Tech

The Best Hidden Features in iOS 7

ios 7 hidden features

iOS 7 was released yesterday for beta testers and developers, and Heavy managed to get a hands-on look at the brand new operating system from Apple. Apple didn’t announce 24 brand new features available only on iOS 7. Here are all the of the new 24 features in iOS 7:

- Enterprise single sign-on

- View PDF annotations

- Inclinometer

- Long MMS support

- Per app VPN

- Maps bookmark syncing

- Phone, FaceTime and Message blocking

- Smart download of TV episodes

- Notification sync

- Night mode for Maps

- WiFi HotSpot 2.0

- Scan to acquire Passbook passes

- Turn-by-turn walking directions

- FaceTime audio

- New smart Mailboxes

- Managed app configuration

- App Store Volume Purchase

- Tencent Weibo

- Chinese English bilingual dictionary

- Handwriting recognition for multiple Chinese characters

- Improved Mail search

- Streamline MDM enrollment

- Do Not Track option in Safari

- Italian, Korean and Dutch dictionaries

But which are the best features? Here’s what we think

FaceTime Audio

FaceTime Audio is definitely one of the best additions in iOS 7. Now, with FaceTime Audio, you can call your friends using Apple’s FaceTime app, but you don’t need to actually video chat with them. Instead, you can just talk to them like you would normally. What’s the benefit? It’ll help you preserve those constantly dwindling cell phone minutes. In addition, FaceTime Audio features free long-distance calling. As long as the other person has an iPhone as well, you can call them for free. Squeezing customers with cell phone minute plans, FaceTime Audio could prove to be quite a thorn in the side of carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.

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Phone, FaceTime and Message blocking

Another new features is the ability to block users from iMessage, FaceTime, and from calling your mobile phone. For some reason, previous incarnations of iOS didn’t have this basic feature; something mobile devices have had since before the birth of modern smartphones. FOr such a simple addition, the announcement got rousing applause at WWDC 2013 on Monday. It seems like both developers and Apple fans have been clamoring for the addition to block people. Now, you can block those pesky telemarketers from calling your, or your ex-girlfriend from blowing up your phone with iMessages at 4 in the morning.

Tencent Weibo

iOS 7 now integrates with a number of other services and companies, including Tencent Weibo, the popular microblogging website. Weibo is one of the most popular microblogging services in the world, and has 469 million users even though it’s mostly focused in China and is still in beta. Chinese iOS users have been asking for Weibo integration for awhile, and iOS 7 brings Weibo right to your device. Apple also included handwriting recognition for a few Chinese characters, probably in an effort to make iOS 7 and the upcoming iPhone 5S look more appealing to


Turn by Turn Walking Directions

Turn by turn walking directions have FINALLY come to Apple Maps. While Google Maps has had this feature for awhile — and reintroduced turn by turn walking directions to iOS when Google released a separate Google Maps app with iOS 6 — turn by turn for Apple Maps is still a big deal. It goes to show that Tim Cook and co. really understood the outrage over iOS 6 and Apple Maps and are trying to create a Maps program that can be your go-to guide. They may not be there yet, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

How to Download iOS 7 on Your iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, or Other iOS Device

iOS 7 Beta 1 has been released for developers, but there are ways to get it for free. Find out how to download iOS 7

Click here to read more

AirDrop

AirDrop is a feature I didn’t mention in my review but deserves a lot of coverage. I have an iPhone 4S and unfortunately AirDrop is only available on the iPhone 5, but the concept is great. Using Airdrop, users can easily share items — like photos, videos, etc. — through an Internet connection. Just open up AirDrop and a list of people nearby with an Internet connection pops up. Click on their name and select a file and you’re good to go! It should be a lot easier than the S Beam feature on Samsung Galaxy devices and other methods of transporting data between users. Of course, time will tell, since we’ve been unable to test the feature out.

To contact the author, email ian@heavy.com.
Follow Ian Kar on Twitter.

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