7 New Tips to Make iOS 7.1 Easier to See and Use

Graffiti stencil reading Be Aware of Visibility

People seem to either love or hate iOS 7. This huge leap in design for Apple took quite a few people by surprise, and there has been no shortage of complaints about the brightness and lack of visibility in this version of the ubiquitous mobile operating system.

In the iOS 7.1 update Apple has tweaked many of these items and included some settings to help things look clearer and better overall.

Check out the 7 tips below to make iOS 7.1 easier to see and use. If you have a favorite we didn’t mention, leave it in the comments below.

1. Bold Font

People have complained about the visibility of the new font in iOS 7. But while there have been some updates to make it better, some people still feel it’s too thin, which makes it hard to see.

You can fix this easily by making the font bold.

To do this, go to Settings > General. Tap on Accessibility and then tap on the toggle switch next to Bold Text to turn it on.

Doing this will restart your iPhone, but when you’re done the difference is pretty obvious.

iPhone Accessibility screens with Bold Text toggle turned on and off

2. Disable Transparency

iOS 7 uses quite a bit of transparency to create a more cohesive feel. While this is generally nice, it can be distracting and make some screens difficult to read.

To disable transparency, go back to the Accessibility screen from the tip above (Settings > General > Accessibility) and tap on Increase Contrast. On this screen, turn ON the toggle for Reduce Transparency to complete the process.

iPhone screens with Transparency turned on and off

This will affect every place transparency is used, including the Dock, folders, and Notification Center.

3. Button Shapes

iOS 7 brought with it a change from the skeuomorphic design of previous versions and instead uses a simpler layout not based in the real world.

While this is great, the issue is that sometimes it’s hard to know what is a “button” and what is just text. With iOS 7.1 you now have the ability to make buttons look like buttons again by turning on Button Shapes.

iPhone screens with Button Shapes turned on and off

To do this, head back over to Accessibility and turn on the toggle for Button Shapes. Now items like the back button and links in iTunes and other stock apps will have a button shape instead of just text.

iPhone World Clock screen with Button Shapes turned on and off

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4. On/Off Labels

Just like with button shapes, you can make the on/off toggles a little more user-friendly by giving them some shapes, too.

Go to Accessibility and turn on the toggle for On/Off Labels. Now instead of seeing only colors for your toggles you’ll also get a | for ON and o for OFF, as shown below.

This can be very useful to anyone with color blindness or other sight issues.

iPhone Accessibility screen with On/Off Labels setting turned on

5. Reduce White Point

One of the biggest complaints about iOS 7 was the brightness of the interface. There’s a lot of white in it, making for an eye-straining experience in lower light, no matter what screen brightness you set.

In iOS 7.1 there’s now an option for reducing the white point, which dims the brighter colors a bit while keeping screen brightness the same.

To turn this on, go to Accessibility and tap on Increase Contrast. Next, turn the toggle on for Reduce White Point. You’ll notice an immediate difference since this screen has a lot of white in it, but to really see the difference you need to navigate through the system a little.

It’s hard to see this effect in a screenshot, so try it yourself to see the difference.

6. Darken Colors

This one is really hard to see by itself, but when paired with the other visibility settings above it can really help the overall look of the OS.

This setting slightly darkens every system color. To turn it on, go to Accessibility > Increase Contrast and turn on the toggle for Darken Colors.

7. Reduce Motion

Quite a few people have complained about getting a little motion sickness trying to use their iPhones with iOS 7’s new parallax feature, so many of them use the Reduce Motion setting.

In iOS 7.1, however, you get a little more control over this. You can now reduce ALL motion throughout the device, or turn it on or off just for wallpaper, which seems to be the biggest culprit for battery drain and motion woes.

  • To turn all motion off, go to Accessibility and tap on Reduce Motion. Turn the toggle on to stop parallax and other motion effects on your device.
  • If you want to disable motion for wallpaper only, go to Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness and tap on either the lock screen or home screen wallpaper that’s visible. Next, turn off Perspective Zoom.

iPhone Wallpaper preview with Perspective Zoom turned off

This will turn off perspective zoom (parallax) for only that wallpaper without affecting other areas like notifications and icons.

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