Quick guide: 7 new features in iOS 7.1

Apple's recently introduced iOS 7.1update provides a few design changes and a couple of extra features. Here's what you need to know to access some of these.

Quick guide: Getting around in iOS 7.1

Taking HDR photos

Apple is very, very serious about photography on the iPhone. iOS 7.1 lets you enable automatic capture of HDR (high dynamic range) images. These images should be better than those captured without the feature, as it makes the camera capture a series of photos at different exposures, combining the best parts of each. 

Previously you could choose to take an HDR shot or not, but it is now set as default. You'll notice this when you open the Cameras app on your device, when you'll notice an HDR Auto statement at the top of the screen. To turn it off just tap the statement and you'll get the choice.

Quick guide: Getting around in iOS 7.1

Turn off parallax

Some people didn't like the new parallax effect in iOS 7, claiming it made them queasy. Apple listens to its customers and has made it possible to completely switch these off in the new OS.

  • To turn parallax off choose Settings>Wallpapers & Brightness
  • Tap your existing Wallpaper choice in the left hand window to invoke the Wallpaper Preview display.
  • At the bottom of this view you'll see the Cancel and Set buttons, with a new control called Perspective View available above these.
  • Set this to off and parallax effects will disappear.
  • Switch it on to enable them again
Quick guide: Getting around in iOS 7.1

Button control

The new OS lets you set your device up to more clearly represent the difference between buttons and text labels. You need to enable the feature. To do so, choose Settings>General>Accessibility>Button Shapes and set the toggle to on (green). You will see button shapes appear.

There are also a few gentle tweaks across the user interface, the shift and caps lock keys have been improved while some icons have been revamped and the iPhone dialler and shutdown screen have been redesigned.

Siri

Siri works a little differently -- it continues to attempt to automatically detect when you are speaking, but you can also now press the Home button to activate it, and then release the button when you've finished speaking.

Apple has also enabled new Siri voices in some countries: the UK (for example) now has a new female voice for Siri. You can switch voices in Settings>General>Siri, choose between the available choices in Voice Gender.

CarPlay

Support for CarPlay is Apple's headline addition within iOS 7.1, but the feature is only available in 13 countries, as listed here.

HFP Prompts

Another new feature is support for HFP Prompts. Previously when you connected your iOS device to your car entertainment system using Bluetooth in order to navigate to a destination you were limited to only hearing your directions spoken to you -- you could not also listen to your music or radio. Now if you connect your device to your car over Bluetooth you get a new 'Allow HFP Prompts' option. Enable this and your device will allow you to listen to other audio on your car system, dropping in now and then when it has new route information.

iTunes Radio

iTunes Radio on your device now allows you to buy albums based on the currently playing track with one button press. There's also a new search field above featured stations while music apps now have Shuffle and Repeat buttons.

Additional features include improved views in Calendar and performance improvements when using the OS on an iPhone 4 (you can read how much improved that experience can be here). Additional improvements in the release are listed here.

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