Sep. 18, 2013 at 6:56 PM ET
Apple's new iOS 7 isn't just a chance for the mobile operating system to shine, it's an opportunity for many apps — major and minor — to get a makeover. For instance, Facebook now lets you swipe to return to News Feed when you're done reading a story, and Kindle lets you organize your books and magazines by collections.
Here's a list of the biggest and brightest apps that are already showing off their makeovers on Wednesday, the same day as iOS 7 was released:
Facebook: An update includes a new menu at the bottom of the app that's supposed to make it easier to get around. You'll also be able to "quickly switch from News Feed to your friend requests, Messages or Notifications; just tap long the bottom of the screen," says the company. There's now a "More" tab on the bottom right, so you can see your Timeline, groups, events, etc. Learn more here.
Twitter: While Twitter's app has so far just been given a cosmetic update for iOS 7, the network has integrated its fledgling music service with Apple's services, so that you can now "discover music that's trending on Twitter through the Twitter #music station on iTunes Radio." Siri, as you may know, now also searches Twitter to help find tweets about topics or people you're interested in. Learn more here.
Kindle: Amazon has redesigned its popular app, adding Collections to help users organize their books, magazines and documents. Content can be added to multiple categories, for example, say to both "Beach Books" and "Classics."
Zillow: The real-estate app now makes searching for a home "more like reading a magazine," read the company's blog Wednesday. It's "a new photo-driven shopping experience that allows home shoppers to slide through preview photos of their search results without leaving the map."
New York Times: You can now share articles via AirDrop, and for those who really do read the newspaper on their iPhone as well as the iPad, there is support for iOS 7's universal text size setting so that you can "set your device's text size once in the Settings app, and the NYTimes app's text size will change accordingly."
Vimeo: Users can upload video to Vimeo from the Camera and Photo apps "with a single tap" on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. There's also an instant playback feature "even offline" that's been added. Video thumbnails will let you play the videos "directly inside the navigation and provide live previews of video content." You'll also be able to immediately share any videos via Apple's AirDrop file-sharing feature with other IOS 7 users. Learn more here.
OpenTable: The restaurant reservation app has streamlined search for your fine dining needs. You can change the date, time or party size inline and see results immediately. It's also more location-focused; you can look for restaurants by top-rated categories or cuisines. And, there's "easy access to more info" by swiping left and right to see a restaurant's available times, and a pull-down menu to see photos of the eatery. Learn more here.
Instapaper: The app for saving and storing articles to read later now lets you sort your "Read Later" lists by date, article length, popularity or shuffle. There's a darker screen for "better night reading," and "better parsing and organization for videos." Learn more here.
Evernote: The note-taking and all-around organizational app now has a "smart layout" that "shows only the features you need." There's also a new audio recorder that "gives you space to type while you listen." You can take a note immediately with the new Quicknote feature, or snap a fast photo note with one tap. Learn more here.
Flipboard: The customized magazine compilation app now supports a parallax look for full-screen magazine covers, "so as you tilt your iPhone or iPad, more of the image is revealed. (Try it!)" the Flipboard team says on its blog. "This release gives Flipboard a clean and contemporary feel that connects more deeply to the new iOS 7 form and function. It will also allow us to improve the overall speed of Flipboard by taking advantage of the way iOS 7 loads content in the background and conducts reader notifications."
eBay: To match iOS 7's design, the new look is flat, although the auction site is hoping the market is not. For sellers, "we have improved the upload speed when posting items for sale," and users can also "remove single items from your recent search history (yay)." Learn more here.
Pandora: The popular Internet radio service — which now gets to compete with Apple's own iTunes Radio, new to iOS 7 — isn't standing still with the new kid in town around. Pandora gets a new look and feel, and you can just "swipe to explore without interrupting your music." A new third pane "takes full advantage of your iPad, making it easier than ever to find new artists and tracks." Learn more here.
Caution: Pay attention to app upgrading process
In some cases, you may experience conflicts and crashes on iPhones and iPads that you update to iOS 7. Some apps that haven't been updated in a while may fall prey to unforeseen issues, and other app makers are reporting known problems that require your extra attention. For example, those with reading apps like Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook need to pay extra attention.
The Kindle app needs to be upgraded before you install iOS 7; if you don't, you run the risk of losing your local files. Additionally, Barnes & Noble says there are two "short-term issues" users might experience in the Nook app if they've updated to iOS 7: If the iPhone or iPad screen is rotated while you're reading, "it may cause the page to render incorrect or cause the app to crash." To deal with that, the company suggests locking the rotation while reading and getting instructions. Follow Apple's instructions here for the iPad, and here for the iPhone.
Another problem could occur if you sign out of the Nook app, then sign in again; the app "might crash or you may have trouble accessing your Library," Barnes & Noble says. These things won't happen to everyone, but for those who are affected, "be assured we are working as quickly as we can" to resolve the problems, Barnes & Noble says.
With caution now in your mind, hopefully, about the need to check updates on the apps you use frequently before updating to iOS 7, here's a quick glance at some apps that are taking advantage of iOS 7's new look and features right away: