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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Great Britain preview quotes - Mercedes, Lotus, Red Bull

After a thrilling race on a revamped Spielberg circuit, the paddock heads for the more familiar territory of Silverstone and the 2014 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix.

Mercedes, winners in Great Britain last year, left Austria with a one-two finish, but were shocked in qualifying as Williams locked out the front row. Can the Grove team repeat the feat on home soil - or will rivals like Red Bull carry the fight to the Silver Arrows? Those involved discuss their prospects...

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel
2013 Qualifying - 3rd, 2013 Race - DNF

"I always like going to Silverstone, the track is incredible to drive and the British crowd that turns out to watch the weekend is always massive - whether it's wet or dry everyone always looks like they are having a really good time. This year I will be staying in the UK after the race which is good because normally we have to leave straight after. It's a busy time right now, we had Red Bull's home race in Austria, the team's local event here and then we go to my home race in Germany! This race has an extra element as it's so close to the factory and a lot of the staff who work so hard on the car will be watching from the grandstands with their families - I hope we can get a good result for them. As the factory is only about half an hour or so from the track a lot of the race team live nearby and can sleep in their own beds for the weekend which surely is a nice thing for them. I have good memories of Silverstone, the best must be winning there in 2009 and Mark won there in 2010 and 2012 so we have a good record at the track."

Daniel Ricciardo
2013 Qualifying - 5th, 2013 Race - 8th

"Silverstone is great. It's just a great, great racing circuit. It's fast, it's flowing and you really get to rag your car for all it's worth. There's nowhere better at letting you know how very, very good an F1 car is than Silverstone, and in particular through that ultra-fast Maggots-Becketts-Chapel complex. The two hairpins at Turns Three and Four give you quite a variation of racing lines, even though they're ‘just' hairpins. You can push hard through the first one and sacrifice the second or you can do the contrary. The more I drive it, the more I also enjoy the new section because it creates more chances for overtaking and it's not as straightforward as it looks. I'm looking forward to my first race with Infiniti Red Bull Racing this year at Silverstone, I know a lot of the guys are going to be watching at the track so I'll be going at it for a good result."

Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
"Silverstone is a fantastic event. It's the Factory's local event, it's great that there are so many fans there and it's a unique atmosphere with all the camping and the smell of BBQs - there's always a real buzz about the place. I've been going there since 1992 and you always get anticipation, in a good way, when you go through the main gates. We always get a fantastic reception - the fans are among the most knowledgeable in the world and there's a tremendous support for motor racing in the UK. The factory is only about 20 minutes away from the circuit so it's fantastic to have so many of the team attend the race - and it gives an extra element for the race team as well, knowing their colleagues and families are in the crowd supporting them. All things being equal obviously the Mercedes have got such an advantage at the moment it's going to be tough to beat them, but as we saw in Montreal recently, anything can happen and we're going to be pushing hard. Renault are working hard on their side and hopefully we can give them a bit of a run for their money."

Romain Grosjean
2013 Qualifying - 7th, 2013 Race - 19th

"It's a fantastic track with a lot of high speed corners which should suit the E22 a lot better than the circuits we've visited recently which have seemed to jump on every weakness with our current package. Silverstone is challenging, but it has a good feel. It's one of the quickest tracks of the year. There are corners which are legendary like the Magotts, Becketts, Chapel complex. It's quite a feeling going through there and I can't wait to feel that sensation once more. It's also a special Grand Prix for the team as the factory is very close to the track. It's always nice to see not only the race team, but also some of the many people from the factory come to see us out in action. It's thanks to all their hard work that we're out on track and they are all doing an amazing job, always working so hard."

Pastor Maldonado
2013 Qualifying - 15th, 2013 Race - 11th

"I've won at Silverstone in the GP2 Series and I've always really liked the circuit. I've spent so much time in England that it's like a second home to me, especially as I have family who live very close to the circuit in Oxfordshire. It's a great event coming mid-season and it always provides an interesting race. I have always enjoyed racing at Silverstone since my first visit back in 2007. I also have good memories of it as I have had some great races there, including winning in both 2009 and 2010 in the GP2 Series. Hopefully the high speed corners will work better with our car and it would be great to be back to where we were in Barcelona which is quite a similar circuit to Silverstone. Obviously, at the Barcelona test teams were all running to different programmes, so I don't think we're suddenly going to be the fastest car, but I do expect to be further up the order than we have been at recent races."

Federico Gastaldi, Lotus deputy team principal
"I would not say that we came away with too much satisfaction because we were not rewarded with points but for Pastor the maximum was extracted from his race in Austria, so positives could be taken. This gives us a good platform to achieve our aims and objectives for Silverstone, which is to add to our points tally. But first we have to match the slower speed corner performance of the E22 to the high speed performance. The momentum we got from the Spanish Grand Prix and the test afterwards was forgotten slightly after the tough three races since then. But we know that at a track like Silverstone we should be able to see similar performance and exploit the capabilities of the E22 and the powertrain package with the help of Renault Sport F1."

