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iOS 7 Tips and Tricks
Apple recently released iOS 7 for the iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5th generation iPod touch, 3rd and 4th generation iPads, and the iPad Mini. iOS 7 is packed with all sorts of new features and an entirely redesigned interface that it makes your old phone feel brand new. Some of these changes take a while to get used to, while some improvements aren’t very obvious. Here are a few tips for making the effort to update your iOS device worth it!
iOS 7 introduces new gestures for easy access to both old and new features. To start off, most Apple applications support a simple swipe in from the left side of the screen to go back a screen in apps like Notes and Settings. This is most useful in Safari, which now hides the navigation bar when scrolling through web pages. Simply swipe from the left to go back a page and from the right to go forward.
There are also new gestures for swiping in from the middle and the bottom of the screen to access Spotlight and Control Center.
Spotlight Search From Anywhere on the Home Screen
Spotlight, a useful tool for quickly searching through your music, contacts, apps and other information, used to be accessible by swiping right from the first screen of icons or pressing the Home button while already on the Home Screen. This is no longer the case with iOS 7. Now you can swipe downwards on any page of icons and the Spotlight search box reveals itself.
Swiping up from the bottom of the screen causes the new Control Center to pop up, and Control Center is a big deal. It pretty much removes any desire to jailbreak a device, at least for me. The Control Center features quick toggles for Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb Mode, and Orientation Lock. Under that is a brightness slider for quick access when you don’t want a blinding screen burning into your retinas late at night. Below that are your iPod controls for music and a volume slider (and access to AirDrop if you’re on an iPhone 5 or higher). At the bottom are some very useful shortcuts for built-in apps: Timer, Calculator, Camera, and Flashlight. That’s right, you no longer have to download a separate app to use the LED flash on your phone as a flashlight. With iOS 7, it’s built right in.
Taking a note from the old Cards interface of the webOS devices of yore, the multitasking interface has changed with iOS 7. Double clicking the Home Button reveals a series of screenshot previews of the different apps you have open. You can scroll through them, tap on the app you want to switch to, and it will seamlessly take you to that application. To close out of an app, you just have to swipe upwards on the app’s preview. No more holding down on an icon to get them to do their little jiggle dance.
The Updated Lock Screen
The Lock Screen now functions as more than just a fancy clock and picture frame. In addition to being able to swipe anywhere to unlock, you can access both the Notification and Control Center right from the Lock Screen.
However, keep in mind, if you use a pass code to unlock your phone, people will still be able to access Notification and Control Center without entering the code. To prevent access to these on the Lock Screen, go into Settings > Notification Center or Settings > Control Center and disable Lock Screen access.
Timestamps on Text Messages
For the longest time, I’ve wanted to know exactly what time a message was sent on my iPhone. I’d like to know how long it’s been since I missed one so I can determine whether or not should even bother replying. Up until now, the iPhone would only display the time of messages that it deemed conversation starters, and nothing within the actual conversation. That has changed with iOS 7. Simply swipe to the left on any conversation screen in the Messages app and the timestamps reveal themselves right next to the appropriate message! This even applies retroactively to your old conversations.
Automatically Update Your Apps
By going to Settings > iTunes & App Store, you can set the phone to automatically update your apps as soon as updates become available. This is great for the OCD-inclined who hate seeing the App Store update badge number rocket through the double digits because they’re too lazy to update apps. However, the automatic update feature doesn’t let you choose which apps update. Keep that in mind, in case you want to keep an older version of an app around.
Background App Refresh
Apps can now refresh and update their content in the background to keep them current, even when not in use. However, this functionality may have a large effect on battery life or data usage, so Apple has included options for picking and choosing which apps will update in the background. To access these options, just go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh.
Burst Mode is an advertised new feature of the iPhone 5s, but iOS 7 also allows older devices to get in on the Burst action. Hold down the picture-taking button and the camera will take multiple consecutive shots for as long as you hold down the button. The fancy editing processing isn’t there like with the 5s, but now you have a better chance at getting the photo you want!
Video recording now supports zoom by dragging on the new on-screen zoom slider or using an outward reverse-pinching gesture. The software can’t update your lens, though, so be aware that zoom could have a negative impact on the quality of your image.
The new Camera app also adds Instagram-like square shots and photo filters, which can be used for direct shooting or applied after the fact.
Folders, introduced in iOS4, used to be limited to only 16 slots. So if you had, for instance, more than 16 games, you’d have to create multiple folders for them. Now folders can have multiple pages of apps, so app and icon organization just got a lot more cleaner.
Sometimes, with all the texting and apps, we forget the iPhone is actually a phone. iOS 7 brings better functionality to this oft-ignored feature. When receiving a call, you now are given three different options to respond with. You can answer the call, which is the obvious (though sometimes less desirable) choice. You can also tap “Remind Me” to ignore the call for the moment and have the phone remind you about the missed call at a later time or location. The third option is “Message” which will send a pre-written or custom text message to the caller, such as “I’ll call you later.”
You can directly block calls by going to your “Recents” call list, tapping the “i” button, and scrolling down to “Block this Caller.” You can also access the Block List by going to Settings > Phone > Blocked. Goodbye annoying spam messages.
So now you can feel a little less bad about ignoring calls—or more bad, depending on how you go about it.
When Siri works, it’s great, but it doesn’t always work! iOS 7 doesn’t really help in that regard, but Siri can now toggle settings such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. She can also search the web directly for images, play voicemail, post to Facebook and read Tweets to you. You can even correct her pronunciation of names (which is a godsend in regards to my last name). Oh, and she can also be a guy, since you can change Siri’s voice now.
Select Other Weird Nuances
The Clock icon on the Home Screen now shows the correct time instead of a static image. Maybe someday Apple will do the same for the Weather icon with live weather (which, by the way, now displays a simple picture of a cloud and a sun, removing the silly generic and often inaccurate “73 degree” text).
The Compass app can now function as a spirit level. So the functionality of this rarely used app has doubled!
There’s a bunch of new built-in sound tones for you to use with alarms, ringtones, and text notifications.
Newly downloaded and unopened apps have a blue dot next to their name on the Home Screen.
The new parallax backgrounds feature is really cool, but if you don’t want to use it, perhaps to save on battery or prevent some odd motion sickness, you can disable it by going to Settings > General > Accessibility and turning on “Reduce Motion.”
By Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra