As the internet promised, iOS 7 Beta 3 was released on Monday, two weeks after the previous beta. As I’ve been having such stability problems with beta 2 I installed it over-the-air almost immediately at work. There are a few new visual changes in this build but the biggest improvements are:
- Overall stability – my phone doesn’t reboot twice a day. I’ve been using it regularly for over a week and it’s only rebooted a few times. Not acceptable for production but a huge improvement. The keyboard also hasn’t frozen, forcing me to manually reboot. Nice.
- Camera – The camera app in the last two betas was atrocious, freezing, cutting out, or just completely crashing. The camera app in beta 3 is much more stable. I can easily switch between video and photo mode without issues and it doesn’t die on the lock screen. The biggest bug I’ve seen in this build is that the image feed freezes but still takes photos – you just have to guess what it is looking at. I’m sure they’ll wrap that one up soon 🙂
- iTunes Radio / Music / Play, pause, next – iTunes Radio was unusable in beta 2 and the music app in general was highly unstable. The majority of that is fixed now. iTunes Radio still has issues every now and then but it doesn’t crash the music app all the time and doesn’t freak out when you skip a track. Album art doesn’t get stuck on the lock screen for the wrong song anymore.
- General Performance – While beta 2 fixed many of the performance issues and stalls with the original release, there were still areas that were a bit laggy on my 4S. Beta 3 has tightened performance a bit more. The home screen doesn’t stutter anymore and the app switcher is now useful. There is still a bit of lag here and there as well as some graphical tearing, but the betas are showing steady improvements.
- Better Battery Life – The prior two betas were battery hogs. The latest beta seems to be a bit better. Not better than iOS 6, but not atrocious.
- eBay, eBay, eBay – The first thing I did after installing the update was open eBay and to my excitement… it didn’t work. But a subsequent update a few days later fixed the issue!!! eBay is BACK (with a few minor issues – you can’t view photos) and that means I can finally install it on my iPad! Assuming HBO Go still works.
Overall I am very pleased with this latest beta. It is obvious that Apple is still refining its new UI but it is nice to see it tighten the foundational aspects of the release as well. I don’t have to wait until the UI is fully baked to enjoy reasonable stability and performance.