5 hidden iOS 7 features that all Apple users should know

iOS 7 was a break from the traditional form of iOS and brought a revolutionary design, but there are other features that Apple didn't announce. Here are five useful but hidden iOS 7 features.

Hidden features in iOS 7

Apple's iOS 7 is so packed full of features that you may not discover them all at first glance. In this article, I'll highlight five things that are often forgotten or hidden from your view of iOS 7 — things that every Apple mobile user should know. These features will help increase your productivity and navigation, and you'll wonder how you ever lived without them.

1. Tell Siri how to pronounce names

Does Siri repeatedly say your name incorrectly? Teach your lovely digital assistant exactly how to say your name by opening Siri and saying the following phrase:

"That's not how you pronounce [name]."

When Siri returns from churning your voice into bits, it will offer up a few different pronunciations for you to choose from (Figure A). After selecting the correct one, Siri will use that pronunciation from then on.

Figure A

Figure A

Siri will offer up a few pronunciations (where available) for the name it is pronouncing incorrectly.

2. Burst mode in Camera

Want to take a lot of pictures very quickly and with very little time between each photo? No worries! You can simply use the amazingly fast built-in camera on your iOS device. Here's how:

  1. Open the Camera app
  2. Select the Photo option
  3. Press and hold on the shutter button (Figure B)

Figure B

Figure B

The large camera shutter button at the bottom will let you create a burst of photos.

As soon as you press and hold this button, your iPhone will begin snapping photos one after the other, as quickly as possible, until you release your finger.

This is a feature where Apple really excels, and iOS 7 makes the camera even better.

3. Swipe on the edge to navigate back

This is a hidden feature that makes it easy to navigate inside of both system and 3rd-party applications. Whenever you're inside an application that has an arrow to navigate back, and the application has been updated for iOS 7, then you'll be able to swipe from the left edge of the screen to navigate back to the previous screen (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

Swipe from the left edge of the screen inward to navigate back.

This works flawlessly if the application you're using has been rewritten with iOS 7 in mind — or if you're using any Apple applications throughout iOS 7.

4. Text message timestamps

Have you wondered the exact time that a text message arrived on your device instead of the fuzzy time (i.e. "1 day ago") that iOS 7 provides? Follow these steps to see the exact time:

  1. Open the Messages app
  2. Navigate into the conversation view by tapping on a recent message — then tap, hold, and swipe to the left from the right (Figure D)

Figure D

Figure D

Viewing the timestamp of messages is easier than you think.

Once you do this, you'll see the timestamp beside each message. This little trick can be used on both text messages and iMessages to view the exact time that the message was received to your device.

5. Monitor data usage for individual apps

Ever wanted to find out exactly how much data you're using with a particular app? With iOS 7, you can find out exactly how much data that game, VoIP app, or music streaming service is using. Here's how:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Cellular
  3. Scroll to the "Use Cellular Data For" section

In this view (Figure E), you can see which applications are using the most amount of data (underneath the app name is the amount of data they've consumed for the current statistics period), and you can turn off cellular data for individual applications using the On/Off switch to the side of the app name.

Figure E

Figure E

Using this method, you can find out which apps are data hogs.

In addition, at the bottom of the list, you can see how much data is being used by system services. You can't turn off cellular access to system services, but you'll be able to identify which ones are using the most data.

You can also reset the statistics by tapping on the "Reset Statistics" at the bottom of the Cellular screen.

Finding more hidden features

If you take some time to poke around iOS 7, you'll be able to uncover even more hidden features. These are just a few items that are hidden or not announced by Apple. What other hidden features have you found in iOS 7? Let us know your favorites in the discussion thread below.


Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...

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