5 Cool New Features for Apple iOS 7

The social world was abuzz yesterday as Apple unveiled its latest operating system for its three popular mobile devices – iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches. Apple’s new operating system, Apple iOS 7, has been in the works for quite some time (I believe iOS 6 rolled out exactly one year ago) and many techies were anxious to see the new look and updated features. Although the download itself took quite some time, several hours for some users, we’ve now had at least a half a day to play around and test out the new interface. Below, find five features that I thought were worthwhile from the update:

1) Search Bar

Seriously, does anyone even use this? If the search tool was integrated with Safari and a Google search, I probably would, but since it’s just an internal search tool, I haven’t used it once. With the new update, they’ve moved the search function off the left-side window and it now appears if you drag your finger down the screen. Be careful though not to drag your finger from the top, that’s another function altogether. Removing this search tool from a separate window is more about decreasing my annoyance rather than added functionality.

2) Notification Area

Drag your finger from the top and you will see the updated notification bar. What I like is that you can see your calendar, today’s notification, as well as any missed notifications, all by scrolling from left to right. This also allows you to now feature more notifications without having it becoming overwhelming. I used to limit it to 5 per app but now I’ll probably increase it to 10 since there is more room to run. The cleaner calendar interface within this area also seems more functional.

3) Utilities and Settings Shortcuts

By swiping from the bottom of the screen, you’ll now see a new window that boasts a wide variety of features. This window replaces the original one that you usually got to by double clicking on your home button and scrolling to the right (where you could manage your music or change your screen to automatically become landscape). But now, the full size screen gives you more options. You can quickly turn on/off for airplane mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, “Do Not Disturb,” and of course, your orientation. Additionally, you can change your music volume levels and toggle between tracks. Finally, you’ll see some super convenient shortcuts. A native flashlight, calculator and clock app all make it much easier to get to these popular apps. Prior, if I was in the dark, I would have to scroll through my phone and find the folder for Utilities and then click on the flashlight. Now I can save time. Same case for the clock when I’m setting my alarm, or my calculator if I need to do math on-the-go. The camera shortcut is also within this window so you can avoid having to find it within your standard homepages.

So are you curious as to how to delete opened apps now that it’s not in that area? Thought so. Double click on the home button and you can now toggle between all the opened apps (they even show you a display window of each now!). Hold onto the window(s) that you want to delete and drag up. It will disappear. There you go!

4) Camera

If you open the app, the first thing you’ll notice is that they’ve separated out photos and videos. A major improvement if you have a difficult time finding your videos amidst your stills. Instagram photos continue to reside in their own folder. In the camera itself, you can scroll between video, photo or panoramic photo, and now you can also take a square photo (because of the popularity of Instagram, perhaps?). Finally, there is a colored button in the bottom right corner. By clicking on that, you can see the image you are taking a photo of in nine different filters. This real time functionality lets you compare the different filters at the same time, unlike say, Instagram, where you can only view one at a time.

5) Newsstand App

You’re going to think I’m kidding about this one. But I’m not. I have a lot of apps. So naturally, I organize them into folders – like many of you. Something that always bothered me is how Apple wouldn’t let you delete their default applications. On top of that, they wouldn’t even let you place some
inside folders to hide them. The newsstand app sat on my homepage for two years and never got used (I use other apps to read my news). The first thing I tried with iOS 7 was placing the newsstand app into a folder and…voilà. It worked. Thank you Apple team!

So there’s my quick synopsis of the key new features in Apple’s iOS 7 update. I’m still not sure if I like the new look but it does seem to operate faster within the 3D model, and Siri appears to have been given an improved update. Perhaps she can actually understand me now? 🙂

What other features have your found to be helpful so far? Comment below! We’re all learning so I’d love to hear from you.