Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why is my iPhone getting insanely hot (literally)?

My iPhone is by far the best phone I have ever used; it is like a million times better than the other supposedly smart phone it replaced. I could acquire knowledge so much faster and better now that I feel like being a living proof of Bill Gates' infamous speech in 1990 - Information at your fingertips, although in a totally different context 20 years later.

Having said that, there have been a few times when my iPhone just got insanely hot, and then the battery was draining so fast that I thought there was an electronic vampire sucking the battery juice out of the phone. While I normally can manage probably 15 hours of usage a day (I am a heavy user who is constantly on the phone). On these few occasions the battery was flat within 2 - 3 hours without any significant changes in the pattern how the phone was used.

Now, if you are having/or have encountered similar problem, then this article is for you.

First thing first, iPhone is made up of 2 major components, the Hardware and the Software. A hot iPhone can be the result of the malfunction of either one of these components. The following steps help you to isolate the root cause of the problem and subsequently get it fixed.

We are talking about prolonged period of heat with abnormal battery drainage here. If you are experiencing the heat for only a few minutes, then perhaps you can wait for a while to see if the problem persists. If true, then the following steps may help you.

Is this a hardware problem?

  1. Go to Settings

  2. Click General

  3. Click Usage

You should see something like this at the end of the steps. Now if there is a significantly big gap between usage time and standby time, and your phone is hot, it is probably a hardware failure. You can follow this link to check if there is a water damage to the phone, and the best way to fix this hardware issue is to return the phone to the service provider you got your iphone from and swap for a new one if it's still under warranty.

If you have gone so far, then this is probably a fixable software issue. Put it simply, the iPhone is so hot because it's been working overtime to get something done. The following are the common culprits that may cause the iPhone to work in the background:

  1. Push Mail

  2. Ping - IOS 4.3 and above

  3. Applications running in the background

  4. Notification Settings

  5. Others

From my own experience, the phone gets really hot usually when I am on my 3G data network, and the battery drainage also happens considerably faster as compared to when I am on EDGE or Wifi. The following are a few things that could help to solve this problem:

  1. Push Mail

    iPhone would push mail from the server automatically for you so you don't have to. However, when the data signal is weak, iPhone would keep on trying to establish connections with the server for the push mail to happen. This as a result can cause battery drain, as well as pushing the temperature up for the phone.The following are steps to temporarily turn this off, and you can turn it back on when situation improves.

    1. Go to Settings

    2. Mail, Contacts, Calendars

    3. Fetch New Data

    4. Turn push to OFF

    5. Set Fetch to Manually

  2. Ping

  3. Put simply, Ping is Apple's attempt to turn iTune into a social network such as Facebook, or Twitter. Basically, users can see what their friends purchased, liked, and what concerts their friends are going, etc. Now, I don't need this service, and it's sucking the battery life of my phone, so it gotta go!

    To turn this off, do the following:

    1. Go to settings

    2. General

    3. Restrictions

    4. At this point, you may be asked to enter your password if you have enabled it before. Otherwise, IOS will ask you to create a new password to enable it.

    5. Turn PING to OFF

  4. Notification Settings

  5. Some of the applications may try to access the data network to pull for new notifications. Social network applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, etc constantly go online to check if there is any new updates. Usually this would not be a problem, but if your battery is draining like crazy, turn off all the notifications temporarily to see if things improve.

  6. Applications running in the background

  7. Simply kill all running applications in the background to see if things improve.

  8. Others

  9. Address below.

Now, if you have done all the above, and things don't get better, there are still three things that you can do. But please do a full backup before you perform any of the following steps:

  • Check if you have the latest firmware. This can be done by simply connecting your phone to the computer, and launch iTune. Click Check For Update. Update the firmware if there is a new version. I have fixed mine once using this approach.

  • If the above still fails, perform a RESET on the phone. Note: performing this steps WILL NOT erase your personal contents such as email, sms, or contact information. Similar steps are documented here.

  • Only do this if you have absolutely no choice. If you have taken all the above measures and still having this problem, then you may want to do a DFU restore. Before doing this, please make sure you have a FULL BACKUP first because the phone will be completely wiped out! So far I have managed to solve all my battery drainage problems without having to do this. You can follow the instruction at this link here to perform this restore.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

iPhone Date & Time - Automatic Setting Went Wrong

I occasionally go to Thailand for business trip, in the past I usually had to adjust the clock on my phone to reflect the local time (Thailand is one hour behind Malaysia), and adjusted it again when I am back to Kuala Lumpur.

I still remember the very first time I went to Thailand after I got my brand new iPhone. Shortly after my phone was connected to the roaming network, I noticed the time was set back 1 hour. At first I was pleasantly surprised and at the same time skeptical about this, as I thought I had accidentally set the time without remembering it. But when I checked at my wife's phone (she does not have such habit) it was automatically set to the local time as well!

