Share your experiences on exploring iOS 7 with us..

Whether you found hidden or little-known feature of iOS 7 or can explain how a big feature makes a difference, we're looking for objective reports of how the new OS affects your workflow.

Also provide details on how to achieve that feature, and if possible, include a relevant image too (hold Home and Lock for a screenshot on your iOS device).

Please post one tip per answer. Please also check to see if your answer has already been posted - duplicate answers will be deleted in favour of the original answer on any given topic. To search answers for this question use inquestion:101382 (or inquestion:this, directly from the question page) in addition to your search terms in the search box in the upper right hand corner of this page.

  • I don't see how people won't vote this closed as "primarily opinion based", but let's see how the community reacts to this question. – bmike Sep 18 '13 at 17:23
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    Well, it's not opinion-based — it's factual whether features are documented or not. I'm not saying the question doesn't have problems, but it isn't "what are the coolest features of iOS 7"; the problem is that a question asking for "some" doesn't have a single right answer. – Daniel Sep 19 '13 at 0:07
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    @everyone Having The official Apple iOS 7 User Guide saved to you home screen help.apple.com/iphone/7 – Simon Sep 20 '13 at 11:52
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    It might be better to turn this thread into a blog post rather than try to enumerate changes in answer form? – bmike Sep 20 '13 at 20:52
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    @bmike I like it though. Last year when Apple released iOS 6 you said let's see how the community liked it (apple.stackexchange.com/questions/64468/…), and I think we can say that many people like this kind of question. – Enrico Susatyo Sep 22 '13 at 6:16

38 Answers 38


Within Messages.app, you can (finally!) check on the exact time every message was sent and received by swiping message bubbles to the left.

source: http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/18/4741412/the-best-hidden-features-in-ios-7

  • The times just show for me and I can't swipe the bubbles - mine are SMS messages – mmmmmm Sep 19 '13 at 12:28

Open the compass app, and swipe once to the right. It becomes a level that changes color to help when oriented vertically or horizontally.

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    And when the surface is level... It changes colour! – Enrico Susatyo Sep 19 '13 at 6:01

Burst mode photography feature is available on older devices by holding down the shutter button. It does not have the automatic choosing of the best as per the iPhone 5S and I don't think it is as fast.

Tested on iPhone 4, 5 and iPad 3.

  • I really hope they add a toggle for this feature in an upcoming iOS7 update as I got used to holding down on the shutter then releasing when I wanted the picture taken, to reduce shake and improve timing. 3rd party Camera apps are able to toggle this in iOS7. – Josh Newman Sep 25 '13 at 17:44

Swipe up on the open apps to get rid of them. Use 3 fingers to swipe 3 at once.

This short video entitled iOS 7 video tip: How to shut down running apps highlights an example of this.

  • I was swiping all three visible apps up in rapid succession, I don't know why it didn't occur to me to use three fingers. Nice! – Jason Salaz Oct 1 '13 at 7:14

In the Safari address bar hold down on the "." (period) button to show different TLD (.com,.net etc) shortcuts.

  • Neat, I thought it was gone! – Enrico Susatyo Sep 24 '13 at 1:52
  • Most helpful one yet – Render Oct 31 '13 at 13:12

Setting a timer or hitting snooze now shows the remaining time in the lock screen.


It's possible to block annoying contacts.

When you view a contact there is a new option at the bottom to block them.

There's more information about it here. http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/09/iphone-call-block-faq/

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    This will come in real handy in 2016. Maybe even 2014, though I don't remember non-presidential elections being particularly bad in terms of unsolicited political calls. – Jason Salaz Sep 23 '13 at 7:25

On Touch ID-enabled devices, on the Fingerprint registration screen in Settings.app, if you place a registered finger on the fingerprint reader, the corresponding registered finger is highlighted on screen. You can also rename each finger instead of Finger 1, Finger 2, etc.

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    iPhone 5s specific obviously… – daviesgeek Sep 27 '13 at 15:58
  • @daviesgeek Technically, Touch ID-specific. Other devices in the future could have this feature. – Andrew Larsson Oct 23 '13 at 15:50
  • Very true…correction duly noted… – daviesgeek Oct 23 '13 at 15:57

App Store Wish List:

iOS 7 now offers a Wish List within the App Store, where you can keep as many apps bookmarked as you want. Just hit the sharing icon from the top bar on an app’s page, and then select the ‘Add to Wish List’ option. This wish list can then be accessed via the bullet icon in the top-right corner.