Nick Chester, Lotus technical director
"Obviously Silverstone is a very different track to Austria, with many more high-speed corners that will suit our car better. We've also got a few updates, including a front wing and floor, some different combinations of aerodynamic parts to try and some new set-up concepts to explore. It's a home race for the team so we'd like nothing more than to put on a good show in front of our factory staff and all the loyal fans in the grandstands."

Lewis Hamilton
2013 Qualifying - 1st, 2013 Race - 4th

"It was great to get another one-two finish for the team in Austria and I'm so proud of all the hard work everyone is putting in to keep us at the front this season. Of course, it wasn't the result I wanted personally and it was disappointing not to be able to capitalise on my pace when it was clearly there. But in the end, coming back to second place was positive in terms of damage limitation. Silverstone is obviously a special race for me and the support I have there is just incredible. The British fans are the absolute best in the world and it's really humbling to see thousands of people out there cheering you on - no matter what the weather or the result. I won the race in the wet in 2008, which was just the best feeling. I think the gap was around 60 seconds at the end, and I'd lapped everyone up to third place which was just unreal. I could never have hoped or dreamed for a race like that - especially at my home Grand Prix. That has to be one of the best moments of my career. I loved raising that gold trophy in front of the home crowds and I'm determined to get my hands on it again this year."

Nico Rosberg
2013 Qualifying - 2nd, 2013 Race - 1st

"The last race weekend in Austria was not an easy one for us overall, so I was delighted to come away with the win and even more so for the team to have both cars at the front when we crossed the line. The atmosphere at the circuit was really great and, being so close to Germany, it almost felt like a home race for me. Silverstone is another special one for me, as I managed to win there last season. It was actually very close to my birthday and I had a really cool experience after the race. There's usually a fan festival with rock bands and all sorts after the track action finishes, which is something I go to almost every year. This time, I was up on stage doing a quick interview and the whole crowd started singing Happy Birthday to me, which was very cool! The British fans are absolutely fantastic. So I enjoy going to Silverstone personally, but really this one is all about the team. For the hundreds of people at Brackley and Brixworth it's a home race and many of them will be there with their families and friends across the weekend. I want to put on a good show and get the best result possible out of it for them after all their hard work this season."

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"We were delighted to get another top result in Austria. Our weekend in Spielberg was one of the toughest so far this season, with a qualifying performance which did not match our expectations. To bounce back with another one-two finish was highly satisfying - particularly as our rivals pushed us harder than ever throughout the race. This demonstrates once again how crucial it is to remain 100 percent focused on the task at hand. We can afford no mistakes if we are to achieve our goals, as there will always be someone waiting to punish those mistakes. We now head to Silverstone - one of the highlights of the year for the team. For the hundreds of people at Brackley and Brixworth it provides an opportunity to see the results of hard work in action on the track. Our drivers are both particularly strong at this circuit and we can expect another tightly contested battle between the two of them. Equally, many of our rivals see this as their home race and will be highly motivated to gain an advantage. There are certain teams in particular who have a record of success here, so we are taking nothing for granted. It is up to us to ensure that our motivation is the highest of all as we look to put on a show for the incredible Silverstone crowds."

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical) 
"It was a great result for the team to get another one-two finish in Austria - even more so considering our below-par grid positions. For Lewis in particular, to come through from ninth place and be fighting at the front was an impressive performance, while it was also immensely satisfying to see seven of the top ten cars powered by Mercedes-Benz. While it was a less than straightforward weekend for us, the event itself was fantastic. We very much enjoyed returning to Austria and will look forward to going back there again in the coming years. For now, though, we look ahead to Silverstone and a different challenge to anything we've seen so far this year. It's a very fast circuit layout which tests aerodynamic performance to the very limit. We demonstrated our competitiveness there last year with victory for Nico and equally with pole position for Lewis - who was extremely unfortunate not to achieve the result he deserved with his tyre failure in the race. We're very much hoping that our strong form will continue and are looking forward to seeing another tightly contested battle between our two drivers. The circuit is a matter of miles from our factories at Brackley and Brixworth, so we're determined to put on a great show for everyone in the team as well as the fantastic British fans."
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Thursday, May 1, 2014

I’m paying for what? How Xbox Live Gold must change for a new age of free

I’m paying for what? How Xbox Live Gold must change for a new age of free

A new chief executive, a new head of Microsoft’s Devices business, a new corporate philosophy. But Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold subscription service, especially on its new Xbox One game console, seems stuck in the past. Some of the included services are still arguably worth the money, but the rapid evolution of free cloud services in recent years surely has some Gold customers asking: “Why am I paying for this again?” 
It's time for a change. Whether Microsoft's ready to mess with this cash cow is the big question. 
Xbox Live dates back a dozen years to 2002, when the company launched the original Xbox. Multiplayer console gaming dates back to Pong, but Microsoft’s strategy of connecting games and their consoles via the Internet and the Xbox Live service was revolutionary. Broadband connections were still rare, and things we take for granted now—apps, video streaming, and downloading multi-gigabyte games over the Internet—were years in the future. Microsoft not only had a powerful console, but a value-added service that gamers would pay for.
xbox one
Over time, however, Microsoft expanded Xbox Live Gold, charging for “features” that virtually every other platform offers for free. Today, the $60 fee (per gamer, per year) includes the right to watch streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go. The Gold fee is also required to challenge other players—which, with multiplayer-only games becoming more common, seems petty. (Sony’s PlayStation 4 is also guilty of this.) But the real crime lies with Internet Explorer and especially Skype, which Microsoft offers for free on Windows PCs and Windows Phone—but not on the Xbox One.

