12 New and Hidden Settings in iOS 7

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Apple's new mobile operating system, iOS 7, includes a lot of obvious changes, perhaps the most since iOS itself was released (though it would be reasonable to argue that the addition of the App Store was the biggest change to date, but I digress).

We've already detailed a lot of the big changes but, as always, Apple baked in a lot of unmentioned changes, as well, and many of those are quite significant, depending on how you use your iPhone or iPad. We've put together our 12 favorites for you here today.

Dynamic Type

One new feature of iOS 7 I immediately wanted to use was Dynamic Type. Available from iOS 7's Settings App > General > Text Size, this slider allows you to control the relative text size across any apps that support it. All of Apple's apps will do so, of course, and third parties have had access to the necessary developer tools to implement this since WWDC in June of this year.

What Dynamic Text means is that if you prefer text bigger or smaller in general, you need only set it once and your apps will instantly adopt your settings, system-wide.

Feel like your inbox is too large? Dynamic text will shrink it down for you.

Frequent Locations

Buried inside Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services is a new option labeled "Frequent Locations," a feature that allows your iPhone to remember where you've been. Go here and you'll see something that might make you shiver with Big Brother-y chills, or it might make you think, "hey, that's cool. I wonder what benefit that will provide me down the road?"

Either way, it's good to know, so...we tell you. There are settings to fit both classes of aforementioned users.

Do you like the idea of your iPhone remembering where you've been?

Dynamic Wallpaper

Apple likes to bake in subtle changes with the potential for them to grow into larger features, and I believe they've done so with what they're calling "Dynamic Wallpaper." iOS 7 features seven different-colored themes on a background of floating bubbles. The colors, not surprisingly, match the green, yellow, blue and red (pink?) of the iPhone 5c, plus some grey shades and one purple/blue color mashup. I'm not convinced these (initial?) set of wallpapers look all that great, but the concept is intriguing. Will developers (or users) be able to design their own animated wallpaper down the road? This will be one to watch (and hey, perhaps you'll find one you like to use now, too!).

Now you can have an animated background on your home screen or lock screen

Better Do Not Disturb Settings

If you have ever had iOS's Do Not Disturb set only to have an iMessage chime just because your phone was awake while you checked email, fret no more. You can now configure whether DnD works only when the device is locked or all the time. Yet another example of a minor, incremental change that will make a huge difference for some of us.

Now you can ensure Do Not Disturb means you don't disturb others, too.

Blocked Callers

Answering calls from users to block calls (and texts!) from spammers, Apple has finally added a global blocklist into iOS. Accessible in the Phone, Messages, and Facetime sections of the Settings app, iOS 7's new "Blocked" list does just what it says: ensures that you won't be notified of any calls or texts from anyone listed here.

The rub is that if you want to block a number (or email address, for Facetime calls) that hasn't called you yet, you must first associat it with a contact. That's easy if it's an ex-liontamer that you no longer wish to work with but previously had in your Contacts, but gets a little trickier if it's some random spammer.

Our advice: create a single contact entry for all spam numbers, and then simply add any new numbers to it. Those new numbers won't be automatically added to the block list (unfortunately), but if you simply go and re-add that contact to your block list, it will add all the numbers associated with it.

Numbers that have called you, though, can be blocked directly from the "Recents" list in the Phone app. Just click the circled "i", scroll down, and select "Block this Caller."

Add numbers to your Blocked list to ensure they never bother you again

Multiple "From" Address Management

Like you can on the Mac, iOS has long allowed you to set multiple "From" addresses for IMAP and POP accounts in Mail. But it's never worked well, and never really felt officially supported. Heck, it required a comma to make it work and when typing in the appropriate field, the keyboard would have no comma available! Still, it's always worked, and a lot of us (and a lot of you) rely on it. Good news for all of us: in iOS 7 this feature is made official and gets first-class-citizen treatment in the UI. 

Simply visit Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > [your iCloud, POP or IMAP account] and navigate to the screen with the "Email" field on it by tapping again into your account. When you tap on the "Email" field, you're now shown a list that allows you to edit, re-arrange, and even highlight a single address to be used by default. Rejoice!

iOS 7 includes a new "From" address editor

Users wanting to do this with Gmail addresses will need to disable the email portion of those accounts and reconfigure them as straight IMAP accounts. A small price to pay for this user.

