Preparing for a new iPhone or iPod Touch

December 21, 2009 by Rob  
Filed under Apple, News, Tips and How-To's

Christmas is just a few days away and without a doubt, i-gadgets will be popular gifts under the tree this year. So, what can you do in advance if you are expecting a certain Apple product? Well, we’ve come up with a few pointers below:

  • If you are not yet using it, install Apple iTunes.  While there are other ways to get music, movies and apps on your new i-gadget, iTunes is the only Apple approved way.  We’ve found that using other third party tools to manage your i-device can be difficult simply because it is not supported by Apple.
  • Once iTunes is installed, import your music and movie collections.  Easy enough: File -> Add to Library.  Or just drag and drop your media onto iTunes.
  • Now that you have iTunes installed you must convert all of your unsupported media files to a format supported by your new i-device.  What? Unsupported media files?  Yes.  If you are new to Apple products, then prepare yourself for many hours of media conversion, especially if you are coming from a Microsoft device. iPods and iPhones do not support Microsoft’s Windows Media formats (WMA/WMV), nor does it support many other open source formats (like ogg). So if you have a lot of music in these unsupported formats, it’s time to start converting.  Here’s the audio formats supported by the current iPhone: AAC, Protected AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV.  For video supported formats, see here.  I’ll followup with another post on how to convert your media since it is beyond the scope of this post.
  • Planning to install apps onto that new i-device? Or purchase music or movies from iTunes? You’ll need an iTunes account for that.  Now that you have iTunes installed, click on the iTunes Store on the left, then click on the Sign In button on the top right.  Click create new account.  Follow the directions.  If you don’t have a credit card you can setup your account without one.  This is a bit more tricky.  To setup an iTunes account without a credit card you must first have a redeemable iTunes code (gift card, app code or other redeemable code).  Click Redeem within iTunes, then enter the code, click done, then setup new account.  You cannot setup an iTunes Store account without a credit card unless you have a redeemable code first.
  • Plan your app purchases. One of the biggest successes of the iPhone and iPod Touch is the App Store, so undoubtedly you will spend a lot of time shopping for the perfect app.  Since the App Store now has more than 100,000 apps in it, finding those perfect apps is a chore, so start now.  We recommend using the top app lists on iTunes.
  • Contacts. If you’re migrating from another phone to an iPhone you’ll want to bring your contacts with you.  iTunes will sync your Address Book from your Mac or Windows computer with your i-device.  However, most people do no use the Address Book to store this information.  Well, now’s a good time to start!  Your new iPhone also has the ability to “import contacts from SIM.”  However, since all iPhones come with a new SIM and you MUST use this new SIM, using this feature is rather difficult and not always reliable.  So for this, we recommend you start entering your contacts into Outlook or Address Book.
  • Parental Controls. Giving an i-device to a kid? Worried about what they can do with it?  No problem, we covered this in an earlier post discussing Parental Controls.

If there’s any pointers we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments and we’ll get them added!

How To: Install Apps onto Your iPhone or iPod Touch

Since the iTunes App Store launched one year ago, it has grown to become the standard to follow for delivering applications to mobile devices.  Every mobile device manufacturer is scrambling to catchup to Apple in this regarHowever, if you are new to the iPhone or iPod, then installing applications may not be as intuitive or simple as you hoped.  So, if you’re like thousands of people out there that need a little help, then this post is for you.

So, you’ve been reading, found an app you like and would now like it installed on your device.  No problem!  There are two main methods for getting apps from iTunes onto your device, here’s how:

The first, and possible the most comon method, is via your computer using iTunes.  Since iTunes comes for both PC and Mac, the process is pretty much identical for both platforms. Here are the steps:

