Though iOS is nearing its eighth incarnation, iOS 7 is only a year old and still bearing many new fruits in terms of productivity if you know where to look. I’m going to assume that you have some basic knowledge of how your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch works, if you’re looking for a beginners crash course, check out our iOS 7 guide.
Organizing AppsYou may find your iOS 7 device easier to use if can get to your regularly used apps quicker, and delete those which are not being used. Here are some tips:
Put Folders in the DockPut one or more folders of apps in the dock by dragging out the single apps taking up space and replacing them with folders of your most regularly used apps.
Locating AppsIf you need to find where an app is located in a folder, use Spotlight to search for the app by pulling down the search bar on any home screen. The folder name will be listed on the right-hand side, and you can tap the app to launch it.
Check Usage in SettingsCheck to see how much space you have remaining in your device, by launchingSettings > General > Usage. If you’re running low on space, you can delete apps from this menu too.
Use Your iTunes Wish ListIf you want to wait later to buy an app (perhaps when it’s on sale), you can add apps to your wish list by tapping the Share button at the top, and then tapping Add to Wish List. This only works only for paid apps, and you can find the wish list on the Featured tab by tapping the menu button in the top-right corner.
Reducing Battery Usage
Quickly Turn Off Wi-Fi and CellularTo quickly turn off Wi-Fi and your cellular connection, swipe upwards to reveal Control Centre then tap Airplane mode. Though this feature is designed for air travel, it can also help save battery usage when needed, and it can be useful for temporarily preventing camera shots to be copied to Photo Stream, or for when want to enhance a photo in Instagram but don’t want it posted to your Instagram stream.
Note: You won’t be contactable while Airplane Mode is on, calls will go straight to answer phone until you disable it again.
Typing and Text
Voice DictationWhen the keyboard is open in any application, you can use voice dictation feature (tap on the mic icon) to dictate text. Clearly speak a sentence or two at a time, and when done, tap the mic again and your voice will be converted into text.
Quicker Text SelectionSelecting text on the iPhone and iPad mini can sometimes be a challenge. A faster way to select a single word is double-tap on it with your index finger. To select entire line of text or a paragraph, single tap on the text with two fingers.
Shake to UndoIf there’s no dedicated undo button in an iOS 7 app, shake your device and a box will appear so you undo what you last typed, moved or deleted. This works for accidentally archived email messages, contacts added to your address book and more.
Use Typing ShortcutsTo type regularly used text, like your name or email address, create a shortcut for such text. Open Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts, and tap the plus “+” button to create a shortcut. Type the phrase you want expanded, and the shortcut you wish to use and it will appear system-wide.
You might also want to check out the word expansion app, TextExpander which works with other iOS apps.
Use Do Not DisturbIf you receive too many unwanted calls, especially during work hours, use the Do Not Disturb feature to block all calls except from callers on your Favorites list, or contacts in a selected Contacts group. To set this up, open the Settings app > Do Not Disturb and enable the feature. Select a time that suits you, and a list of calls that will make it through regardless.
Multi-task During Phone CallsIf you need to type a phone number or look up a contact while you’re talking the phone, first tap the speaker button so you can hear the other person talk. Click the Home button on the iPhone to leave out of the phone app. From there, you can open a notes app (or most any other app) and do whatever you need to.
Take a picture, look up an item on Amazon and even send email. To return to the phone app, tap the green bar at the top of the screen. Check out our article about other things you can do while on the phone.
Deflect a CallYou can send an incoming call directly to voicemail by the double-clicking the Lock/Sleep button at the top of the phone. Click the button once and it will silence the ringtone and allow the phone call to continue until the voicemail responds.
Block A CallerYou can also now block a caller indefinitely by locating the caller’s number in your Recents list and tapping on the information (i) button. From there, scroll down and tap, Block this Caller.
To unblock the number, open Settings > Messages > Blocked, and then tap the edit button to delete a blocked number from the list.
