Updating to iOS 7: An iPhoneographer’s Guide

ios 7, camera, iPhone

“Should I update my iPhone to iOS 7?”

More than any previous iOS update, this is a relevant question. iOS 7 is really the first major change for the operating system since the App Store was introduced in iPhone OS 2. It not only changes the way the iOS looks, but how things many work on the iPhone as well.

But this update, more than any previous iOS update, will break things that you may depend on. You really need to factor this in before you click on “Update My iPhone” on September 18.

I took the plunge early. Here’s what you need to know. >>>

What time will iOS 7 be released on September 18? Click here.

iOS 7 is pretty frickin’ awesome. No only does it bring a ton of new features to iPhone, it’s still really fast on an iPhone 5. I’m certain it’s just UI animation prestidigitation, but it even feels snappier than iOS 6.

Camera and Photos Apps in iOS 7

The new Camera and Photos apps are pretty sweet. The Camera has been redesigned with the flat, minimal user interface of iOS 7. I’ll miss the skeumorphism in Camera. Although I like the rest of the UI a lot, I miss a shutter button that looks like a button instead of an area onscreen that you push.

Everything about the new Camera UI is designed to be functional, visible and fast. HDR now toggles from the viewfinder, not buried one menu deep. It clearly indicates when HDR is active. You can now choose to save only the HDR image to your camera roll or both, including the normal image.

A swipe gesture over the viewfinder changes shooting modes between video, standard 4:3 photo, panorama, or the new square format shooting mode. The rule of thirds grid onscreen automatically adjust. Best of all, the new Camera fixes one of my biggest peeves about iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 camera. The viewfinder now correctly displays an accurate 4:3 preview, not the slightly elongated and cropped preview from iOS 6.

All iOS 7 iPhones get a new full-res burst mode, although how fast it can capture images depends on the processing horsepower of your device. On my iPhone 5, holding down the shutter button grabs over 2.5 full-res captures per second.

The 8 new filters are your basic retro analog film recreations. They are fairly subtle and well done, but won’t put any third-party apps out of business. When using filters, the onscreen indicator in the lower corner of the viewfinder lights up. Again, designed to be functional.


The new Photos app gets a huge upgrade as well. You can now create albums in-app using a wide range of criteria — dates, “moments”, locations, even entire years. Photo editing didn’t get much of a boost, but you can apply Apple’s new filters to any photo on your iPhone.

Overall, iOS 7 lives up to the hype, but there are some tradeoffs. Before you download the update on Wednesday, here’s what you need to know.

There’s a difference between a backup and a sync

Before you even get started, create a fresh backup of your iPhone to avoid a lot of headaches.

One of the biggest hassles of updating an iPhone is having to clean up after “update droppings,” the stray apps that appear and disappear from your iPhone. Especially if you have a lot of apps, it can be a pretty big inconvenience to reinstall missing apps and rearrange screens.

To minimize this, don’t just sync your iPhone before updating. Be sure you back it up as well. See below for instructions on backing up your iPhone.

You will lose apps.

I’ve still got apps on my iPhone that worked on my iPhone 2G. They worked well enough through iOS 6, probably juuuuuusssst well enough to keep from crashing. These older apps are especially prone to crashing. Hard.

I found a wide range of issues. In some apps that hadn’t been updated for the iPhone 5, the app sometimes shifted onscreen and toolbars became unusable. Other times, there were random, annoying user interface glitches, but nothing that really effected the operation of the app. In the worst cases, apps didn’t fare as well and simply crashed early, hard, and often… even after rebooting my iPhone.

Odds are that many of these older apps simply won’t get an iOS 7 compatibility update. Be prepared to search for and purchase new apps that do the same thing. A bunch of them.

“Which of my photo apps work in iOS 7?” Check here.

Some Apps Will Break Until They Are Updated

Although Apple has tried to get as many developers to have their apps iOS 7-ready on launch day, there are hundreds of thousands of apps in the App Store. That’s a lot of approvals and some apps won’t be ready on the 18th. Some of your favorite apps may be delayed in the approval process. Or, as many App Store developers are small, one-person shops, many iOS 7 versions may be delayed for other reasons. Expect to live without these for a few days or weeks.

