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Bulk collection of iOS device details for Enterprise deployment iOS devices
The school I work for just took delivery of approximately fifty iPad's that required setup. One of the steps involved is collection of the Airport MAC address in order to permit them to connect to our wireless network.

Unfortunately, this isn't printed on the box, and Apple's iPhone Configuration Utility offers no way to do a bulk export particular details beyond the UDID of an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

I worked out how to do so on the command line and want to document the knowledge, as pasting them one at a time from IPCU isn't practical for any large scale deployments and I've seen no reference anywhere online to find out where iPhone Configuration Utility obtains its information.
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Use The New Amazon Cloud Drive Service with iOS iOS devices
Amazon introduced a new Cloud Drive service offering browser-based file storage and music streaming. In the countries where this is offered, anyone with an Amazon account can receive 5 GB of free storage.

Unfortunately, the service doesn't work with Mobile Safari. But if you use a third-party browser on your iOS device which enables you to change the User Agent setting, like Atomic Browser (US $1) or Mobile iCab (US $2), then simply set it to use desktop Safari as the User Agent and the Amazon service works fine.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one, but it makes sense to me.]
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Fixing backup / iOS updates iOS devices
Ever since I had upgraded to 10.6.7, or about the same time, my iPhone was no longer backing up.

It was giving me 2 errors: 'Couldn't retrieve profile from Sync Services -- unplug and replug iPhone' and 'Couldn't backup iPhone.' Having restarted, and unplugged/replugged the iPhone, it still wouldn't back up, or even update to iOS 4.3.1. The situation was very vexing.

The issue was available storage space on the iPhone. I had over 700 photos and movies on my 16GB iPhone, which clogged everything up. The solution, of course, was to delete those photos and videos. Having done that, the iPhone finally synched, backed up and updated to 4.3.1.

It may be slightly obvious, but it's good to know that too little disk space on the iPhone can clog up backups.

[crarko adds: Is there documentation about how much scratch space needs to be left on iOS devices for things like updates? A pointer would be handy if somebody could provide it.]
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PoorMan's Lockscreen iOS devices
Although there are nice apps that display calendar events and to-dos on a jailbroken iPhone lockscreen, those of us who aren't jailbroken lack a feature that, in my opinion, is a huge oversight. If you're like me and not good at checking your to-dos and calendar regularly, you may find this helpful albeit not terribly elegant.

You will need an 'always on' computer somewhere that can act as a server. I am running Snow Leopard on mine. Then you need a Unix application that runs in terminal called icalBuddy. This command can extract events and to-dos from iCal. See the instructions for icalBuddy as it is very customizable. I use icalBuddy to extract the next two days of events from specific calendars.

Next create a workflow in Automator, and save it as an application. You can use icalBuddy to get your to-dos in addition to events, but Automator is pretty good at getting to-dos on its own, so thats's what I use.

Create a TextEdit document. I call it 'reminder list.' The Automator workflow looks something like this:
Get Specified Finder Items "reminder list"-->
Run Shell Script "icalBuddy" (this will run icalBuddy in terminal and you need to put in your customization here eg /Users/Desktop//icalBuddy-v1/icalBuddy -npn -nc -sd -b "" -eed -eep notes,url -sed -ss "" -tf %H%M -n -ps "|@ |" -ec Home,Work,My Holidays  eventsToday+1)-->
Set contents of TextEdit Documents (by Replacing)-->
Get Specified Text "to-do:"-->
Set Contents of TextEdit Documents (By Appending [this will make a to-do: heading)-->
Find iCal To Dos (find to dos-customize as desired)-->
Set Contents of Text Document (by appending)-->
Get contents of Textedit document-->
New mail message-->
Send outgoing message
You will need an iPhone app that can display e-mail notifications. I use PushMail. I e-mail the message directly to PushMail and it then displays as a notification on the iPhone. You can customize whether it's silent or with an alert etc. You will need some sort of schedule or trigger for the automator workflow. I have it set to trigger hourly. You can use any scheduler. Quickeys will work or you can use a terminal scheduler. I use MacScheduler which is a fairly decent GUI for setting up scheduled events that could also be done in terminal. You could also have iCal trigger this.

The e-mail should look something like this:
  • today:
  • meeting@ 3B CLASSROOM@ 1300
  • tomorrow:
  • Nothing.
  • to-do:
  • Get Batteries
This is the basic setup. I have added another step in the process for customizing the output and getting it to work well with the character limitations of notifications (256 I think).

Instead of having Automator send the e-mail, I use Filemaker to automatically import the text file, reformat it and e-mail it. This is helpful if you have a lot of events and to-dos. You can customize the format and automatically abbreviate words and truncate entries. I can't go into details here, and I'm sure there are many software solutions that can be used for this.

After going through Filemaker it looks like this:
  • [TODY: Mtg@ 3B ClsRm@ 1300]
  • [TMRW: ]
  • [to-do: Get Batteries]
Now, hourly the notification is pushed to me (silently) and will be there on the lockscreen or over whatever else the iPhone is currently doing. If you get other notifications it will replace the reminder notification obviously, but I find that inevitably I see my reminder list at some point.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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Home sharing on iOS may not display some libraries iOS devices
After upgrading to iOS 4.3 on your iPhone and/or iPad you might find yourself in a situation where you don't see all your shared libraries even if they all have Home Sharing enabled with the same Apple ID.

This happens if you have duplicated your library by copying ~/Music/iTunes to one or more machine from another machine. Those libraries will be sharing the same library id and therefore IOs 4.3 is not able to distinguish them even though the Apple TV and other Mac's can.

