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Friday, September 20, 2013

Tips for Making the Change to iOS 7

In the television show Extreme Home Makeover, people go away for a nice quiet weekend with their family and return to discover that their house has been completely renovated. Their favorite old, ragged, puffy couch has now replaced with a sleek designer slab of gray foam. Their favorite lamp has been swapped out for an obscure designer lighting system. Usually, it’s a shocking transition.

This is what it may feel like when you upgrade to iOS 7, Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system, on your iPhone and iPad. What was once skeuomorphic is now flat. Textured bookshelves have been replaced with white space. Icons that were round and bubble-shaped look like pancakes.

If you want a good chuckle go, to Twitter and search “what happened to my iPhone?” You will be greeted by a stream of people who have updated to iOS 7 and been completely caught off guard by the changes. Some seem to be in complete shock.

So if you haven’t made the switch yet, or have but don’t know how to deal with the changes, here are a few tips to help you manage the transition.

1. Breathe.

2. Breathe again.

3. Compared with iOS 6, which had a lot of dark colors and heavy icons, the new iOS 7 design is extremely light. Blacks have been replaced with white or muted gray. To increase the contrast of the phone again, try picking a very dark background image for your home screen. You can even go with flat black to start, then gradually change it to something more interesting, and lighter, as you become accustomed to the new design.

4. Studies by Dr. Gary Small, director of the Longevity Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of “iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind,” found that our brains take up to seven days to rewire themselves when learning something new.

The placement of the apps of your smartphone is wired into your brain at this point. You don’t have to think about what the icons look like or decode them. You just put your thumb in the top right corner to open the camera. When you install the new iOS 7, it will move some of your icons around as it places Music in the top left corner and drops the new compass app onto your phone. Before you do anything, put everything back the way you had it before the upgrade. Cognitively, this will help you become accustomed to the new design.

5. Dr. Small and other neuroscientists have found that you can speed up the brain’s learning by performing little exercises. Try doing this every few minutes to help rewrite the way you used to use your phone. For example, rather than pressing the home button to search for something, in iOS 7 you flick upwards in the middle of the screen. Do this over and over to train yourself that this is the new behavior.

While some are shocked by the design changes of iOS 7, my colleague Brian X. Chen wrote on Thursday that most consumers who have jumped to the new operating system seem to be enjoying the new design.

Of course, if none of these tips work and you’re in complete disarray after your upgrade, there is one more option you can try: turn off your phone and go away for a nice quiet weekend with your family.