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iOS 7.0.3 Adds iCloud Keychain and Disables Animation

Hot on the heels of updating almost everything, Apple has released iOS 7.0.3, finally adding the iCloud Keychain feature, making it possible to disable motion effects that were making some users sick (see “iOS 7 Animations Cause Nausea for Some,” 25 September 2013), and fixing an accelerometer calibration issue (for more information on that, read “The iPhone’s Positioning Sensors Were Never Good,” 18 October 2013). You can download the 92.8 MB update in Settings > General > Software Update.

iCloud Keychain is a feature built into Safari in iOS 7 that stores and generates secure passwords, syncing them to Safari in OS X 10.9 Mavericks. It’s similar to products like 1Password and LastPass, but not as full-featured or compatible with other Mac Web browsers.

Many users railed against the flashy animations in iOS 7, such as icons swooping in from the Lock screen and folders “zooming” into view, with some people being annoyed by waste of time and others being made physically ill. You can now disable these animations in iOS 7.0.3 by visiting Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion, and turning on the switch. In prior versions of iOS 7, this switch merely eliminated the parallax effect, whereas now it knocks out the animations as well. A brief video by Federico Viticci demonstrates the difference. The Bold Text setting in Settings > General > Accessibility now also affects the dial pad text (see “Peering at iOS 7 for the Vision Impaired,” 19 September 2013).

Apple says that the update fixes an issue where text messages would fail to send, something that caused great consternation (see “Four Problems with iOS 7: Crashing, Messages, Siri, and Audio,” 2 October 2013). We certainly hope the other problems mentioned in that article have been resolved as well, but the release notes don’t comment on them.

iPhone 5s users who weren’t making full use of the Touch ID sensor may appreciate the fact that the “Slide to Unlock” switch on the Lock screen is now delayed when Touch ID is enabled, making it more obvious that the fingerprint scanner works from this screen.

Making a comeback in iOS 7.0.3 is the capability to search the Web and Wikipedia from the Spotlight search screen, which was mysteriously removed in iOS 7.0. Other welcome fixes include increased stability when using iWork apps, plus removal of a pair of bugs that could allow users to bypass the Lock screen passcode and prevent iMessage from activating.

Overall, iOS 7.0.3 fixes many of the major complaints about iOS 7. Assuming that all goes well over the next few days with the 7.0.3 update, anyone running an earlier version of iOS 7 should make sure to update — and those who held off upgrading to iOS 7 because they weren’t enamored of the animation should now find the tweaked operating system more attractive.

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