7 Basic Tips for iOS 7

So far I really like iOS 7, but my immediate impression was that it was harder to see. I had a light wallpaper and the white text on the lock screen and icon names was barely visible. (The text was white in the past, but it was superimposed over the darker shadow that give the icons their 3-D look.) So I immediately went to Settings>Wallpaper & Brightness and chose a darker image. Plus, I was initially confused about a few things. Here are some basic tips to help you get oriented.

1. Spotlight

The search feature is now accessed by swiping down anyplace on the home screen other than the very top or bottom. Tap anyplace on the home screen to make it disappear again.

2. Control Center

Access Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the home screen. I really like this feature. You can toggle Airplane Mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and Mute, as well as adjust sound and brightness levels. It also gives access to the camera, timer, playback, and AirDrop. Note that you can access Control Center and Notifications from the lock screen and from within apps. (You can turn off access to Control Center from the lock screen and apps by going to Settings>Control Center.)

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3. Notifications

Access Notifications by swiping down from the top of the home screen. The default view is your calendar. I initially wondered where my Alerts were, which I had been accustomed to accessing in the previous iOS by swiping down. I saw they're in the tab marked All. 

4. Viewing Running Apps

To view running apps, double-press the home button, as you did before. But now instead of an icon tray along the bottom as before, you'll see a carousel of screen shots of your running apps with the related icon appearing below it. Swipe left and right to view the apps. To quit an app and all associated processes, simply swipe up on the screen shot of a particular app. To bring the app to the foreground, tap on it or the icon below. (Note that just closing an app doesn't actually quit the app. You need to use the above procedure to actually quit it.) To exit this mode, press the home button once.

5. Camera

You can access the Camera app from the lock screen without unlocking your phone. Simply swipe up on the icon in the bottom right corner of the lock screen.

6. iTunes Radio

If you're eager to try iTunes Radio, you can find it in the Music app. It's the default selection when you open the app.

7. Search Field

Safari finally has a unified search field. You use the same field to search or to enter a specific URL such as Apple.com. If you enter "Apple," you'll get search results relating to that term. If you enter "apple.com," you'll go directly to the website.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.