Many of the changes in
It didn't take long to realize that deeper down, the new iOS 7 software is the same as the one I've come to know.
The new software does have several functional improvements, but those take time to stumble upon. The good news is that even if you never discover them, you can still use your device the way you did before. The free update is available starting Wednesday.
I'm covering the features specific to
The biggest functional change is the use of swipes instead of taps to access key functions. You can already swipe up from the bottom right side of the screen to quickly access the camera when your phone is locked. With iOS 7, you can also swipe up for the Control Center, which contains frequently used settings and apps. That's available whether or not the phone is locked.
Swipe down from the top of the screen to get recent notifications and the day's highlights, including the weather, appointments, reminders and stock quotes. Swipe down from the center of any home screen for a search box. From many apps, you can swipe from the left or the right instead of tapping the left and right buttons.
The Control Center is the most useful of the functional improvements.
From there, you can turn Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off. Before, you had to find those switches in the settings. That would have come in handy for my flight to
The Control Center also lets you easily control music playback and adjust the screen's brightness. It gives you quick access to a flashlight feature, the clock, a calculator and camera. My only complaint: You can't pick the apps featured and replace the calculator, for instance, with
I found the left and right swipes useful primarily within certain apps. In the Safari browser, I use it to return to the previous page. In Mail, I return to the list of messages after reading one. Again, these are all things I could do before with taps rather than swipes, but sometimes the swipe feels more natural.
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