Tuesday 12 May 2015

9 New iOS 7 Features You'll Love

You've upgraded to iOS7, finally, and you're blown away with the new look. And, while Apple really went all out to explain its core features, and the new look, it left out a lot of details as to what its OS is now capable of. If you're new to the iPhone, or even if you're an old hat, here are 9 new features that will really surprise you. 

Teach Siri To Talk

Does Siri never seem to get your name right? Now you can change that. Teach Siri to correctly pronounce non-phonetic names correctly. When Siri says your name (or anyone else's name) incorrectly, you just correct it. Say "That's not how you pronounce (name)" and then Siri will allow you to correct it. 

You’ll be given a few choices as to how Siri should pronounce the name. Choose one and your digital assistant will now “learn” the correct pronunciation. It’s not perfect by any means, as sometimes none of the pronunciations are 100 percent perfect, but it’s a lot better than not having any correction options at all. 

Hold Shutter For Burst Mode

If you want to burst with your camera, hold down the gray, on-screen, shutter button. Alternatively, hold down either volume button. It will take pictures in rapid succession, about a half-second apart. Make sure that you’re focused before you “burst.” Otherwise, you’ll just get a bunch of blurry shots. 

Also, you cannot use burst mode to get HDR images. This is an important consideration if you want the highest resolution possible. If you do, you’ll have to stick with single image capture. 

FaceTime Using Audio Only

Cellular carriers aren't happy with this one. FaceTime can now be done just using audio. And, the voice quality is stunning. This will help you save money on voice calls when you're on Wi-Fi. The phone calls will have a much higher voice quality than the cellular network in most cases. If you go to a contact, you'll see a phone icon next to where it says "FaceTime." Tap it, and it'll make a FaceTime voice call. 

Of course, with some carriers, you can use FaceTime audio over the cellular network, but there’s not much sense in doing that. Still, it’s an option available to you if you want the higher quality call. 

Block Callers

Tired of getting phone calls or irritating text messages from an unknown caller, an ex, or anyone else? Now you can block them. Go to your recent calls list and tap on the information circle (the little "i"). Scroll down until you see "Block this Caller." Problem solved. 

Swipe Right From Left Edge To Go Back

Want to go back a screen? Now you can without tapping a "back" button. Just swipe right from the left edge of the phone and you're back one screen. Easy. 

Zoom Video

Before you use YTD to convert your YouTube videos, you have to shoot something worthy of sharing. If you’re downloading and sharing someone’s video, make sure you respect IP with those video downloads. 

If you’re shooting your own video, you can now zoom in with the stock camera by taking two fingers and spreading them out from the center of the screen. To zoom out, pinch from the outside of the viewing area, in. It works just like the “spread and pinch to zoom” in the camera app. 

Keep in mind that this is a digital zoom, not an optical one. That means that the camera app will try to approximate what the image should look like, but you’ll always end up with some amount of distortion. This is because the lens power never changes, and that’s what gives you optical clarity - the lens. Still, it’s worth it if you don’t need to worry about having perfect quality for the shot. 

Use Find My iPhone

Find My iPhone is a really handy feature. Leave it on. It will allow you to find your iPhone if you misplace it. Just log into iCloud if you misplace the phone. Your phone will give off a sonic-type sound that's unmistakable. Or, you can erase everything on the device if it's really lost. You can also track your phone online. 

Disable Passwords and Credit Card Information

If you don't plan on using any pass-lock, erase all of your data from the phone. Seriously. There’s nothing worse than having your phone stolen only to find out a thief also went on a shopping spree with your credit card. Go into the settings, and find “safari.” Disable all the things - “use contact info,” “names and passwords,” and “credit cards.” You do not want to store anything on your phone if you don’t intend on locking it. 

Turn Off Location Services

Don't want apps to track your every move? Turn off location services. Some of these services are useful, like for maps, for example, but many apps don't need to know where you are, like Instagram. Other “location service”-like features include secret mic access, so don’t forget about shutting this down too. Yep, some apps will grab on to your mic and use it when you’re not looking. To see which apps have access to your mic, go to “settings” > “privacy” > “microphone.” From this screen, you’ll be able to toggle on-off any app. 

Another trick that brings location services back into your life is website tracking using cookies. You don’t need websites to remember your login status though, so turn this off in the “safari settings” area of the phone (under “settings”). Toggle “do not track” and then adjust the “Block Cookies” setting. Switch from “Never” or “From third parties and advertisers” to “Always.”

Finally, you can keep people from tracking you by using private browsing in Safari. Tap the tabs icon and then select “private.” Now, no one will know where you are or where you’re going. 

Richard Walton is a smartphone guru. He enjoys helping people maximize mobile technology's potential by explaining features and addressing common questions.

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