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Easing Your Transition To iOS 7
By Jesse Hollington | 09.18.13

Today, Apple released iOS 7, making some very significant user interface changes to its iOS operating system—a design that had remained mostly the same for over six years. While some users will happily embrace iOS 7 for breathing new life into old iPhones, iPads, or iPod touches, from our own experiences it’s clear that not everybody is going to consider this a welcome change to a system that had become familiar and comfortable. The good news is that there are a few things you can do immediately for a smoother transition to the new operating system.

For a full in-depth look at what’s new in iOS 7, be sure to check out our full article, Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 7.0.

Choosing A Background To Match iOS 7’s Thin Font

How well the new icon design, font choices, and parallax effects in iOS 7 work for you will depend largely on your choice of Home Screen wallpaper, and if you’re used to having a colorful background image here, you may find things to be a bit hard to read or distracting. If you don’t want to give up your favorite Home Screen wallpaper, you can tweak some of these features to work better for you, but you may find that it’s still better to choose a wallpaper that doesn’t clash as much.


The built-in dynamic and static wallpapers in iOS 7 aren’t too bad, but if you still want to personalize your experience, you will probably have the most success staying with darker patterns with softer textures as opposed to actual photos or very colorful choices. iOS 7 flips between white or black text dynamically based on your wallpaper, but doesn’t always do the best job of picking the color that works well with backgrounds. Using a photo editor to manually adjust your background’s contrast or color saturation may help.

Improving Font Visibility

The new minimalist design in iOS 7 also applies to the font choices made by its designers, and some users may find these to be thin to the point of being unreadable. The Home Screen provides a particularly good example of this, and if you rely on the text labels beneath your app icons, you may find it difficult to read them, particularly if you’re used to anything other than a very plain Home Screen background.


The good news is that a new Accessibility option allows you to beef your fonts back up throughout the entire iOS UI. Simply go into Settings, select General, Accessibility and toggle on “Bold Text.”


While this feature improves the Home Screen and Lock Screen considerably, it also has some potentially unwanted impacts upon otherwise fully readable text elsewhere within iOS 7 apps. You’ll have to decide, for now, whether fixing one set of problems is worth dealing with others.

Turning off Parallax

Not everybody is going to be a fan of the new parallax effects in iOS 7, which basically cause your backgrounds and wallpapers to shift perspective as you move your iPhone around. The good news is that if this effect makes you dizzy, or you simply don’t like it, you can toggle it off by enabling the “Reduce Motion” switch found under General, Accessibility in the iOS Settings app.


Disabling Automatic App Updates

By default, iOS 7 offers to enable automatic updating of your iOS apps in the background. While most users will likely welcome this new feature, it does carry the risk of automatically receiving problematic app updates, and some users may therefore prefer to disable it. This can be done easily by going into the Settings app in iOS 7, selecting iTunes & App Stores and toggling OFF the “Updates” option.

Changing Sound Effects And Ringtones

The visual redesign in iOS 7 is accompanied by an audio facelift as well, with a whole new collection of sound effects, alert tones, and ringtones included. In fact, Apple has gone so far as to change the defaults and give the new ringtones top billing, relegating the old ones into a “Classic” sub-folder. Your old general ringtone may well have shifted to something different in the process.


Like other aspects of iOS 7, some users will welcome these new tones, while others will hate them. While you’ll be stuck with some of them—such as the lock/unlock sound and new charging bleep when you plug your device in—most can be customized and even reset back to their mostly original tones by taking a quick trip into the Sounds section of the iOS Settings app. A “Classic” section can be found at the bottom of the new sounds providing access to the pre-iOS 7 list of tones. Note that even these have been enhanced somewhat, so don’t expect them to sound quite the same as they did in iOS 6, but they’re a good option if you prefer the old sounds to the new.

Hiding iTunes Store Content

One of the great new features in iOS 7 is the ability to stream all of your purchased music, movie, and TV show content directly from the iTunes Store, much like you can already do with the Apple TV and iTunes 11. This means that even if you’re not an iTunes Match subscriber, you’ll be able to listen to the music you’ve purchased, streamed from iTunes in the Cloud.


If you’ve purchased a lot of content from the iTunes Store, however, you may find this list to be a bit daunting the first time you open the Music or Videos apps, since it will include everything that you’ve ever purchased from iTunes. The good news is that you can easily hide anything you don’t want to see here simply by taking a quick trip to your Purchased section in iTunes on your Mac or PC. From here, simply hover over an item that you want to hide, and a small “X” will appear that you can click on to make it disappear from your iTunes in the Cloud purchase history.


Keep in mind that this will affect the visibility of the hidden item on ALL of your devices, however, including your Apple TV and iTunes in the Cloud purchases within iTunes. This will, however, only hide the cloud-based version; if you’ve downloaded the item to your iTunes library you can still play it on your computer directly or stream it to your Apple TV or other devices via Home Sharing.

You can view a list of items that you have hidden and bring them back by going into your iTunes Store account information and looking for the “Hidden Purchases” entry under iTunes in the Cloud.


Note that if you don’t want to access iTunes in the Cloud content on your iOS 7 device at all, you can simply turn the option off entirely in the Settings app under either the iTunes & App Stores, Music, or Videos sections. 

Checking Your Parental Controls

If you’re updating a child’s device to iOS 7, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the new iTunes in the Cloud features, since this will potentially give them access to everything in your purchase history. You can disable this feature entirely or hide content as described above, or alternatively you can enable parental controls to restrict which content appears in these apps.


Simply go into General, Restrictions in the iOS Settings app and specify the maximum rating that you want to be available on the device. Anything above the specified rating will be hidden entirely from view. This can also be a handy way to give your kids easy at-home access to their favorite shows on a lower-capacity iOS device.

Limiting Access to Control Center

By default, the new Control Center can be opened from the Lock Screen, providing quick access to a number of useful features. If you would prefer to keep this feature under lock and key, you can disable it under Control Center in the iOS Settings app.


Turning off “Access on Lock Screen” will not only prevent the Control Center from being opened when the device is locked, but will also remove the small grey dash that appears at the bottom of the screen.

An additional feature here, “Access within Apps” can also be toggled off if you find that Control Center is getting in the way. Disabling this will require a trip back to the Home Screen to access Control Center, but can prevent it from inadvertently popping up when playing games or using other gesture-based apps.

Customizing Notification Center

Notification Center has been expanded to include more information and can also now be accessed from the Lock Screen by default. The good news is that when it’s accessed from the Lock Screen, Notification Center respects your “Show Previews” and “Show on Lock Screen” privacy settings, meaning that anything that’s normally hidden from popping up directly on the Lock Screen won’t show up in Notification Center without actually unlocking your device.


Even so, you may still have certain security or privacy concerns with information being available when your device is locked, and in this case the Notification Center section of the iOS Settings app allows you to disable the Notifications View, Today View, or both. You can also choose to disable only certain elements, such as as the Calendar Day view, to prevent your actual appointments appearing on this screen.

Note that if you’re using multiple calendars in the Calendars app, only appointments from those calendars that are actually selected and visible in the Calendars app will be shown in the Notification Center Today View.

Re-Enabling On/Off Labels on Switches

In its attempts at a minimalistic user interface, one subtle change in iOS 7 is the removal of the “ON” and “OFF” labels found on option switches in places like the Settings app, replaced instead by a green indicator for when an option is ON. While this seems to work well enough in the core iOS apps, you may find that third-party apps designed for iOS 7 don’t make this distinction clear enough; users with vision limitations may also prefer stronger cues. An option can be found in the Accessibility settings to re-enable these On/Off Labels, which will appear as I/O indicators instead of the previous ON/OFF text.


Choosing Name Abbreviations

iOS 7 can now abbreviate names in apps like Mail and Messages in order to fit more information on the screen, most commonly done when dealing with multi-party messages. By default, iOS 7 shows the user’s full first name and last initial; it may also show nicknames if you’ve set them. If you prefer to disable this, or use another form of abbreviation, this can be configured by going into Mail, Contacts, Calendars in the iOS Settings app and looking for the “Short Name” option.


Here you can turn the short name feature off entirely, or choose to use only the first name, last name, first initial and full last name, or the default full first name and last initial. A “Prefer Nicknames” option here also allows you to specify your own short name for specific people by using the Nickname field in the iOS Contacts app.

Are there other iOS 6 to iOS 7 issues you’re trying to deal with? Let us know in the comments section below, and we’ll address them in our weekly tips.

Next: iOS 7: Find My iPhone only available on primary iCloud account

Previous: Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 7.0


Albums are sorted by the album name rather than the album artist. Any way to resort the albums to be by album artist?

By Chris on 09.18.13 at 03:02 PM

My ios7 update has my normal apps but it wants to update them with Spanish language updates.  How do I get them in English?

By Bill Ridlinghafer on 09.18.13 at 09:24 PM

Has it changed so that you can only have one image for wallpaper & homescreen? Before you could have two separate images but when I went to change it there seems to only be the option to change both.

By Sarah on 09.19.13 at 08:51 AM

@Chris (#1): The Group by Album Artist setting affected this in the past, but not in iOS 7. Not sure if it’s a bug or an intentional change on Apple’s part, as the option does still work in terms of the actual artists listing.

@Bill (#2): Check your language settings under Settings, General, International just to make sure there’s nothing odd there. Also sign out of your iTunes Store account and back in to make sure you have the right country selected. If that doesn’t work, it may just be something odd on Apple’s servers—they’ve definitely been getting hammered over the past day with all of the updates.

@Sarah (#3): Not sure why you’re not seeing both options. When selecting a wallpaper, you should see the “Set Home Screen”, “Set Lock Screen” or “Set Both” options in much the same way as in iOS 6.

By Jesse Hollington on 09.19.13 at 09:13 AM

Group by Album Artist setting does not seem to change the Album View. Very odd, hopefully this is fixed in the future…

By Chris on 09.19.13 at 10:12 AM

Is there anyway to make the numbers on the phone keypad bold. I have done the above recommended stuff but the numbers are still very difficult to read with their thin line-type. The favorites-recents etc ribbon is practically unreadable. This also applies to the regular keypad for texting.

By Ira on 09.20.13 at 11:47 AM

How do you hide deleted apps from your iphone purchase list? I can do it on itunes, but not on phone with IOS 7?

By Alex on 09.21.13 at 04:15 AM

I may be alone here but I hate this new iOS and this minimalist approach.  We have truely outstanding display technology that is able to show a pimple on a fly ... so they choose to not really take advantage of it by going “minimalist”???  To me this version looks like a beta release.  I can hear a developer saying, “we have all the function here working now we need to add slick graphics to make the look really stand out on our retina display” ... only to be told by management (to save development costs) that this is good enough ... that iPhone users now “know how their phones work.”  Yes we do know how they work ... and I now also know how detailed the graphics CAN be (and are in countless games!)  I want my detailed buttons and other graphics back ... you can keep your minimalist design.

By tom on 09.21.13 at 03:49 PM

After downloading new iOS 7 spotlight search does not recognize any text messages written before the upgrade. All my old text messages are available to me but they are not searchable. Old messages (before upgrade) are not even searchable under the search bar in the text message app.  After speaking to AppleCare they suggested to restore my phone which I’m gonna have to do when I actually have the time. However the senior representative I was transferred to made light of the situation and said it wasn’t so bad.  After I explained this is a search that I do often and insisted that I needed help with it did she offer the option of possibly restoring my phone as a solution.

