iOS 7 announced: What’s in store for business users?

Apple recently unveiled iOS 7, its latest update to the mobile operating system for the iPhone and iPad. The update features a new interface, plus some changes that should make IT managers happy. 

The iOS 7 update was announced by Apple in a presentation at the World Wide Developer’s Conference on June 10. It’s expected to be available for download in the fall.

Possibly the most notable and readily apparent change: a redesigned user interface, featuring more minimalist displays, flatter icons and an overall cleaner look.

There’s also a new Control Center with quick toggles to change settings that can be activated from anywhere by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

In addition, iOS 7 adds multitasking for all apps, new Siri commands, additional camera modes and many other changes aimed at pleasing the average iPhone user.

Key updates for businesses

However, following a similar pattern laid out in previous updates, iOS 7 will have plenty of features meant to make managing Apple devices easier for IT departments.

Some of the most important iOS 7 features for businesses include:

  1. Activation lock — When the feature is activated, a thief who steals an iPhone will have to enter the user’s Apple ID and password in order to get into the device and turn off the Find My Phone feature or wipe the device. That provides some additional protection for a device and the data it holds beyond the lock screen.
  2. Single sign-on — Business users will be able to sign into one app and use that authentication to log into everything else. Of course, some businesses may worry about the security implications of that, but for others it could be a convenient option.
  3. App-specific VPN — This will allow users to activate a VPN connection that’s specific to the app that requires it, while still using other apps on the phone without affecting the VPN.
  4. Air Drop — This new iOS 7 feature lets users share files with each other over a WiFi network or Bluetooth. Air Drop allows some control over who can share data, and files are encrypted as they’re sent. Companies can use this, for example, to share documents with all employees present at a meeting.
  5. Built-in MDM — While details weren’t given, Apple mentioned new mobile device management (MDM) capabilities that will be built into iOS 7 for iPhones and iPads.

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