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iOS 7: Automatic App Updates

settings auto updates

Another handy feature of iOS 7 is Automatic Updates for your apps. No longer do you have to launch the App Store app and check for updates manually. If you enable this feature, updates are pushed automatically to your device and installed behind the scenes.

Why you should turn this feature on:
You like to keep things up to date but hate constantly checking the App Store for updates.

Why you should turn this feature off:
If you prefer to control everything that is installed on your device, turn this off. If you don’t have frequent access to WiFi or have a small data plan, you won’t want your data getting eaten up by app updates. If that’s the case, then simply turn off “Cellular Data” so the App Store will only push updates when a WiFi connection is detected. Finally, sometimes developers push out updates that have bugs so you may want to keep using the current working version until it’s fixed.

 
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iOS 7 Tip: Display nicknames for your contacts in Messages and Mail

Apple iOS 7 allows you to display nicknames when communicating with your family and friends as long as they have a nickname designated in their contact card. You can assign a snappy nickname to your softball buddy “boomer” or maybe use “me maw” for your grandmother. I love this feature because it’s nice to see names in messages and mail displayed how I’m used to communicating with those people, not by their proper names. Read more…

 
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iOS 7 Tip: Show Time Stamps in Messages app

The release of iOS 7 gives users the option of viewing time stamps in the Messages app. This feature is well implemented. The time stamps don’t clutter or waste space on your screen. They stay out of the way until you need to refer to them. To show time stamps in a Messages conversation, simply tap and hold somewhere in your conversation window and pull to the left. This gesture will reveal individual time stamps for each message that was sent or received.

iOS 7 Messages Time Stamps

Tap and pull left to reveal time stamps in messages app.

Apple iOS 7 is due this fall for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

 
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iOS 7: Swipe to Unlock

In iOS 7, you can swipe anywhere on the lock screen from left to right and start using your iPhone. If you remember all previous versions of iOS, there is a very specific location that you must swipe to unlock your iPhone. It is a small slider with an arrow that moves across the screen like a switch as you slide your finger across. After you update to iOS 7, you’ll be able to unlock your iPhone more easily since you don’t have to hit that specific target.

In iOS 7, swipe from left to right anywhere on the lock screen to start using your iPhone.

In iOS 7, swipe from left to right anywhere on the lock screen to start using your iPhone.

 
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iOS 7: Where is Spotlight?

Spotlight is a useful and quick way to find almost anything from specific emails, messages and even launch your apps. In iOS 7, spotlight is even easier to use because you can access it from any home screen page. Simply swipe down on your device from the middle of the screen and start typing your search term! This is an improvement over the way it was implemented in iOS 6. Some users have several pages of apps and folders and if you wanted to search, you would have had to swipe all the way back many times or press the home button and swipe back to show spotlight. In iOS 7, it is one swipe from anywhere on your home screen regardless of what page you’re on.

iOS 7 spotlight

Swipe down from the home screen to reveal spotlight.

 
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iOS 7: Block Unwanted Calls and Messages

iOS 7 gives you the ability to block phone calls, messages and FaceTime calls from any contact in your address book or from your recent calls list.

Tap "Blocked" to choose a contact to block.

Tap “Blocked” to choose a contact to block.

Choose a contact to block.

Choose a contact to block.

Launch the settings app and choose “Phone”. Scroll down and tap “Blocked”, then choose “Add New”. Tap the contact you’d like to block and you’ll no longer receive calls, messages or FaceTime calls from that person.

Tap "Block This Caller" to block calls from this number.

Tap “Block This Caller” to block calls from this number.

You can also block a caller from your list of recent calls. Launch the “Phone” app and tap “Recents”. Find the offending phone number and tap the little “i” to the right of it. Be careful NOT to actually tap the number as it will start a call with that person. Scroll down and choose “Block This Caller”.

iOS 7 is a free update from Apple and will be available for download on Wednesday, September 18.

 
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Get Ready for iOS 7

iOS 7 Icon

The long-awaited iOS 7 update is scheduled for public release tomorrow, Wednesday, September 18. Here are a few things you should consider before upgrading. Read more…

 
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iOS 7 Preview: Swipe to navigate in Mail, Messages and Safari

iOS 7 is a complete visual overhaul of Apple’s mobile operating system which adds new ways to interact with your device. Now you can swipe back and forward to navigate your content instead of looking in the navigation bar for a physical back button. It takes some getting used to as we’ve been conditioned to use back buttons in iOS since the first iPhone. Read more…

 
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iOS 7: FaceTime Audio

FaceTime audio is a great new feature of iOS 7. It allows you to make crystal clear audio calls over WiFi or a cellular data network. It works just like regular FaceTime except that you’re only using the audio portion of the call. So, why should you use FaceTime audio instead of a regular phone call?

Modern smart phones and networks are very reliable, but you’ll still occasionally get dropped calls or garbled audio. FaceTime audio quality sounds like the person is right next to you. Apple mentioned FaceTime audio briefly during the WWDC keynote in June, but I’m not sure it got the attention it deserved.

Tap the phone icon to make a FaceTime audio call.

Tap the phone icon to make a FaceTime audio call.

Call screen for FaceTime audio in iOS 7.

Call screen for FaceTime audio in iOS 7.

To make a FaceTime audio call, simply navigate to the person you wish to contact and locate the FaceTime option. You’ll see a video camera icon (traditional FaceTime) and a phone icon. Tap the phone icon to start a FaceTime audio call!

 
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Sharing Photos via Email using your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch

There are a couple of ways to share photos using email on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The first and easiest method is using the built-in share sheet. As you browse your photo library or camera roll, select a photo, then tap the share button at the bottom of the screen. Choosing the email option will open a new email with the photo attached. Fill in the rest of the information and you’re ready to send.

Select some photos, tap the share button and then choose "email".

Select some photos, tap the share button and then choose “mail”.

As a side note, this method seems to have a limit to the number of photos you can share depending on your device. I have an iPhone 5 and was able to select 5 photos, but my wife has an iPhone 4S and was only able to choose 4 photos before the email option was excluded from our choices.

You can also attach photos to an email you’ve already started composing. Tap on the screen where the cursor is located to reveal a popover menu. You’d typically use this to enable copy and paste. If you tap on the right arrow you will reveal the “insert photo or video” option.

Tap the right arrow of the popover menu to reveal "insert photo or video".

Tap the right arrow of the popover menu to reveal “insert photo or video”.

Choose a photo from one of your albums and it will get inserted into the body of your email – rinse and repeat if you’d like to add another photo. Unlike the first method, there doesn’t seem to be a limit to the number of photos you can attach to the body of your email.

 
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