iOS 7.1 Arrives Bringing CarPlay Support, Visual Tweaks, Siri Improvements And More

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Apple has just released iOS 7.1, the first major update for iOS 7 since its launch back in September. The update has been available to developers for some time now and brings a lot of small but interesting changes to Apple’s mobile OS, including continued visual tweaks of the all-new iOS 7 design.

The update adds official support for CarPlay, which has been the talk of the town recently thanks to its official unveiling at the Geneva Auto Show. Three car makers have already demonstrated their CarPlay vehicle integration, including Volvo, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz.

In a relatively rare move, Apple has put up a full page detailing the new features of iOS 7.1.

In addition to CarPlay, you can now manually control how long Siri listens to you by holding down the home button while you speak and releasing it when you’re done. This replaces the ‘listen until you’re done talking’ behavior that Siri exhibited previously. Siri also gets improved, ‘more natural’ voices in Mandarin Chinese, UK English, Australian English and Japanese.

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There have been some visual tweaks as well to things like the shift keys on the keyboard, the in-call buttons, lock screen icons and more.

The calendar now has an events list in the month view, the lack of which caused many complaints in previous versions of iOS 7. A list of events has become the default way that many use their calendars, so this is welcome.

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iTunes Radio now allows you to quickly create stations with a search and now allows you to subscribe to iTunes Match right from an iDevice to get an ad-free experience.

On the accessibility front, the ‘Reduce Motion’ option now applies to Weather, Messages and the multitasking screen. This reduces the parallax effect that some users had complained was making them ill.

For those of you who have had issues getting TouchID to work correctly, you’ll be pleased to see that there are improvements to its fingerprint recognition included in this update. Older iOS users will also be happy to see some performance improvements for the iPhone 4.

A recurring bug which has caused the home screen to crash — resulting in a quick ‘reboot’ of your device while using it — has also been fixed with this version. FaceTime call notifications are now cleared and synced across devices, iCloud Keychain support has been expanded to new countries and the iPhone 5s gets a new Camera setting that automatically enables HDR.

You can download iOS 7.1 via the software update feature of your device or via iTunes.

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