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What to Expect from iOS 7

In this article, Jason R. Rich previews what iPhone and iPad users can expect from the upcoming iOS 7 operating system upgrade that Apple plans to release in September 2013. In addition to some powerful new features, iOS 7 offers a new look and a revamped user interface that will probably take some getting used to.
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The iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, and iPod touch mobile devices all operate using the iOS operating system. In September or October 2013 when iOS 7 is released, Apple’s iOS will again get a major update – not just to the features and functionality it offers, but also to its user interface and overall look.

Thus, as soon as you upgrade to iOS 7, expect some significant changes to how your iPhone or iPad functions. This includes revamped versions of the core apps that come preinstalled with iOS, including Phone, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Photos, Camera, Safari, Mail, Clock, Messages, App Store, Music, iTunes Store, Maps, Weather, Passbook, Voice Memos, Compass, Game Center, Stocks, and Newsstand.

For all compatible iOS mobile devices, upgrading to iOS 7 will be free. The easiest way to install the update will be to get within a Wi-Fi hotspot, and then on the iPhone or iPad, launch Settings. Next, tap on the General option, and then tap on the Software Updates option. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the upgrade. However, be sure to create a full backup of your device using iTunes Sync or iCloud Backup before upgrading to iOS 7.

Depending on which iOS mobile device you use, and how much data is currently stored on it, the upgrade process can take between 15 and 30 minutes.

iOS 7 is designed to work with the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5, iPod touch (fifth generation or later), as well as the iPad 2, iPad with Retina Display, and iPad mini. It’ll also work on all new iPhone and iPad models Apple plans to release in the upcoming months.

Just as with other major iOS updates, iOS 7 offers a handful of truly impressive new features and functions. However, what will be immediately noticeable to all iPhone and iPad users is the new user interface. The look of virtually everything on the screen has been dramatically revamped, which even for the most proficient iPhone or iPad user will take some getting used to.

Figure 1 iOS 7’s Home Screen has a radical new look. It’s shown here on the iPhone 5

New Features Offered by iOS 7

Beyond being given a makeover from a user interface and appearance standpoint, iOS 7 offers improved integration with Apple’s iCloud service and various other online social networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter. Now take a look at some of the new features offered by iOS 7.

Access Commonly Used Features from Control Center

Regardless of what you do on your iPhone or iPad, at any time, you can now swipe your finger from the bottom of the screen in an upward direction to reveal the new Control Center.

The options available from Control Center vary slightly between the iPhone and iPad. However, from the Control Center window, users are given quick access to a handful of commonly used features and functions.

For example, upon opening Control Center, you see five icons displayed. From left to right, they’re used to quickly turn on or off Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and Screen Rotation Lock.

Control Center also includes a Screen Brightness slider, quick access to Music app controls (for playing music or Playlists stored on the device), as well as access to the AirPlay and the new AirDrop for iOS feature.

In addition, Control Center offers one-tap access to the Flashlight (on the iPhone), Clock, Calculator, and the Camera apps.

Figure 2 Control Center on the iPhone or iPad offers quick access to several commonly used iOS 7 features and pre-installed apps

Notification Center Has Been Improved

On all iPhones and iPads, Notification Center continuously runs in the background and tracks all alerts, alarms, and notifications generated by the apps that it’s been assigned to monitor. It then displays that information in one place: the Notification Center window, which you can access at any time by swiping a finger from near the top of the screen in a downward direction.

The layout of the Notification Center window has been redesigned in iOS 7, giving users access to more information. Now, displayed near the top center of the Notification Center window are three tabs, labeled Today, All, and Missed. Tap on the Today tab, for example, to see the day, date, current weather forecast, plus details about appointments and to-do items you have scheduled using the Calendar, Clock, and Reminders apps. At the bottom of this screen is a summary of appointments and to-do items scheduled for the following day.

Multitasking Has Also Been Enhanced

An iPhone or iPad running iOS 7 can now handle multitasking more efficiently in a way that conserves battery life and that improves the overall efficiency of how your iOS device operates. To access Multitasking mode to switch between apps or shut down apps, quickly press the Home button twice. As you’ll discover, the Multitasking screen has also been redesigned.

Figure 3 Multitasking is now easier and more efficient with iOS 7

When Multitasking mode displays, scroll left or right to view a screen thumbnail and app icon for each app that currently runs on your iPhone or iPad. To switch between apps, simply tap on the app you want to use. To manually shut down an app, swipe your finger in an upward direction along the screen thumbnail for the app. Until most apps are shut down (or the iOS device is turned off), they continue running in the background.

New Improvements to the Camera and Photos Apps

If you enjoy snapping digital photos or shooting video with the camera that’s built into your iPhone or iPad, the new features added to the redesigned Camera app will be welcome. Now, when shooting photos or videos, you can choose between eight real-time image filters (or select None to avoid using a filter), plus quickly switch between shooting modes with a tap on the screen.

Shooting modes now include Video, Photo, Square, and Pano (Panoramic). The new Square mode enables you to shoot precropped images suitable for services such as Instagram. The overall interface of the Camera app has also been redesigned.

