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A guide to what's new in iOS 7.

Posted on 11th June 2013

Apple has finally announced its new and improved iOS 7, the operating system that powers the new iPhones, iPod touches and iPads. With new features and a brave new look, here's Carphone Warehouse's guide to what's different.

All new design.

The first thing you'll notice with the new iOS 7 is the design. Apple typically used a design style called skeuomorphism. It sounds more complex than it really is, and just means that iOS used to use designs that looked like real life objects. This included backgrounds that looked like they were made of leather, or a music player that looked like an old fashioned vinyl player.

The new design gets rid of all that overdesign, and now has clean, flat icons, simple, two tone backgrounds, and even the font has been revamped, now resembling Helvetica Neue Ultra. It's more modern, and everything in iOS, from the settings menu to the App Store will look altogether more simple and polished. There's a new contact app that puts the faces of your friends upfront, the weather app is beautiful and shows up the weather full screen, while the calendar app is much cleaner and more functional - and there's no leather in sight! .

All new features.

Control center. Swipe up from any screen – including the lock screen – and you'll open up the new Control center. This is a menu that gives you shortcuts to certain features and apps. You'll be able to do things like skip or pause music tracks, turn on the flashlight, alter the screen brightness, open the calculator, and much more, just by pulling up the center.

Airdrop. When someone is right next to you, you can now use AirDrop to send photos, videos, contacts and more. Just tap Share, then select the person you want to share with and AirDrop does the rest using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There's no setup required, and it's all wireless. Transfers are encrypted too, so everything is secure.

Multitasking. Multitasking just means using more than one app at once, but now iOS 7 makes it all much easier. To jump to another app you were using, just double tap the home button, and the screen will show you all the apps you have open. Tap the one you want to use and you'll jump straight to it. To quit an app and close it down, just swipe the app up.

iTunes Radio. First, a quick note: at the moment, iTunes Radio is only available in the US, but it'll be coming to the UK in Autumn, so you'll want to know what it does. This is an online radio streaming app that'll learn the type of music you like, and recommend more. Plus, you can build your own stations and see all the songs you've listened to, in case there are a few you particularly like. With 4G, iTunes Radio will be even better, as 4G will allow you to stream music reliably even when you're away from Wi-Fi.

Updated features

Notification center. As with the Notification center in the current iOS, the new center can be accessed from anywhere just by pulling down from the top of the screen. It's got the new, sleeker and cleaner look of IOS 7, tells you about missed calls and new emails, but also has a new feature called Today. This gives an overview of what's happening right now including the weather, events such as birthdays, traffic for your commute, and even a snapshot of what's happening tomorrow.

Camera. Shooting formats are now easier than ever to get to. Still photo, video, panorama, and even square shots – just swipe across at the bottom of the camera viewfinder to switch. You can also apply filters to still and square photos, either before or after they're taken. With 8 to choose from including mono, tonal, noir, fade, chrome, process, transfer, and instant, there's plenty of choice. Don't want a filter on a photo you've already taken? You can turn the filters on or off in the photo gallery, too.

Photo gallery. Noticing that people now store thousands of photos on their iOS devices, Apple has made it easier to find photos. So, you can look at photos by Year, Collection and Moments. Grouping by Year displays all photos from a year in one screen, Collection is a subdivision of Years and groups by location, say a trip to Newcastle. Moments is a subdivision of Collection, and singles out photos from distinct activities, such as that trip to St James' Park.

Siri. Siri has new voices! The two new female and male audio tracks are clearer and easier to understand, and the new look of Siri is a bit cooler, being slightly see-through so you can see a bit of whatever it was you were doing underneath the interface. Siri's also faster, checks more sources such as Bing, Wikipedia, and Twitter, and can take on extra tasks such as returning calls, playing voicemail and more.

Safari. The web browser of iOS, Safari, has had quite the overhaul. The buttons and address bar now only appear when you scroll, so you get a full screen display of all your websites. If you want to go backwards or forwards, just swipe the screen. There's also a great new tab view to make it easier to switch from one tab to another. The URL bar is smarter, letting you type search terms in as well as full webpage URLs, enabling you to find content faster. There are some extra security measures too. All those passwords, usernames and credit card numbers can now be remembered automatically, and the Password generator is a way of creating unique, hard to crack passwords instantly, that'll be remembered automatically by Safari.


The new iOS 7 will not be compatible with every Apple device, but here are the ones it will be compatible with, although not all features will be available to older models:

iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5
iPod touch 16GB/32GB/64GB
iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Mini

When is iOS 7 due out?

We're expecting the new software to be available in Autumn 2013.

For the latest rumours and tech gossip, head over to our Launchpad