Change is in the air

Microsoft’s own new Devices chief, Stephen Elop, seemingly shot down the rationale for charging for Microsoft’s cloud services in a recent “Ask Me Anything” session on the Nokia Conversations blog.
“I think that people are looking for and deserve a consistent and continuous experience across their different devices and platforms,” Elop wrote. “A good example of this today is OneDrive, where I have consistent access to my stuff across all of my devices. Same thing with Skype.”
xbox one interface
Elop didn’t say anything about OneDrive and Skype being free, but he didn’t have to. Free cloud services are assumed these days, part and parcel of Microsoft’s strategy to expand onto other platforms like iOS and Android. Heck, Microsoft has bundled Internet Explorer as a free Web browser since Windows XP. And modern smartphones—Windows Phone included—access the Internet via a Web browser.
Ditto for Skype, a free service which runs on Windows PCs, Macs, Windows Phones, Android, and iOS. Just this week, Microsoft stopped charging for group calls placed on Skype, evidence that it’s willing to change.
Wes Miller, an analyst for Directions on Microsoft, feels that the Xbox Live program is in transition. “Coming back from Build [Microsoft’s developer conference, where Microsoft gave away free Xbox One consoles to developers], and then paying for entertainment applications, especially when you can get them for free from any other platform, is a much, much harder service fee to justify,” he said.
Other analysts point out that Xbox Live Gold still justifies its existence, since both Sony and Microsoft charge for multiplayer gaming. On the older Xbox 360, Microsoft also offers “Games for Gold,” two top-tier games it gives away to Gold subscribers on a monthly basis, for free. Microsoft has yet to launch the service for the One, however.
Brian Blau, an analyst for Gartner, believes that eventually Microsoft and other console providers will make money on a per-app basis, via microtransactions, rather than through a service fee like Xbox Live Gold's. “I personally feel like they’re doing this because they can,” he said. “They don’t have enough content. I know it sounds harsh, but they don’t. And until they do they’re extracting money any way they can.”
Microsoft Xbox One
Does Skype on the big screen justify $60 per year?

Game consoles are dead; entertainment consoles are the future

Remember that two years ago, in 2012, Microsoft crowed that customers were watching movies and listening to music on the Xbox 360 more than they were playing games.
“The original vision for the Xbox was for it to be the heart of connected digital entertainment and it has been amazing to watch the arc,” said Otto Berkes, a senior vice president of consumer technology at HBO who helped to launch the Xbox at Microsoft, said then.
Microsoft was rightfully proud of the Xbox’s role in the living room as a gateway to the best digital entertainment. And it tried that same approach with the Xbox One. Granted, the One has not been especially well-received: A confusing (and since streamlined) used-game policy saw to that, as well as issues with its user interface and voice controls. According to NPD, the Sony PlayStation 4 has generally outsold the One since the two consoles launched. Still, customers spend nearly five hours per day using the Xbox One, Microsoft executives have said—and I doubt that’s all playing games.
Microsoft Xbox One
A wealth of apps—and they should be free to users.
I’ve owned a Sony PlayStation 3 console for years. My six-year-old can turn it on, navigate to Netflix, log in, and find his favorite shows. He’s never played a single game on it. All I have to do to add more content, such as Hulu or Crackle, is download a free app. That’s the way it should work.
But one shouldn’t think of the Xbox as just a console. Strategically, it’s Microsoft’s presence in the living room, just as Windows is Microsoft’s entree into the den and office, and Windows Phone puts Microsoft into your pocket. If Microsoft wants to push its cloud-connected services strategy forward, it simply can’t charge for Skype or Internet Explorer. It makes no sense.
“As I’ve told our employees, our industry does not respect tradition,” Nadella told analysts at its most recent quarterly earnings call. “It only respects innovation.  This applies to us and everyone else.”
Bingo: Xbox Live Gold is tradition for the sake of tradition. It needs to change, or go.

