Percentage of Devices Running this Version
Although the Android operating system is the most popular in the mobile device world, the newest iteration of the OS, Android 4.4 KitKat has been out since late October of 2013 and it is still only running less than five percent of Android devices. I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and it’s running 4.2.2. The main reason for this is the fact that each device manufacturer makes specific modifications to the basic operating system for each of their devices.
The Apple ecosphere works differently. The operating system only needs three basic versions: iPod, iPad, and iPhone and these really aren’t very different from each other. iOS 7.1 was only out for three days and it was, according to research by analytics firm Mixpanel, installed on more than twenty percent of iOS devices. Any iPhone newer than version four is eligible for the software update, as are iPad Two and later, and fifth generation iPod Touches.
Release of iOS 7.1 Driven by Security Issues
The previous most popular version of iOS was 7.0.6 and it was put out mainly to fix a serious issue with how the OS handles SSL connection verification. There are a total of 41 security issues and bugs that iOS 7.1 addresses. Some of the issues addressed included an issue with the backup system where a backup with malicious intent can alter the file system, and changes to the root certificates and configuration policies, as well as improved crash reporting.
The privacy of your FaceTime was also enhanced by the elimination of a vulnerability that gave access to FT contacts from the lock screen with the proper password. 19 of the vulnerabilities had to do with the Webkit browser engine that’s used by Safari and were, ironically, pointed out by the Google Chrome Security Team.
Some of the Differences You’ll See in iOS 7.1
You’re not very likely to notice any of the fixes/improvements that were made to fix the bugs and patch the security holes. Yes, knowing they no longer exist, or have been eliminated as much as possible will give you a sense of security and well being, but most bug fixes and security patches are behind the scenes, things you never really experience. Some of the things you’ll notice include visual changes to the phone app, as well as power off features.
CarPlay allows you to integrate your iOS device with your car. This includes using your iPhone to make calls, access to maps, messaging, and music. You can also use the voice-activated functions of your device, such as Siri, hands free.
Speaking of Siri, Apple has made a number of improvements to her. These improvements include the ability to access her functions in push to talk by holding the Home button while making your query. She also gets a voice upgrade to make her sound more natural in the most popular languages (UK English, Australian English, Mandarin, Japanese, etc.)
There have also been changes to ITunes Radio that allow you to purchase music while listening to it on the air. Changes to the Calendar function give you more visualization options. iPhone 5s users now have the ability to automatically enable HDR mode in the camera app. As I reported earlier, the iPhone 5s is a great mobile device. The addition of iOS 7.1, however, makes it a really great mobile device.