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How to get the most out of your iPhone 7

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iPhone 7 Plus box

Undoubtedly one of the best phones of 2016, the iPhone 7 has certainly got a lot to offer. However, Apple has faced criticism for the handset, which, on the surface at least, only features incremental improvements on the iPhone 6.

Yet, while the design and the overall user experience haven’t changed drastically, the iPhone 7 does come with some very useful new features that do set it apart from its predecessors.

But what are they? Read on for our top 10 tips on how can you get the most out of your iPhone 7.

1. Check notifications discreetly

iPhone 7 in hand

The iPhone 7 makes it incredibly easy to check your notifications with the Raise to Wake function. All you need to do is pull your phone out of your pocket or lift it up and it will briefly activate the display, showing any awaiting notifications and messages.

So you can check to see if anyone has texted you without even pressing the home button, which is ideal if you’re trying to discreetly check your phone during a meeting/ dinner with the in-laws.

To activate Raise to Wake, go to ‘Settings’, select ‘Display and brightness’ and switch Raise to Wake on.

2. Make sure you don’t miss a notification

iPhone 7 camera flash

Raise to Wake is great, but it does rely on you checking your phone. If, however, you’re always missing emails and texts, you can enable the iPhone 7 camera flash to blink on and off when you get a notification.

To activate the notification flash feature, go to ‘Settings’ and select ‘General’. Then go to ‘Accessibility’ and enable the ‘LED flash for alerts’.

Just be aware that your phone’s battery life might take a bit of a hammering if the flash is constantly going off.

3. Use Wi-Fi and mobile data at the same time

iPhone 7 Wi-Fi assist

You can access free Wi-Fi pretty much wherever you go nowadays, with cafés, train stations and restaurants all offering the service and most networks supplying free Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. Unfortunately, public Wi-Fi can be pretty unreliable.

But rather than getting frustrated by watching your browser endlessly switch between the loading screen and a timeout message, iPhone 7 users can use Wi-Fi Assist to use their monthly data allowance at the same time.

To enable Wi-Fi Assist, go to ‘Settings’ and select ‘Mobile data’, then switch on the ‘Wi-Fi Assist’ option.

Just be aware that using Wi-Fi Assist will eat into your data allowance.

4. Make your phone child-friendly

Mobile phone for children

So, you’re at your friend’s house and they have a young child. At some point, you will pull out your phone, either to check the football score, send a text or look at the time.

Like a magpie, the child will be instantly drawn to your shiny device. Before you’ve had time to hide your phone, they will be in front of you with big, pleading eyes and sticky, outstretched fingers.

This scenario is almost impossible to avoid, so, it’s best to be prepared. Luckily, the iPhone 7 has a range of options to help you hand over your beloved handset with confidence.

Just go to ‘Settings’ and select ‘Restrictions’. From here, you can disable key apps, such as Siri, AirDrop and iTunes. You can also prevent the installation and deletion of apps.

If the child is likely to use your phone unsupervised, you can also prevent movies above a certain rating from being downloaded, and even restrict what websites they can browse.

5. Send texts without unlocking your phone

iPhone 7 Plus angled

If you ever get any super urgent texts (like an offer of free food for example) you really can’t afford to waste precious seconds unlocking your phone before you respond. iPhone 7 owners can be really quick off the mark with their responses, thanks to Apple’s updated lock-screen widgets.

All you need to do is firmly press a received message on the lock screen and a window will appear so you can reply straight away.

So you’re probably pre-empting the same problem that we are. What if an untrustworthy friend or family member gets hold of your phone? Thankfully, while you can read and reply to a text while your phone is locked, you can’t view your message history without unlocking it, thereby limiting the amount of damage a prankster can do.

6. Delete a half-typed text by shaking the phone

Shake to delete iPhone 7 text

We’ve all written texts we would love to send but then think better of it. The iPhone 7 makes it super-easy to censor yourself by giving the handset a swift shake. A pop-up will then appear, giving you the option of deleting the entire text.

7. Shoot 4K videos or 60 Frames-Per-Second (FPS) videos on the iPhone 7

iPhone 7 dual lens camera

One of the standout features of the iPhone 7 is its capability of shooting Full HD videos at 60 frames-per-second, as well as Ultra HD 4K resolution footage. However, by default the iPhone 7 records video at Full HD resolution, at just 30 FPS. Which is still pretty great to be honest.

If you want to take really professional-looking videos, go to ‘Settings’ and select 'Photos and camera'. In here, you can change the frames-per-second and switch on Ultra HD 4K. There are also lots of other options to change the video resolution and speed, so do play around with them.

8. Edit Live Photos

iPhone 7 Live Photos

Live Photos is nothing new. The iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and iPhone SE have all come with Live Photos supported. But, the iPhone 7 is the first handset that allows you to edit them.

If you’re unfamiliar with this feature, Live Photos will capture 1.5 seconds of video before and after it. To turn on Live Photos, open up the camera and select the little icon that looks like a firework, in the middle of the top toolbar. It’ll glow yellow when it’s enabled.

To edit your Live Photos in action, search through your regular photos in the Photos app. When you swipe through your pics, the Live Photo animation will show for a split second, and then stop. To see the whole thing, 3D Touch on the Photo by pressing firmly and holding on the pic.

You will then be given the option to edit your Live Photos. You can crop them, add a filter, adjust colours and lighting, or even use the magic-wand auto-adjuster at the top-right.

9. Stop people knowing you have read their texts

iPhone 7 read receipts

When you open a text, iPhones are set to automatically send a read receipt back to the sender to let them know you’ve opened it. So, basically if you want to pretend you haven’t seen a text so you don’t have to reply, your iPhone will tell tales on you to the sender you’re trying to ignore. Brilliant.

Thankfully, the iPhone 7 lets you switch this off either for all your messages, or for specific contacts you’d rather not text.

If you want to retain an air of mystery with all your contacts, just go to ‘Settings’, select ‘Messages’ and switch off the ‘Send read receipts’.

If you want to just switch it off for specific contacts (like your boss/mother-in-law/annoying little brother), go to your conversation with them in Messages and select the ‘i’ symbol in the top right-hand corner. Then, switch off ‘Send read receipts’ and click ‘Done’ to save. So now that annoying contact will never know when you’ve read their texts.

10. Charge your iPhone 7 and plug your headphones in at the same time

iPhone 7 Plus headphones and dock in hand

Remember back in 2015 when we could charge our iPhone and listen to music at the same time? We just took that functionality completely for granted.

Fast-forward 12 months and here we are, fighting a constant battle between charging our phone and plugging our headphones in thanks to Apple’s controversial move to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone 7.

Luckily though, you don’t have to compromise. There are actually loads of adaptors out there that allow you to plug in both your headphones and your charger at the same time. Although this means forking out for one, most of them are relatively inexpensive, and if you like to listen to your music while your phone’s plugged in, it’s definitely worth the investment.

We like this EReach adaptor.

Tempted to get an iPhone 7? Check out all our best deals.

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