25 Hidden iOS 7 Features
iOS 7 is packed with hidden features and tricks that let iPhone and iPad users get more out of their device with the newest software.
iOS 7 brings a collection of amazing new features to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch which Apple is highlighting in ads and on their website, but there are also a lot of hidden iOS 7 features that won’t jump out at users after installing iOS 7.
We’ve been using iOS 7 for several months to discover all of the hidden features that sit behind menus and don’t make the cut for Apple’s marketing team.
With this list of iOS 7 hidden features users will learn how to get more out of their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with the new iOS 7 software installed.
Read: iOS 7 How To Guides
Users don’t need to buy any accessories or spend money on apps to take advantage of all of these features. All of these iOS 7 features will work without spending any cash, and some will even help you save money.
Our list of iOS 7 hidden features contains features that are hard to find, or that most users won’t discover on their own. There is no iOS 7 jailbreak required, which is good because there is no jailbreak yet, and there is no need to enter a special code to unlock anything. Just grab your iPhone or iPad running iOS 7 and learn how to get more out of it.
25 Hidden iOS 7 Features Video
Here are 25 of the lesser known iOS 7 features we found while using iOS 7 since for the past several months. Users can install the iOS 7 update to gain access to all of these features for free. Some of the features will only work on the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, while others will work on all devices running iOS 7.
Make FaceTime Audio Calls to Save Cash
FaceTime Audio is a new iOS 7 feature that is pretty hidden compared to the Control Center and Spotlight. You are probably familiar with FaceTime video calls which let iOS and OS X users make video calls over WiFi and LTE, and now you can do the same with audio only.
This is huge, because there are plenty of times you want to make a call, but can’t handle a video chat and because the call quality is vastly better than on a phone. While making FaceTime Audio calls the caller sounds like they are in the same room, rather than talking through a paper bag.
Users can make FaceTime Audio calls from the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, which lets users essentially turn the iPad and iPod touch into a phone, though one that can only call other Apple devices.
Finally, FaceTime Audio calls skip minutes and use WiFi or LTE, so you won’t go over any minute limits or need to pay for international calling.
You can start a FaceTime Audio call by pressing the small phone icon next to FaceTime in a contact, add a FaceTime Audio favorite for frequent callers and even pick it as an option in iMessage.
Better Do Not Disturb Options
If you haven’t already started using Do Not Disturb, iOS 7 is the perfect time to turn on this sanity saving feature.
Do Not Disturb will mute calls, texts and alerts during specific times or when manually turned on. Most users use it during a meeting or dinner manually and set a Do Not Disturb schedule for night.
If someone has an emergency there is an option to let the call come through if there is a consecutive call. Users can also let favorites and contact groups through at all times.
The new iOS 7 Do Not Disturb option lets users control when the iPhone makes noise even more. Now, users can choose Always and the iPhone will stay quiet when it is locked or unlocked, or choose Only while iPhone is locked and it will send alerts if you are using the iPhone.
To change these settings go to Settings -> Do Not Disturb -> Silence at the bottom of the screen.
Close Multiple Apps at Once in Multitasking
The iOS 7 multitasking is completely new, offering a better look at your apps, that shows what is happening inside of an app. This makes it easier to see what app you want to pick when you start the iOS 7 multitasking mode. Double tap the home button to open Multitasking and see your recently used apps.
It’s easier to close an app in iOS 7 since you just need to swipe up and the app is closed. What you may not know is that you can swipe up on multiple apps to close several apps at once. Give it a try. The apps stop running in the background, but they are not uninstalled.
Block Calls and Text in iOS 7
Do Not Disturb is great for specific time periods, but if you want to block calls or texts on the iPhone you need something more. In iOS 7 there is an option to block calls, texts and FaceTime from a specific contact.
To do this, go to Contacts, open up the contact who keeps pestering you, scroll to the bottom and tap Block this Caller. This will block them across text, calls and FaceTime. Right now you cannot block just one means of communication.
Track Data Used By Each App & Cut Them Off
In iOS 7 you can now see how much data each iPhone or iPad app is using, which is wonderful news for users on limited data plans. With this hidden iOS 7 feature you can find out which app is using too much data and even turn it off to prevent any more data usage.
To use this, go to Settings -> Cellular -> Scroll down until you see apps. Tap on the toggle to the right to turn off data access.
Users can also see how much data they use while using the iPhone 5s as a personal hotspot by scrolling down and tapping System Services.
Shoot Multiple Photos in semi-Burst Mode
Apple makes a big deal about Burst Mode on the iPhone 5s, but iPhone 5 owners also get a small upgrade that may help them get over any lingering jealousy.
Holding down the shutter button on the iPhone 5 with IOS 7 will shoot about three photos per second, a far cry from the 10 per second on the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5 also cannot pick the best photo like the iPhone 5s. Still, it’s a handy hidden iOS 7 feature.
With Background App Refresh in iOS 7 your apps can update smarter based on the connection you have and it should eventually learn when is the best time to update information.
Unfortunately, turning on Background App Refresh may lower iOS 7 battery life. If this is the case you can turn it off, or turn off specific apps.
Zoom While Shooting Video
The iPhone 5 also gains a hidden iOS 7 camera feature for video. Users can zoom in while taking video on the iPhone 5 with a pinch to zoom gesture. To do this just pinch on the video while recording or when setting up your shot.
This is a handy feature for staying close to a subject who is running or riding away from you, or for getting closer to the action at a play or sports game. This does not work on the iPad or iPhone 4S and iPhone 4.
