A new improved version for a better mobile experience.
The jury may still be out on iOS 7’s radical redesign – for what it’s worth we love it, with a few reservations – but there’s no denying that it’s the friendliest version and most powerful of iOS yet. But there’s more to iOS 7 than headline features such as Control Center, Airdrop and iTunes Radio: some of our favourite improvements are little things that make our everyday lives that little bit more pleasant. These are our favourites:
Camera: shoot in burst mode
The redesigned Camera app has a nifty trick up its sleeve: if you want to shoot in burst mode, taking multiple shots in quick succession, just click and hold the volume-up button.
Multitasking: quit multiple apps
You probably know that you can quit running apps by double-tapping the Home button and flicking the offending app upwards, but you might not have tried it with multiple fingers to force-quit more than one app at a time. We’ve made it work with three apps on our iPhone, although doing the same on an iPad means getting your nose involved too.
When you receive a new notification, you can still swipe right to open the appropriate app – but if you just want rid of it you can now swipe up to hide it.
Lock Screen and Home Screen: use panoramic images
You can use static or dynamic images for your Lock Screen and Home Screen wallpapers, but if you prefer you can use a panoramic image instead, so the image moves as your phone does. The image must be saved in your Panoramas album: normal Camera Roll images won’t work. Sadly for iPhone 4 owners, this feature is only available in the iPhone 4S onwards (and if you’re using or have upgraded from a recent beta, this feature might not work).
Phone, FaceTime and Messages: block contacts
Does someone have your number and you wish they didn’t? Successfully avoid exes, creditors and the angry husbands and wives of your lovers with iOS 7’s excellent blocking features. Add the number to your Contacts, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap Block This Caller to refuse incoming calls, messages (including SMS and MMS) and FaceTime calls.
Messages: see the timestamps
iOS 7 likes to keep things nice and minimalist, but if key information isn’t visible there’s a good chance it’s just a swipe away – so for example in Messages, you won’t see timestamps against each SMS, MMS or iMessage. Want to know when they were sent? Swipe left.
Apps: swipe backwards
This little tip is a handy time-saver: when you’re finished reading an email or message, or fiddling with Settings, or exploring a Music playlist, swipe backwards to return to the previous page. If you’re at the first level (such as your list of mailboxes in Mail, or the first Settings screen) nothing will happen.
Location Services: see where you’ve been
iOS 7 keeps an eye on where you go to help it personalise features such as the Notification Center, and to help improve the accuracy of Maps. If you fancy a look you’ll find it in Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations. You’ll see a list and a map, with blue circles showing where you’ve been and when. You can clear the history from this page, and if you think it’s a little creepy you can turn it off from the System Services page.
Newsstand: put it away!
We like Newsstand, but we don’t like the way it can’t be stuck in a folder like Apple’s other stock apps. Hallelujah for iOS 7, then, because at last that absurd restriction has been removed.
Settings: make iOS 7 easier on the eye
We like the new interface, but it isn’t for everyone. If you have problems with your sight or just want to make iOS more legible, you’ll find some useful settings in Settings > General > Accessibility. You can make all system text bold, increase the size of text in apps that support Apple’s Dynamic Type, scale down motion effects such as the parallax effect or invert the colours to make iOS 7 look like a 1980s electro-pop album cover.
Sounds: get some new tones
iOS 7’s library of sounds (Settings > Sounds > Sounds and vibration patterns) has been given a regular update, and Apple says they’re so good you might miss calls because you’re dancing. That, frankly, isn’t very likely.