iOS 7: What You Should Know

Yes, I was one of the many Apple fanatics that downloaded iOS 7 on all my devices the day it was released.  Chances are that, since you are reading this, you too have downloaded iOS 7.  After my update to iOS 7 was complete, it was as if I had a brand new device in my hands.  At first I was skeptical of the new thin fonts and candy color scheme, but the style soon grew on me (maybe those florescent colors are reminiscent of my childhood; I’m a product of the ‘80s) and now I can hardly recall the look of previous operating system.  Letting my excitement get the best of me, I endeavored to investigate every new feature available.  In doing so (along with a bit of research), I compiled a brief list of what I think are the most important tips and tricks to help optimize your use of the new system:

1)   Notification Center:

Swipe down from any screen (including the lock screen) to open the Notification Center.  The Notification Center provides easy access to your calendar and notifications (i.e. Mail, Reminders, and other Apps).  Apple even provides a nice narrative summary of your daily and upcoming events, such as, “Event X is up next on your calendar” or “Your calendar looks clear in the morning” or “Your day starts early tomorrow”.  The Notification Center also delivers today’s weather.  You can control which apps provide notifications and customize the notification screen in Settings > Notification Center.

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2)   Control Center:

A swipe up from any screen (including the lock screen) will pull up the Control Center.  The Control Center gives you quick access to a flashlight (iPhone only), AirDrop (iPhone 5, iPad 4th generation, iPad touch 5th generation, and iPad Mini), calculator (iPhone only), timer, and camera.  You can also enable Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth; turn on Do Not Disturb; activate AirPlay; lock the screen’s orientation; adjust the screen’s brightness; and control media.

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3)   Multitasking and Gestures:

The new iOS 7 makes multitasking even easier.  Swiping up with four fingers or a double tap of the home button pulls up the most recently accessed apps with a new thumbnail view (including one for the home screen).  You can close apps by holding that app and swiping it up. You can close up to three apps at a time (while I thought this was a nifty trick, it proved difficult to do, especially with small hands).  A swipe down from the center of the home screen will open the Spotlight search function (be careful not to swipe from the top, which will instead open the Notification Center).  Note: Spotlight in iOS 7 no longer searches the web.  If you want to become a multitasking pro, here is a list of a number of other iOS 7 gestures worth checking out.  And, if you are having trouble remembering all the new gestures, try downloading Wired Magazine’s wallpapers to help you make the transition.

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4)   Compass and Level:

A newly designed compass app is available in iOS 7 for the iPhone and iPod touch.  Hidden within that app on the second page is a horizontal and vertical level tool.  When you have a perfect level, the app will turn green.  Watch out though, this feature can be quite addictive.

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5)   Battery Life:

As soon as I downloaded iOS 7, I noticed a change in my battery life.  From a bit of research, I learned that I’m not alone.  If you are concerned about your battery life, you can make the following changes to help preserve it:  disable Background App Updates (Settings > iTunes & App Store, under Automatic Downloads, turn off Updates); disable some or all apps using Background App Refresh (Settings > General > Background App Refresh); turn off Parallax by turning on Reduce Motion (Settings > General > Accessibility; turn on Reduce Motion); turn off Dynamic Wallpapers (Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness > Choose Wallpaper, then choose Stills or an image from your photo library); limit Spotlight search parameters (Settings > General > Spotlight Search, uncheck items that don’t need to be included in a search).  For more battery usage tips, take a look at this article.

If you are an iPhone user who would like to learn more about the new iOS 7, download the iPhone User Guide For iOS 7 Software, here.  Happy iOS 7ing!