Explicit Computer Trust

This isn't a setting you'll need to find: it will find you. The first time you connect your iOS 7 device to a computer the device itself will confirm that you wish to share your settings and data with the new computer. This trust was implicit in the past, but these days Apple seems to agree that we shall never presume a trust relationship. That's a good thing.

 iOS 7 only trusts computers that you specifically approve

Background App Refresh

One of the newly-touted features of iOS 7 is the ability for apps to work together with the OS on coalescing their updates. This is a great thing and should vastly improve network efficiency as well as battery life. Still, there may be some apps which request to have a "network pit stop" a little too often, and Apple gives you, the user, the ability to disable them on an app-by-app basis. Navigate to Settings > General > Background App Refresh to manage at will.

iOS 7 provides for granular settings of Background App Refresh

Burst Mode for Photos

iOS 7's camera includes a new "Burst Mode" wherein you simply hold down the shutter button and your iPhone will take multiple pictures in rapid succession until you let off the shutter. This can be quite handy for catching just the right shot. However, for those of you that had learned to stabilize your camera by holding down the shutter button instead of tapping it, this can result in a lot of unexpected pictures. This feature appears to be enabled full-time whether you want it or not, so we'll all need to simply learn to adapt. Or delete. A lot.

Hold down iOS 7's shuter button and you'll get a lot of pics... whether you want them or not!

Take Square Pictures

iOS 7's camera has a whole new interface that will become immediately apparent the first time you launch the camera. One of the new picture modes is the ability to take square pictures regardless of whether you're holding your iPhone in portrait or landscape orientations. This can be handy for several purposes, including future Instagram sharing. To enable this (and to switch between regular, square, video, and panoramic shooting modes), simply slide the selector available beneath the viewer window.

Slide iOS 7's selector to choose the camera mode

Photo Filters add Mojo

Apple has taken inspiration from many popular photo apps by incorporating live filters right into the camera. As you can see for yourself, Apple's built-in filters provide some subtle (and not-so-subtle) effects which you can preview in real-time before you snap your shot.

Check out Apple's filters to add some style and personality to your photos


This one's not entirely hidden, but... we wanted to share it nonetheless. AirDrop allows you to share data (think photos, contacts, videos) wirelessly with other nearby iPhone users. You enable it by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to activate the Control Center. Once it's on, then you'll show up as a destination for other local iPhones and iPads. This does not require you both to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network, but doesn't yet have interoperability with Macs, only other iOS users. Hopefully Mavericks will change that.

Enable AirDrop to make it easy for other iOS users to send you data


Find something we didn't list here? Mention it in the comments and, hey, who knows? Maybe we'll include it in a follow-up article, too!

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Where is this iOS7 update of which you speak? I plugged in my 4S this morning and connected to iTunes and it said my iOS 6.1.3 was up to date.


FlipFriddle: iOS 6.1.3 ? I’m currently on 6.1.4 and hankering for 7


6.1.4? Hmmm. Maybe that is for an iPhone5?


FlipFriddle: I do have the iPhone 5….

Lee Dronick

I have the latest iOS 6. This morning I was updating a number of apps, but one wouldn’t install because it said that I didn’t have the latest version. It was Film Noir and I assume that it was looking for iOS 7.


Looks like in a later article here, that a new versions of iTunes was needed. Now it’s available. Gonna “Back to My Mac” at home to have it update that while I’m at work. smile

Charles Harvey

It’s available as of noon central time, I’m updating now. You might have to manually check in your phone’s settings>general>software update. Also, if you haven’t been updating, you’ll have to do all previous sequential updates first I believe.

Lee Dronick

Yes it wants the new iTunes to be installed before iOS 7

Grover Saunders

I was under the impression that burst mode was only for the new 5s. Am I wrong?

Nicholas Boyd

Yes Grover that is incorrect. Just updated my iPhone 5 and burst mode works.

Chris Hendricks

Nice finds!  Thanks for posting them.  FYI, I could not get iTunes 11.1 to see the 7.0 update - kept saying 6.1.3 was up-to-date.  Ended up just doing OTWifi updates on 4S and Mini.

Alex Weins

You can now use keyboard shortcuts in safari with a bluetooth keyboard


How does the multiple From addresses work now? Can you choose the From address on a per-message basis or just choose one default for the account? Thanks.

Arthur Broughton

You can now see what time each message was sent in your messages app. I think this is well over due. Always a nuiscance trying to figure out what time I received or sent a message within a 10-20 minute span. Its easy in the message app just read your messages normally and swipe/pull and hold from RIGHT to LEFT and times will show up for each message sent and received. ANYONE else think this is overdue?

Harmonie Sky Morgan

I had to restart my phone for t to show up…


One little hidden feature I found in iOS7 is that all text messages have time stamps now! Open your messages and swipe from right to left to see the times the message sent & delivered. smile

Lisa Coffey

Ability to invert colors, and choose from home button triple tap accessibility shortcut options, one of which is to switch between invert colors and normal settings. (settings, general, accessibility)


Invert colors sure is going to be nice at night when your eyes are tired.