You May Need To Repurchase Some Apps

Many developers, not just photo app devs, are putting in a lot of time and new coding to get their apps ready for iOS 7. As the App Store has no way of charging for upgrades, some developers will be releasing their updated apps as a new version, essentially a paid upgrade to help offset the time and expense of retooling their apps.

I hope to cover this soon in another post, but I fault Apple in this for not offering a better solution in the App Store, one where a dev can charge current users a reduced price for a major update similar to the desktop software model.

You should have the opportunity to continue using the older version of an app in most cases, but keep in mind that eventually developers will most likely drop support (and updates) for the older versions.

I don’t see many developers doing this and I see this happening more with non-photo apps, but plan on having to repurchase iOS 7 versions of at least some of your favorite apps.

The New Camera App

The new Camera app is pretty slick, but many of the best sexy new features of the iOS 7 Camera app are only available on the supercharged new hardware of the iPhone 5S. Features like blur reduction, slow-motion video, and fast 10 fps burst mode are not available on older devices.

In iOS 7, Camera loses a really cool and important feature that iPhoneographers have come to rely on. The popular “Rest & Release” shutter mode has been removed from the app. In previous versions of Camera, the shutter triggered on release of the button. Users could press and hold the shutter button until they had their shot, helping to stabilize the camera. It was also great for taking monkey-paw selfies. Gone now and there is no option to toggle this. One would be nice. For now, you’ll have to use a third-party camera app with this feature, such as PureShot, 645 PRO, Huemore, or ProCam.


Overall, iOS 7 is an outstanding update. Even if you don’t get new hardware this month, it’s really like getting a new iPhone. The update may not be for everyone right now, though. This update more than any previous really involves some changes and maybe even giving up a favorite app or changing your workflow a little.

If iOS 7 isn’t right for you now, holding off until more of your favorite apps have been updated or tested to work with Apple’s latest iOS may be a good idea for now. More than any previous update, you need to assess if the benefits of being an early adopter outweigh what you may lose in the transition.

This iOS 7 update is for iPhone 4 and newer only. Other devices should get their update in a few weeks. iPhone 3GS and older owners, sorry you’re out of luck on this one. Time to upgrade.



iPhone 101: How To Backup Your iPhone

iTunes can create backups of your iOS device when you:

• Sync with iTunes (disabled if you have iCloud backup turned on)
• Right-click (or Control-click) the iOS device in iTunes under Devices and choose Back Up

Use these steps to manually back up your iOS device using iTunes:

1. Connect your iOS device to a computer with the latest version of iTunes installed.
2. Click the File menu and select Devices > Back up.


1. Connect your iOS device to a computer with the latest version of iTunes installed.
2. Open the iOS device’s Summary tab. There are two ways to access this:

• Click the device button in the upper right corner. (If viewing the iTunes Store, click the Library button in the upper right corner. The device button will then be visible.)
• From any view in iTunes, click the View menu and select Show Sidebar. Select your iOS device in iTunes under Devices.

3. Click the Back Up Now button.


To verify that the backup finished successfully, open iTunes Preferences and select the Devices tab. The name of the device will appear along with the date and time the backup was created.



From “iOS: How to back up and restore your content“, Apple.com


UPDATE: corrected burst mode speed. Thank you, John Papandriopoulos, Ph.D from SnappyLab for spotting that.

About Marty Yawnick 1826 Articles
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • david65

    Interesting…it would be good, if you could, start a post/thread of camera apps that you know work with IOS from your early acceptance…or the ones you know that broke, and then readers could add to the list to keep a running tab of what does and doesn’t work with IOS7. That could help a lot of users decide whether to upgrade at all or not, or whether or not to buy that photo app they were thinking of buying. Just a thought. 🙂

    • I agree, that would help a lot, even just a simple list of app that are unusable, I will be happy to contribute as soon as I migrate.

    • Both Kitcam and PhotoForge2 work fine in iOS 7. Currently, Hipstamatic works fine in iOS 7, but I encountered some screen glitches in Oggl. Both Hipstamatic apps have iOS 7-compatible updates awaiting approval by Apple.

      • Mike

        Kit cam works but it’s frustrating to get out of light box view as the top buttons are so close to the top iOS info.

