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Monday, July 20, 2009

014 - Notes about iPhone

Please observe that this note, even if started on July 20, 2009 has been extended with several sub-posts that are being continuously updated (last in 6Mar11)

Being a software engineer (with some older hw skills mingling about), I am used to collecting lists of errors, problems and ideas. Here is my list for my iPhone. I have an iPhone 3G, quickly updated to latest upgrade from Apple. At the moment I have sw version 4.21, build 8C148, but the problems below have been tagged with actual versions of the time. Please also note that my experience here is with Mac machines, not with say, iTunes on Windows.

I will try to update the list when the problems have been fixed as seen from my iPhone. I also have some other iPhone posts in this blog. My goal is to try to help getting a great mobile phone even better!

Disclaimer: I try to be accurate and not confuse here. But what I say may not be correct for your configuration, iPhone or machine. Some times I do arrive at conclusions, but I try not to jump on them. Still I might have! I would certainly appreciate comments of any serious sort!

iPhone Troubleshooting Assistant etc.
Observe Apple's at iPhone Troubleshooting Assistant. Pages there lead you safely through scary encounters like restoring the phone. Don't be afraid, the procedures are as elegant as the rest. Bear in mind that data belonging to your AppStore are not any "restored", but reappear on your next synchronization. (Norwegian: Problemløsingsassistent for iPhone)
Also notice chapter 7 - Disappearing iPod/iPhone from machine (iBook) here, ref [2].
1 - "Empty" Camera Roll (closed for Mac/Windows users, open? for Apple)

16 - iPhone synching picture fails on 3G, not 3GS
See, chapter "Related problem - iPhone synching picture fails on 3G, not 3GS"
15 - Spacebar double-tap to close brackets?
Depending on user settings it's possible to insert a period character (dot) by double-tapping the space bar. This is very nice. After the period it also insert a space proper, making ready for next word.
However, some times I'd like (the same function) instead to close a bracket. 
See the use in the above sentence. I have in my mind double-tapped to get the ) and then later on for the ending period. 
It's easy to implement this. Just make a priority list and do accordingly. In my suggestion, all closing of any left bracket type has priority to inserting a period. 
I'd like to close these type of parenthesis: [ ], ( ), { }, < >.
Easy with virtually no side effect! Most brackets a user doesn't want to close before a period. Of course, it is possible to have a dot inside a parenthesis. Either make a small select box to select the right bracket or the dot, or make an exception for email addresses or url.
This may of course be configurable, as en extra option in addition to the dot insertion.
How about also including other block defining characters, like quotation marks
Reported to 
14 - 4.0 GB not sent and 4.0 GB not received
iOS 4.2.1 8C148 on a 3G iPhone
My iPhone told me I had sent and received 4.0 GB ("Mobilnettverksdata: Sendt 4.0 GB, Mottatt 4.0 GB" in Norwegian):

