10 Cool Features Hiding in iOS 7

There’s a lot more to iOS 7 than just a handful of new icons – there are a lot of powerful new features under the hood.

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Apple’s new iOS 7 is either the company’s most beautiful operating system yet or a hideous abomination (your choice!). Either way, there’s a lot more to iOS 7 than just a handful of new icons – there are a lot of powerful new features under the hood. Upgrade your phone to the newest version of iOS if you haven’t already, and then check out ten of my favorites.

1. Design-Conscious Backgrounds

Are you among the many who don’t like the aesthetic look of iOS 7? Part of the problem may be that you’re using a photo as your wallpaper – the real world seems to clash with the operating system.

If you want to give your background more of a Jony Ive feel, open the Settings app, then tap Wallpapers & Brightness. Give one of the minimalist, solid color gradient backgrounds a try – they look great on the new iPhone 5C. Or maybe try one of the funky kaleidoscopic new iPad backgrounds, if your retinas can handle that much color.

2. Correct Siri’s Pronounciation

Apple digital assistant Siri is great at a lot of things – she can tell you the score of the big game, offer movie times at your local theater and even make reservations at restaurants for you through OpenTable. One thing she’s terrible at, though, is pronouncing long names.

At least now there’s a way to correct her pronunciation. The next time Siri garbles a name, tell her “that’s not how you pronounce that.” You’ll be given alternative pronunciations to choose from, and Siri will remember your pick.

Want to give Siri’s pronounciation an International flair? Open the Settings app, then tap Generals. Tap Siri and you’ll be given a number of new options for your digital assistant. You can choose a language and accent (English is available in United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia flavors) and even give Siri a sex change if you’d like.

3. Built-in Level

Is that picture on the wall really level? Now there’s an easy way to check – iOS 7 has a built-in bubble level function. To activate it, just open your phone’s Compass app, then swipe to the right.

ios7-control-center-flashlight-200px

Apple

4. Flashlight

There’s no need to fumble around in the dark anymore now that iOS 7 has a built-in flashlight. To access it, simply swipe up from any screen (even the lock screen!) to bring up the handy new Control Center. Touch the little flashlight icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen to turn on your phone’s light. Tap it again to turn it off.

The Control Center is also where you can instantly access your calculator, timer and camera. You’ll also find one-touch controls for Bluetooth, WiFi and more. Shutting these off when not in use is asimple way to extend your battery life.

5. Automatic App Updates

One of the nicest new features of iOS 7 is automatic app updates – you no longer need to approve each update manually. But to take advantage of the new feature, you’ll need to activate it. Open the Settings app, then scroll down and tap iTunes & App Store. At the bottom of this new menu, you’ll find toggles to enable automatic downloads of music, apps, and updates. Be sure to pay attention to the Use Cellular Data toggle on the same page – make sure that’s turned off to keep data overage charges at bay.

6. Swipe Down Search

Trying to find something on your phone? The contact info for your son’s coach, or maybe an app you just can’t seem to locate? No worries – just swipe your finger down from the middle of any home screen to bring up Spotlight Search. It’s the quickest way to find just about anything that’s hiding on your phone.

ios7-system-services-privacy-200px

Apple

7. New Privacy Settings

It wouldn’t be a new operating system if Apple didn’t play a shell game with the location of your phone’s privacy features. Even if you’ve reviewed your phone’s privacy settings in the past, you’ll definitely want to review these toggles – they’re all set to ‘on’ in iOS 7 by default.

Open the Settings app, then tap Privacy. Tap Location Services. Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap System Services. Toggle Location-Based iAds to off (and Diagnostics & Usage, if you’d like), then tap Frequent Locations. If you don’t want your phone keeping constant track of where you’ve been and when, you’ll want to toggle Frequent Locations to off. You can also tap Clear History to command your phone to forget all the places it’s been.

8. iTunes Radio

You’ve no doubt heard a little bit about iTunes Radio, Apple’s answer to Internet radio station Pandora. The ad-supported service offers over 250 DJ-curated stations and, of course, functionality that makes it easy to buy whatever song happens to be currently playing. For some reason, Apple chose to bury its iRadio feature. You’ll find it hiding in the Music app. It’s free – give it a try!