The fix is to follow this Apple Knowledge Base article to reset your library ID on all the Macs that have copies of the original library.

[crarko adds: I had copied my user account to another machine using the Migration Assistant and observed this issue on my iPad with iOS 4.3.]
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Create Home Screen links to 3rd Party browsers without jailbreaking iOS devices
There are many great iOS 3rd party web browsers out there which are nicer than the built in Mobile Safari. However, in Safari, you can add home screen links to pages and you cannot do that in the 3rd party browsers. This is a workaround based on my limited PHP knowledge. It requires that you have a PHP-supported web host and it will only work when you can connect to said web host.

It also requires that your third party browser has some type of link associated registered with the iOS device. My only experience is Atomic Web (atomic://) but I am sure others have it too.

These instructions are not perfect and there may be better ways to do this but it seems to work for me. Read at the bottom for some discussion on the pros and cons of this method.

Some sites (such as Google) have nice home screen icons. If you want them, first, on your computer, use Safari or any other browser where you can change the User Agent and change it to Mobile Safari. Go to the website of interest and view the source. You are looking for something like this.

This may not always be easy to do but I just searched for 'apple-touch-icon-precomposed' and I am usually able to find it. Go to the URL and download the png file. If the site does not have an icon that is 57x57, I think you will have to create one. There may be other ways to do this. If so, please put it in the comments. Also, there are options as to whether or not iOS adds the glare to the icon. Your best bet is to search and read about iOS meta tags.
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Changing iPhone DTMF Tones to Work with Some IVRs iOS devices
Some IVRs have difficulty recognizing the long DTMF tones from iPhone. Although not a permanent solution, you can force iPhone to use short DTMF tones when needed. I have not seen this documented here and it has helped me with interaction between my iPhone and my GE Simon alarm.

On iPhone, go to Settings » General » Network and set 'Enable 3G' to 'OFF.' iPhone will now send short DTMF tones. You should re-enable 3G after use so that you don't stay on Edge service if you don't have to.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. I'm not a phone person so I had to look up the acronyms. IVR is the recognition technology that allows voice activated dialing and other kinds of verbal commands. DTMF is basically sound modulation to use tones to transmit data, like phone numbers, improving on the old pulse dialing systems and the telegraph. OK, so I'm a bit old-fashioned.]
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Total iPhone Backup - requires jailbreaking iOS devices
iTunes never seems to backup all the data I need on my iPhone. So what I wanted was a way to access the root level of the device, and be able to copy everything, even all system and invisible files, to a backup on my computer's hard drive. The way to do this is to use a combination of the great iOS mount utility, PhoneDisk, and Rsync run from the Terminal.

[crarko adds: Note that to access the root level of the device, it must be jailbroken. Otherwise you can get more detailed (and perhaps quite useful) access to the sand-boxed area of the filesystem without jailbreaking, but ultimately it's not a different area than what iTunes backs up unless you jailbreak. This was not clear in the original text of the hint.]

Here's how:
  • First download and install PhoneDisk.
  • Make sure your iOS device is connected via USB to your computer. Run PhoneDisk to mount the device.
  • Under the PhoneDisk menu, goto Preferences, and rename your device to a single simple word (i.e., no spaces or other extended characters), under Use this name as mount disk name:. In my case, I just used 'iPhone' for the name.
  • Make sure that you have the latest version of rsync. Once installed, use the following command in Terminal, replacing the specifics of your home folder, your device name, and your backup location:
    cd /volumes;/usr/local/bin/rsync -avv --protect-args 'iPhone'/ 'Macintosh HD'/Users/Home/Downloads/iphone_backup
This will create a full backup of all files on you iOS device.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. As noted, you'll need to edit the paths in the Terminal command to match your arrangement.

Note: As has been pointed out in the comments; this requires jailbreaking the iOS device to actually get to the root level of the filesystem.

PhoneDisk (like PhoneView) exposes parts of the filesystem not visible in iTunes, but it is still inside the sandbox and the procedure given here wouldn't really backup anything more than iTunes does without jailbreaking. This doesn't diminish the value of these utilities, of course. You can access things individually you'd have to really hunt for in the iTunes backup folder hierarchy.

My apologies for the confusion.]
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iOS Text selection tips iOS devices
Yesterday I found some shortcuts to text selection while using the notes application in the iPhone (iOS 4.2.1).

If you make a two fingers swipe on a paragraph, it is selected (the easiest way I've found is to make a swipe down just on the paragraph).

In the same way, if you pinch out (like when zooming in a photo) a wider selection is automatically started and you have 'control' over both the beginning and the end of the selection.

[crarko adds: I still find text editing in iOS to be something of a black art. It's the main reason I have not attempted to edit this site using my iPad. It's still just too inefficient compared to doing it on the Mac, even if that means bringing the Mac along when I travel.]
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Another Timesaver for Entering URLs in Mobile Safari iOS devices
A recent hint showed a great tip for quickly pulling up a blank Safari tab on iOS devices. The author's instructions, though, indicated another tip many might not know when entering a URL into mobile Safari.

When viewing a web page, we all know to tap on the address field so we can enter a new URL. In mobile Safari, however, there's no need to first tap the X to clear the existing URL in the address field. Instead, just tap the address field and begin typing when the keyboard appears. Mobile Safari will automatically overwrite the existing address.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. It's a good followup to the other hint. Anything that speeds up Mobile Safari is a good thing in my book.]
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