Apple released iOS 7 last night and the buzz around it on the Internet is nothing but deafening. Yes, iOS 7 is a big departure and is the first major overhaul since the platform was first unveiled in 2007. Yes, the sudden outburst of colour, the translucent window shades and the new icons take time getting used to but there is more to the new OS than what meets the eye initially.
Apple has added hundreds of subtle tweaks and tricks throughout the system and there probably isn’t a single setting where you won’t find something new. Here are my selection of the top 10 tricks you should know from day one of using iOS 7.
If you have already installed iOS 7, you probably already know about the new notification centre and the new control centre that can be summoned by swiping up from the bottom of the display. You might have already seen the new music player as well as the camera tweaks with live filters and the new gallery interface that automatically groups your photos into moments. Let’s check out some of the hidden tricks of iOS 7.
Spotlight Search: You might have noticed that iOS 7 no longer has the spotlight search page that could earlier be accessed by hitting the home button and swiping the screen to the right. Instead, iOS 7 makes it easier by giving spotlight search on every page. To summon spotlight touch the display and swiping down.
Swipes in Safari: In iOS 7, swipes are the best way to reveal hidden features. In Safari you can swipe to the left or right to go a page back or forward. In the open tab viewer you can swipe on tabs to close them. While browsing on a web page the top bar disappears. To bring it back just scroll the page up a little.
Swipe in iMessage to reveal timestamp: One of the most irritating thing about messaging on iOS was one could not see the exact time of individual messages exchanged in a quick succession. That has somewhat changed with iOS 7. Now you can touch any chat bubble and swipe to the left to reveal individual timestamps.
Location preferences: Apple has also started collecting information about locations you frequently visit. It is buried deep within the privacy settings and you can reach it from Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations. From there you can check which locations Apple thinks you visit frequently and it seems to be the data Apple is using to improve its maps. But if it spooks you, there is an option to disable it.
Background apps: With iOS 7 you can now see and disable apps that have permission to run in the background.
Apps using cellular data: An interesting feature add-on is a history of apps that have used cellular data along with the data they have consumed. This can be accessed from Settings > Cellular. You can even turn off cellular data access to certain apps if you think they are eating into your data plan and they will only be able to connect online when the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network.
FaceTime Audio: This is one of my favorite features as now you can make voice calls to other iOS users over a data network. Yes, we have had FaceTime for a while but this is perfect for situations when you don’t want to come on camera. It also consumes lesser data and works even in low bandwidth.
Contact blocker: While Android has many apps that let users block contacts from calling them or sending text messages, iOS by design does not provide third-party apps that access. Instead, iOS 7 now has the capability to block contacts. Either in the messaging menu or the call log, you will get an ‘i’ icon next to the caller’s name or number. Hit that and scroll to the end that will give you the option to block them. You can visit your blocked numbers list from the phone settings menu and can remove people from the blacklist.
Safari shared links: Twitter has gotten deeper integration with iOS 7. Not only can Siri search your Twitter feed but even Safari now has an option where you can see all the web links your contacts are sharing on Twitter. You can summon this in Safari by hitting the bookmarks menu and choosing the third tab that has the ‘@’ symbol.
Text tweaks: If you find iOS 7's new font to be too thin for your liking you can change its size and even make it bold from the accessibility menu within General Settings.