Discovered in the most recent build (beta 2) of iOS 7 by an anonymous tipster and tested by Apple news site 9to5Mac, the gestures can reportedly be configured to start Siri, alter the device’s volume, open the App Switcher, bring up the home screen and even act as a tap.
So, for example, moving your head to the left could take you to your home screen, while a movement to the right could act as a tap to open an app. 9to5Mac found the feature to be “quite accurate” but also “quite tedious” because of the time it takes to cycle through all the options. However, this is early days for iOS 7 so we can expect the controls to be further refined.
The feature is located in the Accessibility menu in Settings, so it’s aimed primarily at those with some form of physical impairment. Apple already offers a wide selection of accessibility options for those with disabilities, including SpeakSelection for the visually impaired which reads aloud emails and messages, and, for the hearing impaired, an LED flash for incoming alerts.
iOS 7 represents Apple’s biggest overhaul of its mobile operating system since the iPhone first came on the market in 2007. Flat, simple and really rather colorful, the software is set to roll out to iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices later this year.
But there’s still plenty we don’t know about the new operating system, with Wednesday’s head-movements news the latest of several revelations from developers with access to beta versions. Of course, it’s impossible to say at this stage precisely which of the features uncovered by developers will end up in the final build of iOS 7, but with it launching in the fall, we don’t have to wait too long to find out.