Meanwhile, when it comes to viewing, editing, printing, and sharing the digital photos stored on your iPhone or iPad, the newly redesigned Photos app includes a handful of new features, including an automated way to organize images based on when and where they were shot.

Improved image backup and sharing using iCloud Photo Stream and Shared Photo Streams is built into the Photos app, plus the capabilities of the Share button within the app have been greatly expanded to include compatibility with Apple’s AirDrop function, as well as Messages, Mail, iCloud, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr. The Share button also now offers one-tap controls for printing, managing, and copying images.

Figure 4 The Share button with the Photos app offers many more options for sharing digital images stored on your iPhone or iPad

Share Data and Files Wirelessly with Mac, iPhone, and iPad Users Using AirDrop

When you’re in close proximity to other Mac, iPhone, or iPad users (or you have two of your own computers or devices located near each other), you can now use AirDrop for iOS to wirelessly and securely transfer certain app-specific data and files (including photos) between AirDrop compatible devices.

AirDrop is a fast and easy alternative to sending information via email, text message, or via iCloud.

Web Surfing Is More Efficient Using the iOS 7 Version of Safari

The overall look of the iOS 7 version of Safari has been given an overhaul. In addition to command icons having a new look, Safari now features a single Smart Search field, plus a new tab view (which enables you to have multiple browser windows open and easily switch between then).

Figure 5 The iOS 7 version of Safari offers some new features that make web surfing faster and more efficient

What’s great about the new version of Safari is that it’s now even more integrated with iCloud. All Bookmarks, websites saved to your Favorites Bar, open tabbed browser windows. Plus web pages saved within the Reading List can all automatically sync with iCloud, so you can begin web surfing on any Mac or iOS mobile device that runs Safari, and then pick up exactly where you left off on another Apple computer, phone, or tablet that also runs Safari and that’s linked to the same iCloud account.

Another useful feature now built into Safari is iCloud Keychain. It enables Safari to automatically store usernames and passwords for all websites you access. Then, when you revisit those sites, you will automatically be logged in, without having to remember or re-enter your username or password. Because all this information securely syncs with your iCloud account, your website usernames and passwords are available to you on your Mac(s), iPhone, and iPad when using Safari.

Instead of Just Buying and Storing Music, Now You Can Stream It

In the past, if you wanted to listen to music on your iPhone or iPad, it had to be purchased from the iTunes Store and downloaded to your mobile device. Music “ripped” from your audio CDs and obtained elsewhere could also be synced from your computer to the Music app and then stored on your mobile device.

Now, you can stream music for free from Apple’s new iTunes Radio service, which works very much like Pandora in that users can choose from many different online-based radio stations, or custom create their own streaming radio stations based on recording artists, bands, and music genres they enjoy. iTunes Radio works through the revamped Music app, which continues to come bundled with iOS 7.

As you listen to iTunes Radio, which requires an Internet connection, you can instantly purchase individual songs or entire albums from the iTunes Store and then have that music stored on your iOS mobile device.

iOS 7 Gives Siri a New Personality

In addition to being given a broader range of functions that it can handle by responding to a user’s voice commands, questions, and requests, Siri can now speak using a male or female voice. Plus, Siri has a new on-screen look and offers animated graphic feedback as you speak.

Frequent Siri users can experience greater accuracy and expanded functionality. For example, using voice commands, you can now turn Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on or off, access voicemail, return calls, or take verbal control over the Music app and iTunes Radio.

Find My iPhone Works Better at Preventing Theft

Enhancements made to the iOS 7 edition of Find My iPhone enable users to remotely locate and lock down an iPhone or iPad that gets lost or stolen. Plus, it now helps to prevent someone else from using or selling the device without knowing the owner’s Apple ID and password. Enhanced tools for locating a lost iPhone or iPad, as well as for remotely protecting your data have also been added to Find My iPhone.

iOS in the Car Enables Your iPhone to Connect to Your Car

About a dozen car manufacturers, including GM, are making their 2013 and 2014 model year vehicles able to wirelessly connect to an iPhone via Bluetooth. Then, iPhone features and functions, including Siri, can be accessed directly through a vehicle’s in-dash infotainment system. This includes the ability to make and receive calls, enjoy music stored on the iOS device, access and respond to emails and text messages, and manage Facebook and Twitter accounts while you drive. You can do this using the Siri Eyes Free feature.

Siri Eyes Free enables drivers to use voice commands to manage tasks on their iPhone and enables Siri to respond verbally, enabling the driver to focus exclusively on watching the road, and not ever having to look at the iPhone’s screen. How the various car manufacturers implement iOS In The Car and Siri Eyes Free varies dramatically, but this is a cutting-edge way to give your car Internet access through your iPhone, and give you, as the driver, safe access to iPhone features and functions while you drive.

When You Upgrade from iOS 6, Expect Major Changes

Within seconds after you upgrade your iPhone or iPad to iOS 7, you’ll discover your iOS mobile device has an entirely new look, and that many commonly used features and function are now controlled using slightly different commands, taps, and figure gestures, which will no doubt take some getting used to.

Yes, iOS 7 offers some exciting and powerful new features and functionality that’ll ultimately make you more efficient using your iPhone or iPad. However, be prepared to experience a learning curve when getting used to the new iOS 7 user interface.

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