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Create a 'silent' mode on the iPhone iOS devices
My old mobile phone had a 'silent' mode: no ring and no vibrate. Alarms also wouldn't play when the ring was muted. To create similar behavior on the iPhone, I created five seconds of silence in GarageBand (iLife '08), and installed it as a ringtone. I used GarageBand because it's convenient.

This let's me have a 'silent' alarm using my silent sound as the ring tone with the phone unmuted, or a vibrate-only alarm when the phone is muted with the silent sound as the ring tone.
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One possible fix for low iPhone headset volume levels iOS devices
Here's a solution to a big problem with the Apple headset for the iPhone: the sound level in my headset had become so low, I could hardly could hear a conversation in the car. After some experimentation, I found the solution: high pressure air to clean the earpiece -- evidently the plug was clotted. The same can of pressurized air I use to clean my camera was the solution for my iPhone headset as well. It is now loud and clear again.
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Listen to music on iPhone 1.1.4 with a Bluetooth headset iOS devices
Prior to the iPhone software version 1.1.4, you could listen to the iPod audio over a Bluetooth headset if you did the trick of switching to the voicemail screen and selecting the headset for audio. This still works, but you can't leave this screen and you can't sleep the phone, or the headset audio is disabled.

What I found was that you can get the old functionality back by doing the following:
  1. Start the iPod audio.
  2. Go to the voicemail screen and enable the headset audio.
  3. Double tap the home button to bring up the iPod controller.
  4. Press "iPod", which will take you to the iPod app.
  5. Double tap the home button again, which will take you to the speed dial screen.
The headset audio will now be on, and you can also go to other apps or sleep the phone and it will continue. If you go back to the voicemail screen and move away from it normally, the headset audio will stop. In fact, you have to do this step to turn it off (I think a call ending will cancel it too). This is important as I think it leaves the headset audio link active even if you pause the iPod audio, which will drain the batteries.
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Silence certain iPhone spam callers forever iOS devices
Like most people, the team hates spam in all it's forms and permeations. Electronic mail, snail mail, Boy Scouts selling popcorn, and unsolicited telephone calls all qualify as "spam" in our book and they're all obnoxious. We find unsolicited telephone calls to be particularly irritating. How many times have you been in a meeting or driving or whatever, and had your Apple iPhone ring only to find a "phone spammer" on the other end? Ugh.

Well, after one too many calls wondering if we were interested in having our carpets steam cleaned, enough was finally enough and we decided to stop the madness once and for all. The end result is a simple (and dare we say elegant) way to silence telephone spammers forever. Ah, the sweet sound of silence. Here's how you can silence the telephone spammers on your Apple iPhone:
  1. Download our Silent Running ringtone (4KB download) and import it into iTunes. Once imported (it's a tiny file so it should import almost instantly), the file should show up on the Ringtones tab. This ringtone was created from scratch by the team, and is made available free of charge to anyone following this tutorial.
  2. Connect your Apple iPhone to your computer and synch your Ringtones, putting the Silent Running ringtone onto the Apple iPhone in the process.
  3. Once the Silent Running ringtone has been synced to your Apple iPhone, create a new Contact on your Apple iPhone. Name the new Contact whatever you like; we recommend something that you will easily (visually) recognize as unimportant should you happen to see the phone ringing or be reviewing your Recent Calls list. We chose "Phone Spammer" as the contact name, for obvious reasons.
  4. Assign Silent Running as the ringtone for the newly created Contact.
The next time an unknown or undesired phone number calls your Apple iPhone, simply add the number to the new Contact you created above. Also, review your Recent Calls list for unknown or undesired phone numbers (telephone numbers you know to belong to "phone spammers") and add those to the same Contact. The next time you synch the Apple iPhone and iTunes, the "phone spammer" contact will be synched with your Address Book, along with all of the assigned telephone numbers. When those numbers call your phone again, you won't hear anything at all.

[robg adds: This tip will only help those who call from the same number over and over. Unfortunately, my experience has been that the source numbers differ almost every time, probably because the spammers are faking the caller ID info. Adding these numbers to the contact won't help, because it's very unlikely they'll ever call you again. Still, if you have a few particular numbers that are calling you repeatedly, this is one way to silence them.]
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Create custom iPhone ringtones to announce caller ID iOS devices
I often use my iPhone as music player, travelling around the city with my headphones and answering calls by clicking the microphone. I was looking for a way to announce Caller ID, and was surprised there's only this hint here and it doesn't use built in speech technology.

This process could be scripted somehow, but as I didn't need hundreds of contacts, I just created them one by one. The described process is, however, optimized, taking only about 20 seconds per person.

First, open GarageBand and create a loop of desired length. I chose just about six bars. Then place your favorite ringtone sound (I used one from GarageBand's Library, found in Sound Effects » Work/Home » Cell Phone Ringing, and boosted its volume a bit) and place it at the second bar.
  1. Copy the person's name in Address Book.
  2. Paste it to Terminal as part of this command: say -o ~/Desktop/Output.aiff [paste person's name here]. Note that the Up Arrow key reveals the last command used, so later you can backspace the previous name and paste a new one.
  3. Drag the Output file on your desktop to GarageBand on the first bar of your composition.
  4. In GarageBand, choose File » Save As..., and again paste person's name as the filename (it's not important where it's saved).
  5. Then select Share » Send Ringtone To iTunes.
The ringtone will play in iTunes so you can move on to another person. Finally, synchronize your iPhone with your iTunes, and assign the ringtones to your favorite people.