Still room for paid services

Why does Xbox Live Gold exist? Revenue, obviously. Live Gold allows Microsoft to subsidize everything from the consoles itself to the “Game with Gold” program.
Xbox Live Gold’s list of services include the multiplayer gaming options, entertainment apps, Microsoft’s video and music store, the ability to watch NFL games through the console with additional statistics, work out with the assistance of virtual trainers, and be matched up against opponents of your own skill with a service called SmartMatch. Gamers can upload replays or stream their gaming sessions via its “Game DVR” feature. As noted before, Skype and Explorer are part of Xbox Live Gold. There’s also a “OneGuide” that replaces your TV provider’s programming guide.
Microsoft Xbox One
Microsoft should be able to charge for movie rental and sales.
Rob Sanfilippo, who worked on Xbox Live before joining Directions on Microsoft, believes Microsoft needs to deploy a dashboard or another way of showing Xbox Live customers what they’re paying for. “People think all Microsoft is doing is charging for Netflix,” he said. “They forget all the other things that come with it.”
“With Xbox Live Gold, our mission is to provide a premium games and entertainment service that you can’t find anywhere else, one that offers interactive experiences that span across games, TV shows, movies, music, sports and Skype,” a Microsoft representative said in a statement. “We are continually investing in the service in order to provide the best possible experience, and like other membership programs, we reward members with things like discounts and free content.”
Microsoft also offers a free tier, historically referred to as “Xbox Live Silver,” available on the Xbox 360 and One. It “includes access to a robust catalog of gaming content, movies, TV shows and more,” the Microsoft representative added. “In certain regions, HDMI pass-through will enable you to watch live TV from your cable, telco or satellite set-top box through your Xbox One. You can also turn your smart device into the ultimate companion with Xbox SmartGlass.”
xbox one smartglass
SmartGlass: Microsoft’s second-screen experience is a value-added perk that’s worth reserving for Xbox Live Gold customers.

Let’s make some changes

Microsoft and users naturally hold differing opinions of what constitutes a free experience, and what might justify paying a few dollars per month for premium services. But given the competitive landscape and the corporate vision expressed by Elop and Nadella, I’d break it out this way:
Xbox Live (free tier): basic multiplayer gaming against random opponents, third-party entertainment apps, OneGuide, Internet Explorer, Skype, Xbox Video and Xbox Music.
Xbox Gold (paid tier): optimized SmartMatch multiplayer gaming, NFL on Xbox One, virtual trainers, Game DVR and streaming, SmartGlass support, Microsoft's original programming, and (eventually) Games with Gold.
What I’ve done is preserve Microsoft’s revenue stream, but tweak it so gamers don’t have to pay an additional fee for what a modern entertainment console was designed to do: provide a gateway to the best of what the Web, TV, and recorded audio and video have to offer. PC gamers don’t have to pay extra for multiplayer, and Xbox users shouldn’t either. Note that even though Xbox Video and Music is placed within the free tier, selling and renting content to gamers still brings in extra cash. And if Microsoft loses some sales to Netflix or Hulu, so what? This is how competition is supposed to work.
We could add some more items to our wish list—HBO GO support, and an improved UI, among others. But the bottom line is this: Xbox Live Gold should provide truly premium services for the price. Charging for something you can easily get for free somewhere else shouldn't be part of the package. If you're a current or former Xbox Gold subscriber, let us know what you think about its services in the comments.
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The Brazilian women using football to escape the favelas

