40+ Fantastic iOS7 Tips & Tricks

I may not speak for everyone–and judging by a bevy of social media comments I’ve see, I don’t–but I’ve really enjoyed iOS 7 thus far. From the moment the update install finished, I was captivated by an experience that was both new and familiar. Even now, I still find myself unlocking my iPad and iPhone just to play with the new OS. To say iOS 7 is a major change is an understatement, and I know it’s easy to feel lost or confused about how certain functions now work. Also, there’s quite a number of new features to tinker with.

That’s where I come in. I’ve perused iOS 7 in order to compile a list of useful tips and tricks, which I hope will be of great use to you. So, journey forth and discover!

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App Store

Turn Off Automatic Updates

Automatic updates is a handy new feature in iOS 7 that will install all app updates, you guessed it, automatically. The major downside to this feature, however, is you may not want to install a specific update. Luckily, the feature is optional and can be turned off.

To turn off automatic app updates:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap iTunes & App Store
  3. Turn off Updates (it will have the App Store icon located on the left)
Turning off automatic app updates will also help with battery life.

Turning off automatic app updates will also help with battery life.

Add to Your Wish List

There may be times when you’ll come across an app of interest, but may not want to install it immediately. The App Store now includes a wish list, allowing you to save apps to be downloaded at a time of your choosing.

To add an app to your wish list:

  1. Tap the Share icon at the top
  2. Tap the Add to Wish List icon

You can view your Wish List by tapping the list icon that’s located left of the search field.

A wish list is also available in iTunes.

A wish list is also available in iTunes.

Calendars

List View

I find the List view to be best method of keeping tabs on my schedule, but Apple saw fit to cripple and hide it away in iOS 7. To view the List view in Calendars, simply tap the Search icon (magnify glass) in the upper-right.

The List view is far less prominent in iOS 7.

The List view is far less prominent in iOS 7.

Camera

Turn On Grid Lines

The Camera app was completely revamped in iOS 7, which features a brand new UI. One function that’s no longer easily accessible, though, is grid lines.

To restore grid lines:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Photos & Camera
  3. Turn on Grid
Grid lines are a must if you follow the rule of thirds.

Grid lines are a must if you follow the rule of thirds.

Volume Down

Apple added a point and shoot camera functionality in iOS 6 with the ability to capture photos by pressing the volume up button. In iOS 7, you can now press the volume up or volume down button to capture photos, preventing you from accidentally pressing the wrong button.

Shoot in Burst Mode

Burst mode is a new feature that lets you capture several photos simultaneously. In iOS 6, quickly capturing multiple photos was achieved by tapping the capture button several times, but now you need only to tap and hold the capture button until you’ve captured your desired number of photos.

Clock

Full Screen Clock

While viewing the World Clock view in the Clock app, you can easily switch to a full screen clock that’s great for hanging out in the background. All you need to do is tap on your desired clock. The location, date and temperature will fade out after a few seconds, but you can tap again if you want them to remain on screen. From here you can swipe left or right to transition to other clocks you’ve added.

A white analog clock indicates daytime while a black clock indicates nighttime.

A white analog clock indicates daytime while a black clock indicates nighttime.

Control Center

Turn Off Control Center Access Within Apps

Control Center is one of my favorite new features in iOS 7. Accessed by swiping up from bottom of the screen, Control Center allows you to quickly toggle features and settings that previously required trips to the Settings app. However, because the swipe up from bottom gesture can interfere while interacting with apps, such as games, you may find it best to turn off access to Control Center from within apps.

To turn off Control Center access within apps:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Control Center
  3. Turn off Access Within Apps
If you keep accidentally opening Control Center, turning off in-app access should help.

If you keep accidentally opening Control Center, turning off in-app access should help.

Open a Music or Podcast App

While listening to music or a podcast, you can control playback in Control Center. However, there are times when you want to return to the app that’s handling playback, which you can quickly access from Control Center by tapping the song’s/podcast’s title.

You can also open some video playback apps with this method.

You can also open some video playback apps with this method.