Download Bigger Apps While on LTE
Apple limits the size of apps you can install over LTE in order to prevent users from going over data limits, but sometimes you just need to download those apps even if they are big.
iOS 7 lets users download apps up to 100MB in size, which means it is easier to get games and large apps even on the go. Just make sure you don’t blow through any data limits.
Get Walking Directions in Apple Maps by Default
If you walk more than drive you can make Apple Maps offer walking directions as the default option. This is perfect for users in a large city without a car, or tourists getting around on foot.
Go to Settings -> Maps -> Scroll down and tap on Walking. This will make walking directions as the default, but you can still pick driving when needed without changing the settings.
Share Videos on Photo Stream
Photo Stream is a great iCloud feature that lets you share a collection of photos with friends or family, and continually add to it. Team members use it to share photos of their kids and pets with people they know, without overloading Facebook friends.
In iOS 7, users can now share video which makes it easier for parents to share a cute video of their kid without posting it for the world to see on YouTube or for all their friends on Facebook.
Tap on a video in the Photos App -> Tap Share -> Tap iCloud -> Select a Photo Stream and you are good to go.
Fast Access to Safari Buttons
When you start scrolling in Safari on iOS 7 the address bar and the bottom buttons disappear. This is great for getting a little more room to browse, but you have to scroll too far to make them come back.
Instead of scrolling, tap on the very bottom edge of the screen and the options will pop right up so you can go to tabs, bookmarks and more.
Turn on Auto App Updates
If you hate seeing a huge badge icon telling you that there are 57 updates waiting in the App Store you can turn on Auto App Updates and iOS 7 will download and update your apps on WiFi for you.
This is great if you don’t mind dealing with the occasional issue that may come from an app update. If you have a mission critical app that an update might break, you may want to hold off on this feature.
Listen to Explicit iTunes Radio & Discover Music
If you use the new free iTunes Radio app inside of the Music app you will notice that by default stations do not play songs with explicit lyrics. To turn this on, start playing a station -> tap on the small “i” in a circle at the top of the screen, and the toggle Allow Explicit Tacks.
On this screen you can also fine tune a station to deliver hits, variety or for discovery. With hits, you’ll hear the top songs that match the station. With variety you’ll get some new music, and discovery will help you find new artists to listen to.
See iMessage Time Stamps
When you first look at an iMessage conversation you will only see times for old messages and the status of your last message, but a small trick will show you when you sent or received any message.
Pull right to left on the screen to show the timestamps for each message. This is handy in case you are debating a followup call or text, but forget when you last tried.
Swipe to Go Back Almost Anywhere
Instead of tapping on a back icon or tapping in the upper left to go back in settings and Apple Apps, swipe in from the left edge fo the screen.
This swipe back works in iMessages, Settings, Notes and many other apps. It also goes back a page in Safari and a swipe in the opposite direction goes forward a page.
Control Settings with Siri
Siri is out of beta and while the service is still not perfect, users can do a lot more with this feature. Possibly one of the nicest things is controlling settings with Siri.
Yes Control Center offers fast access, but users can also ask Siri to control WiFi, Bluetooth Airplane mode and more for even faster, voice controlled access.
Swipe Up To Dismiss Notifications
The notification banners are new for iOS 7 with a larger banner that shows more information. It’s great for reading more information on a notification, but it can cover up the buttons in many apps.
To dismiss a notification just push up on it and it will slide away. You can also pull down to go straight to the Notification Center in iOS 7.
Compass is Also a Level
The Compass app gets a new look for iOS 7 and Apple adds a new bubble level that will let you use it as a go to level in the garage or at home.
Open the Compass app, swipe to side and you have access to the bubble level. This will work best without a case, which may add some tilt.
Make iOS 7′s Text Easier to Read
iOS 7 uses a new skinnier font that some people have trouble reading the new font. Apple makes it easy to make the font bold and to make it bigger throughout iOS 7.
Go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Bold Text On to get started.
If you need larger text go to Settings -> General -> Text Size and move the slider to change the font size throughout iOS 7.
Scan Gift Cards with the Camera
Entering a long iTunes gift card number into the iPhone is a pain, and with IOS 7 it’s something you don’t need to do anymore.
When you go to the iTunes app and tap Redeem you will then be able to tap on Use Camera to scan the iTunes gift card barcode. Just like that it’s in your iPhone and your account.
Change Siri’s Voice
If you are sick of a female voice for Siri Apple now lets you change the Siri voice to a male voice without changing the language.
Go to Settings -> General -> Siri -> Voice Gender -> Male or Female. Doing this will not change any Siri capabilities and both gender voices come with a more natural cadence.
Create Pages Within a Folder
In iOS 7 you no longer are limited to putting a few apps in a folder, which led to lots and lots of folders. Now you can create pages in a folder that hold more apps.
The pages act almost like a new home screen and show up as a small dot in the folder, just like the home screen indicator. To do this, open a folder and then drag one app to the right until it moves over one page. You can create multiple pages and apps will also flow over to a new page when needed.
Tap on Times and Dates in iMessage to Schedule
If you use iMessage to schedule events and meetings you can now tap on a time, date or location to add it to your calendar.
You’ll still need to fill in some of the details, but it is an easy way to make sure you don’t forget an event, and more reliable than Siri.
iOS 7 Knows Your Favorite Places
After a few days with iOS 7 the new software will learn your habits including your favorite places. This makes an appearance in the new Notification Center which can tell you how long it will take to drive home or to work.
It’s possible to turn this off, but we really enjoy seeing any changes in the time it takes, which tip us off to any traffic issues or accidents.