iOS 7 has been available as a beta preview for just over two weeks now, and having used it day-in-day-out for the majority of that time, I’ve come across 5 elements of the OS that I could no longer live without. In this list I could easily have just listed 5 major new changes and blanket covered the entire iOS, but instead I went a little more specific.
1. Notification Center’s ‘today’ view
Notification Center in iOS 7 in itself is a huge improvement on iOS 5 and 6. But if there’s one single part of it that’s really made the difference, it’s the ‘today’ page. It’s completely ridded me of needing any productivity apps aimed at giving me the lowdown on what to expect for that day, and the next. Apps like Odito which was very similar to Google Now gave calendar events and such in handy card form.
‘Today’ in NC tells me the date , current weather and any appointments during the day. It rounds up my day perfectly. If I scroll down to the bottom I get a quick reminder as to what’s happening tomorrow, and even a gentle “go to bed” suggestion if it looks like a busy day.
This single page has transformed iOS’ Notification Center from an annoying and pointless jumbled mess in to a necessary part of the platform.
2. Control Center’s app selection
If I was designing an interface to drag up giving access to apps, I’d more than likely make the wrong and most obvious decision: Let the user decide which apps to put in there. It’s the wrong choice because the user can already place those apps in the dock, or on the first home screen on their iPhone. Control Center apps required a focussed decision, one that responded to the most common scenario of needing to use something quickly and in an emergency/hurry.
Getting up in the night and needing to see where you’re going: Flashlight. Wanting to add up a quick sum while you’re in the middle of doing something else: Calculator. And then there’s the age-old ‘water’s just started boiling in the pan, quick get a timer’ to ensure the egg isn’t over or under-done. It’s a very well chosen selection which – of course – adds a camera just to round it off.
It’s not necessarily the apps or functions you need most often, but it is the ones you need in a hurry and now accessing them is so much more convenient.
3. Safari Tabs
Safari in iOS 7 is fantastic. But if there’s one part that really makes it excel over what it used to be, it’s tabs. The new cards view helps organize and manage open tabs far quickly than you ever could in any previous version of mobile Safari. What’s particularly great is that the tabs interface also includes iCloud tabs. Just drag up as far as you can, and any open tabs in Safari on your Mac or iPad will show up. This integration of iCloud and on-device tabs is seamless and makes browsing that much more frustration free.
4. Mail Gestures
Until iOS 7 landed, Mail was nowhere near top of my list of favorite email clients. In fact, I didn’t have email set up in Settings on any account. Instead, I used a combination of Mailbox and Mail Pilot on iPhone and iPad. Mail was so unintuitive and managing the hundreds of daily emails I receive was long and laborious to say the least.
And then came the new app. Now, if I want to quickly dismiss an email I can slide to the left and archive or trash anything in a fraction of a second. That gesture combined with the new interface has made Mail a great client again. I’ve now deleted all third party email clients and have everything running through Mail.
5. Auto-Updating Apps
Last but by no means least in my list. I hadn’t realized how frustrating I found having to keep visiting the App Store to update my apps until I didn’t have to think about it anymore. It’s fantastic. If I ever want to see what’s been updated on any given day, I can simply drag down Notification Center, and check in there.