  • Note that this is only available for non-free apps. – Bogdan Calmac Oct 7 '13 at 18:06

Audio-Only FaceTime Calls:

iOS 7 brings with it the option to place audio-only FaceTime calls (for the times when you are in no state to make a video call). Go to a contact’s info page, and hit the receiver icon in the FaceTime section. It is possible to turn on video later in an ongoing call.

enter image description here

  • Does this work when I'm calling older iOS devices running iOS 5 or 6? – Enrico Susatyo Sep 21 '13 at 2:07
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    @EnricoSusatyo Sadly no. – Steve Moser Sep 21 '13 at 15:03
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    I don't feel this is hidden or undocumented. It was a title feature in the iOS keynote. It's also pretty obvious that a phone receiver in a FaceTime section means audio, where a camera means video. Though it's not listed at apple.com/ios/whats-new so I'm on the fence. – Jason Salaz Sep 27 '13 at 0:30

Swipe in Safari to go back or forward.

Swiping one finger from left to right (starting off the left edge of the screen) is the same as hitting the "back" button now.

Doing the same from right to left is the same as the forward button. This one obviously only works after you've gone back at least once. (For some reason, the "forward" one is also a bit less responsive on my device.)

  • This gesture in Safari is really satisfying. Very deliberate yet easy to perform. This is as opposed to Reeder 2 (currently 2.0.1) where it's horizontal navigation in fluid, but floaty, and I often get stuck in a horizontal swipe when trying to perform a vertical one. – Jason Salaz Sep 29 '13 at 20:00

iOS 7 keeps tabs on where you hang out most, allowing it to cache relevant nearby data. It’s neat, if a bit spooky. Once you’ve used iOS 7 for a while, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services to view a list of your frequent haunts. You can also turn this feature off at the same location.


Activation Lock:

Activation Lock adds a second layer of protection against tech savvy thieves. Just make sure that Find My iPhone is turned on in the iCloud tab, and if your device ever gets stolen, the thief will not be able to restore or wipe it without disabling Find my iPhone, and for that, he would need to know your Apple ID and password. You can also prevent the device from being reactivated simply by putting it in Lost Mode.

enter image description here

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    -1: This is a very well-known and waited-for feature, isn't it? – Blacklight Shining Oct 13 '13 at 22:40
  • @BlacklightShining Not to those who are new to iDevices, for which it will be a tremendous help support.apple.com/kb/HT5818 – Simon Oct 14 '13 at 9:48
  • It's certainly documented, though—you just linked an Apple KB article explaining it! – Blacklight Shining Oct 14 '13 at 11:38
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    @BlackShining I'm not disagreeing with you, if you want me to remove it because it doesn't strictly fit into the title, then I shall. Considering it was posted 3 weeks ago and got upvoted, i'm guessing its acceptable by many !! Perhaps someone else would care to comment (as to be honest I think you are being a bit picky). – Simon Oct 14 '13 at 12:15
  • I agree; we can wait for third opinions. – Blacklight Shining Oct 14 '13 at 21:06

Multitasking makes it easier to flip back and forth between 2 apps easily, when you double click the home button to enter the new thumbnailed multitask screen, it always highlights the previously opened application (or the 2nd in the list, as it were) so if you are for example copying multiple items of text from one app to another, you can use the following flow to quickly and repeatedly switch between 2 apps:

  1. Double Click home, hit the center of the screen; this will always return you to the previous app.

  2. Once you have switched apps in this manner, the order that they appear in changes (basically switching the 1st and 2nd positions around). Repeating the Double Click home and center tap will flip you back to the first app


If you are having trouble reading text on the new backgrounds, you can choose to increase contrast which effects your home bar, lockscreen keys, and more.

Increase Contrast option on the iPhone ios7

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    A new feature to solve a new problem created by iOS 7. – Tom Brito Sep 23 '13 at 13:06
  • Yeah, and you find it all over. It's more apparent when you see an older adult using it – jonshariat Sep 23 '13 at 19:27
  • @TomBrito not everyone find it as a problem. I prefer having low contrast than activating this option – Render Oct 31 '13 at 13:19

Open tabs in Safari, and tilt your phone to see more content on each tab.


