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How to Use iOS 7


Apple's latest mobile operating system is almost here. But iOS 7 isn't an incremental upgrade from iOS 6. Things not only look starkly different, but in many cases, the familiar commands, gestures, and navigation elements have changed or have been replaced. So sit back, take out your freshly updated iPhone, and let's master Apple's latest.


The 3 Most Important Swipes

These are the gestures for accessing the three most important system-wide tools.

Swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen anywhere in the OS brings up the new Control Center. Inside are the settings Apple believes you will use the most, and it's probably right. Screen brightness can be adjusted from here. You can toggle Airplane mode, turn Wi-Fi on and off, turn Bluetooth on and off, toggle Do Not Disturb, and turn Orientation lock on or off. At the bottom, there's instant access to the timer, the calculator, and the camera app. When you're in range, AirPlay and AirDrop also appear in the Control Center. There's even a flashlight switch that turns your phone's camera flash on.

One other thing you'll see is play controls for the current song in the Music app. Tap on the song title, band, or album name and the Music app will launch. If you're listening to iTunes Radio, tap the star to bring up options to hear more songs like the current one. The new Control Center is great -- it's pretty much a one stop shop for the things you need to change quickly.

The Notification Center is largely the same as iOS 6, though it looks different and is organized more cleanly. Instead of just a single stream of information, three views are available. "Today" gives you a quick look at your daily plans, including the weather. "All" resembles the Notification center of iOS 6 with all your notifications assembled in one spot organized by app. "Missed" is populated with all the notifications you have missed crammed into a single list. Just like the last iOS, "Notifications" can also be accessed from anywhere in the OS by swiping down from the top of the display.

Spotlight Search used to live on the hidden screen to the left of your home screen. Now, to access Spotlight Search, just swipe down from anywhere on any one of your Home Screens. Start your swipe anywhere below the status bar that lives at the top of the screen (that's the slim bar at the top that shows the clock and battery status). Inside Spotlight, you can search your phone for apps, emails, and contacts. The big bummer is that you can no longer search Wikipedia and the internet from Spotlight.



Blocking Unwanted Calls and Messages


New to iOS 7 is the ability to block voice calls, SMS messages, iMessages, and FaceTime calls from anyone. This is a great feature, and it should have been included in the original iOS when the iPhone first launched. To block somebody in your contact list, open their contact card and scroll to the bottom. You'll see the option to block them. To block somebody who's been texting you, just tap on Contact button at the top of a message they recently sent you, then the tap the "i" (information) icon. To block somebody who called you recently, tap on the "i" in recent calls and scroll to the bottom of the contact info. Tap "Block this Caller."

The feature does have a few quirks, like not stopping messages from landing on your computer even after you've blocked somebody on your phone. For more details, check out our deep dive into the feature.

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