Tips & troubleshooting

There's always a new tip coming out to make it easier to use the iPhone. Some are mentioned in the user's manual and some are not. I have gathered these tips from various websites or reader submission.

If you have any you'd like to have added, please let me know at iPhone

Where is your iPhone's backup information stored?

Some time ago Erica Sadun (a writer for spent some time mucking around her iPhone to figure out where things are stored on it, and on her Mac. The iPhone does store a local backup up of whatever you care to sync.

To find your backup folder on your Mac go to ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/    There might be a ton of folders in here however.

On your iPhone things are spread out a bit more:

SMS. /var/root/Library/SMS/sms.db

Calendar. /var/root/Library/Calendar/Calendar.sqlitedb

Notes. /var/root/Library/Notes/notes.db

Call History. /var/root/Library/CallHistory/call_history.db

Address Book. /var/root/Library/AddressBook/AddressBook.sqlitedb and /var/root/Library/AddressBook/AddressBookImages.sqlitedb

Keychain. /var/root/Library/Keychains/keychain-#.db. The number varies.

Voicemail. /var/root/Library/Voicemail/voicemail.db. Individual voicemails are stored as 1.amr, 2.amr, etc. If you've recorded a custom greeting, it's stored as Greeting.amr.

In addition, Here are a few other folders to keep in mind:

Photos - You can grab your recently snapped photos from /var/root/Media/DCIM/100Apple. Photos synced from iPhoto are stored in /private/var/root/Media/Photos.

Safari - You'll find Safari bookmarks and history files in /var/root/Library/Bookmarks.plist and History.plist. Cookies are stored in /var/root/Library/Cookies/Cookies.plist.

Email - If you want to back up email, it's not straightforward. The files are stored in /var/root/Library/Mail however attachments are mime encoded (stored in /var/root/Library/Mail/(account name)/INBOX.mbox/Messages) and the "Envelope Index" folder is actually an sqlite db storing information about those attachments.

This information was all copied from Erica's original article at

iPhone in car audio solutions has compiled a comprehensive guide on ways to integrate the iPhone into a car audio system.

Repair needed message

This is one message you never want to see. I have heard of people restoring to either 1.0.2, 1.1.1, or 1.1.2 firmware and successfully recovering their iPhone. If that doesn't work for you, then Apple has a support page that discusses this issue.


Want EDGE access on your T-Mobile iPhone?

It will cost you $5.99 for the data plan, and here are the instructions.

Earpiece output issue

Sometimes when you answer a call you are unable to hear it unless you use your earbuds or a Bluetooth headset. This is because the earpiece speaker no longer appears to function. This happens when the iPhone thinks the earbuds are still plugged in (because the plug is fouled with debris) so it shuts off the earpiece speaker. Luckow Design Studios created this video which I have put on YouTube to alleviate bandwidth concerns.

Improving lower speaker output

Having a hard time with your speaker phone or enjoying music? Many people in this forum thread are discussing a method of improving audio by poking a needle through their antenna cover to remove some of the padding material between the antenna cover and the speaker feed horn.

In my example below I've removed my antenna cover (you do not need to do this). A blue rectangle has been drawn around the padding material over the microphone, just to show you what the material that you must poke through looks like. The green rectangle has been drawn around the speaker feed horn that has had the padding material completely removed. You can see that it is safe to poke a needle through the material into the speaker feed horn as there is nothing to damage on the other side of it.


iPhone/Safari can't access... (the network, EDGE, et cetera)

This article at iPhone Atlas provides several solutions to typical connectivity issues. Some quick fixes are:
  • Toggle Airplane Mode on and then off
  • Reset Network Settings
  • Use the IP address of a particular web site
  • Restart the iPhone

Listen to the iPhone's iPod over your Bluetooth headset.

This has been verified to work on 1.0.2, 1.1.1, 1.1.2 and 1.1.3 firmware.
  • Pair your Bluetooth headset, and make a test call to see if it works. End the call normally.
  • Dial *#307#, then press Call.
  • Press the answer button twice (with 2 seconds delay between presses) in your Bluetooth headset (If you don't do this correctly, you will continue to listen the ringtone in headset). Editor's note: I just pressed it twice on the phone quickly.
  • Press Answer on the iPhone.
  • Press the Home button - do NOT end the call.
  • Launch the iPod and play a song. You won't get sound from the iPhone, or the headset.
  • Once the song is playing, press the Home button.
  • Launch the phone application.
  • Dial 0 and press Call.
  • The phone will ring again, press Answer.
  • Press audio source, and select your headset.
  • Press the Home button - do NOT end the call.
  • Launch the iPod and play something. Now, you will have the iPod playing through your Bluetooth headset.