FaceTime

Make a FaceTime Audio Call

Something new to FaceTime in iOS 7 is FaceTime Audio calls, which functions in the same manner as a traditional phone call. This is a great feature for iPad owners that may want to call individuals without needing to chat via video, but bear in mind you can only call someone that has a supported iOS 7 device.

To initiate a FaceTime Audio call:

  • Tap the phone icon under the FaceTime section
  • Ask Siri to make a FaceTime Audio call (e.g. “FaceTime Audio Mom”)
FaceTime Audio calls work on both Wi-Fi and your cellular network.

FaceTime Audio calls work on both Wi-Fi and your cellular network.

General

Bold Text

If the font weight in iOS 7 is difficult to read, you may want to consider turning on the bold text option.

To bold text:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Accessibility
  4. Turn on Bold Text
  5. Restart your iPad (you’ll be prompted to do so)
Bold text should help most individuals that are finding it difficult to read text in iOS 7.

Bold text should help most individuals that are finding it difficult to read text in iOS 7.

Change Text Size

If bolding text isn’t your bag, perhaps changing the text size will be more beneficial. One thing to note with this feature, however, is that it only works with apps that support Dynamic Type, which includes most first-party apps.

To change text size:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Text Size
  4. Drag the slider left or right until you’re satisfied with the preview text’s size
Dynamic Type is only featured in select apps, unlike bold text which is widely supported.

Dynamic Type is only featured in select apps, unlike bold text which is widely supported.

Kill Apps (With Kindness)

Killing apps isn’t a recommended practice, as it will prevent background features from triggering. However, there are instances in which apps need to be killed (e.g. an app is malfunctioning, app is using battery draining functions like GPS).

To kill an app:

  1. Double click your Home button to activate the new multitasking menu
  2. Flick an app’s preview card upward
Kill multiple apps simultaneously by flicking multiple cards.

Kill multiple apps simultaneously by flicking multiple cards.

Turn Off the Parallax Effect

The new parallax effect is quite cool in my opinion, but it has shown to cause motion sickness or just annoy certain individuals.

To turn off the effect:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Accessibility
  4. Tap Reduce Motion
  5. Turn off Reduce Motion
Turning off the parallax effect also helps preserve battery life.

Turning off the parallax effect also helps preserve battery life.

Turn Off Background Refreshing

Apple has finally loosened their grip on how apps work in the background, which is great news for developers, as they can now offer some awesome new features. This ability to refresh apps in the background comes with a hefty price, however, which is battery life. If you’ve noticed a major drop in battery life performance, there’s a good chance that background refreshing is a major culprit.

To turn off this feature:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Background App Refresh

From here, you can turn off the function all together, or for individual apps.

You may want to keep background refreshing on for a few apps you use frequently.

You may want to keep background refreshing on for a few apps you use frequently.

Return to a Previous View with Gestures

I’ve long been a fan of gestures, which are a staple in iOS 7. Instead of tapping back buttons, you can now return to a previous view by swiping right from the left edge of the screen. This feature is supported in most first-party apps, and some third-party apps that have been updated for iOS 7.

You may want to keep background refreshing on for a few apps you use frequently.

Spotlight Search

Spotlight Search is a great way to quickly search for an app or contact, and is my preferred method of opening most apps I’ve tucked away in folders. In iOS 6, Spotlight Search was accessed by swiping right from the main Home page, but now you can simply swipe down from any Home page.

Spotlight Search is much more accessible than before.

Spotlight Search is much more accessible than before.

No More Folder Limitations

Folders are a great way to combine similar apps that you don’t need to access frequently, but could only hold 12 apps in iOS 6. This limit has been removed in iOS 7, as folders now utilize pages. So, when you add more than 9 apps to a folder, and 10th app will be located on a second page from within the folder.

Stuff as many apps as you’d like in a folder.

Stuff as many apps as you’d like in a folder.

Turn On Labels

Switches are all over the place in iOS 7, which you use to turn features on or off. A green (or other solid color) switch indicates that a feature is turned on, while a white switch means the feature is turned off. If you need an additional indicator, or if you like like the way they look (like me), you can turn on labels.

