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iOS from scratch: Control Center

If yesterday we discovered the Notification Center, today we’re going to look at another very useful panel with the same “blind” behavior available from anywhere on iOS 7. I’m referring to the Control Center, the fastest way to access the most common settings and apps including Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, screen brightness, playback controls or shortcuts to the calculator, camera or even a flashlight so you never go blind.

To unfold it, simply slide your finger from the bottom end of the screen upwards, which is the opposite movement to the one we used to see the Notification Center. You can do this with the phone locked, on the home screen, or even inside any app. The only consideration is in the latter case, where this gesture may show a small tab with an upward arrow as a precaution so as not to interfere with the normal operation of the application. Repeat the rest once more on the mentioned tab and now you will see the Control Center.

Frequent adjustments

iOS from scratch: Control Center
iOS from scratch: Control Center

At the top of the Control Center there are five icons whose usefulness I will describe from left to right:

  • Airplane mode. When active (lit icon), it interrupts the device’s mobile services as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It’s perfect for continuing to use your iPhone or iPad while you’re in flight or when you don’t want to risk being charged while traveling. Add that even with the plane mode connected we can force the activation of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth by tapping on their icons.
  • Wi-Fi. Turns on (light) or off (dark) the wireless connection.
  • Bluetooth. Turns the Bluetooth connection on or off.
  • Do not disturb. Activate or deactivate the Do Not Disturb mode (which we will talk about later).
  • Orientation lock. On the iPad, it locks the current orientation of the tablet in either portrait or landscape, while on the iPhone and iPod touch, it ignores how we’re holding it to lock the screen in portrait. Particularly useful if you are using your device lying on its side or in a position that might confuse your device’s gyroscope (the sensor that handles orientation).


Under this row of icons we have a bar to adjust the brightness by moving the control to the right to increase it or to the left to decrease it. Then, in the central area, the audio playback controls with the classic buttons to change song, pause, play and also a bar to adjust the volume.

If you are in fact listening to music, a time bar will also be displayed from which you can move forward or backward in the song, as well as the title and other data of the song.

Tip: Clicking on the title of the song opens the app from which we are playing it. In case we’re not playing anything, what will appear is the name of the last app that used this function and by clicking on it we can quickly open it too.

AirDrop (and AirPlay) settings and other shortcuts

iOS desde cero

At the bottom of the Control Center we have an area with information about AirDrop and occasionally also AirPlay. We’ll talk about these functions later, so for now just point out that from here you can access a selector to control them.

And finally, there are now four more square-shaped buttons with rounded edges that serve as direct access to the following functions:

  • Flashlight (Only on devices with flash). Activates the flash continuously to serve as a flashlight. Once you get used to the size and feel of your iPhone, I guarantee that you can open the Control Center and activate the flashlight even without looking at the screen.
  • Timer. For those who love sports, cooking, or any other activity where you need to control time, this shortcut to the timer function of the Clock app can be very useful too.
  • Calculator (iPhone and iPod touch only) There’s little else I can add.
  • Camera. Ditto, but with a twist: actually the fastest way to access the camera in most situations is from its shortcut in the lower right corner of the lock screen by sliding it up.

Tip: To turn off the flashlight you can press (not slide) the camera icon on the lock screen and save the step of entering the Control Center again.

At Apple

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