By Lola on 09.22.13 at 11:21 AM

I just upgraded my iPhone 4s to the ios 7 and i only just noticed that my Bluetooth profile is now discoverable to all. I have spent the last 2 hours trying to figure out where the bluetooth setting is so i can change it to not discoverable. Please can someone help me with instructions on how to go about this, my bluetooth is mostly on, due to paired enhancements and the last thing i need is someone pairing my iphone with their phone.
I really appreciate this.

By Jeddy Banjo on 09.24.13 at 05:56 AM

Not impressed by this new system! Got an Ipad2. How do I get rid of “Disney” and “Apple” as favorites? Just want the old system back… How do you open new tabs, I only seem to be able to open them through Yahoo. Why change everything? Why not just improve what we had?

By Diane on 09.24.13 at 04:41 PM

In ios7 the titles to movies and videos no longer show, only and opening screen, any way to display the name of the movie, so I can choose what I would like to watch?

By tom on 09.25.13 at 09:16 AM

Hello fellow Rush fan.

Is there any way to get file names displayed on videos listed as “movie”

Videos I add though iTunes and set “media type” to “movie” displays on my device as first frame icons. I pretty much have to play one to find out which one it is.

By Bytor on 09.27.13 at 12:34 AM

Ever since I updated to ios 7.0.2 my right earphone stopped working. They are the EarPods. And I was trying to listen to music, but it stopped working! It was perfectaly fine before I updated to ios 7.0.2 it is also an ipad 2

By Tess on 09.27.13 at 12:36 AM

Looks like same question as #12 we must have been typing @ the same time.

By Bytor on 09.27.13 at 12:38 AM

There is a very annoying issue on the I pad Calendar.  Where is the ability to open a day from the month view by ‘tapping’ the date? surely this is the most intuitive response; tap the date from the month view to ‘open’ the day view!? So much space is available to provide this necessary feature. It works on the small I phone but not the I pad. Am I missing something?

By Tethered on 09.27.13 at 09:37 AM

There remains a bug in iOS 7.0.2 where your entire music purchase history displays in 3rd party music apps, even if it is set to OFF in the iTunes Store settings.  The “Hiding iTunes Store Content” tip didn’t work, either.

By Galley on 09.27.13 at 07:13 PM

I would like to see an option to turn off the “Flying” transitions from app to app or app to home screen.  Never realized how often I swapped applications before but the new transitions are annoying.

By Motion Sickness on 10.02.13 at 09:52 AM

My purchased ringtones have vanished. Any idea how to retrieve them?

By Magnoliagirl on 10.03.13 at 04:44 PM

How to change the color of the type to blue or another choice….

By Kathy on 10.03.13 at 06:44 PM

After my ios 7 update, my phone no longer pairs with my MINI.  The car Bluetooth comes up as “discoverable” and then when I go to connect, it says that I need to be nearer the car or turn the car bluetooth on.  I try to pair in the car while the MINI Bluetooth is on.  Worked on previous ios version.


By cornu on 10.03.13 at 11:53 PM

Many of my purchased apps disappeared after upgrading to 7.0.2. How do I get them back?

By Steve Dee on 10.07.13 at 11:52 AM

@Lola (#9)I also have the same complain after the update. It’s hard to search for old important text messages. Have you restore your phone?

By Wesley on 10.25.13 at 08:33 AM

the new ios 7 update gave me CUSTOM ringtones in Calender (full song) until I acknowledged it and stopped it, then there was a further update ios7 ?? and I lost it??? whats going on here…it was fantastic…

By Rose on 10.26.13 at 08:02 PM

I did what you said to remove the gray bar and it’s still on there.

By Kelli on 11.24.13 at 09:27 AM

Hi, I have just downloaded a movie from iTunes and it is playing in a different language? How do I change this???

By Bree Adams on 12.13.13 at 05:27 AM

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