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7 Tips for Using iOS 7

7 Tips for Using iOS 7

Update: An earlier version of this article mentioned the panorama wallpaper feature which was in the iOS 7 beta but has since been removed from the final shipping version. We've replaced the tip with another.

iOS 7 is available for download today, and after installation you might have noticed that things are looking a little different on your iPhone. Here's seven tips on how to get the best out of iOS 7.

1. Drag Down to Search

Spotlight isn't missing, it's now on every home screen. Just drag down on the screen to get the search bar (just don't drag from the very top, as that will pull down Notification Center). Pro-tip: You don't even need to go into the Contacts app to find a person, all you need to do now is drag down and start typing the person's name and then tap on the search result. Easy!

2. Apps Auto-Update - On or Off?

You'll no longer need to manually update apps with iOS 7, they'll now update in the background once they're logged onto Wi-Fi. Frequent travelers might want to turn this feature off though, as it might eat into your hotel bandwidth. To do so, go to the Settings app > iTunes & App Store, and toggle Updates off under Automatic Downloads.

3. Use Notification and Control Center from the Lock Screen - or Not

The most obvious addition to iOS 7 is the Control Center; with a swipe from the bottom you get immediate access to common settings like Airplane Mode, brightness, music playback and turning the back LED on as a flashlight. Notification Center has also been overhauled and can be accessed by dragging downwards from the very top.

You can get to Notification and Control Center both from the Lock screen, they're represented by two horizontal tabs on the top and bottom. Unless you don't want to - we've found ourselves accidentally opening either by just fiddling with our iPhones - in which case you can stop them from appearing on the Lock screen.

To turn off Notification Center from appearing on the Lock Screen, go to the Settings app > Notification Center and toggle off both Notifications View and the Today View under Access On Lock Screen. To turn off Control Center from the Lock Screen, go to the Settings app > Control Center and toggle off Access on Lock Screen. You can also turn Control Center off when you're using apps by toggling off Access Within Apps.

4. Use AirDrop to Send Files to a Nearby iOS 7 User

In Control Center you'll find an icon named AirDrop. AirDrop lets you send files like photos, videos and documents to another iOS 7 user near you using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. AirDrop is turned on by default, making you visible to your contacts running iOS 7. But you can also make yourself visible to anyone using iOS 7 or to turn off AirDrop completely.

5. Private Browsing in Safari

Like the browsers we use on our PCs, mobile Safari now comes with a privacy mode. Tap the tab icon on the bottom right, then tap on Private to enable private browsing. We won't ask you what it's for.

6. Use the List View in Calendar

The List view was one of the most useful options in the iOS Calendar, with one tap you could see all your scheduled appointments in a single scrolling list. It looks like it's disappeared in iOS 7 but it's actually hidden, tap the Search icon on the top and the List view shows up again.

7. Turn on Find My iPhone

Find My iPhone isn't a new feature, but the iOS 7 update makes it even harder for anyone who steals your iPhone to actually make use of it. With iOS 7, turning off Find My iPhone or erasing your device requires your Apple ID and password. It can continue to display a custom message, even if the device is erased. And even if the device is erased, the thief will need your Apple ID and password to reactivate the phone.

To set up Find My iPhone, go to the Settings app > iCloud and turn on Find My iPhone. You can then either use a Mac or iCloud.com to find your iPhone if it's ever lost.

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