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Sync Tasks on iPhone using Safari Bookmarks iOS devices
Like others, I have been annoyed by the lack of Tasks synchronization on the iPhone. This hint is a very basic workaround, but one that can give you with a rudimentary Tasks list, of sorts, which can be edited on either an iPhone or computer and can be synced. This works with the iPhone and Safari on Mac OS X; I haven't tested it on Windows.

  1. In Safari, create a new Bookmarks Bar folder; I called it To Do.
  2. Choose Bookmarks > Show all Bookmarks.
  3. In the new folder, made in Step 1, add a number of bookmarks: I did this by dragging the current URL from Safari into the folder. I did this about 10 times. The URL used is unimportant.
  4. Edit the names of the bookmarks, and just name them "." (period, but the name can be any characters).
  5. You now have 10 "blank" bookmarks. Edit each of the names to correspond to a task. For example: "Fill in Tax return by 12/10", "Kill Bill", etc.
  6. The bookmarks in the 'To Do' folder are now Tasks.
  7. In iTunes, make sure that the option to sync Safari bookmarks is on.
  8. Sync.
  9. Access your 'tasks' via the Bookmarks button in Safari on the iPhone.
  10. You can edit the Tasks/Bookmarks on the iPhone; if completed, you can delete the task and just leave the period (or whatever placeholder character you've used). Similarly, using the Edit function, you can change the order of the remaining Tasks/bookmarks.
While this is a kludge, it is fine if all you need is a basic task/reminder list to which you can refer on your iPhone, and which can be edited easily and synced to your Mac.

[kirkmc adds: I haven't tested this.]
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Add keyboard shortcut for iPhone and iPod sync in iTunes iOS devices
In order to streamline syncing my iPhone, I wanted to add a keyboard shortcut to make it quicker. One way to sync is to choose the File > Sync "User's iPhone" menu item in iTunes. I found that you can create a shortcut to this menu item using the name of my iPhone. One problem is that the menu item in iTunes uses smart quotes. So you can't just type in the menu item; you need something like TextEdit (or any word processor that supports smart quotes).

To enable smart double-quotes in TextEdit, make sure they're enabled in the Edit > Smart Substitutions > Smart Quotes menu item. Then just type in the iTunes menu item.

If you have a single quote in your iPhone's name (like I do), you need to disable smart quotes for that. You need to have something like:

Sync "User's iPhone"

Where the double-quotes are "smart" and the single quote is not.

Copy the text and paste it into the Keyboard Shortcuts preference pane dialog, and enter your shortcut.

[kirkmc adds: You can also use this hint for iPods. And, if you have multiple iPods, you can set up a shortcut for each one, and iTunes is happy to use the same shortcut; you won't get a conflict message when you set the shortcut.]
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How to create iPhone-capable video playlists iOS devices
To play several videos one after another on an iPhone or iPod touch, you can create a playlist of all the videos that you want to watch. However, that playlist won't show on your device's list of playlists. To make it appear, simply add a music file to that playlist, and click OK when iTunes asks you "Are you sure you want to mix music and videos in the same playlist?"

By using a combined playlist like this, you will be able to view videos continuously -- and not only in landscape mode (like YouTube videos), but in portrait mode, like if you were holding a video-capable iPod.
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Quick sync Address Book and iCal data to the iPhone iOS devices
An easy way to sync just the Address Book and iCal with the iPhone is to use iSync. Although the iSync application doesn't recognize the iPhone, you can sync with the iSync menu in the menu bar. Make sure the iPhone is connected with a USB cable to the Macintosh, and then choose Sync Now from the drop-down menu under the iSync icon in the menu bar.

[robg adds: Obviously, this will work best as a time saver if you have your phone set to manually sync in iTunes.]
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Send certain emails from non-default account on iPhone iOS devices
With the iPhone's original 1.x software, when you send a photo, web link, etc., you could only send it from the default account. With version 2.0, however, you can now send it from any account on the iPhone.

After you create a message to send the photo, link, etc., notice that there is a header line labeled 'CC/Bcc, From.' Tap this line, and it will expand into three lines: Cc, Bcc, and From. Tap the From line, and a menu will appear to allow you to select any account you have on the iPhone.
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Use iPhone/iPod touch as an Apple TV keyboard iOS devices
One of the most annoying things about the Apple TV is using its on-screen keyboard -- for instance, when entering WiFi information, usernames, or searching for YouTube videos. The process of moving character-by-character and row-by-row is slow and tedious. If you've got an iPhone or iPod touch and Apple's free Remote application, however, you're holding the solution to this problem in your hand: just fire up Remote any time you see a keyboard input screen on your Apple TV, and the keyboard will appear on your iPhone (or iPod touch).