9. Block Unwanted Numbers

Do you get a phone call from the same telemarketer over and over? Is an old flame sending you unwanted text messages? No longer – iOS 7 finally gives us the ability to block calls and texts ourselves directly from your phone. To stop getting calls from an unwanted number, visit your Recent call list and tap the i symbol next to the offender. Scroll to the bottom of the Info menu and tap Block this Caller.

Getting texts instead? Open up the text message and hit Contact in the top right of your screen, as if you were about to add the number to your address book. Tap the i icon that appears. Scroll to the bottom of the menu to find the Block this Caller option.

ios7-weather-app-200px

Apple

10. Go In-Depth with the Weather

Apple’s updated Weather app isn’t just a design update – there’s new functionality built in as well. Swipe left on the hourly forecast in the app and you’ll be able to see as far out as the next 12 hours.

Unsure whether to bring an umbrella? Just tap the numerical readout of the temperature and you’ll be able to see more detailed meteorological information, including humidity and wind chill. And yes, it’ll even tell you the day’s chance of rain.

More Is Waiting to Be Discovered

Of course, these ten items are just the tip of the iceberg – there are all sorts of fun, unannounced tips and tricks waiting to be found. Have you found any of your own? Sound off in the comments below, and let everyone know your favorite iOS 7 feature!

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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91 comments
MartinJDub
MartinJDub

Dear Apple, no innovation, just regurgitation

QuickBT
QuickBT

In any Messages conversation, swipe the texts left to see the exact time it was sent. Mind Blown.

suveryor
suveryor

My iPad doesn't have a "built-in" compass or weather app, and there is no flashlight. Those are app (or maybe iPhone) features, not iOS features.

Corro'llAngieDriskell
Corro'llAngieDriskell

Great article.  In the Privacy Settings, the Limit Ad Tracking was off by default; In Location Services - System Service, the Location-Based iAds were on by default; In the Location Services - System Service - Frequent Locations, Frequent Locations and Improve Maps were on by default.  But, I navigate to the Music app - I icon on a song and Allow Explicit Tracks is set to OFF.  Obviously, all of the intrusive settings should be off by default so that the users of the phone are allowed to make those choices.

Melissa197801
Melissa197801

Wow seriously some of you droid ,galaxy ,iPhones wars are ridiculous they are all smart phones with lots of apps and have become majority of people's pocket computers grow up no need for the this phone vs that phone war.

Melissa197801
Melissa197801

I have the iPhone 4 and I like my iPhone but honestly I dislike the new iOS7 upgrade. I have some bug issues sometimes on both my iPhone and iPad. I'm sorry I pushed the upgrade button now .

mtnbiker99
mtnbiker99

Android users are like Red Sox fans prior to 2004.  They always complained about the Yankees and ready to bash them.  But Yankee fans didn't really care because they beat them and I mean always beat them and had all the World Series rings too. It was a one sided rivalry.  Apple users don't care about Android, doesn't matter.  and that is what drives android users crazy. hahaha  

auronlu
auronlu

Here's what else we may have missed: the ability to read the clock, our email, the names of apps, or Youtube video names and comments.

Because IOS 7 thinks that people with less than perfect vision shouldn't be using mobile devices. That's why it's adopted a hard to read, micro-thin font and blaring icons that are incredibly difficult with people with slight vision impairments to see. That's okay. We still have iOS6, as long as we realize we can't update apps without facing the prospect of squinting to read. (A mistake I made with the YouTube app -- wish there was a way to backpedal when I discover that the "No vision impaired people!" rule has been sternly enforced on an app update.

bluelinegraphicdesign
bluelinegraphicdesign

Is there a way to ban Android users from Apple conversations? They are not helpful. Now THAT is a hidden feature I would like to see.


ATTENTION EVERY APPLE IPHONE USER . Go to EVERY android article and start saying this "doesn't it bother you that Apple pioneered the touch screen smart phone and Android copied this feature after we had it for years"


Thats payback biotches

bluelinegraphicdesign
bluelinegraphicdesign

Again....this article  was to help iOS7 users, not for Androidians to come here and bash...

unless...wait do you...no you couldn't....do you want APPLE fans to start bashing Android articles?..

guys should we stoop? someone stop me........

 

jhoannarango
jhoannarango

Yes yes I know Android had this 20 years ago.. But for us Iphone users, we just got this feature, WHICH I do find it's a "Hidden" one.