Disable Parallax (if desired):

Parallax is iOS 7's new moving home screen. When you tilt your phone, the wallpaper shifts with it. It's a cool parlour trick, but not really useful. It's also incredibly distracting on the larger screen of an iPad. Worse is the fact that disabling it is hidden away. To turn it off head into: Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion. Turn that "On" and Parallax is disabled.


Search is obtained by swiping down from the middle of a home screen. Swiping from the top edge brings up the notification center as in iOS6.

I am not sure how my hypothetical grandmother with her hypothetical iPhone is supposed to figure this out though.

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    maybe "hypothetically figure this out"? :) – Jason Salaz Sep 29 '13 at 20:03

A minor thing, but blank home screens are now possible for the 1st screen (with the exception of the dock area). Previously at least 1 app icon was required, but now you can remove them all from the first page - perfect for neatness pedants who love their wallpaper.


One method of preserving battery life - Disabling Background Refresh.

iOS 7 lets certain apps refresh even when you're not using them, which is both super convenient and a big problem for users who want the most out of their batteries. Disabling Background Refresh entirely would be your best bet, but even disabling the feature on just a few apps should help your device remain lively for a bit longer.

enter image description here


iOS7 now tracks data usage in a similar (although not quite as effective way) as Data Sense does on Windows 8 phones.

Take a peek in Settings > Mobile and scroll down to the MOBILE DATA USAGE section, where you can track how much data has been sent over the mobile data connection (as opposed to WIFI, which isn't tracked). This is shown as a total of all data, but also on a per app basis, allowing you to see which apps are using most of your bandwidth, and most usefully allowing you to simply deny mobile data access to certain apps without having to shut off your entire connection, which is very very useful for those on expensive data plans, or those of us (like me) who get an allocated amount each month occassionaly get close to going over.

Data Usage

The figures are shown since the last reset, which is shown at the bottom of the screen (along with the option to perform a statistics reset); unfortunately there is no concept of scheduling a period like with Data Sense where I can say I have 1Gb per month starting on the 15th, for example, but if you remember to manually reset on the first day of your data period, then it's still mighty useful for both keeping you within your limits, and also understanding what is actually using your data.

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    Also sometimes known as Settings > Cellular instead of Settings > Mobile. Not sure why; perhaps locale- or carrier-specific? – Ben Liblit Oct 3 '13 at 12:55

On the weather app, when tapping on the temperature it also gives the humidity, wind, wind chill etc.


Playback controls appear on the lock screen just by waking the phone. This might not sound like a big deal, but I found it to be fantastic. In iOS 6 you needed to double click the home button to display the playback controls on the lock screen. I often carry my iPhone in my breast pocket with headphone cables wound around it. When I want to pause and resume a podcast for a minute, that meant to take it completely out of the pocket to reach the home button and then stuff it and the headphone cable back in. Now I can tap the top power button and reach the controls at the top of the screen right in my pocket, which is fantastic.

The controls only seem to stay there for a limited time after playback has been paused. After that they're only reachable by swiping up the control center.

  • This was in iOS6, no? – beroe Sep 24 '13 at 20:19
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    As I said, in iOS 6 you had to double press the home button for the controls to come up; unless I'm missing something. In 7 they're there always when something is playing or temporarily paused. Small difference with huge practical impact, at least for me. – deceze Sep 24 '13 at 20:25
  • A regression related to this, when something else controls the lock screen (navigation), you cannot bring media controls to the lock screen, not even by double clicking the home button. Learned that unfortunate issue on a drive the other night. (I'm considering editing this into the post itself, thoughts? Feel free to do so and ping me to delete this comment.) – Jason Salaz Sep 29 '13 at 19:54
  • @Jason The new way is the swipe-from-the-bottom to bring up Control Center, instead of the double click. – deceze Sep 29 '13 at 20:02
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    (-‸ლ) I knew that. No really, I did. I'm pretty sure that's how I resolved the problem instead of unlocking my phone, going into the Music app, and then hitting next... (while driving) At least I sure hope I did. Thanks though, deceze. – Jason Salaz Sep 29 '13 at 20:06

Nesting app folders is presently available though this may be considered a bug that Apple will fix in a future iOS7.x.x update

  1. First, combine two apps to create a folder, and then combine the remaining two apps to create a second folder.

  2. Now, hold a finger on one of the folders so that it becomes grayed out.

  3. As soon as it does this, press the Home button twice to bring up the multitasking menu. This trick will not work if the apps begin to wiggle (when they enter the organization mode) before you hit the home button. You have about a half a second to get this right.

