Sunday, July 13, 2008

iPhone 3G battery draining too fast? Try this

The iPhone 3G has been shown to exhibit poorer battery life than its predecessor when persistently utilizing 3G connectivity. However, some have reported inordinately short battery life, which could have a variety of causes including:
  • faulty battery indicator
  • overactive Push mechanism
  • application flaws
  • hardware defects

If you think you’re suffering from unusually short battery life, try the following procedures:

Turn off Push The iPhone 3G’s Push functionality for Exchange and Mobile Me accounts can destroy battery life. Turn this option off in “Settings” and compare your new battery life to the old.

Force-quit applications If an application quits unexpectedly and you notice poor battery life afterward, relaunch the application then force-quit it by holding down the home button for several seconds. This can eliminate problematic or hung processes that might be draining the battery.

Reset iPhone In some cases, simply resetting the iPhone can resolve signal strength issues. Hold down the home and sleep buttons simultaneously until you see the white Apple logo, indicating that your iPhone has restarted.

This procedure can right a faulty battery indicator and eliminate applications that have hung or are otherwise improperly chewing battery.

Reset network settings Tap Settings, tap General, tap Reset, tap Reset Network Settings. This will cause your iPhone to restart, and will delete any stored Wi-Fi passwords as well as DNS settings and more. It can resolve signal strength issues in some cases.

iPhone 3G sold unlocked in Hong Kong, Italy

We have received multiple reports indicating that the iPhone 3G is being sold as an unlocked device by 3 Hutchnison Telecommunications in Hong Kong and TIM in Italy. This means that users can insert any carrier’s SIM card into the device and access the attached network. However, both carriers are still requiring users to sign a two-year contract before they purchase the unlocked iPhones.

Per the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, Hong Kong, carriers are not allowed to SIM lock a phone for the purpose of solely tying customers to their network. However, Hong Kong carriers can SIM-lock a phone to protect the handset subsidy or to enforce mobile plan contracts.

Boosting iPhone 3G signal strength

The iPhone 3G automatically switches between 3G and 2G networks for voice and data connections. In theory, the phone should hop off 3G when signal strength is too low or non-existent, and hop back on when the signal gets better. In our experience, however, the ; isn’t aggressive enough regarding the switch from 3G to 2G. In other words, you may find that your phone stays connected to a 3G network when the signal strength is too low to allow incoming or outgoing calls.

The simple solution is to manually turn 3G connectivity, forcing a switch to 2G — which may take several seconds — and likely a boost in signal strength.

A number of other signal-strength-boosting techniques are available, including:

Reset iPhone In some cases, simply resetting the iPhone can resolve signal strength issues. Hold down the home and sleep buttons simultaneously until you see the white Apple logo, indicating that your iPhone has restarted.

Reset network settings Tap Settings, tap General, tap Reset, tap Reset Network Settings. This will cause your iPhone to restart, and will delete any stored Wi-Fi passwords as well as DNS settings and more. It can resolve signal strength issues in some cases.

Reseat your SIM card If your iPhone’s SIM card is not seated properly, signal strength can suffer. Try re-seating the SIM by pushing a straightened paper clip into the small hole on the top of the device to open the SIM tray, making sure the SIM Card is properly in place, then re-inserting the SIM tray. Also check for debris inside the tray or SIM card slot.

iPhone apps hands-on: Google, MySpace, eBay and AOL Radio

With the debut of the AppStore come a number of native applications that replicate the functionality of already extant iPhone-optimized Web sites. The impetus for creation of native applications has, thus far, been driven by the ability to use location sensitivity, access to the camera, and other iPhone technologies that are conventionally inaccessible through MobileSafari.


Google’s native search application for the iPhone and iPod touch is simply an interface to the popular engine with location awareness — essentially the only advantage this application holds over the mobile-optimized Web site. Like other location-aware applications, Google may ask whether or not you wish to allow use of your current location.

Clicked search results are, as should be obvious, launched in MobileSafari.

The application has a settings screen that is accessible by pressing the grey circled italic “i” in the upper right corner of the Apps screen. In the settings pane, you can configure Google to search your contacts, previous searches or websites. You can turn Google suggestions on or off and even turn on Safe Search. Safe Search will not pull up any adult topic returns in the search results. Finally you can clear your search history.

The “Explore More Google Products” button brings you to a page that shows all of Google’s Apps on one screen. Touching one of those App icons results in Safari launching and bringing to that application.


Once you’ve logged into the MySpace application you are presented with your own personalized home screen. You have immediate access to your mood settings, profile, Friends Status and Mood, Friends Updates, Comments, bulletins, and the ability to search for other people. The interface feels a bit cramped on the iPhone’s screen. Along the bottom you’ll find a row of five buttons that immediately jump to home, mail, requests, friends, and photos.