Access iPhone pictures via Windows easily

If you connect your iPhone to your computer via the USB cable, you can see your iPhone's camera recognized in the My Computer folder. Double click the iPhone icon and you will get a thumbnail view of every picture on the iPhone. You can at this point copy and delete photos as you wish.

iPhone       iPhone

Online speed test

Would you like to know what kind of speeds your iPhone can handle? This test will work for EDGE or Wi-Fi. Since the iPhone lacks Java or Flash, this tool was created just for iPhone users. This test is hosted over at a really great forum for many different communities called Broadband Reports. Consider joining them.

Try the test here.

Read their article about the test here.

Wi-Fi DNS settings

If you are having a hard time getting online via Wi-Fi using a router, you might need to change the iPhone's DNS settings. This article provides some solutions (complete with IP addresses) but essentially boils it down to this:

"By changing the DNS settings on your iPhone to point to either your router or an OpenDNS server, you should able to use your wireless network without any problems."

How to: MMS

Want to know all there is to know about how to send an MMS message with the iPhone? Read this thread. For all intents and purposes you're really just sending an email.

Sluggish email download

If you get an email with a large attachment and you download it but the progress indicator just keeps spinning, chances are it has already downloaded. Navigate back to your Inbox and then navigate back to your message and the attachment should show right up.

Compatible Bluetooth headsets/equipment

Aliph Jawbone (amazing ambient noise filtering too!)
Cardo Scala 700
Dodge UConnect
Jabra 250
Mercedes Benz Hands-Free Communication System
Motorola H350
Motorola HS820
Motorola HS850
Parrot CK3100 Bluetooth carkit
Samsung WEP-410
TomTom GO 910 GPS
Toyota Prius in-car Bluetooth

Other compatible equipment

Alpine car stereo KCE-420i
Alpine car stereo KCE-422i
BMW & Mini intergrated Bluetooth systems (including phonebook transfer)
Dice Electronics iPod Integration Kit (Audio is good, control of the iPhone is spotty.)
Kenwood ip-500

Sharing iPhone photos on your network

By using the Image Capture program in OS X you can set the preferences to allow network browsing on your iPhone as seen below.


Then navigate to the web sharing URL on your browser.


Auto scroll to top of page

If you are in the middle of a long web page and want to quickly return to the top, double tap the top menu bar.

Limit the use of resets

When you press and hold both the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button for ten seconds until the Apple logo appears, you are performing a reset. Doing this can compromise your system files to the point where the iPhone will not restart properly.

In one case a user reported syncing with iTunes when it said it was okay to disconnect the iPhone. The iPhone then froze and was unresponsive to any input. A reset was finally resorted to and text and a system prompt (similar to Unix) was displayed. The iPhone was taken to the Apple store where a clean install of the firmware was performed, returning the iPhone to normal operation.

Always trying holding the Home button for at least six seconds to try to recover from a frozen application first. If that doesn't work, turn the iPhone off and turn it on again. Press and hold the Sleep/ Wake button on top of iPhone for a few seconds until a red slider appears, and then drag the slider. Then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.

Easy capital letters

David Pogue has written some tips on how to use the iPhone more efficiently. One of those tips that keeps getting repeated around the 'net is how to type capital letters with ease.

Touch the shift key and then slide your finger to the letter you want to capitalize. As you slide your finger across the screen the letters will pop up and the one you lift off of will be input.

You can buy the book, with plenty more juicy details right here for $19.99.


Quick punctuation

Another keyboard speed tip is adding punctuation easily. Since punctuation is on a separate keyboard, you have to press the .?123 key to get to these characters, and then press the ABC key to get back to typing. An easier way to do this is by touching the .?123 key and not lifting your finger off of it, but slide your finger to the comma key (for example) and then release the button. The ABC keyboard returns automaticaly.

Two finger scrolling

You can scroll in Safari with two fingers. When you do it this way the speed is more controlled and doesn't have that zing, that one fingered scrolling does. Good for long pages.

Recenter the page

If you are using Safari and looking at a page that is zoomed in, if you double tap toward the bottom of the screen the page will recenter where you tapped. Try not to tap a link while doing this.

Scrolling in framesets

If you visit websites that have frames, you can put two fingers together to drag within the frame only. Experiment with different finger combinations for the best results.

