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33 great tips and tricks for iOS 7

Serenity Caldwell and Dan Moren | April 21, 2014
Whether it's the first time you've picked up an iPad or the seventeenth time you've pulled out your iPhone today, there are probably still some iOS 7 features and functionality that you're not familiar with. Don't sweat it: We're here to help. We've collected some of our favorite and most useful tips and compiled them here, just for you.

28. Short names in Messages and Mail: Have too many Dans in your Messages app? You can make their names show up as "First initial, last name" thanks to iOS 7's new Short Names feature. To enable it, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Short Name and turn on the Short Name toggle on that screen. You can choose from the aforementioned First Initial & Last Name setting, or pick First Name & Last Initial, First Name Only, or Last Name Only. You can additionally opt for your device to Prefer Nicknames, if they've been set in a contact record.

29. Monitor what cellular data your apps use: It's easier than you might think for your device to gulp up cellular data, especially when on speedy LTE networks. To avoid running up expensive overage charges, you can view how much data each app is using by going to Settings > Cellular and scrolling through the app list. Under each program's name, you'll find how much data it's been using — to the right, there's a toggle for disabling cellular data for that app.

Scroll all the way to the bottom and you can also check how much your system services (Personal Hotspot, Exchange Accounts, Messaging services, and the like) are using, along with a button to reset these numbers to zero and start counting all over again.

30. Disable Background App Refresh for certain apps: Is your battery lagging in iOS 7? You might be the victim of too many apps using the operating system's Background App Refresh feature. For apps like your Mail client, it's important to be able to grab new data even if that program isn't running in the foreground; other apps like Facebook might not need such extravagances.

To disable Background App Refresh on an app-by-app basis, go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. From there, you can turn off the feature altogether or individually disable just the offending apps.

31. Find the Compass's hidden features: Not only is iOS 7's Compass app a thing of beauty, it has some neat functions hidden away. One such function: compass headings. If you know you have to head 340° North, for instance, you can tap the screen once to set a compass heading; whenever you deviate from that path, a red bar appears along the side of the compass from your heading start point. To clear it, tap once more.

Swipe left, and you'll find a second app inside Compass: a level. Though not as accurate as a traditional bubble-level, it's still a useful tool in a pinch — and if you're looking to distract yourself from playing Threes, try leveling your phone while you hold it in your hand like a game controller.


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