This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
September 18, 2013, 7:20 a.m.
Apple’s iOS 7 is coming Wednesday, and with it, a whole lot of new features.
Listed here are 10 of the most useful features on the latest version of Apple’s new mobile operating system. You’ll want to test these out after you download and install iOS 7.
The free download is available for the iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and the iPad 2, as well as the third-and-fourth generation iPad and the iPad mini. The latest generation iPod Touch can also be updated with the iOS 7.
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Cupertino, CA, USA
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With iOS 7, users can swipe up on the touch screen to bring up the Control Center, with which users can adjust their screen brightness, go into Airplane mode and even turn on their iPhone’s flash so the device can be used like a flashlight.
Automatic app updating
In iOS 7, users don’t have to worry about updating their apps constantly. The software does this automatically, saving users the hassle. Interestingly, this feature was requested by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was on a committee grilling Apple’s CEO Tim Cook over the company’s questionable tax practices.
A feature in iOS 7 that may prove to be very popular is AirDrop. It allows users who are near each other to quickly send one another pictures, videos and other items using either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It’s Apple’s answer to Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, which have a similar feature. On top of that, transfers through AirDrop are encrypted, so you don’t have to worry about the National Security Agency spying.
Photo junkies will be happy to learn that they can now apply filters to their pictures within the iOS 7 Camera app. You don’t have to rely on Instagram. In total, there are nine filters to choose from, and users can apply them before or after they take a picture.
On iOS 7, users can select dynamic wallpapers for their device’s background. If you aren’t sure what those are, they’re simply wallpapers that are animated. IOS 7 comes with a few, which have little bubbles that move around depending on how you tilt the device.
Safari’s Unified Smart Search Field
The top bar in Safari no longer includes separate address and search fields. Apple has combined the two into the Unified Smart Search Field, where you can either type a website address or simply do a search query. It’s a minor tweak but it makes things more simple.
Apple is beefing up the Music app in iOS 7 with the addition of iTunes Radio, which lets users stream music for free with ads mixed in between. The new feature works very similarly to Internet radio service Pandora.
With iCloud Keychain, users don’t have to worry about trying to remember their login names, passwords or credit card information when they visit websites or shop online using Safari. IOS 7 will do it for them safely.
[Updated, 1:19 p.m. PDT Sept. 18: iCloud Keychain was not included in the initial release of iOS 7. Apple lists the feature as “coming soon” on its website.]
Swipe to go back
Navigating around iOS 7 should be quicker than on other versions of the mobile platform because now users can simply swipe on their screen to go back to the previous page they were on. This gesture works on some apps, including Safari, Messages and Mail.
If you don’t like wasting your call minutes, you can use FaceTime Audio to talk to other iOS users for free. Just like FaceTime video calling and Skype, FaceTime Audio uses the Internet to connect the call. Theoretically, the feature should allow for free international calls with other iOS users. Whether this feature works on your data network will depend on which wireless carrier you have. It should work over Wi-Fi networks.