iOS 7 Tips

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 iOS 7 pull down for Spotlight search

iOS 7 is the biggest change to iOS since the original iPhone. With great change comes great confusion. Even though iOS 7 is easy to use, this article features tips and tricks to make life easier.

The iOS 7 release is a success. Within a month of its release, over 60% of iOS users have upgraded to iOS 7. Even though the new operating system has some bugs, considering the massive scope of changes, it is quite stable and usable. I’ve been using iOS 7 since the first day of release and haven’t experienced any serious issues. Recent patches have fixed most of the prominent bugs. Most people seem to like the new operating system, although some are still getting used to it. The tips featured in this article focus on using iOS 7. If you are interested in extending your device’s battery life after the upgrade, check out this article about iOS 7 battery tips.

Search From Any Home Screen

Spotlight is easily accessed in iOS 7. Simply slide one finger down from any home screen. Don’t do this from the very top of the screen, as it will launch Notification Center instead. I love this new feature. If you have a lot of apps, Spotlight is the best way to launch them. You can refine Spotlight results from Settings > General > Spotlight Search. From here, you can add or remove items and also adjust the order in which they appear. Spotlight is also a great way to launch Safari pre-loaded with whatever you’re searching for.

Spotlight Search settings

Swipe Left and Right to Move Back and Forth

iOS 7 introduces some new and convenient gestures. One of my favorite is the ability to swipe left and right to move back and forth between screens. This doesn’t work on every app, but it does work on Safari, Settings, and many other apps. The swipe gesture is performed by placing your finger on the edge of the iPhone and swiping toward the center of the screen. I actually start my finger on the bezel (the margin or frame outside of the screen area) and move toward the center of the screen. Swiping left to right will move back. Swiping right to left will move forward. It’s a great way to move back and forth between web pages and settings. This capability is not unique to Apple’s own apps. They opened it for use by third-party developers. Give it a try in your favorite app — it might work.

Shake to Undo in Mail

Shaking your iPhone to undo an action is nothing new. The gesture has been available in iOS for years. This gesture has been added to Mail in iOS 7. Now you can easily undo typing or actions in Mail by shaking your device. On the iPad, you can undo by switching the keyboard layout and selecting undo and even redo. Shaking also works on the iPad. Some are critical of this gesture, claiming it doesn’t make sense. Think of shaking an Etch A Sketch and it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, shaking won’t undo an email you regret sending!

Safari: Close All Tabs

If you have a lot of tabs open and don’t want to click “x” to close each one, there’s a shortcut. Turn on Private mode and close all tabs when prompted. Then turn off Private mode (or leave it on) and continue browsing.

Improve Text Legibility

One common complaint with iOS 7 is that text is difficult to read. iOS 7 has a softer design, with pastels and muted contrast. The lack of contrast has made text less legible for some people. Luckily, there are a few things that can be done to improve readability.

iOS Accessibility settings offer a few ways to improve text legibility. The easiest and most sweeping improvement is to make text bold. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and turn on Bold Text. Tap Continue and your iPhone will restart.

improve iOS 7 text legibility by turning on Bold Text

When your iPhone has booted up again, you will notice that all of the text is bold. This change is applied virtually everywhere and makes it much easier to read text on the screen.

If turning on Bold Text isn’t enough, Apple introduced new settings in iOS 7.1 to improve text legibility. You can only turn these on if you have upgraded to iOS 7.1. One new setting allows users to darken colors. This goes beyond just the text and creates more contrast between UI elements and the background. This is a subtle change and does not affect every element of the user interface. You can turn this feature on by tapping Settings > General > Accessibility > Increase Contrast and turn on Darken Colors. You will see the change immediately, but it is not a huge difference. If the whiteness of iOS is too harsh, you can also tone it down by turning on Reduce White Point. This turns the white backgrounds into more of a light gray. While this may reduce the contrast of text, in combination with Bold Text and Darken Colors, it should make iOS 7 much easier to read.

Increase Contrast settings can improve readability in iOS 7

Reduce Motion Sickness

I find it surprising that people complain about iOS 7’s animations making them ill. This must be a widespread and serious problem, as Apple has addressed it. Users can turn off the motion effects by tapping Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion, then turn Reduce Motion on.

Turn Off Noise Cancellation to Improve Call Quality

If you are experiencing poor call quality when using your iPhone, you may want to turn off the noise cancellation feature. For the most part, this will improve call quality, especially in noisy surroundings. In some cases, this feature will diminish call quality. You can turn this feature off by tapping Settings > General > Accessibility, then scroll down to Hearing and turn off Phone Noise Cancellation. This setting is only available for the iPhone 5 and 5S.

It is important to note that this feature only works when holding your iPhone to your ear. If you make calls using the headphones or a bluetooth earpiece, this setting will have no effect. Changing this setting might improve call quality, but it could make it worse. It’s worth a try, but keep in mind that your results will vary.

Accelerated App Switching

When you open the multitasking view (double tap home or slide four fingers up on the iPad), there are two speeds to move between apps. Sliding over the app icons (at the bottom) moves faster than sliding over the preview panes. (continue…)

iOS 7 multitask scroll speeds

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