iOS 7 update: All the new features for iPhone and iPad

Check out the coolest new features you'll get when you download the Apple iOS 7 update and give your iPhone and iPad a facelift.

Your iPhone and iPad are getting a facelift with iOS 7, the next generation of Apple software for your phone or tablet. You can download the Apple update today for a new look and a fistful of new features. 

It's about time iOS 7 gave the ageing Apple software a fresh and colourful new look, as well as adding new features, from the lock screen to the icons and much more. Here's a handy bite-sized guide to the top new stuff to look out for:

Unlocking Apple

There's a new look before you even unlock up your phone, with the weather and the time replacing the familiar slide-to-unlock screen. When you unlock your phone or tablet, there's a new animation when you unlock the phone showing your apps cascade into place.

New icons

Simple, clean new icons replace the dated icons of yore, including a colour wheel for your photos and a weird circle thing for settings, ditching the traditional cogs.

Siri

Siri can now take charge of phone functions such as changing the brightness, turning on Bluetooth or playing a voicemail. You can also treat Siri to gender reassignment: up until now, US Siri has a ladyvoice while here in the UK we've only had a bloke -- him off of The Weakest Link , trivia fans.

Notifications

The slide-down notifications tray is transparent, and shows you useful information for today such as the weather. Notifications sync across all your Apple devices so you only ever have to dismiss them once.

Control Centre

Finally -- finally! -- you can quickly turn your Wi-Fi on and off. Slide up from the bottom of the screen for a quick settings menu where you can control Wi-Fi, adjust the brightness, control your music, or turn on Airplane mode.

Multi-tasking

Open the multi-tasking tray and you now see screenshots of what's open, instead of just the app icon. Swipe away to close an app. Your iPhone or iPad now knows what's important, learning which apps you use the most and updating them more often in the background. It also updates apps only when you've got a decent signal.

Automatic updates

And no more trekking to the App Store to update your apps, either: they now update themselves. But that's an option you can turn off if it makes you uncomfortable. 

Messages

A prime example of the new clean look for iOS 7, with flat colours and a transparent keyboard. You can also scroll left to quickly get to your messages.

Safari

Safari, so good: as well as a new quick search box, you can now have as many tabs open you like in the built-in Web browser. And there's a Do Not Track option to stop pesky Web sites from keeping tabs on you.

Camera and photos

There's an overhaul to the camera using more sideways swiping, while the photo gallery now groups photos based on when or where they were taken.

iTunes Radio

iTunes heads into Spotify territory with a new music feature, building a radio station around your favourite artists. Stay tuned for more details of UK availability.

Maps

Apple's own-brand Maps app may have been controversial, but it does have some good news for pedestrians: turn-by-turn walking directions, with a night mode so you don't end up advertising yourself like a beacon for thieves when you don't know the area. Speaking of which...

Activation lock

If you lose your iPhone you can use Find My iPhone to track it down -- until it's wiped. But with the new Activation Lock, tea leaves can't reactivate the phone without your Apple ID. In other words, a stolen iPhone is a paperweight until you, and only you, turn it back on.

Spirit level

No, seriously.

For more details, check out our in-depth iOS 7 guide from Apple's launch event, complete with photos of the new features.

It's iOS 7 time for you if you have an  iPhone 4 4S  or iPhone 5; an iPad 2new iPad iPad with retina display  and  iPad mini ; and the  fifth generation iPod touch . And it's built-in to the new  iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C , which hit shops on Friday. 

What do you think of iOS 7? A bold new look, or a confusing departure? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page .

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