Art of the iPhone

Tip: The iPhone’s Alarm Clock Will Still Play Sound, Even If Ringer Switch Is in Silent Mode

The iPhone’s Clock app has an alarm clock function that can wake you up in the morning by playing a ringtone or alert tone. But did you know, that even if you set the iPhone’s ringer switch to silent mode, the alarm will still go off and play its sound? It will.

So if you want the alarm to make noise and wake you in the morning, lay your sweet head to rest tonight without worrying about where the iPhone’s ringer switch is set. If you don’t want the alarm to go off, you’ll need to turn the alarm off in the Clock app.

Tip: How a CDMA iPhone Can Do Voice and Data Simultaneously, Just Like an AT&T iPhone

One of the advantages of using the iPhone on AT&T’s GSM network is that it can do voice and data at the same time. CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint don’t offer this capability, a fact that AT&T likes to use in its commercials (see below). However, did you know that a CDMA iPhone is, in fact, capable of simultaneous voice and data? It is, if the iPhone is connected to a WiFi network. This means if a CDMA iPhone owner has a WiFi network at home, at an airport, etc, they can, in fact talk and browse the Internet at the same time. That’s why I find AT&T’s commercial below a little misleading.

Does this guy not have a WiFi network in his home? He probably does, and he’s probably not using AT&T’s network to connect to the Internet.

Tip: How to Discover the Specific App Using the iPhone’s GPS (ie, Location Services)

We’ve all experienced that mysterious arrow icon appearing at the top of the iPhone screen that shows an app is accessing your location. But which app is it?! If you’re paranoid like me, you’ll want to know. Here’s how:

1. Open the Settings app:

2. Tap Location Services:

3. Scroll through the list of apps. A purple icon means the app is currently using your location. A gray icon means it has used your location in the past 24 hours:

4. That’s it. If you want the app to stop accessing your location, simply move the slider to Off.

Notes and Tips:

  • Besides third-party apps, Apple has several system-wide services (labeled System Services in the settings) that can access your location at various times. To view all of these system services, scroll down to the very bottom of the list of apps in Location Services and tap System Services. If you don’t want any of these services to access your location, like say Apple’s iAd service, you can turn off iAd’s access (but not iAd itself).
  • Even deeper in the Location Services menu is buried an option labeled Status Bar Icon (it’s at the bottom of the System Services menu, see bullet above). You can slide this to off to prevent the arrow from appearing at the top of the iPhone’s screen when any of the System Services (but not third-party apps) accesses your location.

Tip: List of Siri Voice-Dictation Commands

Developer Crush Apps has posted a useful list of commands for Siri’s voice-dictation capabilities that should help users solve tricky punctuation problems like how to add ellipses “…” (you can saying “dot dot dot” or “ellipsis”) and how to combine two words into one (you say “no space on,” then the words you want to combine together, then “no space off,” which creates a word like crazycool).

Check out the entire list over on Crush Apps’ blog. A must read if you’re planning on having Siri do a lot of typing for you.

4 Features From Android I Wish the iPhone Had

1. Mobile Data Limits. Android now has a built-in data-limiting feature that will shut off mobile data usage once a user-defined limit is reached. Just set a maximum amount of data, say 200 MB, and the phone will prevent you from going over it. In a world where wireless carriers are putting caps on data plans, going over your allotted data can lead to horrific bill-shock moments. This feature would be killer for that. I would feel much more comfortable going with AT&T’s cheap $15 for 200MB data plan if I knew I wouldn’t one-day wake up to a $400 wireless data bill.

2. A Micro-USB (or Anything Else) Port Instead of the iPhone’s 30-Pin Connector. Apple’s 30-pin dock connector is a dinosaur technology that should have gone extinct years ago. The connector is too big and ugly. I think Apple knows this too, and iOS 5’s new Wi-Fi wireless sync is evidence. But I also think Apple will never completely cut the cord from the iPhone. Maybe Thunderbolt could replace it? I’m just tired at seeing all that gunk that collects inside the big gapping toothy hole at the bottom of my iPhone.

3. Built-in Barometer. The new Samsung Galaxy Nexus has a built-in barometer. How cool is that? It can measure barometric pressure, which can be used to tell your altitude and for weather forecasting. Sensors in general are cool, and I wish Apple could jam more of them into the iPhone. Yes, I want the iPhone to be a Star Trek tricorder.

4. NFC Chip. I pay for everything these days with a credit card, so being able to swipe my iPhone instead of a credit card would be useful. I hate digging through my wallet for cards, taking them out, putting them back in, worrying about remembering them, etc. As long as I can use my rewards credit cards with NFC mobile payments, I’d be glad to have this feature. NFC payments haven’t quite arrived in the US, but I think if Apple would lead, the credit-card companies would follow.

Download the iPhone User Guide & iPad User Guide as PDF or as an iBook

Apple has made available for download their user guides for the iPhone and iPad as iBooks and in the traditional PDF format (links below). They are free downloads. They may take a while to download as they are each around 18MB in size. Check’em out below.

