Looking at the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, you might think not much has changed from the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. But that's definitely not the case. There's a Home button you can customize, a handy Portrait mode on the dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus and more. And Apple's updates to iOS 10 have added even more features to the phone.
Here’s a look at how to make the most of some of the best features you’ll find in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, along with a refresher on some other iPhone tips, such as adding widgets to your lock screen and using the phone's 3D Touch features. Already playing around with the iOS 11 public beta? Check our our iOS 11 tips as well.
One of the first things you’ll notice with the iPhone 7 — well, maybe right after that missing headphone jack — is the fact that the Home button doesn’t move at all. Instead, it’s a trackpad-like cutout that responds to when you press on it. The Home button uses haptic feedback to simulate the feel of a button.
You can adjust the Home button to three different levels of feedback to find the one that feels most natural to your finger. Simply go to Settings > General > Home Button to find the right level of feedback.
No moving parts on your Home button means the method for forcing an iPhone restart changes with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Instead of holding down the Home button and power button simultaneously as you did with previous iPhones, now you press and hold the power and volume buttons at the same time. It takes some getting used to, especially if you’re iPhone user with a long muscle memory, but it’s a pretty simple tip to master once you know where to press.
The iPhone 7 Plus features two lenses on its back: One of the 12-megapixel cameras features a focal length of 28mm, while the other has a 56mm focal length. That lets the iPhone 7 Plus zoom in on objects with less distorition than you get from a phone with only digital zoom. With the latest version of iOS 10, you can shoot photos using a depth-of-field effect that keeps the subject in sharp focus while artfully blurring the background. (This is also known as a bokeh effect in the photographic world.)
You access the effect — called Portrait Mode by Apple — the same way you’d take a panoramic shot or switch between video and still photos. Portrait appears as an option in the carousel of different camera modes. Just swipe to select it, and the iPhone 7 Plus does the rest of the work, with the 56mm lens shooting a close-up of your subject while the other lens captures background information to be blurred by the iPhone’s image processor.
Here’s something you can do with your iPhone 7 Plus right out of the box: Use its dual-camera setup to zoom in on objects. Apple makes accessing this feature as simple as possible.
From within the camera app, find the 1x button on the iPhone’s screen. Tap that button to zoom in to a 2x view; tapping the button again takes you back to 1x. For more of a zoom, just tap and press the 1x button and a semicircle will appear; from there you can drag the button to get up to a 10x zoom. Just note that anything beyond 2x incorporates digital zoom, which can degrade image quality (though not as much as phones that have to rely completely on digital zoom, our testing has found.)
And if you’re the sort of person who lives and dies with pinch-to-zoom gestures, you can still use those to zoom in and out on a shot, though without the precision you’d get from the other methods for controlling your camera’s zoom.
The addition of Zoom capabilities has added a new option to the Photos & Camera settings: You can now lock the camera lens when you’re recording video. This will prevent you from switching between the wide-angle and telephoto lenses on your iPhone 7 Plus as you record video and also stop the flickering image that can result as you switch between lenses.
In Settings, select Photos & Camera, and then tap on Record Video. You’ll find the Lock Camera Lens option there next to a slider.
iOS 10 changes the way you unlock your iPhone with Touch ID, requiring you to press the Home button instead of just resting your finger there. That can be a bit of a shock, particularly if the first time you encounter this change is when you’ve upgraded to a new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. Fortunately, it’s easy to go back to the old way of doing things, so long as you know where to look.
Head to Settings > General > Accessibility, and find the Home Button option. From there, you can move a slider to turn on the Rest Finger to Open feature.
This is another iOS 10-centric tip that could come as a surprise if you haven't really explored the iOS Apple launched last fall. iOS 9’s lock screen used to feature a camera icon that allowed you to access your phone’s camera without having to first unlock it — ideal for grabbing a quick photo you don’t want to miss while fumbling to unlock your phone and launch the camera app. That icon’s gone in iOS 10, though Apple has made it easier to jump straight to your camera.
From the lock screen, simply swipe left. The camera app will launch on your iPhone, ready to take any photo you want with the iPhone 7’s vastly improved camera.