        • paul

          your kitcam works? ours crashes under i0s7

          • Rose

            Same here! Mine crashes as soon as I take a picture. Is there anyway to get Kitcam to work on iOS 7?

          • Carmelinna

            Disable continuous shooting.

          • cialzdesk

            Mine too, but after a clean install of the app all works like a charm. Only some UI slowdown when I browse photos.

    • Here you go. I’m updating this as time and testing allows:


  • Akhil

    I would really appreciate if someone can tell me if KitCam app is working on iOS 7 or not.

    • david65

      See Marty’s post above. 🙂

      • Hedi?One

        I’m glad and pleased to be wrong. o/

        • Fred

          Kitcam crashes for me on IOS7 on an iPhone 4S

          • Jason Luckett

            Any luck with this since you posted? I have a 4s and haven’t upgraded yet.

    • Hedi?One

      After the acquisition of GhostBird by Yahoo, KitCam was definitely removed from the AppStore. Considering the app is abandoned, I guess it will not work on iOS 7. (Yes, I know the feeling.)

  • Toastist

    I did not know I could backup on any iTunes! That save alot of hassle of cleaning my old computer that I use for iTunes, and using my work computer to back it up!

  • Rosaleen

    Thank you very much. It has answered most of my reservations about upgrading to ios7. I was going to wait a few weeks in any case. Will still do.

  • So it seems that it would be smart to wait a little before updating to iOS7, until the bugs are sorted out, and apps get full blown updates.

  • T_Will

    CAUTION!!! (for those using Camera.app)

    Using a live-filter while taking a photo, or editing a photo in any way, will save it as a 1MP image.

    I haven’t found a way to restore the original 8MP image.

  • Javier Cavallo

    Hi, the “Rest & Release” function is working fine for mi on iOS7 Beta 6 , is not there anymore in the GM?

    • It is not there for me. Holding the shutter release goes into burst mode on my iPhone 5.


  • modahaus

    Hey Marty, did you notice if the panorama dynamic exposure compensation works with the iPhone 5?, thanks Lex

  • Graeme Roy

    I can’t believe how totally rancid the black and white filters are! Is this just me or are they so clumpy and noisy they look like they are covered in flying monkey poop? Yikes, really dreadful in even moderate light. Unusable chunky, lumpy.

  • Paul Moore

    I really don’t like the changes to the camera app. My main issue is that the opaque sections on each side of the screen for the controls obscure your view when taking a photo. I really dislike the fact that I can’t disable burst mode. I always used the ‘Rest and Release’ method of taking photos so now I end up with around 10 photos of each scene before I realise it particularly if I am taking photos in noisy environments and can’t hear the shutter sound.The photo viewer is also an issue. The is no way to view a whole image in landscape mode as the top and bottom are cut off the photo. On previous iOS version a quick pinch zoomed out and let you view the entire photo. This no longer works. Using an aspect ration of 4:3 but not allowing you to view that aspect ratio is a joke. End of rant.

    • Susannah Scheier

      I agree. It cuts off way too much from the viewfinder. I’m depressed about this.

  • Jeff Slade

    The new camera app is annoying, hate it that the image is obscured each end and I miss the hold and release shutter that stabilised my pictures.The filters are irrelevant as I post process anyway….wish I could switch off that annoying burst mode…I don’t want to take loads of pictures of the same thing, just one good one!….Don’t Apple think to consult iphoneographers before making these changes?

  • KKlinedinst

    I just upgraded to iOS7 on iPhone5 this past weekend. I’m having issues with swiping through my photos in the Camera Roll. If I swipe through more than 2 photos, Camera Roll freezes up. I have to hit the Home button and then go back to the Camera Roll. Really annoying. Is anyone else having this problem?

    I was pleasantly surprised that PhotoForge still works in iOS7, since it’s no longer available. Unfortunately, Laminar (formerly Iris Photo Suite) crashes when I try to launch it. When I checked the App Store, it’s not available. There were a lot of things that I liked about Laminar, so I’ll have to search for a good substitute.

  • Carmelinna

    For kitcam issues in iPhone 4S, disable the continuos shooting setting.

  • Carmelinna

    For kitcam issues in iPhone 4S, disable the continuos shooting setting.