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iOS 7.1 almost fixed one of the most infuriating things about the iPhone

Published Mar 12th, 2014 11:34AM EDT
iOS 7.1 Review

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After months of testing, Apple finally released iOS 7.1 to the public earlier this week. The new release includes a wide range of new functionality as well as some big visual changes and bug fixes, and it even packs a few nifty secret features. A video walkthrough of everything new in iOS 7.1 can be seen here. iOS 7.1 is faster and smoother than iOS 7 and the various other improvements are certainly much appreciated. There are even a few big annoyances that iOS 7.1 addressed as well — one in particular, however, is something that Apple clearly acknowledges but has yet to fix.

Apple seems to make little changes that aren’t widely publicized in each new iOS software release. Some of these changes do a good job of addressing little pain points many users have. Others changes, however, bring awful new pain points or miss the boat when trying to fix things.

Case in point: in iOS 7 and earlier versions of iOS, incoming texts and iMessages continue to trigger message alerts even while the Messages app is open and the active conversation is on the screen. So even if your phone is on silent with vibrate enabled, and even if you’re typing a new message in the very conversation you get a new text in, the phone still vibrates with the new alert.

It’s ridiculous and incredibly annoying.

Apple knows how annoying it is, and the company finally made changes to address the issue in iOS 7.1. But instead of removing the alerts completely when messages are received in a conversation that is open on the screen, Apple toned down the vibrating alert so it’s just a quick pulse instead of a full alert.

Why leave it there at all? Or why not at least make use of all those sensors — you know, the ones that can keep recording your movements even after your phone dies — to disable the alert unless the phone is sitting completely still and horizontal, indicating it has likely been put down on a table or some other surface?

Those with iPhones will recall that Apple did something similar with the infamous and even more infuriating “skull quake,” as I call it. This is when you get a new email, text message or another alert while talking on the phone, holding the handset to your head. Instead of playing a soft tone in the ear speaker or some other subtle alert, the new message or push notification causes the iPhone to vibrate violently against your skull.

In iOS 7, Apple finally did something about this incredibly stupid feature. Instead of completely removing the skull quake, however, it reduced the vibrating alert to a quick pulse just like it did again with iOS 7.1’s message alerts in an active conversation. So the phone still vibrates against your skull, but for a shorter duration.

We’ll get there… some day.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.