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How to Use Control Center in iOS 7

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Control Center is a new iOS 7 feature that lets users quickly access a flashlight, common settings and apps from any screen on the iPhone or iPad, even when the device is locked.

The Control Center feature is new for iOS 7 as an answer to complaints that turning on Do Not Disturb, Bluetooth and WiFi and controlling settings and music took too long on the iPhone and iPad.

With Control Center, Apple takes these settings toggles from three or four taps into Settings and puts them in a slide up control panel that users can access anytime the iPhone’s screen is on.

Control Center in iOS 7 offers fast access to common settings. Here's how to use Control Center.

Control Center in iOS 7 offers fast access to common settings. Here’s how to use Control Center.

What is Control Center?

Control Center is a slide up menu that offers access to a number of iPhone or iPad controls or settings. It covers most of the basic iPhone controls that users will want to change during their day. It also provides access to what’s now playing and to four common iPhone and iPad apps.

Here’s what you can do in Control Center in iOS 7:

Turn the following settings on and off;

  • Airplane mode
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Orientation Lock

Here's what you can change in the iOS 7 Control Center.

Here’s what you can change in the iOS 7 Control Center.

You can also control brightness using a slider right below those toggles. There is no option to set brightness back to Auto from this screen.

Next up users can control the currently playing music including pausing, skipping tracks and interacting with iRadio in iOS 7. Below these controls is a volume slider to control how loud your music is.

Control Center in iOS 7 also works in Landscape.

Control Center in iOS 7 also works in Landscape.

Users can also toggle AirDrop settings with a tap and pick AIrPlay devices including Apple TV, Bluetooth or iPhone for the source of audio.

The final set of controls packed into Control Center is a set of four app shortcuts.

  • Flashlight – a built-in flashlight iPhone app so you can get light from any screen, even when the iPhone is locked.
  • Clock- Jump to timers, alarms and more.
  • Calculator – Figure up your tip discreetly or just crunch numbers.
  • Camera – open the camera with a tap.

This is iOS 7's Control Center on the iPad.

This is iOS 7′s Control Center on the iPad.

All of these options are fit into a Control Center screen that takes up three-fourths of the screen in portrait and the whole screen in landscape mode on the iPhone. The iPad version is smaller and wider.

How to Use Control Center

Control Center should be on by default on iOS 7 including from the lock screen. To use it, simply swipe up from the bottom of any screen with one finger. The only time we’ve encountered trouble is when swiping up over a keyboard. Users can do this from the lock screen and from apps as well.

Tap on any of the items to toggle the status on or off, skip tracks, adjust brightness or pick a Bluetooth headset. All but the bottom row of apps will not close the Control Center.

To close the Control Center drag down from the top of the menu or just press the home button.

How to Customize Control Center?

Apple will let you customize the Control Center, but only when and where you can access it. At this time there is no way to choose different settings or Control Center apps.

Apple only offers limited IOS 7 Control Center Customization Options.

Apple only offers limited IOS 7 Control Center Customization Options.

To change Control Center options, go to Settings -> Control Center and access the toggles. Users may want to turn off Access on Lock Screen if they are worried about someone turning Airplane Mode on if the iPhone is stolen. Another option is to turn off Control Center access in apps. This is a good idea if Control Center is launching while you are playing games.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

33 Comments

  1. orionizer

    09/18/2013 at 3:17 pm

    Does this work with the 4s? I have not been able to get it to work at all.

    • tryhong

      09/25/2013 at 6:11 am

      It works unless you update your 4s to iOS 7

  2. cookie

    09/18/2013 at 3:35 pm

    yes. I have 4s and it works just fine. if i am not mistaken, the only think we don’t get to enjoy is the airdrop.

  3. orionizer

    09/18/2013 at 4:39 pm

    I have tried and tried and no control center for me… :(

  4. Steve

    09/18/2013 at 5:34 pm

    I have the Control Center on my iPhone 4S, but I can’t get the music player to work.

    • Lionel

      09/19/2013 at 1:16 am

      Same here ! impossible to get music control work :( …
      (except volume ..)

