6 Reasons to Upgrade to iOS 7 Right Away and 5 You Shouldn’t

Should you make the leap? Let's run through some of the pros and cons

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It’s that time again — time to decide whether to hop on the bus to early-adopters-ville, or hang back, maybe sipping your mocha latte, knowingly watching the bus’ taillights disappear into the gloom from beneath the brim of your won’t-get-fooled-again beret.

Of course you don’t need to upgrade to iOS 7 immediately. You can bide your time, ignore the hype and just skip the longish wait times you’re likely to encounter downloading the update on launch day. And yes, iOS 6 works fine and should continue to indefinitely. There’s nothing so pressing or fantastic about Apple’s mobile-OS makeover that your iPhone or iPad or iPod Touch can’t live without it.

But … it’s a brand new version of iOS! I share your Christmas-in-September enthusiasm, and I can tell you I won’t be waiting, but then I’m paid not to. Should you join the throngs about to leap? Let’s run through some of the pros and cons.

It’s the biggest visual overhaul of iOS since Apple introduced the iPhone.

iOS debuted in 2007 with the first iPhone, and it’s changed relatively little since, visually speaking: applications shuffled around, some icon tweaking and polishing, an extra row on the iPad and iPhone 5, some nips and tucks here and there. iOS 7, by contrast, changes everything: it’s the vanguard of Apple’s ostensible quest to liquidate skeuomorphic design (a fancy way of saying iOS calendars and notepads no longer resemble their physical analogues), a shift that’s as significant, aesthetically speaking, as the leap from Mac OS 9 to OS X.

You don’t have to hunt for common settings anymore.

Swipe up from your iOS device’s bottom and you’ll conjure the new Control Center, a place to get at some of the phone’s most commonly adjusted features, from brightness to Airplane Mode to a new build-in flashlight that uses the phone’s camera LED (simultaneously eliminating your need for a discrete, ad-littered freebie flashlight app).

A much improved, customizable App Store.

Tired of having to manually update each and every app when that red notification number pops up in your home-screen icon? iOS 7 lets you turn on automatic updates — problem solved! The new App Store also lets you search by age range, which, assuming vendors utilize it properly, should be a boon to parents wondering if an app is appropriate (both functionally and content-wise) for a 2-year-old, 5-year-old, 10-year-old and so forth.

Siri can now be a dude.

No, not the sort of dude that’s responding to your questions like Alfred Pennyworth, but a “personable male voice,” says TIME Tech’s Harry McCracken in his review. What’s more, Harry says Siri’s female voice “sounds less robotic,” can multisource content from additional sources like Bing or Wikipedia and can present more info in-line instead of launching another app.

Multitasking is significantly improved.

iOS has had multitasking — the ability to have multiple apps open simultaneously — since iOS 4, but through iOS 6 it’s had notable limitations. iOS 7 improves switching between as well as closing apps: no more stabbing at those tiny red circles — now you just swipe upward, or swipe with more than one finger to close multiple apps. You can also use updates while they’re updating.

Upgrading is free — and easy to do.

I know, what else is new about iOS upgrades — but some people don’t realize the gratis part. All you need to get your iOS 7 on is tap Settings, select General, tap Software Update, then follow the prompts.

And here’s the cons list:

It’s the biggest visual overhaul of iOS since Apple introduced the iPhone.

Déjà vu! Think the new interface looks like iOS fell into a bucket of clown makeup? Disagree with this notion that something like a camera-app icon shouldn’t resemble a physical camera lens because the design aesthetic won’t stand the test of time? (Even though camera lenses have looked like camera lenses forever?) If so, there’s an argument for hanging back here. Apple’s design view of the world is just one more design view of the world — some people like the way Apple decorates, some people don’t.

The launch-day-download traffic jam.

When iOS 6 arrived, I got lucky and pulled the whole thing down in just a few minutes. My colleagues, by comparison, had to wait several hours. No, iOS doesn’t lock up your phone while it’s downloading the update direct to the phone, but if you don’t want the stress of popping over every few minutes to note the download bar’s barely moved a pixel, give it a day or two, then make the jump.

There’s a steeper-than-usual learning curve.

My colleague Harry, who’s been living with iOS 7 for some time, says in his review it’s “different enough that for the first time, I’d recommend that owners of existing iOS devices wait to perform an update until they have some free time to acclimate themselves to the new experience.”

It’ll be a while before all your apps are fully updated.

You’re probably already seeing new versions of iOS 7–compatible apps in App Store, and you can expect most mainstream vendors to have their affairs in order at launch, but if you’re using a mission-critical app that hasn’t been fully updated, you might want to check with the vendor before pulling the trigger.

iOS 7 is a one-way trip.

Again, nothing new here, but for those who don’t know, once you’ve pulled the trigger, it’s iOS 7 or bust — you can’t downgrade to iOS 6.