Best ‘hidden’ features in iOS 7

With any new version of iOS comes a whole range of new hyped about features. Everyone will love them and use them. But, there are some nice little features either buried beneath the surface, or in non-obvious places. This post is dedicated to all those features that you may or may not have heard about already.

1. Frequent Locations

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This is one of those features that makes your Notification Center experience that much better, and yet, one of the most difficult to find. When you drag down Notification Center in the “today” view, you’ll notice that one of the phrases showing up tells you how long it’ll take you to get to your work or your home, or perhaps another frequently visited location. It doesn’t do it all on its own, and it’s certainly not magic.

To find it head to Settings>Privacy>Location Services then scroll all the way down the list to System Services. You’ll see Frequent Locations as an option near the bottom of the list. Open it and you get to a toggle switch where you can switch it on or off. Depending on how long you’ve had your phone, it’ll have a list of your most frequently visited locations, all plotted on a map. This is what enables Notification Center to pre-warn you of traffic conditions and travel time to these locations.

It’s very smart, but, you can switch it off if you want to.

2. Spirit Level in Compass App

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If you open up your Compass app, swipe from right to left, you’ll get a new user interface showing you two white bubbles and an angle indicator. The higher the number, the less flat your surface it. Once you place your phone on a completely flat surface, the two bubbles fit right on top of each other, canceling each other out and showing just a black screen with 0 degrees showing on the indicator. You may not use it all the time, but, next time you’re putting up a shelf, remember you’ve got a spirit level handy in your pocket.

3. Block Callers/Messages

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In iOS 7 you can block certain people from sending you iMessages or calling you, and there are a couple of ways to do it. Either go in to Settings>Messages>Blocked and add a new contact in there to block their messages or Settings>Phone>Blocked to stop people from calling you. The other option is to go in to the contact’s details and scrolling down to ‘Block this Caller’.

4. Safari iCloud tabs

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It’s not exactly hidden, but it is new and different. In previous versions of iOS, to access iCloud tabs you had to go in to its own section of the Safari browser. With Safari in iOS 7 all you need to do is open up the tabs view. It shows you all pages open on your phone in a card style user interface, but, if you scroll to the bottom of the page you’ll see a neat little list showing you all the open pages on your other iCloud-enabled devices. In my line of work it’s a real life-saver.

5. Tap to Stop/Snooze timers and alarms

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Again, it’s not a secret, but it’s another really useful change. Whenever you have an alarm or timer running, the countdown shows up on your Lock Screen. Once the time’s up, instead of having to “swipe” to dismiss it, you can just tap the screen and send it to sleep. Particularly good if you just need a lie-in, or if your hands are a little full.

6. Swipe to Inbox (Mail and Messages)

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In Mail or Messages when you’re in the conversation view, reading a message or email, the old way to get back to your inbox was by pressing the icon in the top left corner. It’s still there now, but, it’s not the easiest way to get there. Simply swipe from left to right on the screen and you’ll see the inbox view gradually appear from the sidebar.

7. “What’s [so and so] saying now?” on Twitter

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Siri is more powerful and advanced than it ever has been, and one of its new abilities is to show you tweets from a specific person. So, you can launch Siri and say “What’s Cam saying now?” and you’ll get a list of tweets from – hopefully – me.

8. Event list view in Calendar

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The new Calendar app is beautiful, but one of my wife’s first questions (or frustrations) was that she couldn’t access the week view showing her all the events taking place over the next few days broken down in an easy list. Thankfully, it’s not disappeared. In the new default view, just hit the magnifying glass icon in the corner and you’ll get the option to search for events, or just view a breakdown of the next few days. Simple.

9. Scientific Calculator

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Easy one: Open up calculator and turn your iPhone in to landscape view on the app.

10. Apps Near Me

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To clarify, the word “crack” in Cumbria is colloquial slang. Means: “Goings On”

In the App Store, if you’re ever wondering what people around you are downloading, just hit the little ‘Near Me’ icon in the bottom bar and you’ll get a list of locally popular apps.

Now, I’m sure there are hundreds more little neat features. Far more than I could possibly list here, so I’d love to find out what you’ve discovered in iOS 7 that you really love. Tweet me: @TiP_Cam to show me.

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  • jakezarobsky

    The swipe to inbox can be in 3rd party apps too.. It’s a new feature from the SDK

  • Dinosaur

    Scientific calculator has been there since at least iOS 4. Source? I’m a math major. That’s what I loved about my iPhone 4. Get your facts straight. I’m sure you could argue that it didn’t say new features, but we all know it is implied.

  • DrewPage

    Great features, thanks! Also, I am glad crack isn’t a plumber or drug reference, lol.

  • scarboy6693

    @Dinosaur Actually since iOS2.. I remember my iPhone 3G had it back in 08 when I bought it

  • godinho_nuno

    The swipe to go back is present in all apps from iOS. Including settings, music , contacts, safari(back and forward). Another thing is the “Shake to undo” I found it awesome. I don’t remember if in iOS 6 if you shake your iOS device it would work on deleted emails. But yesterday i deleted an email by mistake. I tried the “Shake to undo” and it recovered my email (from the trash)

  • TiP_Cam

    @Dinosaur Nope. I knew it was there before, but I’m sure many wouldn’t, it’s still “hidden”.

  • kdsingh85

    maureen_chong TodaysiPhone liked

  • nadineebba

    Best ‘hidden’ feature is lack of usability!!! OMG!!! iOS 7 is NOT a usable interface!!! YIKES, APPLE, WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING!!?!?!?!?! Didn’t you do a usability test for, gee, I don’t know…how usable small ROUND DOTS are to BIG SQUARES for the dang keypads? And when is white text on a black background EVER easier to read than black on white. Don’t they know massive usability studies have already proven that? Who’s in charge now that Steve isn’t….seems like they’re grabbing at really lame straws for the sake of change. This is so unacceptable!!  You know, I expect to be disappointed and let down with Microsoft and their products…I was so hopeful for Apple, but now I HATE MY iPHONE!!!