Now that I have had enough time to go to iOS 7, revert back to iOS 6 because of poor app compatibility, then go back to iOS 7 because I felt lost without Control Center and everything just looked, old. So after going back to iOS 7 (I was only back on iOS 6 for maybe 3 days, having installed iOS 7 beta 1 on the first day), I started playing around, and these are my top 5 features in iOS 7 I have found useful, and now can’t live without.
Multitasking first made its debut for iOS in iOS 4. Since then, however, there has been little to no changes to how multitasking functions, only with a few new APIs getting thrown in for iOS 5 & 6. Aside from that, multitasking had stayed its boring old normal self, which involved a simple app switcher at the bottom of the screen that showed your app icons for what was running, and you held down on them to bring up a red “X” to close them. Well, now that has been completely redone, and I absolutely love it.
Not only does multitasking now allow me to see the application in the state I left it, but it lets me simply, and quickly, swipe up to close them. Multitasking is fluid, and you have your app icons situated neatly below the app screenshots. This, to me, is a near perfect implementation of multitasking. If I were to change anything, it’d be to let me swipe either way to close apps, seeing as right now you can only swipe them up to close. Other than that, I love it.
2. Control Center Toggles
This was the game changer for me. I had told myself over and over, if iOS 7 didn’t “wow” me, I was most likely switching to Windows Phone 8 (simply because I didn’t want to go to Android). Control Center toggles are the thing that got me hooked on iOS 7. I needed this if I was going to stay on iOS. Being able to quickly switch Wi-Fi off, or Bluetooth, it’s awesome. I know other operating systems have had this for a while, but other operating systems aren’t iOS, and it wasn’t worth just this to switch. Now that it is on iOS though, I am not jealous of any other operating systems.
I’m personally using these all the times. Rotation lock I use all the time, I like to keep it on when I’m lying in bed and turned sideways but trying to hold the phone normally. I also use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles everyday. Wi-Fi I use because I don’t want it searching while I’m about and about, there is just no point. Bluetooth I use almost hourly, because I don’t need it using battery while I’m not using it, and then I turn it on whenever I update my Nike+ FuelBand application, and then turn it off afterwards, or I use it to turn on Bluetooth in the car for Bluetooth phone calls. This feature has quickly grown near and dear to me.
3. New Siri
iOS 7 brings with it the biggest update to Siri we have seen since it was announced alongside the iPhone 4S and iOS 5. For starters, the UI has been completely remade to better match that of iOS 7. With it’s new “blurred” interface and crisp, thin white text, it is more beautiful than ever. I also love how it simply fades in and blurs the background instead of your screen sliding up to reveal it below. Along with the new UI, however, came some great new options. This is the first time we’ve seen new voices added into Siri, now allowing you to change the voice between a female and male, and to me they sound much more human than before, especially the female one.
Other new features that I have found myself using quite often are internet searches, including Wikipedia, and image searches. Now if I want to see a picture of something, I can just ask Siri to show me pictures, and without leaving it will bring up images. Internet searches are also kept within Siri now, instead of jumping into Safari to handle the task. The search service of Siri uses Bing, not Google, but so far that hasn’t been an issue. Wikipedia integration is also fantastic, as instead of just giving you the links, it will give you the Wikipedia article right there in the Siri UI for you to read, it is quite handy. Lastly, need to change your Bluetooth or Wi-Fi toggle, but are in a position to not look at the screen for Control Center? Don’t worry, Siri can handle settings now as well.
4. Camera Filters
Who needs Instagram anymore? Just kidding, Camera filters won’t completely ruin the sharing experience of Instagram, however it is an awesome feature to have. Filtering pictures may not make you a “professional” photographer, but they are always fun to use. From the different Black & White options to the shading and color effects, Camera filters have become something that I find myself using more often than I first thought I would. Not every picture I take is headed to Instagram, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want filters on them to sort of add a little something to them.
There are situations where I will find myself thinking “Oh, that would look neat, but it’s not something I want to share on Instagram, I just want to email it to someone.” So, now I don’t need a separate application to take/filter pictures with (looking at you, Analog, even thought I still use you for your beautiful UI). Also, now you don’t have to only take square pictures with filters, as you can use this to filter normal sized images as well. As I said, this isn’t something I thought I would be using a lot, but have found myself using more and more as I remember more often that I have them available.
I’m sure I can guess what you are thinking. “This isn’t a feature, it’s just a gimmick!” Yes, I understand that. But that “gimmick” is awesome, no matter what you try to say about it. The parallax effect found in iOS 7 is simply beautiful, as is the rest of iOS 7’s UI (yes, I even like most of the new icons). In the iOS 7 video, Jony Ive explains that the purpose of the parallax effect is to show depth, and try to help the user find context in something that is 2 dimensional. Well, this does a fantastic job of doing this, and in all honesty, one reason it made my list is because it is just fun to play with.
That’s not all, however. New in iOS 7 is a set of developer APIs that allow developers to take advantage of this parallax effect, and implement it into their applications. The new API set, dubbed “Motion Effects”, is used throughout iOS 7 in places you may not notice until you see iOS 7 in person. Many people are under the impression that it is only on the lockscreen and the home screen, but this is completely wrong, actually. You can find it in Safari, when you go to tabs for example. Moving the phone around will shift the wallpaper the background, and let you see more/less of the content on the tabs depending on how you shift it. All alert views have also been given this effect, so whenever you get a popup (which are now white, not that blue glossy color) if you move your phone, you will notice it shifting above the application in the background, giving the sense that it is floating “above” the background. This is why this made my list, not because it is a gimmick, but because of how deeply integrated throughout the system it is.
Tell me what your favorite features of iOS 7 are, I would love to hear them! Just leave a comment below, or tweet me @TiP_Kyle.