Having heard about iPhone users with too large bills, I immediately logged into My Account at Network Norway. I had in sum used less than 50 MB (0.05 GB). I have now learnt that if iPhone shows 4.0 GB in both directions, it is probably wrong. But what it it shows other figures?
This was the first time after a couple of years. I cleared the statistics, as I have done every 20th. And it's not run wild yet
Reported to
13 - MMS settings changed all by itself!
iOS 4.2.1 8C148 on a 3G iPhone
All of a sudden my mobile data settings had been changed! I usually have Network Norway with this set up. All of a it pointed to TIM, a subsidary of Telecom Italia!
It is true, my wife and I were in Italy this summer, and TIM came up as an operator then. But that's 8 months ago! And it does not explain this!
I have changed synching iTunes machine lately (from iBook Tiger to Mac Mini Snow Leopard), but it points to the same network disk. See figure on my Blog 019
Observe that "all the time" I have had this iPhone, the Mobile Data settings have been volatile, but they have changed to all empty - see chapter #3 below. So, I am used to typing in all the settings, if one could ever get used to that sort. I think it may be after synchs, but I know it's also after restarts, that I've had to retype. (I have a Picture folder called iPhone with screen shots from the correct settings. Nice to have.)
But this time: I have no idea, and have decided not to speculate, just to be open for comments from any one of the below - or from you! 
I have reported this to Network Norway (mail), TIM (Olivetti, mail) and Apple ( 
Network Norway: "We know that settings may change when one has been abroad with iPhone. If you have got new settings, and a field is non-blank, it is often because the operator abroad has sent new settings to your phone. However, in the cases where we have seen this, the mobile user has usually been queried for approval." (translated by me) My comments: I have not been queried, and it's 8 months ago and I think the response quite vague. However, I did learn that an operator may update my settings.
Search words in Norwegian 
iPhone Instillinger / Nettverk / Mobildatanettverk (Mobildata) MMS forandret av seg sjøl! 
12 - iPhone screen canals?
According to Wikipedia [1] "waterway canals are navigable transportation canals used for passage of goods and people, often connected to existing lakes, rivers, or oceans."
An "iPhone canal is a navigable icon transportation canal used for passage and short stop of icons, often connected to existing screens or passing through them". This is my suggestion of a definition of one such.
I'd like to have it!
The figure shows my page 1 at three stages. I have a hand made canal there. It's the open unused space. To illustrate I have filled up my page 2 fully. Usually all my screens have a canal. Let me try to transport the iPod icon (1.2). When it's out of the way, the screen reorders (1.3) - the "Instillinger" ("Settings") fills up the vacant place. I like this, no empty space, shuffle into sequence is the rule. All black space is left at the end.
The problem comes when I want to take iPod past page 2 to page 3. Page 2 is continuously being reshuffled. No, not really: if I keep on pushing to the right, on page 2 it would discover that I want to move on to page 3 before if starts to reshuffle page 2. This is grand design!
However, it's not obvious. And, I cannot take a pause and stop at page 2. It then would spill over to page 3 the last icon. Of course, it would not know that I just took a break.
What I would like is that the next screen would shrink and align to top so that I get a black channel beneath. Should I stop, my icon on its way would just sit in the channel. Should I continue? Yes, I grab it again and push to screen 3. Screen two is normalised on its way out of the visible area.
When I am finished I push the icon up into the shrinked screen, the canal is pushed down and out, and the screen scales to standard wiggling icons and does the spillover if it's necessary.
Another great thing about this is that reshuffling would not happen before I ask it to.
Even when I start to move, that screen would open a canal for me. Fine!
Reported to on Nov. 21st 2009.
[1] - Wiki on "Canal":
11 - iPhone disabling cellular internet access - button missing (closed)

Thanks, Apple! Fixed on version iOS 4! But I've kept the legacy text:
At the moment, the only way I know of how to disable cellular internet access - to save me from a catastrophic bill when I go abroad with my iPhone - is to set the mobile data network APN name wrong.
My provider tells me to set APN to "internet" (fancy name..). That's OK in Norway, where I can afford the data megabytes. But even moving myself into neighbour Sweden makes the megabyte rate n-fold, in other word: prohibitive. (The reason for this is that the providers milk the abroad market here, and there is not yet any regulatory mechanism to stop them. Also, we're in the pre-competitive market phase, it's simply too early. The iPhone, which has made us want to surf, also when abroad, just hasn't been around long enough yet. And not enough regulators seem to have an iPhone..)

So, abroad I set APN to "internet not in use" - which is a perfectly wrong APN name - and when I get back home again I reset to "internet".

I certainly appreciate the minimalistic iPhone user interface, but this solution does not help me! What about a button somewhere? (3.1.2, 7D11, open)

