21 brilliant iOS 7 tips and tricks

26th Sep 2013 | 16:17

21 brilliant iOS 7 tips and tricks

The little things in the new mobile OS that make the big difference

iOS 7 tips and tricks 1-4

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 - let us know yours in the comments.Check out our iOS 7 review for the full lowdown!

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Notifications: begone!

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.

4. 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).

Blocking contacts and making music

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10 . 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.

11. 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.

Safari AutoFill and Reducing Motion

12. AutoFill: let Safari input your details

Feeling trustworthy? Safari can automatically fill out web forms using your Contact info, previous names and passwords, and credit card details, should you so wish. You can toggle these AutoFill options individually from Settings > Safari > Passwords > AutoFill.

13. Siri: now reads your emails

Siri makes light work of not only listing emails in your inbox, but also reading them out to you. Hold down the Home button and say, "Read my emails" and Siri will give you sender, time and date sent, and the subject of each in turn. When asked if you want it to read out your mail, just say "Yes".

14. Apps: one folder to rule them all

Unlike previous versions of iOS, there's no limit to the number of apps you can file away in a single folder. Now you can simply pile icons onto each other to your heart's content. Finally, an end to the Games 1, Games 2, Games 3 (ad nauseum) home screen debacle.

15. Motion: reducing sickness

iOS 7 likes to advertise its existence to you with all manner of motions, animations and alerts. If all the hullabaloo is leaving you slightly queasy, put a dampener on things by selecting Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion > Off.

16. Notification Centre: not on my lock screen

Notification Centre got a visual overhaul in the latest version of iOS, offering a neat snapshot of your appointments and message snippets accessible from the lock screen. But not everyone wants their itinerary on show to all and sundry. Happily you can turn off this overview from Settings > Notification Centre, using the sliders listed under - you guessed it - 'Access on Lock Screen'.

Spirit Level and Background App Refresh

17. Compass: invoke the spirit

The compass is a mainstay of iOS, but has been redesigned to look less 'Forstall' and more 'Ive'. That's not all though, as a quick swipe left in the app reveals: a spirit level now accompanies the navigational tool, ensuring future DIY jobs should be a little less skewed.

18. Maps: walk or drive everywhere

Maps still has its downsides, but it's useful for the most part - more so now that you can choose a default mode of travel. If you're more rambler than driver and want to avoid having to define your directions as such, simply tap to Settings > Maps and select Walking under Preferred Directions.

19. App Store: Near Me

A new tab in the App Store app called Near Me automatically lists the most popular apps in your general location. That might sound a bit gimmicky, but we found it useful when visiting towns and cities for the first time, when it turned up local transport and tourist information apps.

20. Apps: Background App Refresh

iOS 7 introduces the ability to selectively control which apps are allowed to refresh their content while you're getting on with other business. When battery life is at a premium, turn off any offenders by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh.

21. Apps: Automatic Updates

iOS can now update your apps automatically. That's great as long as a) you have an unlimited data plan, and b) your favourite app's functionality doesn't get mangled with some poorly advised revisions. Control this function either way by going to Settings > iTunes and App Store and sliding the Updates option under Automatic Downloads.

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