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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