Now, I didn't spend much time on this at all, and it could be in the next version of iPhone software (I did submit it as an enhancement request) -- perhaps activated by a setting in the iPhone preferences. We'll soon find out, I guess.
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Read PDF, Word, and Excel files on the iPhone via Safari iOS devices
Sometimes it's annoying to have to use Mail on my iPhone to review a PDF, Word or Excel file I received a couple of days before. I wanted to have permanent access to some of my inportant files (roadmaps, notes, lists etc.) even when I can't go online. All you need is a jailbroken 1.1.3 (or newer) iPhone, an FTP client on your Mac, and the "Safari 1.1.3 Patch" for your iPhone (see the Big Boss' repository: "Adds file:// support for local files viewing to Safari.")

For PDF: Use your FTP client to create a new folder on your iPhone in /var/mobile/Media/. Name it PDF and drag your PDF files into it. Some of them have to be renamed to meet the usual URL naming conventions. This means: no spaces, no umlauts, etc. I dragged a file named regex.pdf in there. Now I only have to type in the following URL in Safari on the iPhone:
Safari can display PDF, Word, Excel, and any HTML file you put in the Media folder (or in a sub-folder of Media). Additionally, you can save this to your home screen, or as a bookmark, for easy access.

Additional hint: instead of typing the URL in Safari on the iPhone, you can do that on Safari on your Mac and save it as a bookmark for later syncing to the iPhone.
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Add new contact to a specific group on iPhone iOS devices
If you set up groups before transferring contacts to the iPhone, you can then show only a certain group (or all groups) when browsing contacts. I set up several groups in Address Book, but noticed that you can't change which group a contact is in on the iPhone itself. Nor can you add new groups on the phone, either.

However, if you want to add a new contact to a group that is already on the iPhone, first go to the Phone Application, then tap "Contacts" and then tap the "Groups" button at the top left of the screen to select the group to which you want to add the new contact. It will return you to the Contacts screen with the group name at the top. Now tap the "+" button to add a new contact that will be associated with that group.

If I get a call or email from someone not in my contact list that I know I want in a particular group (like "Work" contacts), I go through the above steps to create the new contact in that group, then go back to the phone call or email and tap on "Add to Existing Contact" to make the new contact. If I "Create New Contact" from a recent call or an email there's no way to edit the group into which the new contact is placed.
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Improve iPhone/touch location mapping database iOS devices
The 'Find Me' location feature in Google Maps on the iPhone and iPod touch is great, but if you are in an area with wireless access points that have yet to be mapped by Skyhook (the company that provides the location-acces point data for Apple), your shown location will rely upon cellphone tower position alone and so be far less accurate.

Recently, Jazzdogg on the Australian MacTalk forum contacted Skyhook with regard to manually submitting the longitude/latitude of his own access point to improve the location feature. In response, Skyhook created a form that allows anyone to do exactly that. Whether to improve the accuracy of your iPhone's pseudo-GPS when at work or home, or to map out access points about town, you can now supplement Skyhook's database manually without having to wait for Skyhook to map your community. This is great for those of us outside of the US and UK where there is no access point-location data, or even those in less populated areas of the US and Europe where Skyhook have yet to map.

By using the iPhone app Stumbler to directly show the MAC addresses in your vicinity, you could even do this direct from your (jailbroken) iPhone or iPod touch.

Help improve the location feature for all iPhone and iPod touch users by submitting your own access point MAC address and location. Personally I feel the privacy issues are pretty minor, as my access point MAC address is already being freely broadcast, and thus simultaneously giving its general location -- but this may be something you need to consider before you submit your own. (As far as I can see though, there is no direct public exposure to the MAC-location data.)
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Display UTC on the iPhone's World Clock iOS devices
For some hobbies and businesses, it's necessary to use Coordinated Universal Time or UTC, which is similar to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The iPhone World Clock can display several separate clocks, so I thought it might work to add London as a substitute for Greenwich, which was not listed. But on a lark I typed utc in the search for city dialog, and it came up! Once selected, I had a clock dedicated to UTC. This is better than using a nearby city, as it should avoid problems with daylight saving time changes.
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Use two Gmail accounts to manage iPhone email iOS devices
I am an avid Google Mail user, and recently purchased an iPhone (how couldn't I, after seeing the SDK demo). I configured the iPhone Mail app to use my Google Map IMAP account. Works like a charm, but, a lot of times I want to send reminders home from the iPhone. Obviously I'd see those mail on the iPhone as well. Too much information. So here is what I did:
  1. Set up a new Google Mail account --
  2. In my main Google Mail account (, I set up a filter like so ... in the 'Doesn't have:' field, I listed subject: -iphone, OR, from: On the next page, enable Forward it to:
  3. On the iPhone, I created a new Mail account, but used the as my main account. (I can still access the other gmail accounts through Google Mobile, just in case.)
  4. On the iPhone, I changed the outgoing SMTP server to That way, mail I send from my iPhone look as if they come from my main mail account.
Using this setup, the following mail will arrive on the iPhone:
  • Any mail I send from another mail account (the office), as long as it doesn't have -iphone in the subject line.
  • Mail I send to
For me, this is pretty much perfect, as it keeps my iPhone mail account pretty clean without losing out on important mails. Of course, adding more OR entries to the filter will allow for even finer control on what to let through to the iPhone.
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