Following yesterday's hint about fixing an iOS device that wouldn't launch third-party apps, I realized that it would be useful to back up my iPhone via iCloud, in case I have a problem away from home. I looked around, and saw that we don't have anything about this on the site, so I thought I'd write a brief primer.
You can turn on iCloud backups in iTunes: connect your iOS device, then, on the Summary tab, in the Backups section, click on Back Up to iCloud. However, when you sync your device, it won't back up to iCloud. The only away for this to happen is, according to Apple, when a device is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, connected to a power source, and has its screen locked. And, this only happens once a day.
However, you can force a first iCloud backup on the device by going to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup, then tapping on Back Up Now. (You can also turn on or off iCloud backups here; this has the same effect as the iTunes setting.)
It's worth noting exactly what gets backed up to iCloud. Apple has a technical document explaining this in detail. Note that iCloud backups don't back up content synced via iTunes: music, movies and TV shows not purchased from the iTunes store; podcasts; audiobooks; and photos synced from your Mac. However, any purchased content is backed up (technically, it's just a list of the content), and this content isn't counted against your iCloud storage quota. What will take up the most space in your iCloud backup is photos and videos on your device, so if you're tight on space, think of downloading these to your computer, or uploading them to some other storage service.
I was recently stymied by my iPhone 3GS that refused to launch any third-party apps. I would open an app, the start screen of that app would flash, and then I would be dropped back to the home screen as if the app crashed.
Due to extenuating circumstances, I was unable to restore from a backup. Also, I wasn't at my usual computer that manages my iPhone, so there was the fear that I would lose all my non-iTunes Store acquired music, apps, etc. And to top it all off, iCloud restoration was not an option as I'm still running iOS 4.x.
Before I stumbled on the solution, I believed the only option available to me was to wipe my phone and reload iOS from scratch.
You can try the following steps to restore launching of third-party apps:
1. Download any free app to your iOS device (you can delete it later). Third-party apps should now open. If not, continue with the following:
2. Connect your iOS device to a Mac or PC with an empty iTunes library on it (if necessary, use option when opening iTunes to force a new library location, or create a new user account with an empty library).
If you need to restore functionality and you're not at your usual computer, make sure you first go to iTunes preferences, click on Devices and select Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically. Note: Make sure you do not allow iTunes to sync your iOS device to any different copy of iTunes, as you will lose all your iPhone's contacts, notes, apps, music, etc.!
3. In the iTunes source list, right-click your iOS device and select Transfer Purchases from [your device name].
4. Let it transfer all your purchased music and downloaded apps to iTunes. (You may need to sign into iTunes.)
After iTunes transfers your purchases, try to open a third-party app. If it still doesn't work, try opening an app after each step of the following:
5. Right-click your iOS device and select Backup (note that this is different than sync).
6. Reboot your iDevice
Hopefully these steps will save someone a lengthy troubleshooting session to get their apps working! Thanks goes to Alvin Alexander at devdaily.com for providing step 1.
PS: If you perform step 5 on someone else's computer, make sure you use secure delete on the backup files once you've finished. On Macs, the backup is located ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/
and on Windows it's located C:UsersuserAppDataRoamingApple ComputerMobileSyncBackup.
[kirkmc adds: Fortunately, I'm unable to test this, bit it makes sense. It's worth posting in case it might help someone resolve a similar problem. Naturally, the best way to solve this is to simply restore the device, but if, like the poster, the computer than syncs with your iOS device isn't available, this is a good option. Or iCloud backups, if your device is compatible with that feature.]
Does your iPhone constantly defer to 3G or 4G, even when you are standing right next to your Wi-Fi router?
I recently discovered that the two iPhones (a 3GS and a 4S) in my household were both deferring to using 3G and 4G instead of using Wi-Fi. All the other devices (two laptops, one iPad 2, and two Direct TV boxes) were doing just fine.
I looked all through many tutorials online and tried a number of weird tricks and resets and was getting pretty flustered about it. Then I looked into why it would be affecting out phones and not our other devices and found this:
Pre-iPhone 5 models do NOT support the newer 5GHz Wi-Fi spectrum. All the other devices in my house, including the iPad2, DO support the 5GHz Wi-Fi spectrum. This means that the only devices using the 2.4GHz range on my router were the two iPhones.
I logged into my router's control panel to have a look at the 2.4GHz settings. At first I was considering changing its security settings from WPA2 to WPA Enterprise, but first I decide to try something simpler. I changed the 2.4GHz channel setting from "Auto" to a dedicated channel, and everything was back to normal.
I wish I could provide an explanation for why this worked. It seems there are many of people having this issue. I hope this helps you if you are.
