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iOS 7 – NOT a list of it’s bad points.

I have an iPhone, and the other day I downloaded and installed the latest update to get it running on iOS 7. As always when Apple release a new version of their iOS there is always a huge outcry slagging off the updates, the new features and criticising how things have been implemented and how it affects the use of the phones functions.

This post is not going to be like that. I like iOS 7, and I think it has some quite funky features, however there are some things in it I don’t think are secure enough and also some things that use too much battery to be effective

So I have complied a list of things that I personally have deactivated to extend battery life and also provide security.

The main culprit for eating battery power is the Location Services. There has been a slew of new features that hook up to the GPS to enable enhanced interaction. Yes it’s great that you can recieve adverts based on your location, or that you can see on a map where you visit most often, but these are niceties not necessities. so first port of call for me Settings>Privacy>Location Services. You could just turn them all off completely, but theres times when it’s handy to know where you are.

My advice, go through the list of applications and turn them off for any you don’t think necessary. Then comes the important bit, right at the bottom of the list you will see an option called System Services. This lists all the phone services that access the GPS in the background without you knowing. The only one I have turned on here are Cell Network Search, Compass Calibration and Setting Time Zone. Everything else is turned off, even the very last option, which is a new feature called Frequent Locations. This tracks your phone and remembers where it’s been, it can then display that information in the Maps App. I have disabled this, not on privacy grounds as most naysayers seem to complain about, but simply because I know my frequent locations. I know where I work, where I live, which Costa I go to, where I shop. I don’t need an app to tell me, especially if it costs me battery life.
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The next big battery drain for me is the Background App Refresh, this little feature allows apps to refresh themselves even when they are not open so that when you need them they can pop up and be ready to use immediately. Thats fab, but it means the apps are running, and using resources and battery power whenever they are sat hidden, and if you’re like me you could have dozens of apps open in the background at any time. So for me, I’ve gone through to Settings>General>Background App Refresh and turned of everything but Find Friends.

Those two alone will make your battery last a fair bit longer. Turning off push notifications in the mail settings can help, that all depends on whether you want your email instantly or every 15 minutes.

Next I turn to the Notification Centre and the Control Panel, accessed by swiping Down (or up) from the top (or bottom) of the screen. By default these are accessible through the lock screen, which to my mind, partially defeats the idea of a lock screen. Why lock a phone if your notifications and basic functions are still easily accesible. So in Settings>Notification Centre I have turned off both options under the Access On Lock Screen (Notifications View and Today View) and then in Settings>Control Center I have turned off both Access on Lock Screen and Access Within Apps (I found it annoying to have the control centre pop up whilst playing games or surfing Facebook).

Those are the basic changes I made to the settings to get my phone to a state where the battery lasts a decent amount of time, and I feel that the phone is secure.

Now onto some of the features you may not know about. Seeing as I’ve just been talking about the control centre I’ll start there. On the home screen swipe upwards from the very bottom of the screen and your control centre will pop up. From here you can turn on (or off) Airplane Mode, Wifi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb and also slock the orientation. You can change the brightness, play music as well as turn on the LED to use as a torch, access the clock functions (stopwatch alarms etc) the calculator and the camera. Also in the control center you can access a new feature for iOS called Airdrop. In effect this is a bluetooth connection between iphones making it easier to send photos etc, but be warned, the bluetooth is a battery drain so best to only turn it on when you need it.
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The camera has had an upgrade. There’s four modes now, video, photo which takes 4:3 shots, Square which takes square shots so orientation is easier and Pano which is the Panoramic. You can swap between them by swiping left and right. So whats new? well, starting at the left, if you are videoing theres two new functions, firstly you can pinch to zoom whilst actually recording and also you may notice a small white button appear in the bottom right corner, tapping this will take a still shot whilst still recording video.

In Photo and Square there is also a new icon in the bottom right hand corner that looks like three overlapping circles, tapping this brings up a selection of colour filters showing live previews of the effects so you can choose which one you want.
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Also, Apple have introduced a burst mode when taking photos, simply hold the button down and your iPhone will keep taking photos until you let go.

Closing apps has changed to, no longer do you get the little row of icons along the bottom when you double click the home button, but instead you are take to a screen where each app running in the background is shown with a prieview a screenshot (in case you forgot what Facebook looked like) To close them you no longer need to press down on an icon until the minus sign appears, just flick the screen shot of the top of the screen and it’s gone. Got a lot to close? simple you can flick more than one app at a time off the screen.
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Did you get fed up with only being able to put a limited number of apps in one folder? Well no more, you can drop as many apps as you like in one folder so no more Games 1 and Games 2 folders.

The compass has been upgraded, and the silly figure of eight calibration replaced by a strange rolling a ball round a circle thing. There is also now a spirit level, just lay your iPhone on a surface and the circles will show how level it is.

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FaceTime also has an audio only option too, not a major thing until you realise that essentially Apple are allowing you to use your phone as a VOIP rather than a mobile phone. No phone charges, just data use, but if your on wifi, that means free calls to other iPhone users.

Finally for now, one of my favourite new features. The ability to block phone numbers. Either from contacts or the recent calls list, just select the number and then choose block contact from the list, no more nuisance calls from PPI sales.

That will do for now. Hopefully there’s something there to help.

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2 responses to “iOS 7 – NOT a list of it’s bad points.

  1. Version 7.02 resolves access to the control panel in locked mode. Also allows Greek keyboards, but I’m guessing that’s not a priority in Barnsley.

    • I doubt it’s a priority in Alexandria either 😉

      The update has certainly prevented the bug that allowed access to the phone through the control centre, but for preference when I lock my phone the only thing I want to be able to be accessed is the camera.

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