  5. Meco

    09/18/2013 at 6:53 pm

    Swipe up from the bottom of the screen :)

  6. Dave D

    09/18/2013 at 7:28 pm

    I fixed mine on my iPhone 5 by powering off and then turn back on. Works great now

    • Orionizer

      09/18/2013 at 7:38 pm

      Tried that including a hard reset. Still no luck. :(

    • piyush

      09/20/2013 at 6:14 am

      hey thanks it worked :)

  7. billmatt

    09/18/2013 at 8:20 pm

    Be sure to start your swipe BELOW all visible icons. Otherwise control center will NOT appe

  8. Lenn Wages

    09/18/2013 at 9:41 pm

    My iPhone 5 has a otter box case. control center will open but is hard to get it open. I have to swipe real fast. Sometimes it opens but most of the time not. I will take the case off in the morning to see if it works better.

  9. Bill

    09/19/2013 at 12:54 am

    Your finger needs to go off the screen at the bottom and swipe up. I have a cover on and have to pull bottom part down to get finger off screen to swipe up. Works for me after hour of struggling to get control centre to work

    • Shawna

      10/12/2013 at 4:19 pm

      Thank you! Now it works perfectly. Couldn’t figure out what secret method made it work sometimes.

  10. Isolene Roberts

    09/19/2013 at 4:45 am

    Yeah, control panel doesn’t show up with an outterbox case! Once I took the case off it worked perfectly

  11. Tom

    09/19/2013 at 5:17 am

    Too bad that there is no option to turn of GPS and 3G use! The main battery killer!

    • orionizer

      09/19/2013 at 5:27 am

      Agreed. I have a Ballistic case (like the OtterBox) and once I took the case off, I was able to get it to show up. Poor design on Apple’s part there, IMO.

    • Lionel

      09/19/2013 at 6:33 am

      I was waiting for this too :( ..
      a bit disappointed :/ !

    • john doe

      09/19/2013 at 9:50 am

      settings then mobile to switch 3G on/off

  12. john doe

    09/19/2013 at 9:47 am

    I have a 4 and it worked by going into settings then control centre,, on previous ios6 it connected to appleTV immediately but now it looks like a longer process but it got there in the end, then it started working as it should from start up screen and all the others I tried so maybe try it from settings first?

    • Dan A

      09/19/2013 at 7:43 pm

      I have a 4s and can’t get the volume slider to appear on the screen. I have everything else

  13. Jim Tew

    09/19/2013 at 12:06 pm

    Waterproof case, such as, Survivor and Catalyst it will not work.

  14. Parham

    09/20/2013 at 3:49 am

    Hi , I cant use the music bar in the control center I can only change the volume but I cant skip tracks or pause the song or play it. anyone knows the solution or the reason please?

    • Randy

      09/20/2013 at 11:01 am

      I have the same problem and can not find an answer either, help!

      • peggy

        09/20/2013 at 4:39 pm

        as indicated earlier complete power off and restart. had the same problem, could not even use next song function in car, what a p-off. all good now.

    • Frank N. Stein

      10/12/2013 at 6:11 pm

      Against all odds, the “turn off then turn back on” option totally worked; I was getting ready to reinstall ios7.

  15. Randy

    09/20/2013 at 5:32 pm

    Works great Thanks!

  16. Janet freeman

    09/22/2013 at 4:35 pm

    Thanks guys, this has helped me find orientation lock. Great help thanks again :)

  17. Sharon Ricci

    09/29/2013 at 5:27 am

    I hate this!! Want to choose my own four buttons. What do I want with a calculator and flashlight?? Rather have weather!!

    • Frank N. Stein

      10/12/2013 at 6:19 pm

      Well, it’s still better than the former command, isn’t it? If you really hate it, you can always revert to ios6 and only be able to access music commands. Yay!
      The only thing I really dislike are the colrs and new ideograms used on ios7, seemingly aimed towards kindergarten kids.The “Notes” and “Reminders” are side by side on my homescreen, and they look alike

  18. SSS

    10/07/2013 at 8:40 am

    I agree Sharon Ricci! Can someone tell the powers that be that we would like to choose our own buttons please.

  19. Barbara Fedak

    10/07/2013 at 4:29 pm

    My iPad only displays part of the control screen. I can’t access parts I need. I want to lock the portrait mode and can’t. How do I get at it? Works in iPhone but not my mini-iPad.

  20. Eileen stoner

    01/23/2014 at 5:57 am

    How can I turn off the control center. I find it is a bother as I constantly hit it while searching on the internet and then accidentally hit air play or other buttons trying quickly to get rid if it. I find a real pain to have

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