[kirkmc adds: It is entirely possible that there was interference from other people's routers on the channel you were using. By changing the channel, you found one that is less encumbered. But this is certainly something to try if you are having Wi-Fi connection problems, and not just with an iPhone
5GHz is not really "new," it's just not been supported by mobile devices for very long. I've had a 5GHz network in my home for a few years, even though, for a long time, only my Macs would connect to it.]
It is now possible to have Find My Friends app send notifications to e-mail addresses.
I like the Find My Friends app, which allows you to see where your friends are located (if they allow you to). With the latest version, in iOS 6, you now have the option to be notified when a friend leaves or arrives at a location.
But you can also set up notifications for yourself, to notify others where you are currently, as well as when you leave or arrive at a location. Additionally, you can send an e-mail automatically when you arrive or leave a location, or send an e-mail showing someone where you are currently
To do this, open Find My Friends, tap Me, then Notify. You can now tap either Immediately, to send an e-mail right away, or At a Location, to send an e-mail when you get to that location. Tap on the To field to enter an e-mail address. If you choose an Apple ID for a friend who has the Find My Friends app, they'll get a notification on their iOS device. But if you enter a different e-mail address - such as one for someone who doesn't have the app, or an iPhone - an e-mail message will be sent. This is nicely formatted, and contains a small map (using Google maps) showing your location.
So if you need to tell someone where you are, and they don't have an iOS device or the Find My Friends app, this e-mail can be a big help.
With iOS 6, you can choose to limit (though not entirely disable) ad tracking, by digging deep into settings. Go to Settings > General > About, then scroll down to the bottom and top on Advertising, then toggle Limit Ad Tracking to On.
There's a tiny Learn More link at the bottom of that screen, which explains that this uses a "non-permanent, non-personal, device identifier, that apps will use to give you more control over advertisers' ability to use tracking methods."
[kirkmc adds: I'm not entirely sure how effective it will be, as it's still in its infancy. But it can't hurt.]
Yesterday, I discovered that, when I asked Siri for the temperature on my iPad, it would always tell me the temperature in fahrenheit, even though I am in France, and my time zone is set as such. (There is no real country setting on iOS.) On my iPhone, however, I would get the temperature in centigrade, as expected. A friend suggested that this is because I had set C in the Weather app on the iPhone. As there is no Weather app on the iPad (I still don't know why), there's no place to make this change.
Fortunately, a commenter to the blog post I linked to above pointed out that there is, indeed, a way to set the temperature, but it is well hidden. Open Clock, tap on Edit, and you'll see two buttons at the bottom of the clock list, one for F and the other for C. It seems that the only reason this setting is here is because the clocks can show time and temperatures. But unless you live in a major city - one for which you can choose a clock - the temperatures here aren't much use.
In iOS 6, Siri is smart enough to open your apps for you. Just speak the command "Open Mail," and Mail will open. This works for built-in and downloaded apps.
[kirkmc adds: It's about time, frankly. I've been extremely disappointed in Siri; it hardly ever works for me. I hope this works, because this will save time when I want to open an app that's not on my home screen, or buried in a folder.]
iTunes stores iOS device backups in ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup. Each folder within the Backup represents a different "backup" that will be presented as a possible restore source when restoring an iOS device.
In the process of restoring from a backup, iTunes migrates the data from one of those Backup folders into another, sibling folder, that will naturally end up being the same size.
Because you end up with two distinct backup folders, it follows that in order to restore an iOS device, you need to have at least as much free space on the device as the size of the backup subfolder. In my case it was more than 50 GB.
In order to restore my iPhone, I needed more than 50 GB free on the disk where iTunes finds my backups, so I copied the backups folder to another disk with lots of space, then made a symbolic link to it at the original location:
(Replace the volume and folder names by those on your hard disk.)
Now when I open iTunes I can restore from the backup and iTunes does all that work in /Volumes/BigDisk/Backup.
[kirkmc adds: This hint was sent to me by Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software. Dan's problem is interesting, and something that would prevent a restore if he didn't have a second disk and the knowledge to do the above. It's surprising that the restore process will actually fail in such cases. With lots of Macs having SSDs, excess storage space on the startup disk is now rare for many people.]
Sometimes you want to be alerted when you have new e-mail, but you don't want an audible alert. Here's how you can do it.
If you take a silent audio file, when you install it as a new silent ring tone and set it for the New Mail alert, your phone will vibrate only. Since the iPhone lowers any audio currently playing, you want to make this as short as possible (.1 sec), so the audio dip will be at a minimum.
[kirkmc adds: It so happens that I have a bunch of silent MP3 files on my website, in an article about adding silence to iTunes playlists. I added a .1 second file, as well as a .1 second ringtone to the zip archive.
I set up the ringtone on my iPhone, but I wasn't able to test if it works or not. I happen to be part of the 1%; that is, the 1% of people whose iCloud e-mail has been down for more than 24 hours, and none of my other accounts work with push e-email.]