If you have updated to iOS 7, you may be interested in the new features.
The primary new feature for users is the addition of the Control Panel which is a panel that slides up from the bottom of the phone. This panel gives you quick access to turn on or off WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, Screen Orientation Lock, and Do Not Disturb mode. Additionally, it gives you quick access to a flashlight, the timer/clock function, calculator, and camera as well as the brightness slider and media controls for whatever music or program you were listening to last.
The control panel is access by sliding your finger from the bottom (off the edge of the screen) toward the top. If you have a Otter Box type case that covers the bottom of the phone with plastic, you may have difficulty accessing the new control panel since the “start area” where you begin this gesture is covered with plastic.
What the heck is Air Drop?
You may see references to “Air Drop”. This is a new feature that allows two iPhone users who are near each other to send pictures or other files back and forth without emailing or messaging them to each other. I’m not sure how useful this is. I don’t think many people will use it but that is what it is for in case you were wondering.
How do I close applications now?
The multitasking interface where you can close or switch to open applications has changed. In the past, you double tap the Home button to bring up a sliding row of icons. Selecting an icon brings that application to the foreground. Holding down an icon for a few seconds caused the list to start shaking. You could tap the red circle with minus sign to permanently close the app. This is different in iOS 7. You still double tap the home button to bring up the list but now there is a large square picture of each application in the center of the screen. You swipe left or right to switch between them and tap the one in the center of the screen to bring it to the foreground. If you want to close apps, simply swipe them toward the top of the screen in a gesture like you are flicking them off of your phone.
Everything now uses bright/pastel colors and it’s hard to read!
As a middle aged man, I agree whole-heartedly with this. There are a few things we can do to help. In Settings → General → Accessibility, there are a few settings that may help. There is “Increase Contrast” which will modify the colors in some apps slightly. There is also a feature called “Bold Text” which I find helpful. Turning this on requires a reboot. And finally there is the “Larger Type” feature that allows us to enable “Larger Dynamic Type” complete with a slider to raise and lower the text size. You have to play around with these three settings to find a happy medium where the phone is legible and the text is small enough to fit useful information on the screen but large enough to comfortably read. This will be different for everyone. I find the bold text does the trick for me without having to make the text very large. I have enabled the Increase Contrast feature although I am not sure where or how much difference it made. I will agree with users who think that some readability was sacrificed for style.
My battery life seems worse. What can I do?
10 tips to save battery in iOS7
- iOS7 allows installed apps to update themselves automatically without asking. If you are in a low signal area when apps try to update themselves, this feature may cause them to burn through your battery while attempting to download. This feature can be turned on and off in Settings → iTunes and App Store and turn off the switch next to “Updates”
- iOS7 allows certain apps to refresh in the background meaning that your weather app can keep pulling in forecasts and current temps even if it is not the app showing on the top of your screen. This is new functionality. In iOS6, the app would simply update itself immediately when it was opened or brought to the foreground. To turn this off, go to Settings → General → Background App Refresh
- There are nifty new active wallpapers in iOS7 with floating bubbles that move around when you tilt the phone. These are cool but use more battery. Simply choose static images for your background if you wish to conserve battery.
- Air Drop: If you don’t think you are going to need to transfer files with strangers at a gathering, turn this off to save a little battery. This is a one click operation in the Control Panel mentioned above.
- Parallax: You may not have even noticed it, but the icons on your app home screens appear to float above your background image. It is a nifty effect that uses the gyroscope in the phone to float the icon pictures around slightly as you tilt the phone while on any home screen. This of course uses CPU resources and addition power to read the gyroscopic sensor. To turn this off, Go to Settings → General → Accessibility → Reduce Motion. Turn that feature on. That disables the parallax effect. I know it’s counterintuitive but trust me.
- Location services allow apps to read your GPS location. You want to turn this off for apps that don’t need it and there are a LOT of apps on your phone that want this information and really don’t need it. Only enable location services for apps that actually need it to keep your GPS dormant as often as possible. For instance, Google Maps needs GPS info but Facebook and Twitter don’t. To choose the apps that get to use your location, go to Settings → Privacy → Location Services and turn this off for apps that you don’t want reading your location.
- While you are in Location Services, look at the bottom of the list and you will see “System Services”. Enter this menu to turn off location services for System components that don’t need them. Specifically, Location Based iAds is quite unnecessary. While you are in there you may want to turn off “Frequent Locations”. This allows certain Apple apps to constantly update your location for purposes such as showing you coupons and generally providing them with information they can use for profit. This is associated with the Apple “Passport Services” which few people use anyway.
- You may want to go into Settings → Notification Center and turn off apps that you don’t really need “updates” from. Just about every app wants you to allow it to “Update” you on things. This is just their way of advertising new applications to you and things like that. I would postulate that 90% of the apps on your phone have no reason to pop up notifications on your screen and provide no useful information. They just want to constantly tell you about new apps they have in the app store or advertise other things to you. Your news program might be sending useful updates to your phone, your weather app too, and of course you want notifications from email and calendar apps but the others should be turned off and that will save battery too.
- Using the control panel to turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and reduce screen brightness while working in your office all day will make your battery last longer. That is why the Control Panel is a boon for users. It gives us quick, one touch access to often used features. Note that low signal strength for Verizon and other users in the office is a huge battery drain since the phone is constantly hunting for a better signal. Sadly, there is no fix for that. If you want, on Verizon phones, you can go into Settings → Cellular → Enable LTE and turn that off. Since we have no LTE out here, this will keep the LTE chip powered off and will probably cut the “signal hunting” drain in half during the day. You have to remember to turn that back on when you leave the plant or you won’t get the great LTE speeds when you are in LTE areas like Taylor or Austin.
- Finally, you may want to consider turning off the “Raise to speak” feature of Siri. With this function enabled, the iPhone is alway monitoring the movement detection sensors. When it detects that you have lifted the phone to speak to it, it activates Siri to process your command without having to long press the Home button. I’m sure you can see how this monitoring and obeying can use additional power. If you don’t mind long pressing the button to activate Siri, turn this feature off. It is located in Settings → General → Siri → Raise to Speak.
There are a great many additional new features in iOS 7. This information just scratches the surface of what is available on your phone. Hopefully you have picked up a few tricks that will squeeze a little more run time out of your phone between charges.