To turn on labels:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Accessibility
  4. Turn on On/Off Labels
Labels are a nice addition to switches.

Labels are a nice addition to switches.

Do Not Disturb, Always

Do Not Disturb (DND) is a handy feature that turns off all notifications, and was introduced by Apple in iOS 6. The only downside to DND is that notifications would still sound if your iPad was unlocked. In iOS 7, you can select whether you want DND to work only when your iPad is locked or all of the time.

To turn on the latter option:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Do Not Disturb
  3. Tap Always (under SILENCE)
Never receive a notification when Do Not Disturb in turned on.

Never receive a notification when Do Not Disturb in turned on.

Turn On/Off AirDrop

AirDrop is a great new feature that allows you to easily share almost anything with other iOS 7 users. In order to send or receive something, you first need to turn on the feature.

To turn on AirDrop:

  1. Open Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the screen
  2. Tap AirDrop
  3. Tap either Contacts Only (i.e. you will only be seen by individuals in your contacts) or Everyone (i.e. you will be seen by anyone that also has AirDrop turned on).

You can turn off AirDrop in the same manner, but I recommend doing so by tapping the Bluetooth icon in Control Center, as it turns both AirDrop and Bluetooh off simultaneously. However, this method shouldn’t be used if you need Bluetooth on to interact with a different feature or device.

To share via AirDrop, tap a Share icon, when available, and then tap all individuals you wish to share with.

To share via AirDrop, tap a Share icon, when available, and then tap all individuals you wish to share with.

Maps

Walking Directions

Walking directions was somewhat of a hidden feature in iOS 6, but is now more prominent in iOS 7. When you enter an address or search for a location, Maps will automatically provide walking directions if a route is available and the location is deemed within walking distance.

To force walking directions:

  1. Tap the arrow icon next to the search field
  2. Tap the walking pedestrian icon at the top
Transit features, unfortunately, are still not available in Maps.

Transit features, unfortunately, are still not available in Maps.

Change Preferred Directions

Depending on where you live, you may walk more often than you drive. If that’s the case, you can change the preferred direction type from driving to walking.

To do so:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Maps
  3. Scroll to the bottom
  4. Tap Walking (under PREFERRED DIRECTIONS)
Once set up, Maps will automatically default to walking directions.

Once set up, Maps will automatically default to walking directions.

Messages

Display Full Names

Apple is keeping things casual in iOS 7 by displaying only the first name of individuals you chat with in Messages.

If you prefer full names:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  3. Tap Short Name
  4. Turn off Short Name
Short names can be difficult if you have friends with the same first name.

Short names can be difficult if you have friends with the same first name.

Display Sent/Received Times

Sent and received times were very limited in iOS 6, as they merely displayed the start time of a conversation. In iOS 7, you can view the sent/received times for each message by swiping left from anywhere within the chat history.

Figuring out when each message was sent/received  can come in handy.

Figuring out when each message was sent/received can come in handy.

Delete Messages

Deleting messages in iOS 7 is far less convenient than it was in iOS 6. I ended up spending a few minutes trying to figure out how to initiate the feature, and found the method to do so rather odd.

To delete messages:

  1. Tap and hold (or double tap) the message you wish to delete
  2. Tap More
  3. Tap the circle icon next to the message
  4. Tap the trash icon in the lower-left

You can still select multiple messages or all messages (tap the Delete All option in the upper-left).

Deleting messages is still available in iOS 7; it’s just not very discoverable.

Deleting messages is still available in iOS 7; it’s just not very discoverable.

Music

Create iTunes Radio Stations

Creating new iTunes Radio stations is pretty straight forward, which is accomplished by tapping the New Station option in the iTunes Radio view. However, you can also create new stations from an artist or song in your library, which is done in the Now Playing view (i.e. where you control music controls).

To do so:

  1. Tap Create in the upper-right
  2. Tap either “New Station from Artist” or “New Station from Song”
You can also select these options in the Station Information view when using iTunes Radio.

You can also select these options in the Station Information view when using iTunes Radio.