The Brazilian women using football to escape the favelas

For decades, women's football was banned in Brazil. Now ex-drug traffickers are tackling prejudice in the game by training future soccer stars from the favelas
Alex Scott with the children from the Penha favela.
Alex Scott with the children from the Penha favela. Photograph: Vito Di Stefano/ Vito Di Stefano/Demotix/Corbis
The Astroturf on the football pitch in Rio de Janeiro's Penha favela complex is torn and covered with litter, while graffiti on the bullet-ridden, pockmarked walls vows "death to the police".
"Stray bullets are part of my life here," says Jessica, a 17-year-old football coach. "Sometimes you have to jump into a house to dodge them."
The conditions for the girls playing football in this favela in northern Rio could not be more different to those facing Brazil's national men's team ahead of this year's Fifa World Cup. Yet the coaching that goes on here is perhaps just as important for Brazil's future generations. Philip Veldhuis, the founder of Favela Street, a project that trains ex-drug traffickers to coach football youngsters at risk from the drugs trade, says: "The kids here have a choice. Join the drug traffickers or play football with us."
Penha is one of Rio's toughest areas; a police "pacifying unit" arrived in 2010 to reclaim control from the drug gangs, but violence is still endemicand has recently erupted again in Vila Cruzeiro – which is part of the Penha complex. A study by Rio de Janeiro State University found that incidents of rape and domestic violence against women had risen in pacified favelas between 2006 and 2011.
There is a high risk for some girls who grow up in impoverished favelas and see joining the drugs trade or becoming the girlfriend of a drug dealer as the only way to earn money or prestige in communities where educational provision is often erratic or interrupted by shootouts. According to one report last month, the number of women on Rio's most-wanted list, mainly for drug trafficking, is at a record high.
Jessica started living on the streets after receiving death threats from the drug traffickers she worked for. She returned to Penha only after theIbiss foundation, the non-profit organisation that funds the Favela Street soccer schools among other projects, negotiated her return with the drugs lords.
Around 1,000 children have been coached by the ex-drug traffickers recruited by Favela Street in four favelas. Around 80 girls currently play football and Veldhuis, who began developing the programme as an intern with Ibiss in 2008, plans to increase girls' membership by extending it to more areas.
Despite the national passion for football and success of the men's team, the women's game has been slow to establish itself in Brazil; the fourth incarnation of a women's league was launched last September. Between 1941 and 1979, a law – originally imposed by the then-ruling military dictator – prohibited girls and women from playing football as it was considered "incompatible with the female form". Women's teams have lacked sponsorship, support and media attention – even despite the homegrown success of Marta, routinely named as the world's best women's footballer.
Even without much hope of professional support, Veldhuis says Favela Street is helping to change perceptions about the young women involved, as well as building up their self-esteem. "I didn't do anything before Favela Street," says 16-year-old Thiyane. "I just went to school and came home because it was too dangerous to be on the streets, but with the project I can go somewhere and do something." She hopes to be among players in the Favela Street team that will represent Brazil in the girls-only tournament of the Street Child World Cup (SCWC), a global campaign for children's rights, which hosts a football competition and conference in Rio for teenagers in March, before the Fifa event in June.
Just before Christmas, Arsenal and England footballer Alex Scott was invited, as part of her ambassadorial role with the SCWC, to visit the Brazilian girls' team in Rio. It is a long way from Penha to east London, where Scott grew up, but for girls in the favelas and those from Scott's council estate, similar experiences could still be shared. "I don't know what would have happened to me if I hadn't got into football," says Scott. Being picked up by Arsenal aged eight gave her a lifelong sense of direction and confidence.
Whether in London or in Rio, the Arsenal defender believes the sport can offer ways to cope with living in tough urban environments. "Football helps you because you have to learn how to channel your aggression. If you let it overwhelm you, you risk letting down the whole team. Developing that discipline helps you in the rest of your life."
Favela Street is using football to change life opportunities for Brazilian girls against difficult odds. Often, even the smallest logistical details can present a real challenge. "All the children who take part in the soccer schools are given instructions on where to go if the shooting starts," says Veldhuis. "But sometimes we have to cancel training if it's too dangerous."
"There are always barriers [to playing football]," says Jessica, who is determined to lead the Favela Street girls to victory at the SCWC tournament, "but barriers are there to be overcome."
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33 great tips and tricks for iOS 7

33 great tips and tricks for iOS 7

Whether it’s the first time you’ve picked up an iPad or the seventeenth time you’ve pulled out your iPhone today, there are probably still some iOS 7 features and functionality that you’re not familiar with. Don’t sweat it: We’re here to help. We’ve collected some of our favorite and most useful tips and compiled them here, just for you.

Make iOS 7 look nicer

ios71 accessibility settings
There are several settings you can change to make iOS 7 easier on the eyes.
1. Make the text larger and bolder:As nice as the thinner version of the Helvetica Neue font is in iOS 7, it’s not always the easiest to read. If you’re having trouble reading text on your iPhone or iPad, just go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Larger Textto increase the default font size on your device. You can make that font size even larger in apps that support it by enabling Larger Accessibility Sizes. And if you want Helvetica Neue to show up just a bit bolder, visit Settings > General > Accessibility and enable the Bold Text slider. (Note: You will have to restart your iPhone when you enable Bold Text.)
2. Buttons, buttons, everywhere: iOS 7 has ditched most of the traditional buttons present in past versions of Apple’s mobile software, but if you’re jonesing for that old familiar arrow shape, you can enable it via Settings > General > Accessibility > Button Shapes.
3. Contrast is key: Some of us like white text on light backgrounds, but others find it causes headaches and hurts their eyes. If you’re part of that latter group, there are several options for your viewing pleasure under Settings > General > Accessibility > Increase Contrast.
If you want to increase the text and background contrast for features like Control Center and Notification Center, turn on the Reduce Transparency option.
If you wish to darken the highlight colors found in an app’s menu and tab bar (the pink color of the Music app, for instance), toggle the Darken Colors switch.
And if you’d like to darken the white backgrounds found in apps like Settings, the Reduce White Point screen brings the pure white coloration down to a more ocularly-friendly light grey.

