iOS 7 recently came out with much fanfare. The flat design, Control Center, AirDrop, and a slew of other major features got plenty of attention.
Apple also made a ton of smaller improvements to the OS that have been less publicized. Here are 8 things that have made my mobile life a little easier.
1. Show timestamps on all messages
One of the few times I disagree with Apple’s “less is more” UI is their lack of timestamps on text messages. I know they add timestamps every 20 minutes or so, but sometimes that’s not granular enough.
With iOS 7 users can “pull” messages to the left to reveal a timestamp of when each one was received. Great for seeing exactly when your friend told you something.
2. See battery charge on plugin
Right after you plug your phone into its charger the only info most people care about is how full their battery is. After you plug in Apple now removes all other lock screen UI elements and shows you a large battery icon indicating health, as well as spelling out exactly how full the battery is.
3. Swipe entire notification area
One of my biggest pet peeves with iOS 6 was how small an area you could swipe on the home screen to take action. If a text came in, I had to swipe on the tiny message icon to respond to it. Now I can swipe anywhere on the notification to be taken to the app.
4. Drop Newsstand into a folder
Newsstand (like many of Apple’s apps that cannot be deleted) is something I never use. In iOS 6 I had to take up valuable real estate keeping this app on one of the home screens. Now I can dump it in a folder and forget about it.
5. Older notifications fade when new ones come in
One of the more confusing aspects about showing multiple notifications on the lock screen is understanding the order they came in. If I have multiple texts from a friend, it helps to know in what order to read them.
Without looking at the timestamp iOS 7 makes it easy to see what the newest notification is. When a new notification comes in all other notifications fade slightly.
6. Clock app shows the actual time
This is not so much a usability win, but it’s nice to see the Clock app be more interactive and show an analog representation of the time. This is similar the how the Calendar app has behaved for several OS versions, where its icon is dynamic and shows the current date and day of the week.
7. Ringer says “Silent” when in vibrate mode
Tiny improvement here, but when the phone is flipped into vibrate mode it’s nice to explicitly call out that the ringer is silent. A bell with a line through it provides good iconography, but this text helps make it completely obvious what the setting does.
8. Timer shows on the lock screen
When you’ve set a timer you no longer need to unlock your phone to see how much time is remaining.