Dave Hamilton
[quote author=“TypeMRT”]How does the multiple From addresses work now? Can you choose the From address on a per-message basis or just choose one default for the account? Thanks.

The compose-window functionality remains the same as it always has: you can select the “From” address on a per-message basis. If you’re replying, it’s also usually smart enough to auto-select the right one based on who the message was “To” originally.

Weber Baker

I upgraded my phone. My wife, who is visually impaired, immediately noted she cannot see the “phone keys” in the phone app. Changing the contrast worked for the phone, but made everything else hard for her to see.
We are not upgrading her phone at this time.

Ron 1

Comparing to Android…
- *Dynamic Type*: maybe in stock Android ??
- *Frequent Locations*: Android users get this via Google Maps
- *Dynamic Wallpaper*: Android has had Live Wallpapers since 2.1, although battery capacity at the time didn’t really make it practical
- *Do Not Disturb*: not in stock Android
- *Blocked Callers*: not in stock Android
- *Email “From” Management*: Gmail for Android has always done this well
- *Explicit Computer Trust*: Android has had this feature since 4.1 (I think), but it only gates developer/debug access to the phone. It would be nice if Android used this to gate all computer access to the phone.
- *Background App Refresh*: Android apps have always had full reign over background behaviour (often with disastrous results to battery life), so in a way Android always has had this. Android 4.0 added a Network Quota management system to block background network transfers after a configured threshold, too.
- *Burst Mode for Photos*: not on stock Android yet
- *Square Photos*: not on stock Android yet
- *Photo Filters*: not on stock Android yet
- *AirDrop*: Android has had NFC Beam since 4.1 and Wi-Fi Direct since 4.x (??), but neither are as easy to use as AirDrop

Saundra Arline Gross

I wish I knew how to change the calendar colors in order to see the items better

Ii wish I knew how to change the colors on the calendar in order to see it better

Dalton Rooney

You can finally select multiple images in your camera roll and delete them all at once. Hallelujah!

Peter Johnson

Note that although burst mode works in iOS7,  the app does not choose the best ones for you. This is new in the 5s.

Natalie Johnson

Invert colours using triple tap is not new for iOS 7 - I’ve had this enabled for at least a year. Very useful for night time reading.

Cheryl Garrett

To find the update for IOS7 go to settings & click on version. It will look for updates & then update your device.

Chewy Schaal

very nice the new 7.0, but any chance to change bakround colors at mail or message? as all is very white as standard, f.eks. a diff color on unread messages or diff colors on diff email accounts? thanks for any feed backs

Josh Hamilton

IOS 7 allows you to put Newsstand in a folder!!! before in other iOS versions you could not move Newstand or hide it in a folder!

Josh Renaud

Does the Dynamic Text Size setting affect web pages in Safari? I have a friend with poor eyesight who wants a way to boost text size like you can on desktop web browsers.


Noticed this weird new behavior in IOS 7: If you edit a contact that does not previously have a phone number associated with it, the new phone number is by default categorized as “radio”. Not mobile, not home, not work but radio! Go figure….

Alex LeGore

I got a little freaked out when I saw the map showing Dunrham, NH, and UNH. This is because I am a student at UNH and thought that it was specifically showing where I’ve been. After a second I realized that must just be your info which means that you are a fellow student. Go Wildcats!!!!


Great tips! I found one more while playing with the camera. When you’re in video mode and start shooting, there is a small white button on the left that let’s you take stills.

Melissa Baldwin

Can you change your message background?  It’s white ... Blah.  Makes it a little hard to read.

Mark Johnson

My favourite new trivial thing is the ability to gift content, so specific songs, albums and video, from iTunes rather than only being able to gift cash, as was previously the case from Mobile.  My favourite serious new thing would be the control centre, which is pretty cool…

Jude InWook H

http://freeios7.com has lots of wallpapers to use, both parallax and normal- recommended~~

Dee Dee Hefner

I hate the keyboard color! Turning on the “Bold Text” and “Increase Contrast” option did help though, but still wish it was darker or we had color options! Other then that, I love the new update it’s like having a brand-new phone!

Julie Houchen

I haven’t had an iPhone for very long (May), but Siri asked me to help her pronounce one of my contacts correctly yesterday. She (I’ve just now changed her to a him) prompted me to say the name 3 times, then gave an option to choose which pronunciation I preferred. This has never happened before with Siri, so I am not sure if this is part of the “new and improved” Siri or not.