Reported to on Oct. 17th 2009.
10 - Moving iPhone backup files to/from a network disk - Or: how to restore iPhone from another machine (closed)
When I had to do a synch of my iPhone from the first floor machine connected to the network disk instead of the ground floor machine (which I usually use), I got a problem. I needed to take a complete restore of a previously stored backup file. 
Standard synching with iTunes seems to be ok, even if you have to be aware of calendars and address book (and maybe other things which belongs to a machine). Blog 3 gives a flavour of the iTunes network disk world [1].
However, even if the iTunes data base is on the network disk, the iPhone backups are not. They reside locally in your Mac home folder /Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup [2].
When I needed to restore from an earlier backup, I moved all the directories there (with names like 5390181f63c8d9bd90bfb99e893792f48cebef08-20090802-114557) from the ground floor machine to the network disk. Good to have for backup of the backup! Then I moved them, or the one I wanted, to the first floor machine.
Perfect, now they were visible in the iTunes' - Preferences - Units on the first floor machine (bare with me if you cannot find things by my names, I have translated the menus from Norwegian). So, now I could "restore without backup" (using the just moved "backup" file!) also on the first floor machine. 
It looks to me that "without backup" means "without your backup" or "with iPhone backup of operating system and associated files only". 
A warning: Restoring Without Backup is a Serious Thing (it's meant to be - restore and backup are separate things - as is synchronizing). If you want newer Notes notes to survive, copy them first with PhoneView; (or similar, search here) and restore them afterwards. And, data that are local to AppStore applications would not survive - you did choose to restore without backup! So, if you restored with no backup, then no backup of those things will appear. So, the lists you had in Todo will reside somewhere in another backup. But afterwards, you may synch again with your present music, movies, pictures etc. 
Still, it's not that servious to restore without backup! You could restore with backup of an earlier version and do screen cuts and save to the notes, or (if it's 3.0 or newer), cut and paste data from the applications and send offas mail or paste in a note (ref. PhoneView). Just find a way to store if (be it pen &amp; paper if you must!) Then you could restore without backup and paste things in again more or less by hand. So, the name you had put in there isn't as losta s you thought. It was recoverable, as long as you have a backup - which iTunes does for you when it wants!
Still, I think that restoring without backup is advocated too often. At least, it's my experience. Do try to avoid it! 
I am afraid that parts of this chapter may be vague or confusing. Whenever I know better, I might try to do a rewrite. 
[1] - 003 - Shared iTunes library on a network disk
9 - Sending mail via GSM server when home's wifi is out of reach - (closed)
After receiving my "swap" iPhone (point 4 here), I goofed the SMTP outgoing list, even if I had saved the setup (point 8 here) screens!
Earlier, the iPhone switched to GSM mail when I left home's safe wifi network. Now I got a response saying that the mail server did not like the address I sent to. But it was my own.
When I called my GSM mobile provider, they said that I did not need the user name and password. They were almost right, because when I switched off the primary SMTP server (most often used from home), sending mail did work. But enabling the primary server again, it failed.
To make a long story short: when I included user name and password for both primary and secondary SMTP servers (even if they individually did not seem to require this), then the failure of the primary's attempt did not stop the process - but went on to try the secondary as well - for success. (This is how I "read" the behaviour.) (3.0.1, 7A400, closed)
8 - Cannot delete SMTP server(s) (closed)
The list of my outgoing mail SMTP [1] servers had added up - and for some days I could not figure out how to delete the unnecessary entries. I only needed my wireless SMTP server as the primary, and my GSM or mobile provider as the only secondary.