You can now see the time stamps of every single "iMessage or text message conversation" instead of every 10 mins by swiping and holding to the left on your message. :). So go into one of your conversations, swipe to the left, and hold. It will reveal the times that each message was sent or received
.



mikefromcanada
mikefromcanada

The weather app they are showing a screen capture of is actually Yahoos, not Apple. 

I can see why though, after using the Yahoo app for a few months its hands down the best weather app available. 

MikeinDenver
MikeinDenver

Half those features were either available previously as apps or are built into Android.  Welcome to 2011 Apple. 

JaiSurf
JaiSurf

Android users are reading this because they keep hoping Apple will come up with something new. Sadly they are always let down hence the negative comments. Make sense?

Mabus51
Mabus51

Not a single one of these features is "hidden" 

mikesvihel
mikesvihel

So funny, all this NEW stuff in iOS8 was in Android years ago.  Its about time Apple caught up!  Welcome to the club.

steeltownmilt
steeltownmilt

This is actually laughable.  I have a three year old Android phone with virtually all of these "new" apps.  In addition, I have the following comments:

1)  When you have to list plain backgrounds as an great new feature, there is something wrong.

2)  I don't want an app that I have to correct all of the time.

3)  I have a bubble level on my Android phone.  It was free and works great.

4)  My Android phone came with a flashlight app three years ago - three brightness settings - works great.

5)  My phone has been automatically updating my apps since I got it three years ago.

6)  I hit one button on the home screen and I can search for whatever I need

7)  My privacy settings are easy to find and easy to use.

8)  Between I-Heart Radio and Pandora, I could care less about Apples version

9)  My three year old phone also blocks calls

10)  I have a weather app.  Works great.

Given that I have almost everything listed in this article, most of which I did not have to install, what is big deal here?

BrandCustodian
BrandCustodian

I've learned that turning off Siri gives my battery a little edge, plus the fact that it will stop from sharing and storing on Apple's network my queries and voice.  

DerpDerpington-the-9rd
DerpDerpington-the-9rd

Wow FINALLY a call blocker. However Apple you are too late as I have this anyhow thanks to Jailbreaking. I also have a better flashlight that comes on if I double click my power button. Much more convenient. And thanks for adding a more esthetic background function, but again, thanks to Jailbreak and CYDIA I have access too 1000's of custom themes, icons, scrolling tweaks, task bar tweaks, animated widgets, lock screens etc etc etc.


APPLE really need to take a page from CYDIA's themes availability. They would knock the competition out of the water.

V.Tran
V.Tran

What did I just read ?

SirHacksaw
SirHacksaw

ATTENTION EDITORS: There is a mistake in the title of this article...  There is a "1" at the beginning where there shouldn't be any, you may want to correct this...  talk about a puff piece.


2martins
2martins

@auronlu if you click the home button 3 times rapidly in succession on this version and the last one, it zooms in for you which helps with vision impairments.  I haven't discovered anything else that helps yet aside from changing the standard font on things to large like I did with iOS6.   

maddog19
maddog19

@auronlu Have you had a look in Settings >General > Accessibility? You can turn Bold Font on. Or Larger Type. Or both.

Mr.Wallingford
Mr.Wallingford

@bluelinegraphicdesign I saw a report today that--SHOCKER--Samsung is now making a Gold Phone! I'm sure when it comes out, Androidiacs will say Android always had a gold phone! 

shorthairptr
shorthairptr

@jhoannarango thanks for the TIMESTAMP hint.. I was looking for when I sent a text earlier and had no clue so I just estimated...

AliciaKs
AliciaKs

@mikefromcanada The app shown is actually the app that comes with the phone and is unable to be deleted. It's Apples's app they teamed with Yahoo to make. Perhaps next time you should read an article that relates to your phone, which I'm guessing is an Android.

Aggie05524
Aggie05524

@MikeinDenver  One wonders, then, why are you even reading an article about new iPhone features?

harveybermingham1
harveybermingham1

@JaiSurf What Android comes up with are mostly very gimmicky, and what Apple stays with is the elegance that Android lost or some could say never even had...