On the map

4. Turn-by-turn walking directions: We’ve long had the ability to do turn-by-turn directions for driving, but iOS 7 also adds the ability to get those same prompted directions when you’re on foot. Just tap the Directions button in the top left hand corner, select the Walking icon at the top of the screen, enter your destination, and tap Route. Siri will guide you to your destination, alerting you by voice when it’s time to make a turn.
5. Prefer walking directions: Say you’re on vacation and don’t have a car: Wouldn’t it be useful if you didn’t have to remind Maps that you want those walking directions every time you put in a location? Easy enough: Just go to Settings > Mapsand scroll down to the Preferred Directions section. There you’ll be able to choose between Driving and Walking. Now, when you launch Maps, it’ll give you pedestrian-friendly directions by default.
ios7tips fmf notify
Apple's free Find My Friends app lets you set geofences on friends so you can be notified when they leave or arrive at a location.
6. Notify you about your friends’ location: Apple’s free Find My Friends app can be super useful at times, such as when you’re meeting up with a friend. You can even use the app to automatically tell your friend when you’re heading out—or be notified when your friend is arriving someplace—all thanks to geofences.
Just launch the Find My Friends app, select the friend you want to be notified about and tap the More… button in the toolbar. At the bottom of the contact card, choose either Notify Me or Notify [your friend’s name]. You’ll be prompted to choose whether the notification will show up when you arrive at or leave a place, as well as specifying the location (and even how big a radius from that location will trigger the notification). If you choose to notify your friend about your location, you can also send a message immediately.
7. Ask Siri to notify you about your friends’ location: If setting up those geofences is a little too cumbersome, you can ask Siri to handle it for you. Just trigger the virtual assistant and say, for example, “Notify me when John leaves his current location.”
8. Geofencing in Reminders: Not only can you can set geofences on people, you can also place them on locations. Using the Reminders app, you can have a notification sent to you when you’re arriving at or leaving a location. Just create a reminder, tap the ‘i’ button next to it, and choose “Remind me at a location.” Under the Location sub-menu, search for a contact, place name, or specific address; as with Find My Friends, you can even specify the size of the radius around the location, just in case you want to be reminded to get cookies when you’re even remotely near the supermarket.

Master your photos

iOS 7 burst mode select
Accidentally take 88 burst mode photos when one or two would do fine? You can weed them out in the Camera Roll.
9. Save your favorite Burst Mode images (iPhone 5s): The iPhone 5s’s Burst Mode is an excellent way to ensure that you capture fast-moving action, but you also don’t want to take up lots of space with photo duplicates. After you’ve captured an image in Burst Mode by pressing and holding down the shutter button for a few seconds, you can tap the Camera Roll to view your images.
Your burst appears as a single photo in the album, represented by what iOS 7 thinks is the best photo of the bunch. You can go back and look through the full burst collection, however, by tapping the Favorites button; select the photo (or photos) you’d like to showcase by tapping on them and pressing Done. From there, you can choose to keep the entire burst for future perusal, or delete all the images you chose not to select.
10. Enable automatic HDR (iPhone 5s): Back in 2010, iOS 4.1 added the High Dynamic Range (HDR) feature to its Camera app, which allowed you to take a photo of a subject with both sharp light and deep shadow and have it render as evenly lit. But HDR took longer to shoot than the average image, which for most people meant manuallyturning it on whenever you wanted to capture that perfect sunset.
With iOS 7 and the iPhone 5s, however, you can turn on automatic HDR mode: In normal light, your iPhone will shoot a regular photo; in situations with multiple light patterns, however, your device will automatically recognize that an HDR photo might be best and attempt to capture that, instead. (As always, the iPhone always takes two photos–the untouched one and the HDR version; you can save both to your Camera Roll if you wish by going to Settings > Photos & Camera > Keep Normal Photo.)
11. Put permanent filters on your camera: Both the iPhone and iPad offer front and back hardware cameras, and on the software side, fun filters for Photo and Square modes to make your pictures more interesting.
If you like having a specific filter on images, you can set either Square or Photo mode to always launch with the image manipulation of your choice. Personally, I have iOS 7’s Square mode set to the Noir filter, as I like Apple’s black and white correction more than, say, Instagram’s.
To set the filter, all you have to do is tap the Filter button in the Camera app while in the mode of your choice. Switch to another mode and you’ll once again have a clean slate, but return to your original mode and your filter of choice remains.
12. Share your Photo Stream with others (and let them add images, too):When Shared Photo Streams first launched with iOS 6, they let you share groups of images with any of your friends for liking and comments, but your buddies couldn’t add images or video of their own.
iOS 7 has changed all that, letting you open up your Shared Photo Streams to anyone you deem fit for posting. Now, when you create a shared stream, viewing it presents you with two tabs: Photos and People. Tap the People section to access your stream’s settings; there, you can turn on or off the Subscribers Can Post toggle. (You can also choose to create a public website, add or delete friends to your stream, and show notifications for the stream.)
13. Use iMovie to create slo-mo clips: iPhone 5s owners can make slow-motion clips to their heart’s content thanks to iOS 7’s 120FPS slo-mo mode in the Camera app. But older iPhone owners can get in on some of that fun, too—they just need to download iMovie.
After you’ve filmed something, open iMovie and create a new project with your clip. Next, separate your clip into three segments by swiping down on the film strip: the intro normal-speed segment, a slow-motion segment, and the ending normal-speed segment. Finally, tap on the middle segment, choose Speed, and drag the slider toward the Tortoise icon. Voilà: easy in-and-out slow-motion.

