Apple’s Vista — “Upgrading” to a previous iOS

PC: “Some people even started downgrading back to XP.”
Mac: “Oh, that’s too bad.”
PR Lady: “And by downgrading he means … they’re upgrading to an older, more familiar experience.”
Mac vs PC PR Lady Ad

So, iOS7 is available and it’s a big shift in design. It’s minimalistic, it’s sharp, and it’s ugly. I never thought that Apple would pull a Vista, that they do such a big screw-up that it would motivate me to try to “upgrading to an older, more familiar experience”.

But I did try to do it a couple of minutes ago and it worked. It was not easy and did not go smoothly (I had to manually quit the DFU mode using “TinyUmbrella”), but still, I consider it a victory. I loved the Control Center, but otherwise — brrrrr. It’s just ugly. If the iPhones had come with this design from the start, I would have bought an Android. It’s not even on that level, it feels like a Windows phone. The design looks too simple. It is not elegant simple, it simply looks unfinished.

I truly, truly appreciate the skeuomorphism. And I totally disagree with that article — I don’t think it was time to switch to a simple style. Skeunomorphism is not only for beginners, it makes apps pleasing, intuitive to use, “friendly”. Ditching it does not make Apple an innovation leader, it makes it look cheap. Like they just added placeholders ‘to imagine some cool buttons here’. It looks like a designer ego trip. Like a person who always wanted to have more influence and now has it and this person cannot deal with this lack of boundaries.

Seriously, where is the elegance and style of Apple? It did make beautiful products, now (esp. with a ‘gold’ case iPhone 5s) it looks like a 99c store. It would not hurt so much if Apple did not have a history of good design, of promoting the stance that design matters in how you interact with devices. And a mobile phone is a very personal device where the interaction matters.

If you share this design experience (seriously, have a look at the images online first or borrow someone’s iPhone with OS7 installed), there are a couple of guides online on how to downgrade the iPhone (or iPad). I wish I would have made a backup of the firmware myself, but it’s available online. As always, absolutely now guarantee here. Especially having to install an unknown program to quit the DFU mode was something I rather not do again. If you want to do it, make a backup before upgrading to iOS7! Make a backup in any case. I used this instruction but downloaded the firmware from another site. I needed to go into DFU mode and hat difficulties leaving it (iPhone showed the “connect to iTunes” icon). Using “TinyUmbrella” allowed me to quit this mode. Restoring and then syncing transferred the Apps back to my iPhone, including the data (yeah, backups!).

Anyway, I will probably have to switch back to iOS7 in a couple of months when new apps only support iOS7. At the very latest when I get a new phone. And I leave it on my iPad to see what kind of changes (hopefully) happen.

Categories: iPhone/iPad, Tools


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