New iOS 7 beta available, gets more polish as launch day draws closer

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After last week’s security breach in the developer centre caused Apple to shut down all systems, developers and beta testers were left hanging – a new version of the iOS 7 beta was meant to be released, but never landed.

Last night, though, the Cupertino-based iPhone maker finally flipped the switch and sent iOS 7 Beta 4 out to testers. Those testing will be able to upgrade to the new version using the iPhone’s over-the-air update.

Since the first beta, which we wrote about here, things have come a long way. As expected, Apple’s polished a lot of the things in the later versions. Some things have also between tweaked and changed, compared to what was shown off at WWDC. The lock screen, for instance, has been made more intuitive. In iOS 7 Apple has completely done away with the sliding bar that let you unlock the iPhone, replacing it with a simple message that says “Slide to Unlock”. At the same time, there are arrows at the top and bottom of the screen, indicating that users can pull down from the top to access the Notification Center, or pull up from the bottom to access the Control Center.

These arrows have now been replaced by flat bars, as it was previously easy to mistake the up arrow as the means for unlocking the phone. However, it’s still possible to swipe left from anywhere on the lock screen to unlock the phone.

With loads of visual effects, like animated scaling, zoom effects, and transparency, iOS 7 really pushes iPhone hardware to its limits. Older devices, like the iPhone 4, start showing their age with animations that aren’t quite as smooth as they are on the iPhone 5. That said, this still being beta software the performance on older hardware is likely still something Apple is fine tuning.


Christo van Gemert

Christo van Gemert

Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.