  4. From the multitasking menu, click on the home screen. You should see the folder icon remains enlarged and grayed out, and also that the folders are now wiggling.

  5. Now, click the destination folder (the one you want to add the first folder to). You should see the icon of the first folder hovering above.

  6. Now, click the Home button once. Ta-da! You now have a folder within a folder. The best part is that these folders work flawlessly, and you can navigate through them, launch apps from within them, and move apps just as you would otherwise.

You can use this trick to further nest additional folders, and I've been able to create five folder levels before eventually stopping, though I'm pretty sure you can just keep going until you get bored.

source: http://www.tuaw.com/2013/09/24/how-to-create-nested-folders-on-ios-7/

  • The link redirects to TUAW's main page which isn't really helpful and one of the reasons why we ask people to summarize or excerpt linked content in the answer. The idea is to make the answer stand alone. – nohillside Sep 24 '13 at 18:41
  • This, to me, is the best "undocumented" tip. I hope a future rev of the iOS doesn't eliminate this feature. – Dave Oct 5 '13 at 4:23

You can now pinch to change the number of album arts in the Landscape mode of the default music application.

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Send an image link via iMessage or email and it includes link as well as a copy of image inline.

  • Well, this one is unfortunately ripe for abuse. Love the idea, but I have a funny feeling I know what the result will be in the not too distant future. – Jason Salaz Sep 27 '13 at 0:26
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    @JasonSalaz it seems to me that this feature is not more abusable than just sending images. – Agos Sep 27 '13 at 16:11
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    I guess my point is that if someone sends you a link to an image that has an obviously disgusting filename, you can avoid opening it. If it's automatically inlined, not as much. Pick your friends wisely :). – Jason Salaz Sep 29 '13 at 19:52
  • @JasonSalaz But they could just as easily rename the image, or use any well-known URI shortener. – Blacklight Shining Oct 14 '13 at 11:53
  • Yes, this is all true. Probably should have said "point was" rather than "point is", because I'm not sticking to it anymore. – Jason Salaz Oct 15 '13 at 17:57

There are a plethora of professional writers covering this:

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    I think this should be a blog post similar to this one for iOS 6 (apple.stackexchange.com/questions/64468/…) – Alain King Sep 19 '13 at 9:13
  • @AlainKing I don't think so as a blog is by one person - this format allows several to reply – mmmmmm Sep 19 '13 at 12:27
  • @Mark this format is what I was implying, I purely said blog based on what bmike said in his original post. – Alain King Sep 19 '13 at 12:29
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    "Please post one tip per answer." – daviesgeek Sep 27 '13 at 15:59
  • @daviesgeek "Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively." Is what I'm shooting for here - in the abnormal question and the abnormal answer. ;-) – bmike Sep 27 '13 at 18:03

iOS 7 Uses Airdrop where:

Contacts Only will only look for fellow iOS users on AirDrop compatible devices who are also found in your Contacts app. You'll need to have the Apple ID associated with their device saved in order for AirDrop to find the user.

The Everyone option will allow anyone and everyone in your immediate vicinity to see your device when viewing a sharing sheet and send you content with a tap.

BUT you can not transfer to or from a Mac using Airdrop.


You can redeem itunes cards by scanning the card with your camera instead of typing in all those letters and numbers.

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    I believe this was not new to iOS 7. It's also not hidden nor undocumented if it's a direct option during the Redeem step. – Jason Salaz Sep 29 '13 at 20:04
  • -1: This is in iTunes' desktop version, too. I'd even forgotten about it, but there was a biiiiiig box taking up about a quarter of the entire window, telling me I could redeem using my Mac's camera instead of typing the code. I noticed it even before I noticed the option to type in the code manually, which was much, much smaller. Definitely not hidden! – Blacklight Shining Oct 14 '13 at 11:59

On the "Currently playing" view in the Music app:

  • Tapping on the cover toggles lyrics (which are scrollable)
  • Tapping on Artist/Title/Album text on top of the controls displays the rating
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    In my case (iPhone 5s 7.0.3) tapping on the cover toggles between rating and artist/title/album below. Maybe this is because the song I was looking at does not have lyrics. – Bogdan Calmac Oct 7 '13 at 18:17

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