Now that you have all the latest Apple tech toys (iPhone, iPad, iPod), how can you make the best use of them? And how much do you know about the new iOS 7  for  Apple’s  iPhone?   There was quite a bit of backlash when iOS 7 first came out last year.  Most complaints were about battery life, and some objected to the new user interface (UI). How about taking some time to figure out iOS 7? Here are some noteworthy new features of the iPhone.

 

New Look

Let’s start with the basics.  The OS in iOS stands for Operating System, which should sound familiar, since your computer also runs an operating system that you diligently update (wink, wink).  The very first thing to take note of is the new aesthetic.  The user interface is generally brighter, cleaner, and flatter. In addition, the new flat icons on the home screen move subtly as your phone moves.  Surprisingly, this was the target of much criticism, as it made some nauseated.  

ios-7-icons-vs-ios-6-icons

 

Control Center

My favorite new feature is the Control Center, which allows you to quickly adjust your screen brightness, volume, wi-fi and Bluetooth settings, airplane mode, and do-not-disturb options. All of these features are quite important to your battery life. If you notice your battery draining often (a common complaint for those running iOS 7) you might want to dim your screen, or turn airplane mode on. The Control Center also allows easy access to your alarm clock, camera, calculator, and a new flashlight.  You can access the Control Center by swiping up from the very bottom of the screen.  Performing this gesture works from any screen, even the lock screen, which is not a new feature, but you should definitely set one up!

ios-7-control-center

 

Find My iPhone

Speaking of security, the iOS 7 now has the Find My iPhone app, which previously had to be downloaded separately.  A lost phone can be found by signing into icloud.com with your Apple ID.   This app is actually available for all your Apple devices, so go ahead and test it out. You’ll find that it comes in as a life saver if and when your device gets misplaced, lost, or stolen. 

 

Contacts

Texting—for better or worse, today’s mode of communication—is now easier to eschew, if you wish.  Open a text.  At the top of the “Text” screen there is a “Contact” button.  Click it and there are three icons—a phone, a camera, and an information icon.  You can very easily call or FaceTime your friends who have developed telephone-phobia as a result of texting up a storm.

Contacts

 

iMessages

But if you like texting, you will notice that you can see the timestamp of each iMessage (iMessages are in blue, and can be sent from iPhone to iPhone.  Your friend who texts you from a Droid phone, for example, sends you a traditional text message, which shows up in green. Open up any conversation and slowly slide to the left to reveal the times of each message.  On the subject of texts, you can also easily adjust text sizes by going to Settings > General >Text Size. 

2013-09-26-ios-7-messages

 

There are lots of other cool things to discover about iOS 7.  I won’t spoil all the fun, but I will give two hints to my favorites:

1)  Find inclines using your phone’s compass.
2) For the adventurous, try inverting the colors of your screen.

Happy feature-hunting!