Phone it in

ios7tips phone blocked
You can see a list of all the numbers and contacts you've blocked in Settings > Phone > Blocked.
14. Block annoying calls: We haven’t solved the problem of email spam, but telemarketing can be slightly less annoying with a new feature of iOS 7: call blocking. You can choose to not receive calls from a specific number or contact by tapping the ‘i’ button next to that entry in the Recents or Voicemail sections of the Phone app, scrolling down, and choosing Block this Caller. (It also works on any contact card in the Phone or Contacts app.) Note that by doing so you also won’t receive text messages/iMessages or FaceTime calls from that number or contact. If you’ve blocked someone in error, you can edit the no-call list under Settings > Phone > Blocked.
15. Make FaceTime Audio calls for cheap: Calling plans are pretty cheap these days, but if you’re looking to pare down, you can make FaceTime Audio calls over Wi-Fi or cellular data networks. Just make sure you’ve enabled FaceTime in the Settings app, then find an entry in the Contacts or Phone app and tap the phone icon next to FaceTime. You’ll immediately launch into an audio-only FaceTime call, though you can switch over to a video call at any point by tapping the FaceTime button. You can even add a FaceTime Audio call to your Phone app’s Favorites by tapping Add to Favorite on any contact card, and then selecting FaceTime Audio.
ios7tips phone conference
Adding a conference code or extension to a number lets you dial it automatically just by tapping the button that appears in the bottom left.
16. Enter a phone conference code at a tap: Many of us have had to dial either hard-to-remember extensions or conference room codes at some point. If you find yourself making those calls frequently, you can simplify the process. Go to the Keypad section of the Phone app and enter the phone number you dial; then, at the end, tap and hold the pound key until it turns into a semicolon. Now enter the passcode or extension, and then add the whole shebang to a new or existing contact record. Next time you dial that contact or number, you’ll see a small button in the bottom left that says “Dial” with the code you entered; tap that to have it entered on the keypad automatically.

Talk to Siri

17. Speak your settings: Siri’s become a bit smarter across the board in iOS 7, and one of those IQ improvements deals with controlling your settings. You can ask Siri to turn Bluetooth on or off, open a specific Settings pane, and even turn on Airplane Mode—though Apple’s voice assistant gets a little snarky if you ask for that last one.
There's lots to talk to Siri about in iOS 7.
18. Make Siri better understand your friends’ names: If you heard it spoken out loud, my little sister’s name is a pretty standard one—“Caitlin.” Unfortunately, that’s not how my parents chose to spell it; instead, her contact card reads “Caetlyn.” In iOS 6, Siri had a bit of trouble with that, expecting me to either pronounce her name “Keet-lan” or use the nickname I’d given her. Thanks to Siri’s new pronunciation engine, though, my phone can be a little smarter about her contact card—along with any of yours.
Just say “Learn how to pronounce [name]’s name” and Siri will comply, first asking you for your pronunciation of the first and last name, then providing you with several pronunciation options.
19. Talk and talk and talk and talk to Siri: Raise your digital hand if you’ve ever run into this situation when talking to Siri:
“Remind me to—” “What would you like me to remind you?”
Siri may be there for us, but sometimes, she’s just not listening as closely as she should be. If you have iOS 7.1 installed, however, you can hold down the Home button to make Siri listen as long as you like—she won’t stop until you lift your finger. Helpful for recording the entirety of messages and reminders; even more helpful when you just need someone to talk to—even if that someone is digital.

Navigate the jungle of Safari

ios7tips safari favorites
From Safari’s Settings you can assign any folder from your bookmarks as Favorites, which show up when you load a blank tab.
20. Playing Favorites: In iOS 7 there’s a new bookmarks section called Favorites; on the iPad, this is used to populate the Favorites Bar in Safari, but on both the iPad and iPhone, it also determines which bookmarks pop up when you’re in a blank tab. You can make Favorites work for you by going to Settings > Safari > Favorites, where you can select any folder in your Bookmarks as your Favorites. Now when you open a blank tab in Safari, you’ll see those specific sites are just a tap away.
21. View saved passwords and credit card info: Whether or not you have iCloud Keychain syncing password information between your iOS devices and/or Macs, you can have Safari on your iOS device save your usernames, passwords, and credits cards locally. In both cases, you can take a look at the information under Settings > Safari > Passwords & AutoFill. In both cases, you’ll have to enter your device’s passcode—sorry, no Touch ID here—to view the full credit card number or password; it’s yet another reason to choose a strong passcode, as though you needed one these days. Both sections let you remove entries, but the Credit Cards section will also let you add a new card right from Settings.

Mail call

ios7tips mail mailboxes
Tapping Edit on Mail's main screen lets you add several special mailboxes, including Flagged messages, Attachments, and To or CC. 
22. Search all mailboxes: Searching Mail in iOS 6 could be a drag, especially since you could only search the mailbox you were currently viewing. In iOS 7, it’s a bit easier: When you enter a search term, pull down on the search results, and you’ll reveal a toggle that lets you choose between searching only the current mailbox or all mailboxes.
23. Undo trash/moved/junked messages: We’ve all done it: accidentally deleted or moved a message we didn’t mean to. Yes, you could go all the way out of the account and then into the Trash and move it back to your inbox, but here’s a much faster way: Give your iOS device a shake and you should see an Undo dialog box pop up. Tap Undo to put your messages back where they belong.
24. Smarter mailboxes: While we still don’t have true, customizable Smart Mailboxes in iOS 7, there are a bunch of handy specialized mailboxes that you can add to your main Mail screen. Just tap Edit and scroll down to see a list of options, including your VIP mailbox, flagged messages, those that have attachments, and even one containing just those messages which have you in the To: or CC fields. Select any to show them (or deselect those ones you want hidden); you can also rearrange them by tapping and dragging them into the order you want. When you’re finished, just tap Done at the top of the screen.


