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Today, Apple again surprised the developer world by releasing iOS 7 Beta 6, one week earlier than expected. If you’re finding it hard to keep up with iOS 7 beta updates, you’re not alone — Apple seems to love keeping developers on their toes with the timing of beta release updates. The chart below depicts the disparity in release timing for past betas:

iOS7 beta releases

It seems that Apple releases new features in beta when it’s least expected, throwing developers for a loop. Just when we thought we’d gotten to squashing bugs and enhancing the performance, beta 4 showed signs of a fingerprint scanning feature! With the “Gold Master” rumored not to be arriving until September, we can expect more iOS 7 betas and feature releases. As a result, planning for your new iOS 7-friendly app can seem like aiming at a moving target.

The iOS 7 beta progression so far

To help you keep up with Apple’s bold enhancements, here’s a re-cap of the iOS 7 beta journey to date, including a list of what was new in each version. We’ll be adding to this as betas are announced—so be sure to keep checking back for updates.

Beta 1 – 10 June 2013

  • Home screen completely revamped with neat icons and brighter colours
  • Parallax effect makes the homescreen look 3D
  • Control Center added, so user can turn connections on and off, adjust settings etc
  • Spotlight Search now accessible by pulling down anywhere on the home screen
  • Notifications Center updated and split into today, all, missed sections
  • Multitasking added
  • Lockscreen updated with a simpler interface. Users can swipe anywhere on the screen to unlock
  • Camera updated with filters
  • iTunes and the App Store now features wishlists allowing users to save an app to purchase later.
  • Calendar whiter in appearance with inbox for incoming invitations

Beta 2 – 24 June 2013

  • iPad and iPad Mini support added
  • Wallpaper colors toned
  • Siri has both male and female voice options
  • iCloud account prompt when device is switched on
  • Message send button turns green or blue when text is typed. Swipe to the left to show the timestamp and profile pictures added to group texts
  • Camera app on iPad now includes HDR mode

Beta 3 – 8 July 2013

  • New font. Changed the font from Helvetica Neue Light to Regular
  • Folders are more transparent
  • New app download icon is replaced with a circular timer
  • Safari’s web extensions can be added by pressing and holding the full stop icon.
  • Status bar is larger
  • Lock screen displays the time if user is playing music

Beta 4 – 29 July 2013

  • Notifications Center allows swiping through notifications from today, all or missed
  • Lock screen now features an arrow to unlock with Control Center and Notifications Center at the top and bottom of the screen
  • Camera App updated with HDR moving to the edge of the screen and the
  • Upload notifications allows users to track uploads when adding content to apps
  • Clearer buttons for call answer/call end/send a message/set reminder
  • Siri has a wider knowledge base, with the ability to answer more complicated questions
  • AirPlay Speakers can be added via the AirPlay settings menu
  • Includes code which appears to validate a fingerprint sensor in the home button

Beta 5 – 6 August 2013

  • Easier to open the camera from the lock screen
  • New settings page with colored icons for the settings and more control over Control Center
  • Includes a new pull down option for notifications – Pulling down will take the user to the Notification Center, not to the app
  • Includes an arrow next to the “slide to unlock” text on the lock screen
  • Screenshot detection API that Snapchat users will appreciate
  • Shared links are now working in Safari
  • Call button in Phone dialer is tweaked
  • HDR in camera re-located
  • Users can now swipe between panels in Notification Center
  • Improved back buttons in setup
  • Improved animations and transparency in folders on the Home screen
  • New iPad resolution changing button while running iPhone-only apps
  • Notification for completed uploads
  • iPad multitasking now supports unlimited apps. Previous betas capped it at 10 open apps.

Beta 6 – 15 August 2013

  • Fixed an issue with iTunes in the Cloud, where some purchases may download or play unexpected items.
  • Several bug fixes (not all though)
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How will these feature updates affect your apps users?

If you’re an app creator, you’re likely to be making some significant changes to your app to make the most of iOS 7’s new features, design and functionality. We know that even the slightest change in an apps appearance can throw a user off. Don’t abandon your users when they need you the most. Be sure to register to get your free copy of the Ultimate iOS 7 Update Guide which will help you achieve mobile app supremacy with iOS 7 and avoid the confusion that users may experience when they open your new and improved app.

If there’s anything else we missed, share below and we’ll add it the list!

Published August 15, 2013
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