IOS_7_LogoApple's upcoming iOS 7 has been in developer beta for about a month now, and as people continue to dive in to each new release of the refreshed operating system more and more of its changes and new features are being discovered. In the latest version of the beta, MacRumors has noticed a smart new change that makes compatibility with iPhone-only apps much more appealing when used in 2x mode on non-Retina iPads.

Previously, if you were to run an iPhone-only app on an iPad in 2x mode the iPad would pixel double the non-Retina assets of the app, basically the assets that were designed for the iPhone screens that came before the iPhone 4 and its high resolution Retina Display. As anyone who has ever done this knows, the experience is subpar, and while it's nice that you are able to run iPhone-only apps on an iPad at all the pixel doubling made things look pretty blocky and fuzzy.

In iOS 7, however, Apple is doing something I'm surprised they didn't start doing a long time ago. They are having non-Retina iPads utilize the Retina assets of the iPhone-only app when running in 2x mode. Using the higher resolution iPhone assets provides a much cleaner and crisper experience on a non-Retina iPad. Retina-enabled iPads have been able to do this since the 3rd generation iPad released early last year, so it's about time non-Retina iPads get the same functionality. Here's a side-by-side comparison from MacRumors of the Apple Store app running pixel doubled the old way on an iPad mini on the left, compared to the new way in iOS 7 using the Retina assets on the right:


One interesting quirk about this is that with this new functionality Apple has actually taken away the option to even run iPhone-only apps in 1x mode at all, and instead only displays the apps using Retina assets in the same size window that 2x mode would provide. I guess it makes sense, especially on the iPad mini, that there really isn't any reason to run apps at that smaller size anyway.

So, what this means for us gamers is that if you have a favorite game or games that just plain don't have an iPad version, or they do but it's a standalone version and you're being thrifty by using the iPhone version you already own, everything will look a whole lot better if you're running it on a 2nd generation iPad or an iPad mini. iOS 7 is expected to launch later this fall, presumably alongside a new version of the iPhone 5.


  • datoamo

    iOS 7 final release date is 20 September

    • Samurix16


      • datoamo

        Yes, I also have beta release dates..

      • qpcloudy

        When will the public be able to get the beta?

      • cuw

        Never its dev only.

  • elia

    Does that mean we are going to have onlive for iOS too ? Man I wan that app so bad

    • SimonReidy

      Onlive is great, but what does that have to do with iOS7 utilising iPhone-retina assets on iPads ?

  • Greyskull

    Using an iPad mini right now...this is a GREAT development.

  • Taclys

    I'm on an iPad 3, so this doesn't effect me. However I've wanted this for my dad, an iPad 2 user, and everyone else with a non retina iPad. This is brilliant. Thanks apple!

    Is it just me, or is iOS 7 becoming most everything we've been asking for in a new iOS? New look, multiple Siri voices, fixes like this, easy access to brightness/wifi/etc, and more. I can't wait.

    • LearnIIBurn

      Totally agree. I've been developing on my i5 since they got beta 1 rolled out. My iOS 6 devices just feel less fun compared to even the early betas of iOS 7.

      Many dragons ahead if you use it, but it will be very nice when done!

  • beyondthetech

    Why do I get the feeling that the iPad mini will never get a Retina Display as a result of this move? The only other iPad in production is the iPad 4 which already has it, so unless they're really doing something nice for older devices such as the iPad and iPad 2 (which is usually never the case, as a means to promote upgrades to the latest product), the only other logical explanation is that the next iPad mini will not go Retina.

  • ktern

    oh good. i used to accidentally hit that obnoxious 2x/1x button all the time and it'd ruin my games

  • fleshman

    This is one of the most basic tweaks what is used on jailbreaken iPads since 4.x, called RetinaPad.
    Ridicolous that Apple only makrs this happen now. With this feature at the beginning, fake HD apps would never ever happened...

    • dancj

      The couldn't have had this feature right from the beginning because iPads predate the iPhone 4.

      • SimonReidy

        They could have introduced it two years ago when the iPhone 4 launched though. The RetinaPad tweak came out on iOS 4 and was awesome with any retina-optimized iPhone apps, so we've been waiting for a long time for Apple to catch up with this feature. Good to see it finally happen though.

      • Zenfar

        Apple basically gave developers time to update their iPhone apps to retina display, not every developer was going to be able to update on the launch of the iPhone4.

        This use retina artwork is an awesome iPad feature great article.

  • Pocketnova

    Yes! Good move Apple!

  • Chaotic Box

    There's a simple (technical) reason for this: All iOS 7 iPhone apps must be retina. There are no non-retina phones/ipods that run iOS 7, and Apple has been rejecting non-retina apps for months.

    If apps don't have retina assets (and soon many won't), they can't be shown at 1X on non-retina iPads - at least not without some ugly scaling.

    So, I'm pretty sure this change has nothing to do with catching up with jailbreakers or the future possibility of a retina iPad mini. It's just a matter of fitting available pixels on a screen.

    • TJF588

      That does allay my qualms with not providing the 1x zoom option regardless, though it is unfortunate for anyone who would rather use an app at its native size (I wager primarily for finger/thumb-travel concerns, like a large D-pad or a tighter playfield).

    • cuw

      The 3GS is getting iOS 7

      • dribblejam

        No it's not.

  • Greg WU

    I'm a developer, I just upgrade my iPhone5 to iOS7, and my iPhone keep restarting. It ran out of power someday, and won't start anymore. Tells me to restore in iTunes. But when I try to restore, I got Error#9 all the time.
    I'm trying to say, wait GM version please, If you don't have extra phone by your side.

    • Spinalc0rd

      Stop making stuff up. I'm a non-dev account I don't have a registered UDID. An I'm running iOS 7 beta. 3 on my iPhone 5 with no problems at all and battery life is fine.

      Bugs I had in beta 2 like unable to answer some calls and the random restarts are gone. But that was nothing compared to beta 1 with the random over heating an terrible battery life.

      • cuw

        Don't run betas on your only phone, if you are a dev pickup some old iPhone 4 on the Internet to test with. It's not worth your phone breaking to show off parallax to your friends.

      • Endscrypt

        You are a total half wit sir!

  • Dams

    Finally, should have been the case from the beginning...

  • crunc

    Better late than never. But yes it is VERY late.

  • KoRoV

    Idont know if anyone noiticed, but unreal engine games dont work on ios7 beta3.
    They crash, or they work but only touches on left half of screen are registered.
    Anyone have issue like this on 4s?

  • Konakuer

    I guess I don't care because apparently iTouch 4 won't have iOS 7... Sigh...

  • GetLitTonite

    I have the beta and let me tell you... It sucks! Every app I have crashes all the damn time! And it's so laggy. But it looks so great:)

    • KoRoV

      What did you expect, its beta dooah :p
      On my 4s works perfectly since beta3, except the thing i wrote above :p

  • derek4real

    Who cares, apple is a bunch of assholes!

  • Gamer_Kev

    Something they should have done back iOS 5 came. I haven't really been following the development of iOS 7, so I was wondering, will it even support the iPad 2? With Apple's track record of abandoning devices with each iOS release, I can't help wondering if the iPad 2 would be the next one dropped. One thing I do hope though is they improve the app store, I really hate how long it takes to load my previous purchases. (I have a reasonably fast 10m connection too, so it's not my Internet speed.) I'd love it if they made it easy to quickly brows through your apps like older iOS versions did.