Sep 10

We’re just two days away from the iPhone 5 announcement, and likely just shy of two weeks before the first 6th Generation Apple phones begin arriving at stores and doorsteps around the country.  If you’re already an AT&T iPhone user and are expecting to help pay for the new iPhone by selling the model you already have, it’s probably a good idea to unlock it before the sale so its new owner has more network choices.

And that’s not nearly as difficult today as it has been in the past.

AT&T Unlock Request for iPhone

AT&T has posted a new page on its site that allows people to unlock their iPhones with a few simple steps.  Just input a little information, submit it to AT&T, and await further instructions.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.

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Oct 18

Low Battery Under iOS 5

Shortly after upgrading my iPhone 4 to the new iOS 5 operating system, I noticed the phone’s battery was draining at a much faster clip than under iOS 4.  I’m not sure exactly what the cause of this issue is, but my guess is that it’s a combination of new background processes, activity from existing apps not yet optimized for iOS 5, and some buggy system-level code. 

Assuming Apple and third-parties will release updates that correct the problem over the coming weeks, here are a few tips to mitigate the iOS 5 battery issue, at least in the short term.

1. Reset Network Settings: This is a tried-and-true method of decreasing battery drain after upgrading to a new iOS.  And it’s relatively painless. 

From the Home screen, tap Settings > General > Reset, and then select Reset Network Settings.  This will wipe out the stored settings for your carrier’s wireless network, along with other network settings like Wi-Fi networks.  You won’t have to do anything to get back up and running on your carrier’s wireless network, but you will have to set up Wi-Fi networks again, along with VPN if you use it.  This does not affect apps, music, photos, or any other aspect of the phone.  For whatever reason, this tends to help with battery life issues. 

Be sure that you have your Wi-Fi and/or VPN networks’ settings written down before proceeding so that you can reconfigure them easily.

2. Turn Off Unneeded Notifications: iOS 5 has some new notification features, but even the legacy functions can be a drain on battery life.  Go into Settings > Notifications and disable any notifications you don’t need.  You may be surprised just how many apps are notification enabled, and how many are generally are useless.  This is a good idea even if you have no battery issues.

3.  Limit, Turn Off iCloud: Apple’s new iCloud service can, depending on how you use your phone, be a real behind-the-scenes busybody.  Turn off the iCloud services you don’t need (Settings > iCloud), or disable the service altogether if you don’t care to use it.  If you have your contacts, calendar and email already backed-up in the Cloud, on Google or Windows Live, for example, you may not even need it.

4. Turn Off Bluetooth: If you don’t use it – or use it much – kill Bluetooth (Settings > General > Bluetooth). 

5. Wipe (Restore) and Reconfigure:  Just as with a Mac or PC, doing an in-place upgrade of an iPhone or iPad to a new OS version can cause malfunctions large and small; it’s always better – though much more time consuming – to start fresh with the new OS and manually put things back the way you want them. 

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Oct 12

Fire up iTunes 10.5, folks; Apple has released the update to iOS 5 for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, 3rd and 4th Gen iPod touch models, and all iPad models.

iOS 5 Ready to Download

We’ll also post direct links to the most popular iOS updaters when available.

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Apr 19

XtremeMac Incharge Portable Charger

No accessory is more fundamental to a smartphone’s operation than its charger.  Chargers aren’t sexy, but we need them – and often in more places than we might think.

Which brings us to our Accessory Spotlight for today: the XtremeMac Incharge Portable Charger (model IPU-ICP-11).

What makes the Incharge Portable interesting is that it’s a wall charger for iPhones and iPods that also has an integrated battery pack; so you can leave it plugged in and use one of its two USB ports (or both) to charge your iPhone and/or iPod, then disconnect it from the wall when you leave and take a little more juice with you.  There’s even a built-in LED charge indicator so that you know how much battery power is left when you’re on the go.

The best news is that this charger, which retails for $79, is available at Amazon.com for just $15.29.  Price subject to change at any time.

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Mar 08

iOS 4.3 is Coming This WeekA new rumor from BGR says iOS 4.3 updates will be made available today at 12PM Pacific for the iPad, iPhone 4 and 3GS (AT&T only), and late-gen iPod touch models.  We’d bet the updates won’t go live this afternoon, but whether today, tomorrow, or Friday, iOS 4.3 is coming this week.

And you should get ready. 

First, update iTunes on your PC or Mac to v10.2.  You can download the installer here or update through iTunes itself by  clicking Help > Check for Updates in Windows or with Software Update in the Mac OS.

Second, think about turning on Home Sharing in iTunes since the new version of iOS supports this feature.  Home Sharing, available until now only between iTunes PCs and Macs, allows you to stream and share audio and video between devices over Wi-Fi.  Home Sharing configuration settings are in the Advanced menu in iTunes.

Third, if you’re on AT&T and have an iPhone 4, iOS 4.3 will add 3G data sharing over Wi-Fi via the new Personal Hotspot feature.  If you’re interested, contact AT&T and get your Data Pro + Tethering plan going so that it’ll be ready to use as soon as your iPhone 4 is updated.

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