However, while fiddling around (during point 9, above), the primary server appeared three times, just between primary and secondary! And when I opened them, they were grayed out. Trying to disable them, they looked enabled again - even if they weren't.
So, how did I clean the list? Here is a recipe that worked for me (inspired by [2]):
First, take a back-up of your settings. The easiest right there may be to take screen snapshots of all the correct SMTP settings. And if you need to note on the pictures, install Sketches from AppStore. (Then, when you synchronize pictures, upload these to the laptop camera upload directory and make a new iPhone pictures directory called iPhone, and move the configuration screen shots to that directory. You'll regret it so little that you will expand to several other set-ups. (You take screen shots by pressing the middle and the off button simultaneously.))
Then, back to the ugly SMTP list. Open the primary, or any one that you are allowed to edit, i.e. not grayed out. Presumably you should try with the entries you want to remove. If the red "Delete server" button is not there, empty the host name field, go up one menu level and open it again. Then the iPhone realises that an SMT server with no name is deletable, and the delete button should appear. Use it. (I had noticed before that the iPhone uses this behaviour: you'll have to make a field empty, then a branch in the menu tree happens - with new buttons arriving.)
Repeat this procedure until you're done. Then add the SMTP server(s) that you had to delete but really wanted to keep - since there is no way to slide table entries up and down. As I said, this certainly worked for me. (3.0.1, 7A400, closed)
[1] - SMTP server:
[2] - - see esullender 30. Jan. 09
7 - iPod / iPhone disappeared from machine (iBook) (not really closed)
When I needed to synch my new "swap iPhone" (note 4 here), my Tiger PPC iBook had decided not to see it! It was not seen by any application, be it iTunes, iPhoto, Image Capture or PhoneView. The iPod also was lost!
However, I noticed in System Profiler [1] that the iPhone was seen by the lower layer USB driver. I observed that it was misplaced on some occasions, and I even could find a configuration where it was not seen. I don't exactly remember how, but I did a mix of the two iBook USB connectors and a hub, with the hub, an external mouse and the iPhone in combinations. Cabling around and updating the display gave me some scenarios. I imagined: there must be some invalid USB descriptors(?) in there! But I had tried several times to restart the machine.
I was pressed. Even if the Intel Mac Mini worked, I did nat want to use it for iPhone work. And the PPC Lamp Mac worked, but with USB 1.0 it took too long. I needed the iBook up! Observe that iTunes with a network disk has been described in post 3.
I thought that maybe the operating system would clean the USB table if I restarted the machine with the iPhone connected! I did, and the soothing beep from the iPhone came twice during power up! And the rest... is just bliss! All is fine now!
I don't know why this happened. I had done Security Updates 2009-003 and 2009-004 on the iBook Tiger PPC in the meantime. But I have no reason to believe that this could be the cause. Or maybe I had plugged the iPhone into the unpowered USB hub [2]? There certainly must have been some reason?!
Update 22June2010: This problem is still persistenet with iPhone 3G with 3.1.3 and iTunes 9.2 (61) running on iBook with Tiger Mac OS X 10.4.11 (8S165). Same solution as above, though!
Update 1April2010: iPhone picture upload from Camera Roll failed to start Image Capture. All of a sudden this happened, the iPhones were visible in iTunes and iPhoto, but even after all combinations of plug, unplug, restart etc,. the Camera Roll (3.0.3 (333) Mac OS X Tiger 1.4.11) did not start. My fix was to start PhoneView (2.3.2) and copy the pictures over manually, and then delete the whole DCIM camera folder, including sub-folders .MISC and 110APPLE. On my iPhone, several other sub-folders 111APPLE up to 120APPLE had appeared. Some contained pictures, some not, but all pictures were visible in Camera Roll. On my wife's there were only the two sub-directories. For both iPhones, PhoneView helped. After I had deleted the directories, I stopped PhoneView and unplugged the iPhone. Then I  filled a picture into Camera Roll and plugged the iPhone in again to find that Image Capture started again! (Filed 1April10, but it's no hoax!) (iPhone 3G and 3GS 3.1.3 (7E18))
Filed to
[1] - Mac OS X System Profiler:
[2] - In Troubleshooting and Maintenance - iPhone: The Missing Manual by David Pogue: - chapter "Doesn't Show Up in iTunes" it reads "don't plug it into an unpowered USB hub."
6 - Setting light intensity (comment)
I wish setting the iPhone light intensity would be faster. I wouldn't mind if the last screen, with the slider and the Auto switch was gone. Here is a naïve suggestion, where it's controlled in the Settings screen directly:
Fig. - (Norwegian: Instillinger/Settings, Lysstyrke/Light Intensity)
Of course Apple has thought about this. They don't want the graphical and functional overload of this suggestion, or anything similar. But maybe they would be able to handle the text in different languages (lengths) better than above? And the extra Auto button of the last screen - here, with no text, or some pop-up - combined in the slider, where my suggestion is to push it down and then slide it in lower position.
In some AppStore apps one just slide the finger up and down on the screen to get it lighter and darker. But if the SDK API allows a user to do this, then Apple can't (or will not) take it over as a system wide command? (Comment to 3.0)
Filed to
5 - Could not connect to any operator - had to remove and insert SIM card (open)
After I had an incoming call perfectly fine, coming home I sent an SMS. But it failed! The exclamation mark was shown. A resend did not help. I tried to call, but failed. Initially with no warning, but down in this procedure - with a warning. I could not be called. I had no Phone, just the i.
I looked at the service providers, they were three. The list looked correct. One of them was my wife's provider, which worked for her. We tested it. The Auto mode did not connect to any, and the forced mode seemed like it would connect, but it did not.
I switched the telephone completely off and on: no help. Then I switched off, took out the SIM card, inserted it again and switched the iPhone on. Worked!
Now I'll carry the supplied SIM card removal pin in my wallet.

I don't know to which degree any mobile could exhibit this behaviour from time to time. The program base from which the code is taken, and the degree of control when gluing that sw and some new together - for that particular phone, would probably never yield a 100.000% stable product. Now I am uncertain as to which side of the decimal point my phone is. However, hoping for updates does help.