Mabus51
Mabus51

@JaiSurf Android users should be happy Samsung is bring out a plastic Pink & Gold S4 and Brown & Gold S4. "Gold" coloring I guess is the new feature :P /sarcasm 


Actually we just need some new gadgets. Phones are pretty much maxed other than a speed bump  every 6 to 12 months. What else would you want a phone to do? 

jschlegel90
jschlegel90

@mikesvihel Thanks, lets all make t-shirts. 

If you're looking for a place to voice your soap box, try your local city square.

What makes these comments "laughable" is that you all (we know who I'm talking about) are so "contempt" with your phones, yet you make it a point to read articles like this and form some sort of war against another group of people who just have different preferences. 

What has happened to the respect and dignity of America on the internet? The way people talk and treat total strangers makes me cringe...grow up.

jrr_rp1
jrr_rp1

@steeltownmilt Don't want to get into the squabble about who first had the call block feature, but does anyone know of a line phone with that feature--or a module attachment to my line phone? That's where they get to me and drive me crazy. Being on the Do Not Call List doesn't help. I need a simple do-it-yourself way to handle these calls on my line phone. 

jrr_rp1
jrr_rp1

@steeltownmilt Don't want to get into the squabble about who first had what feature, but does anyone know of a line phone with a call block feature? That's where they get at me and drive me crazy. Being on the Do Not Call List doesn't seem to make much difference. I need a simple do-it-yourself way to block calls on my line phone. 

AliciaKs
AliciaKs

@steeltownmilt So why are you reading articles about iPhones if you are so content with your Android? Do you really think you will persuade an iPhone user to switch to an Android phone via comments you post on a news article about iPhones?

jschlegel90
jschlegel90

@steeltownmilt No big deal. It's just informative for the people who are buying this type of phone, or using this operating system.

If you're looking for a place to voice your soap box, try your local city square.

What makes these comments "laughable" is that you all (we know who I'm talking about) are so "contempt" with your phones, yet you make it a point to read articles like this and form some sort of war against another group of people who just have different preferences. 

What has happened to the respect and dignity of America on the internet? The way people talk and treat total strangers makes me cringe...grow up.

mikefromcanada
mikefromcanada

@AliciaKs @mikefromcanada Well so it is, having upgraded to iOS7 just 3 days ago I hadn't even looked at the Apple weather app. There you go. That being said, the Yahoo app is only similar on the screen shown; Yahoos scrolls down to radar etc. And perhaps next time you shouldn't make generalizations about what people may or may not use, you come across as a bit of a prick. 

steeltownmilt
steeltownmilt

@jrr_rp1 @steeltownmilt I can block calls through my service provider - Verizon in this case.  A lot of companies allow you to do it right through their website. 

jerome.p.besnard
jerome.p.besnard

@jschlegel90 @steeltownmilt I agree with you about how people talk and treat each others on the internet in an anonymous way.  it's pathetic.  At the same time, you have to understand a couple of things about Android fans (which I am):

- this kind of things happens in Android article (mostly iOS users comment but also MS).  Not that 2 wrongs make a right.  it's just a fact.

- Since Android came, we've been told it's inferior.  Even after most of the industry now says iOS is catching up with Android (and window 8), they are some people that put  their system on a pedestal.  Watch Apple executive reveal their product, check apple.com and it smells like arrogance (revolutionary, ground breaking, etc...).  

Again, not trying to justify any inappropriate behavior, but understand that people who like Google and their products with their low key approach (which is the opposite of Apple's) do not understand the nature of such article where it feels Apple invented slice bread.


jrr_rp1
jrr_rp1

Rogers. Toronto, Canada

bluelinegraphicdesign
bluelinegraphicdesign

@steeltownmilt @jerome.p.besnard @jschlegel90 so if you have problems with APple and its ignorance...CALL APPLE AND COMPLAIN


YOU DO REALIZE THAT ALL YOU ARE DOING IS BEING A BIOTCH. You are not getting apple and you are just looking stupid in front of all Apple users..


Thats like running a Chevy driver of the road because way back when your girlfriend dumped you in a NOVA

steeltownmilt
steeltownmilt

@jerome.p.besnard @jschlegel90 @steeltownmilt Well said, and you're exactly right.  I'm generally not one to sit here and bash people on the internet.  I just have a problem with Apple and it's arrogance.  They have almost a cult following that is perpetuated by the media.  Most of what this article lists is nothing new, but it comes off as if Apple invented it first.  Apple and their followers are often very smug and condescending when they really have no reason to be.