10 useful iOS 7 tips you should know

This story was first published in The Straits Times on March 5, 2014

Apple's new mobile operating system, iOS 7, has been released for nearly six months.

Despite it having 74 per cent adoption rate among iOS users, some are probably still not really familiar with it.

Here are some useful tips that may not be so obvious to new users.

1 Find the timestamp of your messages

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If you have been using a messaging app, such as WhatsApp, you can see clearly the time you send and receive messages.

For iOS 7 messages, these timestamps are hidden on the right side of the messages.

To reveal the timestamps, you just need to swipe the message bubbles to the left.

2 Get rid of the "Unread Mail" red bubble

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You discover that you have hundreds of e-mail messages after a long-haul flight and you do not want to read any of them.

You do not need to mark these messages individually. Just tap on Edit at the top right-hand side of the Mail screen and select Mark All on the bottom of the resulting screen. Choose Mark As Read in the next window to clear the red bubble on the Mail app icon.

3 Turn off the special effects

Getting motion sickness with all those icons zooming in and out or unable to rescale the wallpaper you like for the Lock Screen?

It is time to turn off the special animations and effects.

To do so, go to Settings> General> Accessibility. Next, scroll down to look for the Reduce Motion option. Turn on Reduce Motion to stop the parallax effect.

4 Save money on IDD calls with FaceTime Audio

If you have already signed up for unlimited data roaming when you are overseas, using this feature will save you money on your overseas calling bill. FaceTime Audio allows you to make calls from your iOS device using any data plan or Wi-Fi. But the recipients of your FaceTime Audio calls will have to be using iOS 7 devices as well in order for this to work.

Search for the person you want to call in your contact list and tap on the Phone icon beside FaceTime to initialise FaceTime Audio.

5 Increase font size to reduce squinting

You do not need to squint to read your e-mail messages or text messages on your iPad or iPhone. Just increase the font size.

Go to Settings> General> Text Size. Drag the slider to the font size you desire.

If you want a bigger font size than that, go to Settings> General> Accessibility> Larger Text.

You can then turn on the Larger Accessibility Size option and adjust the size by dragging the slider here.

6 Be a carpenter

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There is a very useful tool in iOS 7 that turns your phone into a "carpenter's level" - a device used to measure the flatness of a surface.

After calibrating the compass, just swipe to the right to reveal the bubble level and use it for your home improvement work.

7 Edit your query to Siri

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If you speak with a Singaporean accent, Siri - the virtual voice assistant - might not be able to pick up your pronunciation properly. But fret not.

You can edit your question after Siri tries to guess what you are attempting to ask.

Just hit the "tap to edit" button just below the question Siri first recognised and you can edit the question using the onscreen keyboard to correct it.

8 Setting the exact time of a Calendar event

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The default mode in the Calendar app lets you create events only in five-minute increments.

It is annoying if you are a stickler for accuracy when your event starts at 11.59pm instead of midnight. But you can easily change the five-minute increments to one-minute intervals. To do so, do a quick double-tap on the "minute" column to change to one-minute increments. To revert, just do another double-tap.

9 Block irritating sales calls

Still getting irritating sales calls? You can block these calls and messages very easily with iOS 7.

If it is an unsolicited call, add it to your contacts. Next, tap on Contacts and look for the particular contact you want to block.

Tap on the contact in question, and then scroll down to the bottom to find the Block This Caller option.

Tap on this option and you will not receive phone calls and messages from this number.

10 Make the camera flash when you get alerts

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The LED flash on your iPhone has another use other than providing a burst of light when taking a photo.

No, I am not referring to the flashlight function either. It can actually be used for notification alerts.

Go to Settings> General> Accessibility and scroll down to Hearing section where you will see the LED Flash for Alerts option.

Turn it on and see the LED flash light up whenever there is a notification.

This story was first published in The Straits Times on March 5, 2014

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