If you are new to the iPhone/iPad, these user guides can be indispensable. Even for advanced users, there are plenty of “I forgot the iPhone could do that” moments buried inside. And every year, the guide grows bigger and is quite the tome now.

iPhone Tip: Slide a Notification to Unlock the iPhone and Launch the Corresponding App

Here’s a cool little trick introduced in iOS 5. If you have alerts waiting for you on the iPhone’s lock screen, you can slide your finger across any of those alerts to unlock the iPhone and immediately be taken to the alert’s corresponding app.

Below is a screenshot of a text-message notification on a locked iPhone in mid-slide.

If using a passcode, you will have to enter your iPhone’s passcode before it will unlock the phone and launch the app.

The previous version of iOS had a similar feature, but it was much more limited and could be annoying. It used to be, if you happened to catch a notification within several seconds of it first appearing on the iPhone’s lock screen, you could slide to unlock the iPhone (using the iPhone’s default unlock slider, not the notification itself) and be taken to the corresponding app. However, there were times when I didn’t want to launch the app but simply unlock the iPhone and be taken to the home screen or the last app I was using.

Now that the iPhone’s lock screen can display several alerts at once, being able to swipe a specific alert gives you much more control over what app does or doesn’t launch. It can be a big time saver if, say, you want to immediately reply to a text message. Simply slide your finger across the notification and the Messages app will launch. Pretty neat!

The Top 20 iPhone Alert Tones in iTunes (Video)

I, like many others, was happy to see Apple finally add custom alert tones to the iPhone’s repertoire. Sure, the world is now going to be a lot more annoying place with random Star Wars sound effects and Old School quotes going off everywhere, but what can you do? You either do the annoying, or you are the annoyed.

Apple sells alert tones in the iTunes Music Store mobile app, or you can make your own the same way you make ringtones (see our thorough instructions here). Apple’s alert tones cost $0.99—a high price for what is a usually a second or two of sound, but it’s a price I shamefully admit I already paid. Below is a video I made of the current top 20 alert tones in iTunes:

Unfortunately, you can’t access alert tones in the desktop version of iTunes (correct me if I wrong somebody), instead, you need to do it through the iPhone/iPad app. The simplest way is to go to Settings–>Sounds and select a tone to change, eg, Text Tone. Then tap Buy More Tones.

That will launch the Tones section of the iTunes Music Store. Here’s the important part, now you must scroll down past the Ringtones to find the Alert Tones section. I suggest starting with the Top 10 lists and exploring from there.

Scroll down past ringtones to get to the alert tones.

Automatic Wi-Fi Syncing for iPhone or iPad Not Working? Here’s an Alternative Solution to Fix It

Having problems getting the new automatic Wi-Fi syncing to work, even after following instructions on how to activate it and going through Apple’s own official troubleshooting guide? I did too, but here’s how I fixed it. The problem lies with an old setting buried in the iTunes preferences that prevents automatic syncing. Just follow the step-by-step instructions below:

1. In the iTunes, select Preferences:

2. Select Devices:

3. Uncheck the checkbox for “Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically” and click OK:

4. Shut down and restart iTunes

5. Shut down and restart the iPhone/iPad

Now plug in your iPhone into a power source and wait for several seconds, the iPhone should now automatically sync. This is what fixed the issue for me.

Basics: How to Set Up Wireless Wi-Fi Syncing for iPhone and iPad

Ready to never plug your iPhone into your computer again to sync? Here’s how. You’ll need an iPhone/iPad running iOS 5 or newer and iTunes 10.5 or newer.

1. For one last time, plug your iPhone into iTunes:

2. Click on your iPhone/iPad in the left sidebar:

3. Select the Summary tab at the top of iTunes:

4. Check the box that says Sync with this iPhone (iPad) over Wi-Fi:

Now unplug your iPhone/iPad, then look at the left sidebar in iTunes. It will still show your device connected to iTunes even though it’s not plugged in! Pretty cool. From here, there are two ways to sync.

5. How to automatically sync:

Important: iTunes needs to be open on your computer for automatic synching to work. Simply plug in your iPhone/iPad into a power source and it will automatically begin to sync.

6. How to manually sync (steps 7-11):

A manual sync is the only true wireless sync, as it does not require the iPhone/iPad to be plugged into a power source. It does, however, require you to be on the same Wi-Fi network as the computer with iTunes.

7. Open Settings:

8. Tap General:

9. Tap iTunes Wi-Fi Sync:

10. Tap Sync Now:

11. Wait for sync to finish:

Notes and Troubleshooting:

  • Syncing with Wi-Fi is slower than syncing with a USB cable.
  • If, while synching your iPhone/iPad over Wi-Fi, you connect the iPhone/iPad to your computer via a USB cable, the sync will continue uninterrupted via the cable. However, if you start syncing using a cable, then disconnect the cable, syncing will stop and will not continue over Wi-Fi.
  • Having problems getting Wi-Fi syncing to work? Check out Apple’s official troubleshooting document for Wi-Fi Syncing.
  • Still can’t get automatic Wi-Fi sync to work? Try out my alternate solution.