The iOS 7.1 update is here with some minor updates and fixes that should improve your user experience, even if only a little bit. Among the changes are some extra accents for Siri, including Australian; small changes to the iTunes Radio UI; efficiency improvements for the iPhone 4; HDR camera options for the iPhone 5s; Apple CarPlay (for cars with built-in CarPlay); real-time FaceTime updates; and a bunch of other goodies.
How to get the iOS 7.1 update
Getting the update should be super easy. If you haven’t already had it pushed to your phone, just open [Settings] > [General] > [Software Updates] and the iOS 7.1 update should be sitting there as an option. You can read details about the update, or you can just tap download and install.
Make sure you’re on a WiFi network so that you don’t use up too much of your cap. The update should take 10-20 minutes to download and install, depending on the speed of your internet connection.
You can continue using your phone while the download completes, but your phone will need to restart to perform the installation.
The new Siri
Siri will now be available with some new ‘more natural’ voices, including Australian English, Mandarin Chinese, UK English, and Japanese.
You can also now manually control when Siri begins and stops listening to you. By pressing and holding the home button, Siri will be activated and then deactivated as soon as you let go. This eliminates that awkward pause at the end of a Siri command while you wait for the program to realise you’re done.
iTunes Radio has added a search field added above Featured Stations and a tap to buy option in Now Playing. You can now also subscribe to iTunes Match on your phones, iPad and iPod Touch, which will get your iTunes Radio ad-free.
CarPlay is a new initiative from Apple, whereby the ability to directly link with any iOS device for the purposes of playing music and media is built in to a new car’s dashboard UI. It was announced at in June of 2013 and select cars with built-in support should start rolling out this year.
If you’ve bought a new car before 2014 then you shouldn’t have CarPlay support. Not all cars in 2014 will have support, but the list of partner manufacturers is growing steadily.
iPhones 5s camera changes
A new camera setting will allow HDR mode to remain as the active default shooting mode, but only on the iPhone 5s. Tap on the HDR menu at the top of the camera and you should be presented with three options: HDR Auto, HDR On and HDR Off. Before the update On and Off were the only settings available.