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Today Apple is releasing it's new mobile operating system, iOS 7, the biggest overhaul to the OS since it's inception. Visually iOS 7 is a lot different than it's predecessors. They got rid of the faux wood textures, green felt and beveled glossy buttons and replaced it with a much cleaner, whiter, and visually lighter interface. One of the new cool features that you'll find all throughout iOS 7 is called parallax. It's used on the home screen, in Safari's browser tabs and on certain on screen prompts. If you tilt your phone it'll appear as if there is a layer floating above the phone, giving it a 3D effect. It's not particularly useful but it adds another dimension to the iPhone that makes it appear as if there's a whole world inside of it and the screen is your window. After you get pass the new look and three-dimensional parallax effect there are a lot of new features that make iOS easier to get things done in and a joy to use. 

Let's take a look at some of the new features in iOS 7 and how to use them.

 

Notification Center:

This menu will appear when you swipe down from the top of the screen.

 

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Today - Shows your schedule for the day (from your calendar), weather, stocks, traffic time to home/work, reminders

All - Shows all of your Notifications (Choose which notifications appear in Settings)

Missed - Notifications that have appeared that you may have missed


Control Center:


Control Center gives you quick access to often used settings such as Airplane mode, Wifi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and Screen lock orientation. Just swipe up from the bottom of the screen no matter where you are in the phone to bring up the menu.

 

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Screen brightness control and music controls are also available. The settings for the new sharing feature, AirDrop is also in Control Center that allows you to quickly make yourself available, or unavailable to everyone, contacts or turn it off. 

Shortcuts to Airplay, Flashlight, Clock, Calculator and the camera are also available. 

Share Menu:

The new share menu in iOS 7 is a bit different than before. The new icon is a box with an arrow pointing up. Press the button to share websites, photos, videos, documents etc. When the button is pressed a share menu will pop-up and allow you to share to AirDrop, iMessage, Mail, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr by default. Some apps will let you share to other apps that can use the piece of content you're trying to share. 

 

AirDrop

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AirDrop is a new feature that lets any compatible iOS device (iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPad Mini, iPad 4 and iPod Touch 5th-gen) share photos, videos, documents, map info, app content , and more between each other with a tap of a button.

1. To use AirDrop the sender and receiver must have AirDrop enabled

2. Make sure your Wi-fi and Bluetooth is turned on. (Note: Neither person has to actually be connected to a Wi-fi network)

3. Go into your Control Center is make sure AirDrop is enabled either for Contacts Only or Everyone. 

4. When you enter the Sharing Menu you will see the face and name of anyone near you that you are able to AirDrop something to.

5. Touch the face and the content will instantly be shared with that person. They will receive a prompt asking them to accept.

 

AirDrop makes it incredibly easier to share things like photos, contact info, directions or websites instantly and to multiple people at the same time.

 

Multi-Tasking

In iOS 6 you could double-tap the Home Button and an app drawer would appear at the bottom of the screen to show all of the previous apps you were running. This was useful because it provided a faster way to get to apps you were recently using. The problem was the apps weren't actually running in the background (expect for music, navigation and few other exceptions), iOS would automatically disable apps after you opened another to save battery life. In iOS 7 Apple has implemented an elegant solution to that problem. Instead of automatically disabling apps, your device will learn when and how often you use particular apps and automatically update their content so when you're ready to use them you don't have to wait for them to download information. 

While improving multi-tasking, they've improved the look of the app drawer as well. Now you will see large images of the apps that are running in the background and you can scroll through them either by the app icon or by the app image itself (Scrolling via the image is faster than using the app icon). If you want to make sure an app isn't running in the background you can with flick of a finger close the app by swiping up.

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iTunes Radio

Inside the Music app there is now a new button called Radio. If you're familiar with the radio app Pandora, it's basically Apple's version. Create and customize your own radio stations to your particular taste. Using the star button you can suggest more songs be played like the current song or tell iTunes Radio to never play that song again. Like Pandora there are ads which are audio clips that play every few songs. You can however pay $25 a year to get rid of the ads and it'll also include iTunes Match service that allows you to stream your iTunes library over your phone without actually putting the songs on your phone. Definitely worth the price of admission for music lovers. 

New Sounds & Wallpapers (Dynamic)

In iOS 7 Apple has included all new sounds for ringtones and alerts. (Yes!) If you're tired of the same old iPhone sounds there are plenty of cool new sounds to chose from. You still have access to the old sounds though if you begin to miss Marimba. Right next to Sounds in Settings you'll notice "Wallpapers & Brightness". Here you can choose a new dynamic wallpaper that actually moves as you move your phone. Not a big deal but kind of fun. There are also some new static wallpapers that are rather nice as well.

Siri

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In the past Apple digital assistant, Siri has been hit or miss for most people. With iOS 7 Apple has not only improved how Siri displays information and sounds but they've made Siri a little bit smarter. You're now able to search Wikipedia, photos and video from the internet. You can even search Twitter via Siri, all without opening a single app. Siri can also control settings in your phone like Wi-fi or Bluetooth by just asking it to turn it off/on. Screen too bright? Ask Siri to lower the brightness of your screen. Magic. However the best thing about the "new" Siri is that it's much, much faster and responds more frequently than before. Prior to iOS 7 I was pretty frustrated with how fast Siri worked and would usually use Google's voice search app instead. Since iOS 7 I've returned to my digital friend and our relationship has never been better.

 

Privacy

This area isn't new to iOS 7 per say, but I thought I would go over it considering all of the privacy and security stories in the news lately. If you go into Settings and scroll down just a little you will see a menu labeled "Privacy". This gives you a list of functions like Contacts, Photos and Microphone and lets you see which apps you've given permission to use each function. If you don't want a particular app to use a certain feature than you can disable it. Just remember, disabling certain apps will limit the ability of that app. For example if you don't want Facebook to have access to your Photos, you won't be able to upload photos to your Facebook app. 

The next section shows you which apps have access to your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook). Again if you disable an app you wont be able to share within that app with the particular social network. There's an Advertising section at the bottom that allows you to turn of Ad Tracking as well.

 

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Turn Of Motion In iOS 7

For most people the parallax effects in iOS 7 is fun and adds a three-dimensional perspective to their iPhone/iPad. For others, especially with vision problems it could be distracting or worse. So if you want to shut off all of the motion effects in iOS 7 here's how. 

1. Go to Settings and select General > Accessibility

2. Scroll down and turn Reduce Motion OFF