Sep 19

Broken iPhone 4 Battery Cover

Few things are more cringe-inducing than an iPhone 4 or 4S user finding his phone’s back glass panel shattered.  And though a broken battery cover can be hidden by a well-chosen case, if you’re selling your phone on eBay or to a friend, you’ll want to tidy up the device as much as possible beforehand.

Luckily, the back glass panel on an iPhone 4 or 4S is the easiest thing on the phone to replace.  All you need is a replacement panel and the correct screwdriver.

iPhone 4/4S panels are cheap, too.  eBay has them for around $8, an entire kits with the appropriate screwdrivers are $15.  Amazon has them, too.


Getting Started

Your road to recovery begins by answering a few simple things:

1) iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S?

2) If  iPhone 4, is it a GSM (AT&T) model, or CDMA (Verizon)?

3) If iPhone 4, is the battery cover held in place by Phillips or Pentalobe screws?

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Nov 21

iPhone 4SLast month when the iPhone 4S was about to go up for pre-order, I discovered that – for the first time in my three-plus years as an AT&T iPhone user – I wouldn’t be eligible for a subsidized upgrade at launch; I’d have to wait until late November to get a 4S at the discounted $199 price.  Frankly, I was aggravated, but set about waiting for AT&T to let me renew my contract and get the latest and greatest.

Dreams of Siri danced in my head.

Then last week I had the opportunity to review an iPhone 4S (the Verizon 16GB Black model), and after spending several days with the handset, I’ve decided that my iPhone 4 will suit me just fine until the iPhone 5 is released, probably in the summer of 2012.  And if you’re an iPhone 4 owner waiting for your own subsidized upgrade, read on – the same may be true for you.

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Nov 08

Consumer ReportsLast year, Consumer Reports declined to recommend the iPhone 4 because of the phone’s external antenna design, which sometimes caused severe signal loss when two of the antennas were bridged by the user’s skin.  Discovery of this flaw – popularly known as Death Grip – and Apple’s initially lousy response to it, became known as Antennagate.

But Consumer Reports has been testing the new iPhone 4S and says the phone suffers none of its predecessor’s antenna ills:

[The iPhone 4S] doesn’t suffer the reception problem we found in its predecessor in special tests in our labs… a loss of signal strength when you touch a spot on the phone’s lower left side while you’re in an area with a weak signal.”

The publication does go on to say, however, that the iPhone 4 – even the newer versions of it – continue to experience the same antenna attenuation issues as the first batch that shipped in 2010.

Oh, and though they’re taken with the 4S, Consumer Reports recommends a few Android phones even more, the Motorola Droid Bionic and Samsung Galaxy S II among them.

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Nov 02

Low Battery Under iOS 5A few weeks ago I posted a list of steps to help with decreased battery life on an iPhone 4 after upgrading to iOS 5.  I’ve received emails from users who’ve done one or more of the easier steps on the list with significant improvement – but my iOS 5 upgraded iPhone 4 continued to suffer strangely fast battery drains even after completing these steps.

So, late last week I bit the bullet and performed a hard reset of my iPhone 4, known in iOS parlance as a restore.  And this did fix my battery issue completely.

Performing a restore on an iPhone, particularly one you’ve used for a long while, can be an aggravating experience since you lose your apps, settings, media, etc.  But if you’re having problems with your iPhone after updating to iOS 5, it may be the only solution. 

You can use an existing backup to put your phone back the way it was prior to the restore as much as is possible, but doing so my also recreate whatever issue was causing the battery drain in the first place.  I recommend that you do a full restore rather than opting to restore from a backup, and manually put your phone back the way it was.  It’s a last resort, but it seems to work for just about everyone who’s having trouble, including me.

Apple is working on an iOS update, v.5.1, that is said to help with the iOS 5 battery issue. No word yet on when the update will be released, though it will likely be sometime in November. 

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Jun 14

After years of selling only locked versions of their iPhone models – at least in the U.S. – Apple has now begun selling unlocked versions of the iPhone 4 which can be used with AT&T or T-Mobile in the States.

iPhone 4 Unlocked

You’ll need a microSIM in order to use the phone with your service:

“The unlocked iPhone 4 requires an active micro-SIM card that you obtain from a supported GSM wireless carrier. Simply insert the micro-SIM card into the slot on your iPhone, connect to your Mac or PC using the USB cable, and launch iTunes on your computer to complete the setup.”

At the moment, these unlocked iPhone 4s are only available from the Apple Store.  Since they’re unlocked and, therefore, unsubsidized, you’ll have to pay full price: $649 for the 16GB iPhone 4 and $749 for the 32GB model.

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