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When should I upgrade to iOS7?

About 14 percent of all smartphones worldwide are Apple smartphones, running on iOS, according to Gartner. iOS is also the heart of Apple’s popular iPad tablets, currently one-third of the tablet market or 100 million iPads, about a third of the world’s tablets.

iOS6 users can now upgrade to the new iOS7 by simply pushing their device’s upgrade icon. There’s no “undownload” icon, though, so as with any new operating system, carefully consider all the facts before upgrading to iOS7.

The new iOS7 is certainly a substantial upgrade to iOS6, with over two hundred new features, among them a user interface offering enhanced clarity and colors. iOS7 comes with security and interface features designed to support business users on the go while maintaining data privacy. Camera, command center, mail and maps and the even the occasionally unwittingly zany Siri have all been redesigned in iOS7.

Eagerness to test drive the iOS7 is understandable. But you might want to wait a bit. Here are a few reasons why:

iOS7 Issues

  1. Bugs – All new releases, Apples or anyone else’s, have bugs. The more complex and interrelated the new software components, the greater the likelihood of glitches. Although extensively tested before release, only when the iOS7 is in the hands of millions of users will the more subtle problems of iOS7 come to light and can be addressed. Apple is aware of this and pre-release had teams “testing for iterative updates to the operating system,” e.g., bug hunting. By now, user-reported problems will be guiding the iOS7 improvement process, but expect several iterations of patch releases to the new operating system before its more vexing issues are resolved.

  2. Older Hardware – Although deemed compatible by Apple, some older devices may not enjoy the full range of speed and functionality to be found on Apple’s newer mobile devices running iOS7. Any pre-iPhone 4 and pre-iPad 2 device is incompatible with iOS7.

  3. Apps – As of June 2013, there were 900,000 apps available in the iPhone apps store, 375,000 of them for the iPad alone. Most all apps will need to be updated to be compatible with iOS7. Others never will be. Many will have to go through Apple’s apps approval process, which hasn’t always been the fastest.

  4. No Rewind Button – Once you download iOS7, it’s difficult if not impossible to uninstall it and return to the familiar coziness of iOS6. Users of newer devices running an A5 or A6 chip will find the chips’ architecture prevents iOS6 reinstall. As to rolling back to iOS6 on other devices, even Macworld has thrown up its hands on a previous workaround it offered. Instead, it now encourages frustrated users to “give iOS7 a month,” as “Apple has stopped signing pre-iOS7 operating systems for installation.

iOS 7 is here to stay, but if you do decide to use it, you might want to take Macworld’s advice and give it a month—on other people’s mobile devices.