iOS 7 vs iOS 6: how different are they?

Smart Mailboxes and easier mail management doesn't just get a cool new design. It gets some useful features too. Smart Mailboxes enable you to pin frequently-used mail folders for quick access, and swiping right to left on an email header gives you the choice of Trash or More. That latter option gives you Reply, Forward, Flag, Mark as Unread, Junk and Move options.


As with iOS 6 you can force-quit apps by double-tapping the home button to invoke the multitasking view, but in iOS 7 you dismiss them by swiping them upwards. Multitasking has been changed under the hood, too: according to Apple, "iOS 7 learns when you like to use your apps and can update your content before you launch them. So if you tend to check your favorite social app at 9:00 every morning, your feed will be ready and waiting for you."

iTunes Radio

The new iTunes Radio feature will supplement your music library with streaming songs, and if you're an iTunes Match subscriber it'll be ad-free. It'll feature personalised stations based on the music you already listen to, and more than 200 genre-specific stations. Apple promises exclusive previews of some new releases too.

Automatic App Updating

Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah once more! Keeping our iOS apps up to date was beginning to feel rather like gardening: time-consuming, tedious and utterly pointless. Now iOS lets apps update themselves, although you can disable the feature if you prefer to keep things manual.


iOS 7 vs iOS 6

Airdrop makes sharing between iOS devices simpler

Sharing files from iOS devices hasn't been as easy as it could be, which is why many of us use apps such as Dropbox or send photos over email to the person sitting six feet away from us.

Airdrop makes things simpler: if the person you want to share with is nearby and running iOS 7, you'll be able to share photos, videos, contacts or anything else app developers decide to support. You can share one file with lots of people or lots of files with one person, and you can restrict Airdrop to people in your address book or anyone in the vicinity.

Smarter Siri

iOS 7 vs iOS 6

Siri's had a brain - and a helpfulness - enhancement

Siri can do more in iOS 7 without leaving the app: you can get web results (via Bing, even if you tell Siri to "search the web"), ask questions such as "tell me about [thing]", look for particular people's Twitter tweets and - joy of joys - access key settings, such as Bluetooth and Airplane mode.

More App Store options

The familiar App Store has been given a new look and two new discovery features: Apps Near Me, which shows you the most popular apps downloaded from your current location, and a new Kids category for - you've guessed it - kids' apps.

Activation Lock

iOS 6's Find My Phone features have been enhanced to make criminals' lives more difficult: disabling Find My Phone or erasing the device requires your Apple ID and password, and those ID details are also required to re-activate it even once it has been wiped. Remotely erasing your iPhone doesn't prevent your phone from displaying a custom message of your choice either.

iOS in the car

iOS 7 vs iOS 6

iOS 7 is ready to work with your car - when your car catches up

It'll be a while before this feature's relevant to many of us, but iOS 7 is designed to integrate with compatible in-car systems for hands-free calling, music, messages and navigation.

Wallpapers and ringtones

Not exactly earth-shattering we know, but some of them are quite nice.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.