Being a curious guy, I checked all the setting and found out that iPhone had the ability to automatically set the date and time for me. This is really cool!

When I returned to KL on that trip, I made a mental note to observe if the phone was really so smart and would change the time back to the Malaysian time. And it did!

WOW! This is a a real smart phone! And this feature added to another one of my favorite things about the phone.

Shortly after I upgraded to IOS 4.3.2, I went to Bangkok again for another business trip. The time was changed to local time automatically. All went well and when I returned to KL, and to my horror, the time was still one hour behind! The funny thing was that when I disabled Set Time Automatically, the clock shows KL time again without me having to manually adjust for it.

So I left it as it was. But deep down I was not happy knowing that one of the features in my favorite phone was not working perfectly anymore.

Some of the my friends may remember that I had some real issue with my phone after the upgrades to IOS 4.3.2. Apps were crashing, and phone was getting really dysfunctional.

Before upgrading to IOS 4.3.3, one of the things I did was to reset all settings on my phone. After the reset, I went to the time & date setting to see if this was also reset - and it did. It was reset back to Set Automatically. And you know what? The time is now correctly set.

I guess IOS somehow cached the Thai timezone in its setting somewhere and did not release this.

For those of you who are having this problem, follow the following steps to reset your phone. These steps WILL NOT ERASE your contact information, SMS, EMAILS, etc. You do however need to key in the wireless WEP keys again, and all the remembered networks will be forgotten.

1. Click Settings
2. Scroll down and click General
3. Scroll to the very bottom and select Reset
4. Select RESET All Settings

Oh by the way, my friend Rachel also had an issue with her WhatsApp not being able to connect to the WIFI network on her iPhone. After this steps, the problem was resolved.

Good luck!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How to stop iTunes and iPhoto from launching unnecessarily

I love my Macbook. I also love my iPhone.

But I hate it when my iPhone connects to my MacBook. For no apparent reasons - Apple thinks that automatically launching iTunes and iPhoto for me would make my life better.

Well, no, it does not! In fact, it annoys the hell out of me. Imagine your car manufacturer decides to start the engine, the massager chair, the radio and the GPS automatically every time you open the door of your vehicle, regardless of the fact that you are only trying to retrieve a document from the car.

So automation does not just make the system smarter. Sometimes it makes it dumber. And the fact that I always have to close whatever that's opened by Snow Leopard just a few seconds later proves the point.

So, if you are as paranoid as me (admit it), and only want your system to act at your command, the following tips might help.

First to stop iTunes from automatically popping up:

1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac
2. Start iTune (oops, I forgot, Apples starts it automatically for you at this point, DUH!)
3. Click at the phone under devices
4. At the summary page of the phone, scroll down to the Options.
5. Uncheck Open iTunes when this phone is connected.

You are done.

So that got rid of half of the annoyance. Now, lets work on the iPhoto part.
1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac
2. Click at spotlight
3. Type Image Capture
4. Select your iPhone under Device
5. Select "No Application" under Connecting this iPhone opens


And now I am a happy camper! :D

App Crash after IOS 4.3.2

I have been experiencing lots of issues with my iPhone ever since I upgraded to IOS 4.3.2. I mean the app just crashed for no particular reason, and that really annoyed me. It was not only the third party apps that crashed on me, core iPhone applications such as App Store and Safari were also crashing on me.

So I did a check on Google and found out that I was not suffering alone; and a lot of iPhone users who upgraded also suffered the same fate. So I followed the instruction to first reset my network setting, then erase all contents and subsequently restore from iTunes, to hard reset. The phone would work fine for a while and then the apps would just crash again like before.

When the release of IOS 4.3.3 was available on May 4, I was ecstatic that my misery was soon going to end. Did a sync on my iTunes (learned my lesson), and then proceeded to upgrade my phone.

IOS 4.3.3 definitely made the phone more stable, but after a while, apps started crashing again. I could not understand why and finally I thought I should be looking what's going on under the hood myself! So I fired up SYSTEM Lite and found out that I only had 4MB of RAM free! So that's the problem!

A quick switch to process mode and then I found out - for some weird reason, although some of the apps are not showing in my springboard, they were actually running in the background thus consuming those precious precious memory! Launching those running apps in the background and then subsequently killing them freed the much needed memory for me, and boy, my phone was running like new again!

So the bottom line is, if you are on 4.3.2 and cursing your phone as I did, upgrade to 4.3.3. And if you are on 4.3.3 and still suffering the same problem, install SYSTEM Lite (it's free) from iTune and find out what's going on behind the scene. For some reasons some apps were just running by itself (probably due to my pushed notification setting). Terminating some of the unneeded apps would gives you the most precious resources in all computing world - the RAM!