While I wouldn't go so far as to say that this one feature justifies the cost of an iPhone or iPod touch, if you use your Apple TV a lot, it is an amazing timesaver to be able to use a "real" (real virtual?) keyboard instead of the Apple TV's onscreen version.

I first heard about this from an anonymous Macworld reader via email, as well as in this entry on Daring Fireball. (Macworld also covered it in this iPhone Central write-up.)
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How to minimize iPhone data traffic using MobileMe iOS devices
Here are my conclusions so far based on a series of packet sniffing experiments to understand how much data is used by the iPhone.

The most conservative data use sync options are to turn the master "push" switch off, and to set the fetch settings to manual. When that happens, calendars and contacts seem trigger an immediate sync when new items are added. Otherwise, there is no apparent periodic traffic unless you trigger a manual sync (done by entering the application itself.)

You can usually trigger a manual sync by entering the application whose data you want to sync. With the conservative settings, exiting and entering an application (contacts, calendar, etc) seems to remind the iPhone to check for new data from MobileMe. If the phone hasn't recently checked for a few minutes, over the next 10 to 15 seconds, the phone will reach out over the network and poll for updates. For instance, if at 5:52pm you enter the calendar application and update data, you will trigger a sync. But if at 5:54pm you enter the application again, you will not trigger any network traffic. If you enter at 5:55pm you get a sync.

Once you've triggered a sync (for whatever reason), all updates for the application are exchanged with MobileMe. Updates apply only to that application, so a sync on contacts does not necessarily update calendars.

Even polling for new data is expensive -- I typically measured 5KB to 6KB in traffic for an empty poll to check if data had changed.
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Access Private MobileMe web galleries from iPhone iOS devices
I have noticed something interesting: When visiting certain Apple websites (MobileMe sites in particular) on the iPhone, the URL is modified, with /iPhone/ being interjected. Thus the iPhone is being recognized as the originator, and the site is tailored accordingly. The problem here is that you don't necessarily get to the site you really want.

For example, if you want to go to me.com, you don't get to log in there, but rather you get a page advertising MobileMe. Obviously Apple is trying to tell you that you have direct access to MobileMe through other means on the iPhone. This doesn't help if the MobileMe feature you wish to avail yourself of doesn't work on the iPhone, such as sending from MobileMe aliases or viewing subscribed calendars.

Now I've noticed another instance of where this acts to your disadvantage on the iPhone. If you create a private webgallery (i.e., have it not listed in your main web gallery index), e-mail the notification of the direct URL, and then click on the direct URL on the iPhone, you don't get the page you want. Instead, the iPhone takes you to the top level of your web gallery where, of course, that private gallery is not linked.

What does work is, after you have arrived at your top level web gallery page, scroll to the top and edit the URL on this page to append the gallery ID number (this gets deleted when the /iPhone/ bit gets inserted), but this is a pain in the neck, and not at all Apple-like.
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iPhone remembers volume for headphones and speakers iOS devices
I have notice that my iPhone running v2.0 will remember the volume for headphones and speakers independantly. For example, if you have headphones connected and set the volume to 50%, then remove them and set the volume to 100%, when you reattach the headphones the volume returns to 50% and vice versa. This also works on an iPhone 1st generation running v2.0. I do not know if this was a feature in v1.0, however.

[robg adds: This works in both phone mode and iPod mode; the onscreen display when setting the ringer volume level even tells you that you're setting the headphone ringer level when you've got headphones plugged in.]
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Easily sync iPhone without backing up first iOS devices
This recent tip showed how to disable the backup process when syncing an iPhone by using a Terminal command. The way I do it is much less elegant, but has the benefit of being simple for novices and allowing the user to choose whether to perform a full back-up or a simple sync when the phone is plugged in.

I've created an album in iPhoto called iPhone Sync which contains one photo. When I plug in my phone (which is set to not auto-sync on connect), I can perform the lengthy backup by pressing the Sync button in iTunes.

If I only want to perform a basic sync (which will copy any new music, videos, or applications to the phone), however, all I have to do is toggle that album in the Photos tab of the iPhone in iTunes. This adds an Apply button where Sync used to be. Clicking the Apply button avoids a full back up, and only copies over new files.

[robg adds: Another advantage of this method over canceling a backup that has started is that it will leave your existing backup intact. The combination of iTunes 7.7.1 and iPhone firmware 2.0.1 has mostly solved my lengthy backup problems -- they're down to a more-reasonable five-ish minutes or so.]
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