iPhone 5S with iOS 7

Apple recently unveiled iOS 7 - the seventh iteration of its mobile OS for iPhones, iPads and iPods. Here's everything you need to know about iOS 7, including the release date in the UK, new features, and how to get iOS 7.

iOS 7: Release date

You can download the beta of iOS 7 right now... but only if you are a member of Apple's iOS Developer Program. For everyone else, it's now not a very long wait as Apple has confirmed that iOS 7 will be released on 18 September, days before the iPhone 5S (above) and iPhone 5C.

See also: Apple iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5 comparison review: What's the new iPhone got?

See also: Apple iPhone 5C vs iPhone 5 comparison review: What's the plastic iPhone 5C got?

iOS 7: How to get iOS 7

Right now only developers can install the iOS 7 beta. You can read how to join up and install iOS 7 in our story: How to download iOS 7. In essence you are required to become a software developer, join Apple's Developer Program, then download the current beta version of iOS 7 from its website.

See also: iPhone 4S vs iPhone 5C vs iPhone 5S: What iPhone should I buy 2013?

Membership is £60 per year, and note that you will need to sign a non-disclosure agreement. This means you cannot discuss any pre-release software with anyone outside Apple not already enrolled in the same developer program.

For ordinary mortals, iOS 7 will appear as a software update via iTunes once it is released on 18 September. You simply have to decide when to upgrade, and whether you want to upgrade over the air or download on a laptop or PC and then sync. As ever, Apple will gently nudge you.

We'll now outline the new features in iOS 7, what languages iOS 7 will be available in and which device will be able to upgrade.

iOS 7: Can I upgrade to iOS 7?

You probably want to know whether you're going to be able to get iOS 7. Well if you have an iPhone 4 or later, iPad 2 or later, iPad mini or iPod touch (fifth generation) then you're in luck. As usual Apple warns that "features may not be available on all products".

iOS 7 will come pre-loaded on the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.

See also: Apple iWatch, Samsung Galaxy Smart Watch, Google Nexus Smart Watch rumour round-up.

iOS 7: New features

Before we start listing the new features, we should point out that iOS 7 is a big redesign. Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering has called it: "the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone".

Jony Ive, Apple's senior vice president of Design, said: "True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation—it’s about bringing order to complexity. iOS 7 is a clear representation of these goals. It has a whole new structure that is coherent and applied across the entire system." See also: New Apple Mac Pro 2013 release date, specs and price in UK.

iOS 7: Touch IDTouch ID iPhone 5S

Now that Apple has announced the new iPhone 5S, it has confirmed the Touch ID feature of iOS 7. Thanks to a fingerprint scanner which is embedded into the home button on the new iPhone, users can scan their finger instead of using a passcode. Touch ID can also be used to authenticate an Apple ID, when buying apps for example.

iOS 7: Control Center

You'll be pleased to hear that the Control Center gives you easy access to key settings. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you can control Wi-Fi Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, screen brightness and music playback. There's also instant access to apps including Clock, Camera, Calculator and Flashlight. (Below right)

iOS 7: Notification Center

In iOS 7, the Notification Center is available from the Lock screen. A new 'Today' feature gives you a summary of your day including weather, traffic and meetings.

Apple iOS 7 interface

iOS 7: Multitasking

Apple has said multitasking has been improved with a more intuitive and visual way of switching between apps. iOS 7 will know which apps you use the most in order to keep them up to date, plus an API will allow developers to keep apps multitasking and updating in the background.

iOS 7: AirDrop

If you want to share something with someone near to you then AirDrop is how you will do it on iOS 7. The app will show you who is close by so you can share with them peer-to-peer, fully encrypted. Apple says it doesn't require any network or setup.

iOS 7: Camera

The iOS 7 Camera app allows you to use filters in real-time like many third party camera apps out there. A square camera option allows you to quickly switch between photo, video, square and panorama modes with a swipe. Think of it like having multiple desktops in OS X.

iOS 7: Photos

The redesigned Photos app in iOS 7 introduces something called 'Moments'. It's a new way to organise your photos and videos based on time and location. Zooming out shows all the photos organized by Moments, collections of Moments and years.

iCloud Photo Sharing means friends and family can contribute their own photos and video into your shared photo streams. A new Activity view shows updates for all your shared streams together.

iOS 7: Safari

Safari has a redesigned which lets you see more content thanks to a full-screen browsing mode. Apple said: "The new smart search field helps simplify searching, and there’s a new view for your bookmarks and your Safari tabs."

iCloud Keychain stores all your passwords and credit card details securely and enhanced Parental Controls mean you can automatically block adult websites or allow access to a specified list of sites.

iOS 7: Siri

New female and male voices apparently make Siri sound better. The iOS 7 assistant has added support for Twitter, Wikipedia and Bing. It also has the ability to change device settings and play voicemails back.

iOS 7: iTunes Radio

In a rival bid to services like Spotify, iTunes Radio is describes by Apple as "a free Internet radio service based on the music you listen to on iTunes". It's part of the new Music app and features more than 200 stations including Features Stations curated by Apple and genre-specific stations.

Apple said: "iTunes Radio evolves based on the music you play and download. The more you use iTunes Radio and iTunes, the more it knows what you like to listen to and the more personalized your experience becomes."

iTunes Radio will also include Siri integration, the ability to purchase any music your listening to with one click and 'first listen' premieres of top selling artists.

iOS 7: App Store

A new feature in the App Store called 'Popular Apps Near Me' does exactly what you would expect. It shows you apps based on your location as new method of discovery. There's also a new Kids category so you can find apps aimed at children easier.

iOS 7: Other features

•    A new Find My iPhone Activation Lock feature that requires your Apple ID and password before you can turn off Find My iPhone, erase data or re-activate a device after it’s been remotely erased;
•    Night Mode in Maps that responds to ambient light when you use it in the dark;
•    FaceTime audio for high quality calls over a data network;
•    Notification sync, so when you dismiss a notification on one device it is dismissed on all of your devices;
•    Phone, FaceTime and Messages blocking to prevent specific people from being able to contact you;
•    Tencent Weibo support for users in China, a Chinese-English bilingual dictionary, and improved Chinese input including handwriting recognition for multiple Chinese characters;
•    The ability for businesses to more efficiently deploy and manage iPhones and iPads; and
•    Enhanced in-car integration, bringing an Apple designed experience into the car for the first time.

iOS 7: Languages

Apple has said that US English, French and German will be the available languages at the launch of iOS 7. Additional languages will be added over time, the firm said.

Apple iOS 7 new features