Also, it should be mentioned that AirDrop is not available for 4S or iPad 2. Seems to be only available for “5’s” and mini.


Looks like a fine list of improvements. Sorry to hear they still haven’t completely nailed it for the visually impaired.
Has it really taken Apple six years to put time stamps on text messages?

Julie Houchen

Timer countdown shown under time. Don’t need to go into app to see how much time is left. It is very tiny though.

Deanna Daugherty

You can go to Safari bookmarks, click the “@” tab and it will show recent websites from people that you follow on Twitter.

Deanna Daugherty

@Bregalad if you open up messages and swipe from right to left and hold, the time stamp will show!

Ankit Bebni

It’s nice but the white background is not good .......

Ashton Morgan

it would b really great if it asked you to trust a computer the first time, but this is not true with my phone.  it asks me EVERY time.  it is so annoying now.  this is a def a bug, as i am sure the intent should b just the first time.  i doubt there is any fix for this.

Christian Chotkowski

Has anyone found a way to turn off the shutter release sound for iOS7?  It’s annoying me that I can’t find the option to turn it off.

Jeremy Bohn

Weber Baker - there is also an option under Accessibility to have bolder fonts. Try it and see if it helps your wife.

Dalton Rooney - iOS has let you delete multiple photos since at least iOS 4. iOS 7 just made the button more obvious.

Jennifer Poole Rhoads

Be nice if we could change the background and color of your words for texting like the droid…have a slide show is cool but it would be nice of we could use that for wallpaper as well…what’s the point of having it???? Wallpaper before update my pictures worked as background…now a lot don’t fix they are bigger now and I don’t know how to fix it….I have the same picture before I ungraded and it fix perfect in my background and now it’s enlarge and cut off ...tried another picture same thing

Jennifer Poole Rhoads

Some apps don’t work since the ungrade as well…my chess for friends will not work…a black screen appears and that’s it

Joyce 1

I accidentally pressed “don’t trust” for computer trust!!! Is there any way that I can get that out again?

Monique Jalbert

Notification sounds not working. I have missed many phone calls and texts and emails. Help need to fix soon!

Dave Hamilton

@Monique Jalbert - I’ve seen that happen before in iOS 5 and iOS 6, too. THe solution has been to backup your phone, restore the software, and then restore from backup. Hopefully that works for you!


The camera filters are also non destructive. After you have taken a picture with a filter you can use edit to revert the image to normal or to another filter.

Joao Luis Mota

Explicit Computer Trust
- Regarding this feature does anyone knows how to revert from trust to don’t trust? Or if it’s possible?

Leanne Crabb

When on earth is Apple going to allow us to delete photos that have been synced through iTunes? This is so annoying and frustrating to say the least. I shouldn’t have to use a computer to delete a photo on my iPad, that defeats the purpose of having an iPad in the first place. Pathetic!


How do you change the portrait orientation in IOS7? They’ve removed the double tap home and slide to the left to lock or unlock your screen orientation. It’s easier for me to turn my phone horizontal to text sometimes or when I’m watching videos. I can’t figure out how I’ve gone through all the settings. Can anybody help?

Dan Lavie

Frequent Locations is not avaliable on my iPhone 4 settings.
Could this feature avaliable only on later models ?


Seth Nickeson

@Hazel - It’s actually easier to lock and unlock the orientation now—it’s in the Control Center. Just swipe up from the bottom in any app to access it. The button is on the top right.
They have also moved the Spotlight Search. You have to swipe down in the icon area of the home screen to access it.

Keith Terry

Does the iOS 7 support MAP, message access profile? I’m trying to get my messages set up with the radio in my car.

Lowball Jones

I was hoping to find If there was a method or shortcut to allow the caller ID block to be turned on and off rather than going all the way to the Settings and then Phone sub category?

In other words, is there some built-in, perhaps “hidden” shortcut so that the caller ID block to be turned on and off from the phone application rather than from Settings?


Scott Andrews

Update changes the way you see your text, the font on your phone, the black background in folders turns to a greyish thing. DIFFICULT if you are color blind, like me.

When you flick up from bottom, yes, you get flashlight, simple calculator (with no memory), but the timer also is a menu that lets you into alarms, world clock, and such. So, it is more functional than you think just one menu click away from setting an alarm (iPhone 4 users who don’t have SIRI for this).

Hope this helps!

Steve Powell

How to turn off Smart Links (those blue links) in iMessage…or at least control them. I am used to getting phone numbers in a text which is fine, but now anytime you mention any word like asap, today, tomorrow it highlights it in blue to link to calendar.


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