October 24, 2013
Apple Brings Back Spotlight Search, Improves Reduce Motion In iOS 7.0.3
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Shortly after announcing new iPads, new Macs and plenty of new software, Apple pushed out an update to iOS 7 which squashes some of users’ biggest complaints. Most notably, iOS 7.0.3 enhances the Reduce Motion setting which all but stabilizes the entire OS. This version also gets rid of yet another lock screen flaw which has been exploited and used to bypass a user’s password to access data on the device.
Some iPhone 5S users noticed a flaw in earlier versions of iOS 7 which caused some of the sensors, most notably the accelerometer, to not work properly. This was particularly upsetting for those using the level feature in the compass app or playing games which relied heavily on motion.
Finally, iOS 7.0.3 adds some functionality which had been missing since iOS 7 was first released on September 18. Users can now use Spotlight to search the web and Wikipedia. This feature had long been present in iOS but was absent when Apple moved Spotlight from the left of the home screen to above the home screen.
Because iOS 7 delivered several improvements and a radically redesigned interface, it’s also been the most criticized update Apple’s ever shipped. The new icons and colors, animations, and different buttons received immediate criticism and praise, but it was the animations which later made headlines. Some users with a special sensitivity to motion were reporting that the way the apps open and close were causing them to have bouts of dizziness and vertigo. The parallax effect present throughout the operating system also caused some to become nauseated.
This news topped headlines for days as many begged Apple to improve their “Reduce Motion” setting in the accessibility panel. Previously Reduce Motion only turned off the Parallax effect and slightly reduced the falling in and falling out animations when opening and closing apps. Now this setting all but removes all animations; apps simply fade in and out when they’re opened and closed and the only animations which remain are the sliding visualizations when navigating through menus.
When Apple first introduced Mavericks and iOS 7 earlier this year, they showed off a feature called “iCloud Keychain,” an option which allows users to generate secure passwords for different websites and logins, encrypt them, and make them available across all iOS devices and Macs. When iOS 7 was released to the public last month, however, this feature was missing. It had been assumed Apple waited to introduce this feature until Mavericks was released and, with the release of the new Mac OS, iCloud Keychain now works across all devices. Apple protects these devices with 26-bit AES encryption and even stores credit card information for easy online payment.
Finally, Apple has brought back the ability to perform a web search from Spotlight, the universal utility which allows users to search their entire device for contacts, documents, email, messages, songs and more. In older versions of iOS, swiping to the right would call up Spotlight. If Spotlight couldn’t find what the user was looking for, it could conduct a web search for the information. Apple removed this feature in iOS 7 but has now added it back in. Users can also adjust which search engine iOS users in the settings panel.