Make FaceTime Audio CallsYou probably know that you can make FaceTime video calls on the iPhone and Mac, but iOS 7 also now allows for voice only FaceTime calls, which is useful when you’re getting a bad phone connection between you and another caller. FaceTime calls can be made over the cellular network, but they also work over Wi-Fi too and provide superior call quality to standard calling.
To make a voice call only, tap the FaceTime phone icon in the contact’s info page, and it will make the call. When you’re already on a video FaceTime call, tap the FaceTime button during the call, and it will switch to a voice call only.
Assign Ringtones to ContactsA great way to know who is calling without looking at your phone is to assign a different ringtone to selected contacts. Open the Phone app, tap on theContacts tab, and select a contact. Tap the Edit button at the top, and then scroll down and tap Ringtone. From there you can change the default ringtone. The same can be done for voicemail alerts.
Take Photos while Shooting Video
While you’re shooting using the iPhone camera, you can also snap photos without interrupting the video capture. While in video capture mode, just tap the camera icon on the screen to take one or more photos.
Take Burst PhotosIf you want better chances of capturing a fast moving subject with your iPhone camera, frame the shot and then keep your finger on the white shutter button (or volume increase button on the side of your iPhone). This will cause the camera to continue snapping photos until you lift your finger ager the shutter. Check out our guide to other iPhone camera features.
Getting Things Done
View Countdowns on the Lock ScreenIf you set a timer using the default clock app or if you tell Siri to set the timer for you, you can check the countdown in the lock screen of the phone, without having to unlock your phone or leave the lockscreen.
Bookmark Locations in MapsIf you haven’t noticed yet, the Maps app allows you to access a list of recent locations you’ve searched for directions (tap on the bookmarks button in the top left of the Maps app), and you can also bookmark a location (tap on the address on the map, and then tap Add Bookmark) to use it again. You can even give the bookmark a custom name.
Close All Safari TabsIf you have a huge list of Safari tabs open on your iPhone (there doesn’t appear to be a limit) you can close all by tapping the bookmarks or the tabs icon at the bottom of Safari, and then tapping on Private to enable private browsing mode. From there you can select to close all apps, then tap Private again to disable private browsing.
Any websites you visit in private browsing mode won’t be saved to your history.
Siri TipsSiri can answer lots of questions, and help you perform many tasks. If you haven’t been using this feature, here’s introduction to get you started.
Siri Commands to Remember“Remind me to…when I arrive home”
“Give me direction to [name a location, or a contact's name whose address is in your contact list]”
“Set a timer [or alarm] for…”
“Cancel my alarm for tomorrow morning”
“Open [name an app]”
“My appointments for next week”
“Make reservations at [name a restaurant]”
Activate Siri Using EarphonesYou can send Siri commands by clicking and holding on the middle button the remote iPhone earbuds. And here’s some other things you can do with the iPhone headphones too.
Alternative AppsSometimes you might find replacing Apple’s default apps with something a little more advanced makes the time you spend with your device more pleasant. Here are some ideas.
Quicker NotesUse the app Scratch ($2.99) or Drafts ($3.99) notes for quickly type and save notes. Each time you open these apps, it opens with a blank page ready for typing. You can also email notes or send them to other design apps or cloud services. Scratch (shown below) is the easiest to use, while Drafts provides lots of advance features.
Fantastical An An iPhone CalendarIf you use your iPhone Calendar app a lot, consider downloading Fantastical 2($4.99) and using it instead. This third-party app is much better designed than the default calendar app, and it’s especially useful for duplicating an event, such as a irregular dentist appointment or meeting, and adding a new date and time to the duplicated event. Fantastical also stays in sync with your iCloud calendar and syncs with Fantastical for the Mac.
Numerical: Calculator Without EqualIf you want to save some tapping while crunching numbers, download Numerical($2.99). This app instantly displays the answer to equations as you type, and it saves your calculations in a history view. It also supports swiping gestures for undoing and redoing inputs, copying and pasting results, and several more advanced math features.
That’s it for this round of iOS 7 tips. The next round-up will probably involve a lot of iOS 8 features, so keep an eye out for that. Let us know what tips you would add to this list, and what questions you have about the iOS 7.