Apple iOS 7 features you should know about

Apple’s iOS 7 is here, and with it, a whole lot of new features.

Listed here are some of the most useful features on the latest version of Apple’s new mobile operating system.

The free download is available for the iPhone 4, 4S and 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.

—Control Center: 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 application 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.

—AirDrop: 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.

—Photo filters: 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.

—Dynamic wallpapers: 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.

—ITunes Radio: 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.

—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 certain apps, including Safari, Messages and Mail.

—FaceTime Audio: 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.

Prosecutors urge use of iPhone anti-theft system

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Top prosecutors in San Francisco and New York and the mayor of London are urging iPhone users to download Apple’s new iOS 7 operating system that includes a feature they believe might curb a rash of thefts.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and London Mayor Boris Johnson said in a joint statement Wednesday they believe the iOS 7’s activation lock is an important step toward ending iPhone thefts worldwide.

They said the feature is available on the newest iPhone and can also be downloaded on older models, but it’s too early to know how effective it will be in preventing thefts.

The lawmakers have been pressuring leading manufacturers to create anti-theft features, including a kill switch to render smartphones inoperable.

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