Apple releases iOS update 7.1, includes CarPlay and other new features

Saqib Shah
March 11, 2014

Apple has released an update to its operating software that powers iPhones and iPads.

Among the new features on iOS 7.1 there are a number of bug fixes, improvements for  Siri and the iPhone 5S fingerprint reading technology, and introduction of Carplay -Apple’s new vehicular infotainment system for new cars in 2014.

Additionally, Apple said the update will improve how iOS 7 performs on the iPhone 4 and older versions of the iPad. The Apple software previously ran slowly on the iPhone 4, but the update should make it feel faster.


This brand spanking new feature is only available for iPhone 5S and 5C users. The CarPlay phone integration system will allow drivers to make calls, get directions, or play music from their iPhone using the car’s built-in display. It can be controlled using voice or touch. CarPlay will be available in select 2014 vehicles, including some models from Mercedes, Volvo, and Ferrari.

Fingerprint ID technology

Many users complained that the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S does not work well after a couple months of use. This was partly due to a hardware problem, but also a software issue. In iOS 7.1, Apple has improved the Touch ID software to be more accurate leading to quicker response times and fewer rejections.


Apple has also given users more control over how long Siri will listen for. As was the case previously, users hold down the home button to activate Siri, but now, they can continue holding the home button until they are done speaking to ensure Siri won’t cut them off while they talk.  Basically, Apple has   given Siri walkie-talkie capabilities.  Certain national and regional languages (Japanese, Mandarin, British English and Australian English) also have more natural and easier to understand language updates.

Additional features

Users will also no longer have to clear their FaceTime notifications from their gadgets whenever they answer a call on another device. Apple said these notifications will now clear automatically.

It may be a small token, but Apple did improve the way you see events in “Month View” in the calendar app to be more accessible and readable.  iCloud Keychain support is now available in additional countries and the unread Mail badge has been fixed for numbers greater than 10,000 (that’s a lot of emails!).

UI design

The new user interface (UI) options include a bold font option for the the keyboard, calculator, and some icon glyphs, a reduce motion option for Weather, Messages, and multitasking UI animations. Additional  options allow users to change settings to display button shapes, darken app colours, and reduce white point.


iPhone 5S users get new settings in iOS 7.1. HDR (high dynamic range) will turn on automatically for iPhone 5S users. HDR basically makes the camera app take several pictures at different exposures and then composites them together to be a sharper final image. HDR was originally released with iOS 7 on the iPhone 5S and is not available to other iPhone models that don’t carry the A7 processor.

Bug fixes

One of the major fixes on iOS 7.1 is for a bug that has come to be known as the “black/white screen of death.” That bug caused a few  Apple iOS  devices to randomly crash and restart. In January, Apple promised to fix the issue, and it has finally delivered a solution.

Get iOS 7.1 now

To download iOS 7.1, go to settings, then general. Once there, click software update. You  can also connect your devices to an  iTunes-equipped  computer to update.  

Have you tried out iOS 7.1 on your iPhone? Let us know what you think of the new features such as CarPlay and the supposed improvements to the fingerprint sensor.


About the Author

Saqib Shah

Tech/gaming journalist for What Mobile magazine and website. Interests include film, digital media and foreign affairs.

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