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Apple's iOS 7 reportedly includes head motion functions

Apple's iOS 7 operating system will not be released until this autumn, but developers tinkering with early versions are uncovering a few hidden gems in the new mobile OS.

The latest, as reported by 9to5Mac, allows users to control their iDevice with head movements.

Tucked away in the Accessibility section of the new operating system, the function turns simple right and left head movements into accurate, if not tedious, hands-free controllers.

As tested by 9to5Mac (video above), the nameless feature cycles through all of the on-screen options, highlighting each section in anticipation of a head-jerk command.

But like an arcade game that's won by hitting a button as soon as the flashing light appears, the user must wait for the box to circle back around, then give their head a flick to select the intended option.

It works by setting the left or right head movement to act as a home button, to start Siri, open Notification Center, open App Switcher, decrease or increase volume, or simply tap.

As of now, the slow looping function runs through only the apps or options available on the current screen; it doesn't automatically flip from the home screen to the next page of apps, or scroll down the page to find more choices.

The reported function is meant primarily for accessibility users, just as advanced vision, hearing, learning, and physical options are present in all iOS versions. But if it does in fact come with the final iOS 7, it could be a fun feature for anyone who wants to send a tweet or open Netflix without the hassle of moving their arms.

Apple isn't exactly an innovator when it comes to hands-free actions. Samsung's Galaxy S4 launched earlier this year with a number of gesture-based abilities, including Smart Pause, which stops a video from playing as soon as you look away, then restarts when your attention is back on the screen.

Meanwhile, Air Gestures activates GS4 features when the user waves a hand over the screen, and Smart Gestures can control the smartphone through physical motions, like lifting the device to your ear to dial a friend or covering the display with your hand to mute or pause sound.

Google Glass also allows for head gestures.