iOS 7 on an iPad 3: Some First Impressions

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iOS 7 iPad Control Center on lock screen

Apple released iOS 7 beta 2 this past Monday, and made it available for the iPad 2 and above. I installed it on my iPad 3rd gen Monday afternoon initially and actually had it up and running properly by yesterday morning. I’ve been using it pretty heavily since then and thought I’d share some very quick first impressions and notes on this iOS 7 beta on the iPad 3.

Installation and Setup

Of course the first thing you need to know is that these beta are intended for iOS developers and those who are registered as testers for developers. As with any beta software it is not intended for use on anything other than dedicated testing devices – as in, not recommended for your daily driver device.

The download of iOS 7 beta 2 for my iPad 3 (which is the AT&T WiFi + Cellular model) weighed in at 1.2GB.

The restore of iOS 7 beta 2 onto my iPad went quickly and when it was done I chose to do a restore of settings and apps from an iCloud backup that I made just a little before installing the beta. Mistake – big mistake.

It took hours upon hours to get all my 200+ apps reinstalled and, much more importantly, the iPad was virtually unusable afterwards. Just for starters, it got its time zone wrong, using GMT rather than US Central. Each time I tried to turn off automatically setting the time zone or manually changing it, the Settings app became unresponsive and caused either a Springboard reset or a spontaneous reboot of the iPad.

I tried various things – including toggling Location Services on and off, resetting network settings, and resetting all settings. All that got me was an iPad that wouldn’t boot up normally or via a hard reboot. So I had to do the restore install of beta 2 again. Then, like a hard-headed idiot, I again chose to restore the iCloud backup onto it. And I got the same result – time zone craziness and this time the iPad refused to boot up after just a normal power off and restart.

After that I installed beta 2 for a 3rd time and thought ‘Hey, how ‘bout forgetting about the iCloud restore and setting it up as a new iPad’. Genius eh? The good news is that the iPad is far (far!) more stable now and has even agreed to use my time zone rather than insisting on being 6 hours ahead.

So, lesson learned there. In past years I’d nearly always done a clean setup as new iPad when installing a first beta; this year I just succumbed to temptation because the iCloud restores are generally so quick and smooth. Over-ambitious I think.

Performance

Though I said above that the iPad is far more stable on my last install, it is also still far from rock solid – which is to be expected for what is, in effect, beta 1 of iOS 7 for the iPad (since beta 1 was released only for iPhone).

There are frequent Springboard resets. I’ve seen them when opening the Settings, FaceTime, and App Store apps; when double-tapping the home button to invoke the Multitasking bar; and when swiping to quit an app from the Multitasking bar.

I’ve also seen an occasional, sudden loss of WiFi connection – while an iMac, iPad mini, and Galaxy Note 2 are happily connecting within just a couple feet of the iPad 3. This has only happened a few times though and I’ve been able to get connectivity back quite quickly just by cycling WiFi off and back on.

Despite these bits of instability, the iPad is generally performing quite well now. I’ve used it quite a lot for work and play over the last 2 days and it has done well most of the time. It almost feels like it’s settling in a bit now and working better today than yesterday. It’s working well enough that I’ve very rarely had to go to my iPad mini after trying to do something on the iPad 3 – and when I have had to it’s been mostly just about apps that aren’t working on iOS 7 yet.

The new Notifications, Control Center, and Multitasking interface are all running smoothly and well for me today. I like all three of these new / revamped features – the webOS style multitasking cards in particular.

iOS 7 Multitasking cards on iPad

Battery

I’m pleasantly surprised at how well the battery is doing so far. I chose a dynamic wallpaper right off the bat and figured that would not help the battery cause – but up to now it doesn’t seem to be chewing it up too much.

I charged it to 100% a little over 24 hours ago. After heavy use for installing numerous apps and getting them setup (logins etc), writing post drafts, web browsing, app testing, Wimbledon watching, and generally exploring iOS 7, the battery is currently at 53%.

A Few General Thoughts & Points

Yes, Newsstand can be put in a folder – though I’m fine with it being out in the open I know many others would love to be able to take it out back and shoot it.

Automatic app updates are turned on by default, but you can easily toggle them off in Settings > iTunes & App Stores.

I’m finding some of the new design touches in the App Store quite ugly; just too simple looking. Maybe they’re still being worked on.

I like some of the new app icons, others not so much.

Apps Compatibility

Things are pretty good in this area so far, at least in terms of apps working – though I’m sure there will be plenty of optimizing for iOS 7 in coming months.

The Byword text editor app works, but its sync with Dropbox is broken. It is only showing a small fraction of the documents I’ve got in its folder in Dropbox.

The Calcbot app is not working.

The Google+ app crashes back to the home screen incessantly and when it does open it only shows part of posts’ text. Pretty much unusable.

Some of the apps that are working well for me include Flipboard, Evernote, Feedly, Wunderlist for task management, Tweetbot, Posts and WordPress for blogging, Dropbox, and Pastebot.

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That’s about all my first impression notes for now. I’ll continue using this and future iOS 7 betas and post more when I’ve had more time with it and got to know the UI and features better.

I’m sure we’ve got quite a few readers here who are trying out the iOS 7 beta on the iPad. What are your thoughts on it?

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Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

One thought on “iOS 7 on an iPad 3: Some First Impressions

  1. I’m actually not a big fan of the new flat design Apple has decided to go for, but I do think it looks much better on the iPad than it does on the iPhone. The bugs you mentioned, well, it is a beta after all. Assuming everything is fixed at release, I’ll definitely be upgrading to iOS 7 myself.