After months of waiting, you can finally get iOS 7 on your iPhone and iPad beginning today. You might have some trouble with the installer — lots of people on Twitter seem to be — but once you get everything installed, it’s a whole new world of iOS. Most of it will seem familiar to you, albeit different colors and icons. However, there are a few features that are new and/or improved that aren’t so obvious, so this post spells them out for you to get you rocking iOS 7 in no time.
1. How to Block Calls and Texts in iOS 7
If you’re tired of getting calls and texts from your ex, or if that same telemarketer always calls during dinner, it’s easy to block them from contacting you in iOS 7. To block a number, go to Settings > Phone > Blocked and add their contact information. Alternatively, you can access the same settings in Settings > Messages > Blocked and Settings > FaceTime > Blocked. Adding a contact to one list universally blocks them from the other three automatically.
2. How to Private Browse in Safari
In iOS 6, you had to go to Settings > Safari to enable Private Browsing mode. Now, you can access the same thing in Safari itself just by viewing the tabs screen. Click the button in the bottom left corner labeled “Private”.
3. View SMS and iMessage Timestamps for Each Message
It’s not always important, but sometimes we’d like the ability to see the exact time one specific text was sent/received. With previous versions of iOS, you got the time the series of messages started, and then sporadic timestamps throughout the conversation, but not by individual message. Now, with iOS 7, you can view them. To see them, just tap and hold any individual message bubble in your thread and swipe your finger left. Easy.
4. How to Access Spotlight Search
On every version of iOS since the beginning, the search page was located left of the main home screen. Now, the home screen is the furthest left you can swipe, but search is accessible from any page. To access the Spotlight search bar, just swipe your finger down from anywhere on the screen (except the notification bar) and it will appear at the top. Spotlight works just as you’re familiar with already. Search your contacts, apps, music, and more (but not the web — you’ll need Siri for that).
5. How to Access Control Center in iOS 7
A new feature of iOS 7: Control Center. It’s long been one of the most requested features, despite being part of Android for years. I’m a fan of the implementation, too. It gives you quick access to settings you’re likely to change and toggle the most, like WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, Orientation Lock, and Do Not Disturb. You can also toggle the flashlight on and off, forward, back, play and pause music tracks, open the calculator and access the camera — from any screen. It even works on the lock screen. Last but certainly not least, you can quickly change the screen brightness from Control Center. To access it, just swipe your finger up from the bottom of the screen.
6. Quickly Close Safari Tabs // Close Running Apps
In previous versions of Safari, you closed a browser tab by [attempting] to tap the little red ‘X’ in the corner of each window. With iOS 7, that process has been made easier, enabling you to just swipe the tab left to close.
The same swiping gesture also works to close apps you have running in the background. No more trying to tap that ‘X’ from the multitasking tray; just swipe them away. You access the multitasking / app switching screen the same: a quick double tap on the Home button.
7. How to Use iPhone as a Level
Oh look – another instance of Apple stepping on the toes of its developers. Instead of downloading one of a multitude of different bubble level apps, it’s built right into the Compass app now. I point this out because, from time to time, it comes in super handy and the level isn’t in a place you’d likely look. When you’re in the Compass app, just swipe your finger to the left to access the second page, which is where the Level lives.
Have any other tips or tricks to add to this list that you’ve discovered? Let me know on Twitter: @mbchp.
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