Explicit iTunes Radio Content

Apple is keeping things kid friendly in iTunes Radio, as it filters out explicit content by default.

To allow explicit music and lyrics:

  1. Tap the information icon at the top of the Now Playing view
  2. Turn on Allow Explicit Tracks
Depending on your preferred genres, leaving explicit music off can be rather limiting.

Depending on your preferred genres, leaving explicit music off can be rather limiting.

Show Only Downloaded Music

When I initially launched the Music app after updating to iOS 7, I was surprised to see every song I’ve ever bought from iTunes. I typically don’t load a lot of music on my iPad because I use Rdio, but I kind of like the notion of accessing all my purchased music, which can either be streamed or downloaded. The only problem with this setup is not everything purchased in my account is for me, and I don’t quite care for a large chunk of what’s available.

To turn off this feature:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Music
  3. Turn off Show All Music
If you prefer to see only music you’ve downloaded, you’ll want to turn on this option.

If you prefer to see only music you’ve downloaded, you’ll want to turn on this option.

Notification Center

Customize the Today View

Notification Center is much more featured filled in iOS 7, and I really like the direction Apple’s taken with it. I especially enjoy the Today view, which presents various information about my day, including the weather, calendar events and drive time to my next appointment. There are some items I don’t particularly care for, however.

To customize the Today view:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Notification Center
  3. Turn off your desired options in the TODAY VIEW section
Tweak the Today view to your liking

Tweak the Today view to your liking

Privacy & Security

Turn Off Lock Screen Access

I find Notification Center, Control Center and Siri to be wonderful features of iOS 7, and don’t mind that they can be accessed via the lock screen. However, some individuals believe the privacy concerns outweigh the convenience of accessing these features from the lock screen. If you share their concern, perform the following steps:

To turn off lock screen access for Notification Center:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Notification Center
  3. Turn off Notifications View and Today View (under ACCESS ON LOCK SCREEN)

To turn off lock screen access for Control Center:

  1. Return to the main Settings view
  2. Tap Control Center
  3. Turn off “Access on Lock Screen”

To turn off lock screen access for Siri:

  1. Return to the main Settings view again
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Passcode Lock
  4. Enter your passcode (if applicable)
  5. Turn off Siri (under ALLOW ACCESS WHEN LOCKED)

Limit Ad Tracking

To limit how ad companies track your browsing habits, turn off the Limit Ad Tracking option.

To do so:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Privacy
  3. Tap Advertising
  4. Turn on Limit Ad Tracking
Limiting Ad Tracking won’t turn off the feature entirely, unfortunately.

Limiting Ad Tracking won’t turn off the feature entirely, unfortunately.

Create a Simple Complex Passcode

Turning on a passcode is the main and easiest method of protecting your iPad’s data. However, sticking with the standard four-digit code doesn’t offer the same security as a complex passcode, but who wants to enter numbers and letters every time they unlock their iPad? Luckily, there’s a way to create a safer passcode and use the more convenient numerical keypad.

Limiting Ad Tracking won’t turn off the feature entirely, unfortunately.

Limiting Ad Tracking won’t turn off the feature entirely, unfortunately.

To create a simple complex passcode:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Password Lock
  4. Turn off Simple Passcode
  5. Tap Turn Passcode On
  6. Enter a passcode with five or more numeric characters (e.g. 12345)
  7. Tap Next
  8. Re-enter the passcode
  9. Tap Done

When you unlock your iPad, the numeric keyboard will be displayed instead of a full keyboard.

A simple complex password provides a greater level of security.

A simple complex password provides a greater level of security.

Safari

Shared Links

Shared Links is a new feature that allows you to view links shared by everyone in your Twitter feed.

To access this feature:

  1. Tap the Bookmarks icon
  2. Tap the @ tab
You must be signed into your Twitter account in the Settings app for Shared Links to work.

You must be signed into your Twitter account in the Settings app for Shared Links to work.

Add Bookmarks to the Favorites Page

Each time you open a new tab, or tap the unified addressed bar, you’re presented with a Favorites page that displays thumbnails of all your favorite websites.

