How to fix iOS 7 glitches

Whether it's iMessages that won't go through, a laggard keyboard or motion sickness from the new parallax effect, you might be hitting a bump or two. Here's how to get the new OS running more smoothly.

Since iOS 7 was released on Sept. 18, more than two-thirds of iOS users have upgraded to Apple's new mobile operating system, which introduced a new interface and a slew of new features. And while most users seem happy with the update, there have been a few persistent problems.

Among the issues most widely reported is a Lockscreen security flaw identified by Germany's Chaos Computer Club. Apple fixed that problem within days, but there have also been complaints that iOS 7 drains battery life, the keyboard lags and there's an issue with iMessage.

These glitches don't undermine the fact that the iOS 7 launch has largely been a big success: It has already been adopted by 69.2% of iOS users, according to Mixpanel Trends, leaving 27% with iOS 6 and just 3.74% still using the two-year old iOS 5. That vast and fast deployment is unique in the modern mobile industry.

Moving to squash issues almost as quickly as they show up, Apple has already released two upgrades -- iOS 7.0.1 and 7.0.2 -- and 7.0.3 is already in development. The company also urged affected users to explore its online troubleshooting documents or contact AppleCare for help.

Apple has also been willing to acknowledge problems, confirming to Computerworld, for instance, that iMessages will sometimes not send messages once iOS 7 is installed. An Apple spokesman told Computerworld: "We are aware of an issue that affects a fraction of a percent of our iMessage users, and we will have a fix available in an upcoming software update... We apologize for any inconvenience this causes impacted users."

Although some users have argued that Apple should have delayed release of iOS 7 to avoid such problems, it's not unusual for flaws to show up in a new release, given the complexity of a software upgrade for millions of devices.

"Mobile software is so complex these days, a few bugs at launch is to be expected for any smartphone or tablet vendor," said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics. "The iOS 7 update is a fairly major revision of the operating system and user interface, so it's inevitable a few bugs will slip through the net during the first phase of launch."

Even so, it's important that Apple show it's responding to any identified flaws, Mawston said. "Apple fans are a loyal and forgiving bunch, so Apple has time to fix the bugs in iOS 7. But after the Maps mislaunch last year and a slightly buggy iOS 7 launch this year, Apple must be very careful that it does not tarnish its famous brand and gain a reputation for suboptimal software development."

Apple's Maps launch became an iconic moment for the company: Poor Maps performance led to a public apology by Apple CEO Tim Cook and the firing of senior iOS executive, Scott Forstall.

The two iOS 7 updates already introduced suggest the company wants to avoid sinking under a sea of glitches.

Not everyone has been affected by glitches; for many users the upgrade has been trouble-free. For those who have had issues, we've assembled a few tips that should help most users deal with the most commonly reported problems.

Reset screen
To reset an iOS 7 device, go to Settings --> General --> Reset.

First steps

If your iOS system encounters performance glitches -- the OS seems slow, for instance -- there are three basic steps any user should try: Restart, Reset or Restore. (This is similar to what you'd do on a Windows PC or Mac after a major upgrade.) As always, it's good to have a recent backup of your data and apps so you can restore everything down the road if you need to.

A restart is simple: Switch your device off (hold down the power button until you get the red "slide to power off" bar, then swipe). After it powers down, hold the power switch until the device restarts. This can often fix minor problems with iOS 7 or a particular app.

To reset a device, go to Settings --> General --> Reset. You'll see six options. The first one, Reset All Settings, keeps all your media and other files intact -- though you'll need to re-enter some of your settings after taking this step.

The last option is more time consuming: Restore the device entirely. (For this you definitely want to have a recent backup, either to iCloud or to your computer using iTunes.) Connect your device to iTunes. You'll find the Restore option in the top pane within the Summary view. Restore basically takes your device back to its factory default condition. You can then restore you data and apps from the backup, or if you want to be meticulous, add back your apps and data piecemeal.

How to fix Messages

Symptom: When sending a message, users see the status bar get stuck before the message is sent; messages can take hours to go through or the message doesn't get sent at all. If this is you, try this fix:

  1. Navigate to Settings --> Messages.
  2. Switch the iMessage slider to off.
  3. Navigate to Settings --> General.
  4. Scroll to bottom and select Reset.
  5. Tap "Reset Network Settings," then approve the command in the pop-up window that appears.
  6. Your iOS 7 device will reset.
  7. When the device switches itself back on, return to Settings --> Messages and switch the iMessage slider to on (green).
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