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Upgrading Your iPhone: What's New in iOS 7

Apple's flagship iPhone 5s and colorful iPhone 5c come loaded with iOS 7. If you plan to upgrade your iPhone to iOS 7, here are the new features you can expect to find.

  • AirDrop: A feature that lets you share photos, videos, contacts, documents, and more. AirDrop was introduced with iOS 7 and works on only the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s. AirDrop is fast, safe, and secure (through encryption).

  • Call blocking: You don't embrace every caller (old flames turned stalkers, persistent direct marketers, etc.). You get the last word on the iPhone. Go to the Recents list for the caller and tap the i-in-a-circle. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap Block This Caller. You will no longer receive phone calls, FaceTime calls, or messages from people on the block list.

    Although your phone won't ring, the caller will continue to reach your voicemail and will be able to leave you a message.

  • FaceTime: This app used to be part of the Phone app, lets you make FaceTime calls to others using Apple devices. Thanks to iOS 7, you can now make FaceTime audio-only calls. Tap the FaceTime app icon, tap Contacts, and then tap the phone icon, which indicates you want to make a FaceTime call without the face.

  • iTunes Radio: iTunes Radio features more than 300 DJ-curated and genre-focused streaming radio stations. You can also create your own stations based on music you love. iTunes Radio is available for free with the occasional ad, but if you subscribe to iTunes Match ($24.99 a year), you can listen ad-free.

  • Notes: This program lets you type notes while you're out and about. You can send the notes to yourself or anyone else through e-mail or just save them on your iPhone until you need them.

  • A new Siri: It's time to stop referring to Siri as a she. You can now choose a male or female voice to represent Siri.

  • A revised Calendar app: In iOS 7, you can display five main calendar views: by year, by month, by day, by week, and by a searchable list view that shows current and future appointments.

  • A refined Notification Center: Introduced a couple of software generations earlier, Notification Center clues you in on missed calls, texts, e-mails, the weather, and the Camera app right on the iPhone's Lock screen. A Today view has also been added to Notification Center in iOS 7. This displays only notifications pertaining to the day you are viewing.

  • New multitasking abilities: In iOS 7, your iPhone can anticipate your needs. If it detects over time that you tend to turn to your social networking apps around the same time every morning, it will make sure the feeds are ready for you.

  • Text highlights: You'll notice in iOS 7, some words within a text will be highlighted. For example, if you text a friend suggest, "I am free for dinner on Sunday," the words "dinner on Sunday" may be blue instead of black. If you tap these highlighted words, additional options appear on screen, enabling you to create a new calendar event, display the date on the calendar, or copy the event to the Clipboard (for pasting elsewhere).

  • Several camera upgrades: The iOS 7 redesign made substantial changes to the camera feature. Here are the highlights:

    • In iOS 7, you are taken right to the viewfinder window, without seeing a closed camera shutter.

    • You now have four basic shooting formats to choose from: Video, Photo, Square (for a picture formatted to make nice with the popular Instagram photo-sharing app), and Pano (short for panorama).

    • A 3x video zoom that uses a higher quality crop zoom to allow the phone to get closer to your subject while preserving the original image quality.

    • If you have the 5, 5c, or 5s, you can now apply color effects before you take your shots. Even better, these handy tools are live filters, so you can see the effect of changing from one filter to another before deciding which works best for a given scene. The iPhone 4 and 4s can apply these effects only in the Photos app, after the pictures have been taken.

  • Changes to Safari: Safari lets you open multiple pages simultaneously and, with iOS 7, presents all those open pages in the elegant three-dimensional tab view shown in the following figure, loosely reminiscent of Cover Flow in iTunes on a Mac or a Windows computer. Tap the Pages icon to bring up the tabs. Then scroll from one tab to another as though you're flipping through Rolodex cards. Tap a page to have it take over the full screen.

    First choose a tab, and then view a web page full-screen.
    First choose a tab, and then view a web page full-screen.

    With iOS 7, Apple also brought the previously separate address bar and search fields together into a single convenient unified strip called the smart search field, following the path taken on most popular web browsers for PCs and Macs.

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