The crash report and you

I know some guard their personal information zealously. I forget where I came across this image of someone who had crashed their iPhone. They were certainly concerned about their privacy. I'll let other users submit their data so Apple can improve their products. Here's what that screen looks like:


"Safari can't open the page because it can't find the server."

Reports are coming in from those who bypassed activation on the iPhone, and are having problems using the Wi-Fi to go online or have a Wi-Fi signal but can't get Safari to work. Two things have been helping people. This article here. And this thread here. If you go to the very bottom of page 1 of the thread, there is a solution that seems to be helping. According to "charliekowalchuk", the solution is:

"What you need to do is set the hex-key not the password for your wifi. To do this, go to -->Settings-->Wi-Fi-->touch the blue arrow key of network your connected to-->this will bring you to the settings of your network-->tap "forget this network" (this will allow you to be promted for the password/hex-key again)-->confirm "forget..."-->go back to Wi-Fi networks-->tap your wi-fi network you wish to connect to-->in the security box, tap the blue arrow (this will bring you to the setting for WEP password or WEP hex or ASCII)-->touch WEP hex or ASCII-->tap back to password-->finally tap in your WEP passkey."

"You can confirm that you are really connected via wi-fi because the iPhone will report a router and a DNS number. if it does not, You are not really connected to wi-fi, even though the iPhone wi-fi symbol will be showing at the top."

Battery charging issues?

Well you aren't alone if you are having problems with your iPhone's battery. There are numerous complaints ranging from the iPhone not charging fully, to being left charging overnight and awaking to find the iPhone completely discharged. Compare your issues here.

Loss of cellular network access

The iPhone lost the AT&T network signal for no reason when it had been previously working. The ability to make phone calls or access the Internet was lost. The iPhone stated it had an invalid SIM card. Apple knows about this issue and they are working on a fix. To solve this problem perform the following:
  • Turn on Airplane mode.
  • Turn off the iPhone.
  • Turn on the iPhone.
  • Turn off Airplane mode.

The Apple iPhone service FAQ

The answers to 28 questions await you here.

Applications randomly closing or stopping

There is some discussion about Safari closing itself and stopping playback on a song on the iPod. Generally the odds are high if you are doing many things at once that something will send you back to the home screen. The general consenus on this is to perform a "soft" reset. Apple says to turn iPhone off and turn it on again. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on top for a few seconds until a red slider appears, and then drag the slider. Then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.

What do do about dead/stuck pixels

Take the phone to your local Apple store and have it exchanged for a new one. Many people are doing this and the Genius Bar is all too happy to assist. I haven't heard one story of someone being refused a new iPhone as an immediate replacement, barring in stock availability.

Why does my iPhone get hot?

iPhone Atlas wrote an article citing common complaints from users whose iPhones got too hot. They found the following contributing factors:
  • Battery charging.
  • Use while charging.
  • Use of Wi-Fi while on a phone call.
  • Very long phone calls.
They recommended the following to cure the heat build up:
  • Remove any add-on case that you use to protect the iPhone. It may not be designed to dissipate the heat properly. Be especially wary of silicone cases which act is insulators.
  • Turn on Airplane Mode. This will disable some circuitry, potentially reducing power consumption and heat generation.

Missing calls and not getting the voicemail either?

Interesting discussion going on here about conflicts between accessing web sites over EDGE and receiving calls at the same time. If you are having incoming calls going straight to voicemail without your phone ringing, you might want to read this. It seems there is a bug where if the phone is actively downloading on EDGE, calls are discarded. If you have Wi-Fi access, this will not be an issue.

Safari crashing too much?

This article reports on many iPhone users complaining about the instability of Safari. They have some simple suggestions that might help:
  • Clear your cache, cookies and history. This is simple, but less effective in curing the problem.
  • Perform a hard reboot (which can raise its own issues).

Having a hard time syncing contacts?

iPhone Atlas writes about solutions for syncing contacts when the process hangs. They state:
  • The riskier fix is to delete the iSync and SyncServices folders from ~/Library/Application Support (this is the Library folder inside your user directory folder).
  • A safer method is to:
    Back up Contacts using File > Back up Address Book.
    Delete all contacts in Address Book.
    Move ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook, ~/Library/Caches, and ~/Library/Preferences/ to the Trash, but do not empty (just in case).
    Log out of your user, then log back in.
    Launch iSync, Choose iSync > Preferences. Click on the Reset Sync History button. Click Reset Sync History.
    Log out of your user, then log back in.
    Launch Address Book, create a few test cards, then try to sync. It should be successful.
    Now try restoring from your backup with File > Revert to Address Book Backup.

Return to top of page