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5 great features in iOS 7 you’ll want to try right away

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As promised, Apple(s aapl) released iOS 7 on Wednesday for multiple iOS devices. The software represents a radical departure from the now 6-year old mobile platform, with a full face-lift of icons, fonts and features. Some of the changes are simply visual but there are a host of new functions that have impressed me over the past few months of using the iOS 7 beta.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of every iOS 7 feature, but a highlight of some that I feel were done well and are immediately useful. And before you upgrade, you may want to get your iOS device ready for the new software with these steps.

iTunes Radio

I mentioned earlier today that even though I generally use Google(s goog) Android devices, iTunes Music has already found a place in my daily life. I’ll be canceling my Google Play Music All Access trial before the $9.99 monthly charge kicks in because I find iTunes Radio much better for me. Music tastes vary so your experience could differ, but iTunes Music won’t cost you anything to try; it’s free with iOS. You’ll find it in the iOS 7 Music app. Choose a preset station or create your own based on artists or songs you like.

iTunes Radio settings

An Improved Spotlight (if you can find it!)

Gone is the “swipe left from the home screen” action to search on your iOS device. Apple moved the search feature to above the home screen; sort of. If you pull down from the top of the screen, you’ll get the new Notification Center. So how do you get to search? Pull the home screen itself down and a Search bar will appear at the top of the screen. Enter a search term and iOS will scour your device for any matches in Apps, Mail, Contacts, Music, Calendar events, Videos and more. It’s not quite a true Universal Search because you can’t search the web from here. Still, it’s quite good; and fast on my iPhone 5.

spotlight iOS 7

Better application updating

In the App Store settings, you can now tell iOS to automatically update your apps as needed. That’s better than getting a numbered badge to indicate there are updates available. Don’t worry, the Updates section of the App Store is still there. And if you set iOS up for automatic updates, this section offers a history of what was updated — and when — automatically. Even better: Once an app is updated, a small blue dot will appear next to the app name on your home screen so you know you have a new version of the app.

Control Center

Yup, this feature may have been lifted from Android but it’s well worth it. Access the new Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of your display. Regardless of what app — or even if your phone is locked — the new Control Center pops right up offering quick access to highly useful functions: Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb and Rotation Lock. You can also control screen brightness, any music that’s playing or tap buttons for AirDrop or AirPlay. Lastly there are four icons for specific apps: Flashlight, Clock, Calculator and Camera.

command center iOS 7

Super app switching

It’s another “borrowed” feature — this time from webOS — but the multitasking interface is totally revamped and much better. Each open app is a card and you can see three at a time. The app cards show the app in its last state; they’re not actively updating. Slide these around and you can quickly see all of your open apps; tap one and you’ll jump right in. Want to close an app, or two or three? You can do that by dragging the app cards up and off the screen; up to three at a time if you want.

Apple says there are 200 new features in iOS 7, so there plenty more to explore and enjoy. This handful are among my favorite updates so far. It’s easy to think that the software is simply iOS 6 with a fresh coat of flat paint but I think that’s a short-sighted observation. The more I’ve used iOS 7, the more the update has impressed me.

54 Responses to “5 great features in iOS 7 you’ll want to try right away”

  1. Bob the enraged !

    iOS 7 is an abomination . I upgraded my iPad, and now feel like moving to Android! I hate it, the music player is totally destroyed. Thanks you (not) apple for your complete lack of vision

  2. Sweeping up from the bottom of my display worked once out of three tries and I was able to access the control center and activate airplay. But now no amount of sweeping will bring it back. ???.

  3. If only they let you manually change the name of the song/artist/album etc. manually on your iPhone. Unless they do, and I still have yet to find out how. I have some music that iOS 7 seemed to change their names and I can’t seem to change it back to the correct way. Example: Bassnectar is showing up as BassNectar and a select amount of songs by him are appearing under his actual name, Lorin Ashton, so I have half of his music under the B’s and the other half under the L’s. It’s nothing that’s completely devastating by any means, but it can be kind of a pain. Something I would just like to simply be able to change in the same fashion that one can edit a contact’s name and information. Doesn’t seem like TOO difficult of a request to me. Or maybe I’m irrational. Maybe when Apple decides what is best for us and graces us with iOS 8 we’ll be able to be blessed with that function. It’s ok, Apple, take your time. I’ll wait.


