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.

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Steps to reduce battery drain

Symptom: iOS 7 seems more power hungry than iOS 6. Here are a few specific tips that can help reduce battery drain.

  • Turn off the 3D parallax effect: Settings --> General --> Accessibility --> Reduce Motion.
  • Disable background app refresh for non-essential apps by going to Settings --> General --> Background App Refresh and toggling individual switches to off.
  • Disable Notifications from apps you don't need by going to Settings --> Notification Center and deselecting the apps you don't want sending notifications. To stop an app from sending notifications, tap Edit and look for the three-line icon that appears to the right of the app. Select the app icon with a tap, press down and you can shift it from one list to the other.
  • Turn off AirDrop: Toggle this to off using Control Center.

A tip to reduce keyboard lag

Symptom: There is a noticeable delay between text input using the virtual keyboard and its appearance onscreen.

This fix seems to work for some users: Go to Settings --> iCloud and turn off Documents & Data.

Another suggested repair is to navigate to Settings --> General --> Reset and then choose Reset All Settings.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth problems

Symptom: Some users have reported problems using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth after the iOS 7 update. These may appear grayed-out in Settings and won't toggle back on. Or if you do switch them on, they switch themselves off again.

A quick solution is to restart your iPhone and your Wi-Fi router. If this doesn't permanently fix the problem, additional suggestions from Apple's Discussion Forums include: Put the iPhone into Airplane mode and reset your network settings (go to Settings --> General --> Reset --> Reset Network Settings). After that's done, turn off Airplane mode.

Motion sickness (yes, motion sickness)

Symptom: There were early reports that some users experienced motion sickness symptoms while getting accustomed to iOS 7's new parallax effect. That's the effect that appears to make the background image move independently of the app icons floating on a different virtual plane. It's most noticeable when you tilt the device while looking at the home screen. (Note: Older devices like the iPhone 4 don't have this option.)

Text about this image
If you navigate to Settings --> General --> Accessibility, you can choose from several options that might help alleviate any motion sickness from iOS 7.

If iOS 7 is making you nauseous, you can minimize the parallax problem easily:

First, try the Accessibility options (navigate to Settings, then General to get to it) and select Reduce Motion.

If that's not enough, in the same place -- Accessibility -- you can select Increase Contrast to make text easier to read.

Finally, if you navigate to Settings and then choose Wallpapers & Brightness, make sure to choose a Stills image as your background wallpaper.

What to do if iTunes crashes or fails to launch

Symptom: Some users are finding the iTunes app fails to launch, or crashes when they try to open it.

Open the Music app and tap Store in the upper left corner. iTunes should open up. In the future, the app should launch correctly. (Some iOS 7 users have found that this problem creeps up again, so the fix may not be permanent.)

The iTunes app in multi-tasking view
One potential cure for iTunes crashes is to make sure it's not open in the background (open the multi-tasking view and swipe the iTunes app to the top of the screen), then sign out and sign back in with your Apple ID.

The other suggested fix for iTunes issues is to log out and back in with your Apple ID:

  1. Double-tap the Home button to open the multitasking menu.
  2. Swipe the iTunes Store screen upwards to close it if it is listed.
  3. Go to Settings --> iTunes & App Store and select your Apple ID.
  4. Sign out. Sign in again.
  5. The iTunes app should work.

Freezes and frozen start-ups

Symptom: If your device doesn't start up or suffers from unexpected freezing in normal use, these three basic steps should help.

You can first try a "hard" restart: Hold the power button and the Home button at the same time until the Apple logo appears and the device restarts.

You can restore the device, as already described above.

Or if your device gets stuck on the Apple logo and won't restart at all, connect your device to iTunes and restart it there. While the device starts up, continue to press the Home button until a dialog box appears in iTunes that says: "iTunes has detected a (device) in recovery mode. You must restore this (device) before it can be used with iTunes."

You then select the device in the left hand column of iTunes, choose Summary, then Restore.

If none of these tips helps with your problem, explore these additional resources: the Apple discussion forums, Apple's support pages, or Computerworld's AppleHolic blog.

Jonny Evans is a Computerworld blogger who has been writing about Apple since 1999.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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