To add a new website to your Favorites page:

  1. Tap the Share icon
  2. Tap the Bookmark button
  3. Tap Location
  4. Tap Favorites
  5. Tap Save in the upper-right

To move a current bookmark to the Favorites page:

  1. Tap the Bookmark icon
  2. Locate the bookmark you wish to move
  3. Tap Edit in the lower right
  4. Tap your desired bookmark
  5. Tap Location
  6. Tap Favorites
  7. Tap the Done button in the lower-right
Make sure the Favorites folder is selected when adding to the Favorites page.

Make sure the Favorites folder is selected when adding to the Favorites page.

Display the Favorite’s Bar

Because of the iPad’s ample screen real estate, Safari appears and acts more like a desktop browser than a mobile browser. Tabs is the easiest distinction to make in this case, but a feature that’s sure to please desktop browser enthusiasts is the Favorites bar. Turning on this feature will display all of your favorite bookmarks just below the omnibar.

To turn on the Favorites Bar:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Safari
  3. Turn on Show Favorites Bar
Quickly access your favorite websites.

Quickly access your favorite websites.

Change the Favorites Page Source

The Favorites page displays bookmarks that are located in the Favorites folder. However, you can change the Favorites page’s source by selecting a different folder.

To do so:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Safari
  3. Tap Favorites
  4. Tap your preferred folder
Changing the Favorites page source is handy if you’ve imported bookmarks.

Changing the Favorites page source is handy if you’ve imported bookmarks.

Close All Tabs

If you enjoy browsing on your iPad you may find yourself with a plethora of tabs open at some point. Instead removing them individually, you can close all tabs.

To do so:

  1. Tap the + icon to open a new tab
  2. Tap Private in the lower-left
  3. Tap Close All

You’ll be left with a single Private tab, which can easily be reverted to a normal tab by tapping Private again.

May sure to tap Keep All if you just want to open a Private tab.

May sure to tap Keep All if you just want to open a Private tab.

Siri

New Features

With each new major iOS release, Siri continues to improve. In iOS 7, Siri can now playback voicemails, return your last missed call, search Twitter & Wikipedia, and change app settings (e.g. turn on/off Wi-Fi). All you need to do is ask.

Changing certain settings is quicker in Control Center, but it’s nice addition for Siri.

Changing certain settings is quicker in Control Center, but it’s nice addition for Siri.

Change Siri’s Default Search Engine

Siri’s also much better with delivering search options without merely asking if you’d like to do a web search. The only downside is the results are being delivered from Bing. However, you can change the search engine to Google or Yahoo by including it in your search request. For example, “Search Google for…” or “Search Yahoo for…” Searching Yahoo instead of Bing is a bit redundant, though, as Bing powers Yahoo’s search.

Google search is still available for individuals that are strongly opposed to Bing.

Google search is still available for individuals that are strongly opposed to Bing.

Make Siri Male

Siri now features a spiffy new set of female and male voices, with the female voice turned on by default.

If you prefer a male voice:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Siri
  4. Tap Voice Gender
  5. Tap Male
I personally find the female voice to be more cheerful, but to each their own.

I personally find the female voice to be more cheerful, but to each their own.

Correct Siri’s Pronunciation

If Siri has a habit of mispronouncing your name, you can finally do something about it.

When Siri says your name incorrectly:

  1. Tap Siri’s button and say “you didn’t pronounce my name correctly”
  2. Siri will apologize and ask how you pronounce your name
  3. Speak your name and listen to the three options Siri provides
  4. Select the option that sounds best, or tell Siri you’re not satisfied with the options provided to continue the process
Luckily, my name is very simple to pronounce (unless you’re a toddler that pronounces it “Sheppie”).

Luckily, my name is very simple to pronounce (unless you’re a toddler that pronounces it “Sheppie”).

Tell Us Your Tips & Tricks

There you have it folks. I hope you’ve discovered at least a few new tips and tricks to improve your iOS 7 experience. If you have a killer tip or trick that isn’t listed, please share it in the comments!


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