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27 new iOS 7 features Apple didn't talk about

Serenity Caldwell | June 11, 2013
They may not have been trumpeted during Apple's keynote, but here are 27 iOS 7 features lurking in the background of the company's presentation that you may have missed.

Activation lock: Another feature Federighi touched on briefly during the keynote, Activation Lock will prevent would-be iPhone thieves from wiping your device clean and selling it to the highest bidder (or using it themselves).

activation lock iPhone
Would-be thieves can't get at your iPhone as easily thanks to activation lock.

Now, when you lose your iPhone and are forced to remote wipe it, the iPhone will stay in Lost Mode. Your lock screen message will remain, and anyone who attempts to use the phone after a reset will be required to enter your iCloud username and password before it unlocks.

Weirdly, the "Forgot your password?" prompt will still be available under this login screen, so unless you want thieves trying to brute-force your iCloud account, it might be a good idea to enable two-factor authentication or make your password hints hard to guess before iOS 7's release.

Smarter, faster downloading: While neither of these features have concrete descriptions attached to them, Apple's iOS 7 additional features slide boasts both "smart download of TV episodes" and "scan to acquire Passbook passes" as upcoming perks for the operating system.

If I had to venture a guess, I'd suspect that "smart downloads" will involve the iTunes app automatically downloading TV shows you have a season pass for as soon as they're posted to the store. Scan to acquire, meanwhile, sounds like Passbook might be getting a built-in QR code scanner for acquiring passes; the "barcode scanning" developer API listed during Monday's keynote would seem to confirm this.

No more updates tab: If you were watching our live blog or the live stream, we know you probably already cheered over this, but just in case you missed it: No more having to manually update your apps. They'll instead download in the background (though I suspect you'll still have to enter in your iTunes password before they do).

It's still unknown whether you'll be able to turn off this feature; I know a few folks who might prefer to manually update their apps, so as not to automatically upgrade to a potentially buggy version.

Wi-Fi HotSpot 2.0: One of the more-technical terms on iOS 7's Other Features slide, Wi-Fi HotSpot 2.0 is a feature that automatically seeks out Wi-Fi subscriber services (for instance, AT&T's hotspot network for an AT&T iPhone subscriber) and joins them when you're in the area. In theory, this feature should provide you with faster Internet access and fewer bandwidth constraints.

Change visibility on AirDrop: Apple's support for AirDrop on iOS 7 is pretty nifty: You can transfer photos to a friend nearby over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-no wires, physical bumps, or extraneous emails needed.


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