    I can’t stand the new look of the Calendar. In previous Calendar’s you could view a whole week or month and see your appointments. On ios7, in order to view a week you have to turn your iPhone sideways. Also, you can only see a time slot that is current to the time of the day. You can’t view as much as before. The same goes for viewing a whole month. It is also harder to shift between weeks and months.
    Give me back the prior calender, which was so simple to work with!

  5. Farshin Haji

    Kevin, have you ever tried Spotify? the radio is free in US. In addition, if you pay the 10 dollar, you have access to 99% of music of the world, any time, anywhere, online and offline, mobile and desktop.

    Spotify was used by majority in Sweden in 2009 and I wonder why people in US still can’t see its difference with apps like Pandora, Google music and this new iOS radio thing. Probably no body in there would believes music could be free like that (I call ten dollar a steal for a quality app like Spotify), being spammed by copyright propaganda everyday!

  6. Hi , I cant use the music bar in the control center I can only change the volume but I cant go to the next song or pause the song or play it. anyone knows the solution or the reason please?

  7. Although there’s a lot of hype about iOS 7, I’m not sure why people give so much importance to Apple’s OS updates. It might be good, perhaps much better than all the previous versions, but it’s still just an update!

  8. Automatic updating of apps is a great new addition.. but can you specify that the automation only occurs through wi-fi ? I wouldn’t like my apps to update randomly through 3G. My service plan just wouldn’t handle it

  9. I’d like to know how to delete individual songs as well. It looks like it automatically loaded any song I’d ever bought from iTunes, a lot of which date back to my early high school days, and I cannot stand most of the songs on my music app because of that. If anyone figures out how to delete them, please reply.

    • For removing the purchased songs, try logging out of your Apple ID in you iPhone by going to settings > iTunes & App Store > then log out of the Apple ID, then bring in the music you want on iTunes, then sign back into the apple ID on your phone. Should be okay.

      • I signed out of itunes and then went back to my music and by swiping right to left I was able to delete. Thank goodness! I was begining to be very disappointed as I couldnt stand half the music that suddenly popped up when I installed the update.

      • Thank you so much!! I didn’t want all the iTunes song on my new iPhone5c. I just can’t figure out how to get my android songs into it, since they’re not in iTunes and I cannot find them on my laptop. Agggghhh!

  10. Sandra Bogarde

    I am terrified. Yesterday, I erased an entire iMessage history. When searching my phone for a keyword, the old, deleted text pops up. I believe it is still available, as I THINK I set my iCloud to back up text when it hits wifi. I am hundreds of miles from my home PC. If I upgrade my software, do I run the risk of losing the deleted history, forever and ever, amen? Please forgive my ignorance. I am not tech savvy at all.

    • Sandra Bogarde

      Additionally, if I plug into power and connect to wifi, if my phone does back up to iCloud, will the deleted text then be gone? Should I just sit tight and do nothing until I’m positive I won’t lose the deleted iMessage history for good?

  11. Howard Greenstein

    If you have control center enabled in lock screen and someone takes your phone, can they just turn on airplane mode and keep you from finding it with “Find my phone?” or is there some security feature?

  12. Donnie Baker

    In a Donnie Baker voice: “Shut up Randy! Just ’cause you don’t wanna switch from your tampons to iPads! Besides the only thing you create is b.o. in the break room! You can’t criticize Apple unless you make more money than them, they’re smarter than you and richer than you, it’s state law. Anyway, I gotta go before Randy launches his Being-A-Dick App.”

  13. Hm… Surprised “New Station from Artist” and “New Station from Song” haven’t been patented by Pandora or somebody else with prior art.

    Anyway, doesn’t Apple have any interest in creating something new, instead of duplicating what has been done before?