The My Friends section allows you to see your top friends, all of them, those that are online, new friends, and friends with birthdays. You also have complete access to your MySpace email. You can visit your inbox, compose messages and even see your sent, saved and trashed emails. The Mail icon at the bottom of the Apps screen notifies you when you have new messages by displaying a white plus-sign inside of a red circle.

3G activation problems render first-generation iPhones unusable

Because of widespread issues with activation caused by the launch of the iPhone 3G, activations of first-generation iPhones that have been updated to iPhone OS 2.0 are unable to complete, rendering the devices temporarily unusable.

Activation problems plague iPhone 3G launch

Activation problems are causing extreme frustration from anxious customers this morning as both AT&T and Apple’s infrastructures buckle under heavy demand for the iPhone 3G.

With most AT&T stores sold out of the device, Apple Stores are seeing lines that still number in the hundreds at some locations. Activations are trickling through, with only a handful of customers able to successfully purchase each hour.

Unlike the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G must be activated in-store. However, after several hours of sluggish transactions, both AT&T and Apple stores started allowing customers to take their AT&T activated, but not-yet “unbricked” (the unbricking process takes place in iTunes) home — though many users aren’t having much luck there either.

iPhone 3G battery, screen are user-replaceable — sort of

The iPhone 3G has two small screws on the bottom of the device on either side of the standard docking connector — a stark design change from a Apple, a company known for hiding screws from sight on handheld devices like the former iPhone and iPods.

A tear-down of the iPhone 3G by iFixit reveals that device’s battery is not soldered — the first-generation iPhone’s is. Furthermore, the iPhone 3G’s LCD screen is separate from the capacitive touchscreen, theoretically making replacement of a broken glass layer much less expensive.

This means that if you’re willing to void your warranty, perform relatively complex disassembly process and get your hands on a replacement, you can in fact insert a new battery in the iPhone 3G without worry of seriously damaging the device.

Apple’s official iPhone battery replacement program is priced at $86 total.

Regarding the original iPhone, Apple said the battery will retain up to 80% of its original capacity after the 300-400 charge cycles and adds “You may choose to replace your battery when it no longer holds sufficient charge to meet your needs.”] All data stored on the iPhone is erased in the process. As such, maximizing the amount of time before replacement is necessary is of substantial concern. Users are also seeking to extend the time between iPhone charges by reducing power consumption, so we’ll attempt to address both issues.

Tip: taking screenshots under iPhone OS 2.0

Here’s an interesting, undocumented feature in iPhone OS 2.0 that was discovered by iPhone Atlas reader Joe: you can take a device screenshot by pressing the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons simultaneously. The screen will momentarily flash, and the iPhone’s current screen contents will be saved to the Camera Roll.

iPhone app hands-on: Super monkey ball (with screenshots)

We’ve been playing Super Monkey Ball for a few minutes — OK, hours — now, and it’s every bit as fun as promised. If you’re not familiar with this title, which has been made uber-popular on other gaming platforms, the gameplay is thus: you are one of four monkey characters who happens to reside in a clear sphere. Your goal is to roll around a series of precariously strung platforms into the goal portal. On the iPhone, control is accelerometer-based — simply tilting the device back and forth controls your momentum.

Our initial observations:

  • The controls take some serious getting-used-to, even if you’re used to the motion-sensitive Nintendo Wii version of this game. It’s very easy to get rolling too fast, we haven’t yet mastered exact maneuvers.
  • You can hold your finger on the screen to rapidly start a level during the “fly-in” intro.
  • Tap the timer to pause the game
  • If your iPhone is resting on a flat surface when the level starts, the accelerometer will be at full-forward throttle, and you’ll likely fall off the edge.
  • There are five worlds and 110 stages.
  • Like other versions of the game, you must unlock the more difficult setting by completing various stages.
Phone call interaction If you receive a call while playing Super Monkey Ball, play will be interrupted and you will be presented with the traditional “Answer” or “Decline” screen. If you decline the call, Super Monkey Ball will be automatically paused and you can immediately resume and return to play. If, however, you accept the call, Super Monkey Ball will restart and your previous game will be eliminated.

Unlock/jailbreak for iPhone OS 2.0 imminent.

The release of a tool capable of unlocking first-generation iPhones for use on unofficial carriers as well as allowing full read/write access to the filesystem — thereby enabling installation of unofficial, "jailvreak application" — is imminent.

The iPhone Dev team has posted a screenshot, seen below, of an iPhone running OS 2.0 with both the App Store (Apple’s third-party application solution) and (the unofficial third-party application solution) running side-by-side. The iPhone is also unlocked, per the MTS carrier logo — MTS is an unsupported wireless carrier.

Another screenshot shows the tool “BootNeuter” loaded under iPhone OS 2.0. This utility allows users to fully unlock the iPhone for use on unauthorized carriers.