25. Check the time: As you go through your conversation in the Messages app, you might spot the occasional timestamp between conversations. But sometimes you want to know exactly when a certain text appeared. Messages offers just this feature in iOS 7—all you have to do is swipe and hold left on a conversation to expose a set of timestamps for every text you and your friends have sent.
What time was that message sent? Swipe left, and you can find out. 
26. Send that text onward or banish it from existence: In prior versions of iOS, you could delete text messages from your phone or forward them on via the Edit button. In iOS 7, that button is gone; instead, to forward or delete a text, you must first tap and hold on it. Tap the More pop-up, and circles appear to the left of your messages, with the current one selected. It’s up to you whether you want to delete or forward a single text, or select multiple messages.


ios7tips airdrop
iOS 7's AirDrop feature is handy not only for sharing photos, but also websites, videos, map locations, and almost anything else you can share.
27. Send everything with AirDrop:One of the most powerful, if under-appreciated, features of iOS 7 is AirDrop. Most people think of it only as a way to send pictures, but in truth anything that you can text or email you can probably send via AirDrop. For example: Got a bunch of friends meeting at a location? Fire up Maps, search for your location, tap Share, and AirDrop it to everybody present at once. It doesn’t require a Wi-Fi network, or even that you know the other person’s contact info. Just make sure that the recipients have AirDrop set to Everyone or Contacts Only in Control Center.
28. Short names in Messages and Mail: Have too many Dans in your Messages app? You can make their names show up as “First initial, last name” thanks to iOS 7’s new Short Names feature. To enable it, go toSettings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Short Name and turn on the Short Name toggle on that screen. You can choose from the aforementioned First Initial & Last Name setting, or pick First Name & Last Initial, First Name Only, or Last Name Only. You can additionally opt for your device to Prefer Nicknames, if they’ve been set in a contact record.
29. Monitor what cellular data your apps use: It’s easier than you might think for your device to gulp up cellular data, especially when on speedy LTE networks. To avoid running up expensive overage charges, you can view how much data each app is using by going to Settings > Cellular and scrolling through the app list. Under each program’s name, you’ll find how much data it’s been using—to the right, there’s a toggle for disabling cellular data for that app.
Scroll all the way to the bottom and you can also check how much your system services (Personal Hotspot, Exchange Accounts, Messaging services, and the like) are using, along with a button to reset these numbers to zero and start counting all over again.
30. Disable Background App Refresh for certain apps: Is your battery lagging in iOS 7? You might be the victim of too many apps using the operating system’s Background App Refresh feature. For apps like your Mail client, it’s important to be able to grab new data even if that program isn’t running in the foreground; other apps like Facebook might not need such extravagances.
To disable Background App Refresh on an app-by-app basis, go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. From there, you can turn off the feature altogether or individually disable just the offending apps.
ios7 compass heading
31. Find the Compass’s hidden features: Not only is iOS 7’s Compass app a thing of beauty, it has some neat functions hidden away. One such function: compass headings. If you know you have to head 340° North, for instance, you can tap the screen once to set a compass heading; whenever you deviate from that path, a red bar appears along the side of the compass from your heading start point. To clear it, tap once more.
Swipe left, and you’ll find a second app inside Compass: a level. Though not as accurate as a traditional bubble-level, it’s still a useful tool in a pinch—and if you’re looking to distract yourself from playing Threes, try leveling your phone while you hold it in your hand like a game controller.
32. Customize Notification Center’s Today pane: Swipe down from the top of your device’s screen and you’ll visit Notification Center, iOS 7’s repository for your alerts. In addition to a list of your current notifications, this pane also offers a Today view, which provides you with the current date, a list of birthdays, the weather, calendar data, reminders, stocks, and a preview of your next day. You can choose which of those features actually appear by visiting Settings > Notification Center and toggling features in the Today section on or off.
33. Tips and tricks with Touch ID (iPhone 5s): If you have an iPhone 5s, you’re probably pretty familiar with the device’s fingerprint scanner. Here are a few ways to make it even better.
If you’re having trouble getting Touch ID to recognize your print, try scanning the same print multiple times, or deleting the original print and starting over. Because Touch ID is constantly attempting to refine your print, it can occasionally get confused and its data can degrade.
In addition, if you can’t remember which finger it was that you scanned in, visitSettings > Touch ID & Passcode and put your finger on the Touch ID reader; the appropriate print under the Fingerprints section should highlight in grey.
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