Disclaimer: I do not know if, by coincidence, my service provider was down for that very period. That probability is very low. (3.0, 7A341 no fix yet - point 4 (below)-not done yet)
4 - Cannot connect to network "somename" (closed - was hw)
My iPhone just got unwilling to connect to any wifi (wi-fi) network - even if it displayed the list of possible networks perfectly fine. This most probably is a hardware failure, so it will be returned for repair. The Apple reseller agreed. My guess, as an old hw engineer, is that it's the wifi sender that waved goodbye.
I searched in the Apple support pages and on the net to try to get some tips. So, I reset the network settings in the iPhone, restored the iPhone from iTunes (both with and without backup (bear in mind that data belonging to your AppStore are not any "restored", but reappear on your next synchronization - provided you have a backup.)) - but nothing helped. Switched airplane mode on and of. Removed wifi password and tried different wifi locations that I knew had worked a few days earlier - it still could not connect. Beware, I always keep my iPhone in protective silicone and am careful with it.
I have a feeling that bluetooth also has died, but since I normally don't use it, I am not certain if the connecting problems there are finger trouble. (My iPhone serial number 85838VNMY7H, model MB046LL)
Result: I got a new "swap iPhone" back from service. (It's serial number 5K9276D6Y7H, model MB489B). Observe it's a new model number as well. It now works!
I delivered it to Eplehuset here in Trondheim on a Monday (in August 2009) at 12, it was received by Moobi in Oslo on Thursday at 17 (3 nights!), and the new was sent on Wednesday the week after and arrived here on Thursday (1 night!). That's about 11 days (*). I should have, but was not able to track what happended on Moobi's service page (it was not updated even if I received an SMS telling me it should be). I called Moobi on the phone and received both very supportive responses and one who said he definitively was not allowed to answer me (it should go through Eplehuset, he said, which would have been void, because when I asked them they told me to call Moobi). I called back and hit a different person.
(*) 11 days, when Eplehuset could have swapped the phone over the service department's counter while I waited, or delivered it 1 day after! However, my wife's old 1999 Nokia surviving in a box saved me those days, since my 2004 Sony Ericsson (in the same box) did not like my iPhone SIM-card.
(Norwegian phrases: feil på iPhone, repare, reparert, fikset, wifi sender funket ikke)
3 - Mobile data network settings partly lost (open)
Some times the mobile data network settings disappear, so I have to reenter. This also goes for the MMS settings. I have learnt it now, it's only three easy lines of text, but it's irritating. However, in case I forget, all the settings have been screen clipped and synched and moved into an iPhone picture album. So it's always with me! (3.0, 7A341 no fix yet)
2 - Audio memo with "zero size" plays (open)
I did some recordings the other day. In the list of memos, some display as length 0 (zero, null) seconds. But they play correctly, and the time progress line shows correct length. In PhoneView (point 1, below), size comes out as "unknown". (3.0, 7A341, no fix yet)
1 - "Empty" Camera Roll (closed Mac/Windows users, open for Apple!)
Right now the Camera Roll tabular view (with pictures in a table) looks empty! However, the count of pictures and the single thumb, in the list of all albums is right. And all pictures upload correctly - so that I may see them for the first time. So, I have a film type camera at the moment (not 100% true, though: shooting pictures very fast may help..). This all happened after - you tell me? See
(3.0, 7A341, closed for me, open for Apple!)
Apple could have saved us iPhone users of this unnecessary frustration. The iPhone operating system could have discovered that the user "has put a picture into Camera Roll, but it displays none ..oops ..rebuild contents database (xml file?)". But then, in the first place, why does the operating system allow a program to corrupt a (database) file?
Reported to 
Fix (Mac) 
I discovered several places where this has been discussed over the years, a notable one being [1]. But I stopped at, Jeffrey Zeldman's blog. There, "Ben said on 24 June 2009 at 4:48 pm" (search for that text) pointed to the solution. There, Ben points us to PhoneView at by Ecamm Network. I downloaded the free trial version and did Settings, Show Entire Disk. I did like Ben had suggested and deleted the /Disc/DCIM/ folder on my connected iPhone. This is the same exercise that Finder allows me doing on any other camera (and I seem to remember that the iPhone's camera has been visible in Finder earlier?)
Now, Camera Roll again works as expected, it's empty and ready to be filled again!
Ooops... I experienced a problem with PhoneView, where it did not read Notes files etc.. I don't know if it in that situation would have failed to delete /DCIM. However, Ecamm sent me a procedure to rectify: quit PhoneView and clear its preference file at Home/Library/Preferences/com.ecamm.PhoneView.plist. Then do an iPhone/iTunes sync, and restart PhoneView. I have not verified this procedure, but post me if this helped get Camera Roll on the air again 2nd attempt.
Fix (Windows)
Ecamm Network (above) recommends TouchCopy for Windows users (see NeoDoc has confirmed that TouchCopy has directory delete functionality, and that - with the iPhone directory /DCIM gone - it works. But do remember to load the pictures to the PC first! Thanks, NeoDoc!
(Norwegian search tags: "problemer med iPhone, feil, virker ikke")

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Øyvind Teig

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