10 Hidden Gems In iOS 7

Let’s face it: iOS isn’t the quickest interface anymore, and a lot of small features have gone missing too long. In the next version of Apple’s mobile OS, Cupertino attempts to remedy the issue—here’s how.

When Instagram launched its big update adding video, it was a giant call to action: Dedicated users had to go to the App Store and update the app manually to participate in the fun. When automatic app updates arrive with iOS 7, new functionality will simply appear in your most used apps—an awesome addition for app developers. But what other hidden gems are coming with iOS 7?


The messages app now displays time stamps next to each message, sent and received. You may not notice the new addition as the times are hidden off screen until you push (and hold) the messages to the left. The functionally may be long over due, but having specific times next to each message is something many were desperately waiting for.


You will soon be able to link contacts, merging info from more than one entry into a single contact.


Set it and forget it. Now when you set a timer, the remaining time appears on the lock screen under the clock. If you were burdened by constantly unlocking the device just to see the remaining time, fret no more.


There are a lot of improvements to the camera app in the new OS, like filters and swiping between modes, but the one of most pleasing new features is how the camera 'snaps' a picture. Instead of freeze-framing the screen with a fake shutter and then adding the photo to your camera roll with the genie effect, the camera now just does a very quick flash. Surprisingly, this little gem will likely lead to users taking a lot more photos as there's a perceived speed increase and ease of use.


Just like the stand alone GPS devices, Apple’s built in Maps app can now detect when you’re driving at night and automatically switch from bright colors to dimmer ones.

Gift Card Scanning

Apple added the ability for iTunes on the desktop to scan their gift cards with your computer’s camera, bypassing having to enter the long code. iOS 7 adds this feature to iTunes as well letting your phone’s camera detect and scan the code automatically.


The latest version of Facebook's app employs a swipe to the right to return to the previous screen instead of having to use the back button. In iOS 7 this same functionality comes to OS level apps as you drill into menus. It is a deliberate swipe from the far left side of the screen towards to the right to get it to work properly and as not to accidentally activate it. This type of gesture, not having to reach with one hand, also lends itself to the rumors of a large iPhone coming soon.


You will be able to view PDF annotations as well as make them on your mobile device.

Slide To Unlock

Even though the lock screen indicates that you need to ‘slide to unlock’ where the text is, you can slide right anywhere on the front screen to unlock your phone. If you have notifications, sliding on top of those will still take you directly to the relevant app, even though there is little indication at first glance.

These little tweaks and changes probably won't sway your overall perception of iOS 7's new bold look, but they should ease the transition. Isn’t it always the little things that end up making the biggest difference?

[Image: Flickr user Fdecomite]

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  • umbrlla

    probably has to do with carriers. You can still log into your carriers voicemail service and forward from there. I can with mine.. 

  • healeydave

    Now to get this thread back on track and post something actually related to the discussion (hint: this thread has f**k all to do with android shit)
    I noticed something the other day in the iOS7 beta but I don't know if it cropped up in earlier iOS's and I just didn't notice it.
    When a notification now comes in, you can flick it away so you can access the top of the screen immediately, previously you had to wait for the notification to disappear because tapping anywhere near it would take you to the notification. Being careful not to tap notifications when I wanted to carry on using the app I was using could be the reason I hadn't noticed this earlier, so apologies if this isn't new :-)

  • healeydave

    If Android is so good, why is Niko Lowry trolling an iOS7 post in the first place?
    Do us a favour mate and take your uninteresting Android information somewhere where people will actually care. You will do absolutely nothing in post like this to sell Android to iOS users, so why waste your time?

    We aren't living under a rock, we know all about Andoird and by now, if iOS users that are still interested in posts like this (about the latest iOS beta's), probably means we are totally disinterested in Android, we've seen it and we don't like it!!!!!!!!!

  • Niko Lowry

    I have no allegiance to any corporation that's not in my portfolio(which no tech companies are at the moment). Android has the best features and UI currently(stock Android; Touchwiz is a disgrace). I'm a critical tech advocate and get upset at articles like this.

    Innovation in Silicon Valley has ceased and it's now only about maintaining profitability and stretching the bottom line; I'm just an outspoken tech end-user/developer trying to encourage other end-users to be critical as well.

    Articles like this don't push for game changers or enhancements, and only fuel the fire to these half-ass version rollouts, Apple and Samsung both spent significantly more in legal fees suing each other over patents then they did on their R&D departments.

    People don't realize how advanced everything should be already, these corporations are milking it.

  • Niko Lowry

    I can't believe these are 'hidden gems'. Get yourself an Android device, root it and flash PACman Rom/Paranoid Rom/AOKP/Cyanogenmod and you'll see what real gems are.

    All these 'gems' featured have been standard in non rooted Android devices for years.

  • mikelite

    I love how you throw around rooting a device and flashing it with a new ROM like it's as easy as making toast. Good luck explaining what a ROM is to 99% of the smartphone population.

  • Niko Lowry

    Exactly why I added the last statement. All of those features have been baked into Android for years. Apple is playing catchup and getting media outlets to praise these 'gems' and new features; which is ridiculous. You have more features in a locked, non-rooted Android device then you do with a jailbroken iOS device. 

    I'm a developer that owns a S3, Nexus 7, iPad 3 and iPod touch. I am running beta 3 of iOS 7 and I will say it's a vast improvement to the past iOS renditions. But they need to introduce a game changer, not simply catchup to the rest of the industry.