  1. If you haven’t already installed iTunes on your PC or Mac, go here and follow the instructions.
  2. Also, if you don’t have an iTunes account, you must first open one via the iTunes application.  You’ll need to provide a credit card (used for buying apps, music and whatever else).
  3. Now that you have iTunes installed and have an account, you’re ready to start app shopping.  You’ll find that many app links on the web (even those from will send you directly into iTunes and land you on the app page that you clicked on.  You may also use the App Store to search and find apps as well.
  4. You’ve found the app you like, now click “Buy App” and follow the purchase instructions.
    buy app button itunes How To: Install Apps onto Your iPhone or iPod Touch
  5. Now that you have the app on your PC/Mac, you have to sync it to your iPhone or iPod.  Using the USB cable, plugin your device to an available USB port on your computer.
  6. Once connected, your iPhone/iPod will show up in the iTunes side bar.
    iphone sidebar 150x134 How To: Install Apps onto Your iPhone or iPod Touch
  7. Click on the device in the side bar, then click on the “Applications” tab.
  8. You should now have a list of downloaded apps on your computer. Enable app sync, then select each app you want to install.
  9. Click the Sync button in the bottom right of iTunes.
  10. iTunes will now sync your device and install the checked applications.

itunes window 300x162 How To: Install Apps onto Your iPhone or iPod Touch

The second method may be the easier method for getting apps onto your device, since it does not require a computer.  All iPhone and iPod Touch devices have both the iTunes and App Store apps installed on them.  However, you will still want to go through the iTunes setup and install on your computer so that you can keep your device backed up.

  1. Using your iPhone or iPod, launch the App Store app.
    howto install apps2 200x300 How To: Install Apps onto Your iPhone or iPod Touch
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and touch the Sign In button.
    howto install apps3 How To: Install Apps onto Your iPhone or iPod Touch
  3. Select either “Use Existing Account” or “Create New Account” option.  If you didn’t already setup an account (never bought music before from iTunes?), then you’ll want to create a new account.
  4. Confirm the store: United States, agree to the terms and follow the process for creating an account.
    howto install apps1 200x300 How To: Install Apps onto Your iPhone or iPod Touch
  5. Now that you have your account created you can use one of the tabs (Featured, Categories, Top 25, Search) to shop for apps.  Take your time to explore the various methods.
  6. Now that you’ve found the app you’d like to purchase, simply touch the price button and then touch again when it says “BUY NOW.”
    howto install apps6 How To: Install Apps onto Your iPhone or iPod Touch
  7. You may need to confirm your password or enter your iTunes account email and password. Touch OK.
  8. The App Store app will close and the purchased app will now download directly to your device.  Once installed, it will be ready to run.

The drawback to the second method is that if you are on the 3G or EDGE network you cannot install apps greater than 10MB.  If you’d like to install an app greater than 10MB you’ll need to find a WiFi signal do download it or use the first method above.

That’s it!  Happy app shopping!

How To: 5 Tips to Improve Your iPhone Battery Life

This will be my second post in a new series of how-to posts here on The first post dealt with removing Apple app icons from your springboard a la Parental Controls. In this post, I will discuss a much debated topic: iPhone battery and improving the iPhone’s battery life.  So while I recognize that my approach here will be scoffed at by many, I’m sure others out there will welcome the tips.  I will preface that not all the tips offered here will work for everyone, obviously, so to each his own (or however that goes).

howto savebattery25 200x300 How To: 5 Tips to Improve Your iPhone Battery Life

If you’re a heavy user like me, then battery life is likely a limiting factor with your iPhone.  Likewise, if  you’re not a really heavy user, but just looking to eek out as much battery life on each charge cycle as you possibly can, then the pointers below will definitely help you out as well.

I moved up from a first-generation iPhone to the 3GS, partly because I thought it was high-time to upgrade but mostly because the new features found in the new device were just too much to pass on.  So here I am over a week later on the new iPhone 3GS and all my biggest complaint so far is: battery life sucks!  That’s right, under iPhone 2G I could browse the web all day (albeit over EDGE), listen to music, pull email from 5 email accounts (mostly google mail), and test app after app after app (this is an app review site, afterall!).  At the end of the day I would regularly have 30-50% battery left.

howto savebattery1 200x300 How To: 5 Tips to Improve Your iPhone Battery Life

Since moving to the 3GS, I can do about half of what I used to do on my old phone before reaching the 20% battery warning.  I now carry a battery cable in my car for just this, since now when I leave work my phone is nearly dead.

So what can you do to improve  your battery life?  Well, turns out, there’s a lot you can do.  Since any new feature that Apple puts into the iPhone ultimately costs battery life, some of these more battery intensive features can be disabled at the cost of omitting that function.  So, here we go:

  1. Probably the biggest battery eater on your new iPhone is the 3G network.  While significantly faster for data connections it eats battery like no other function can.  So, if you’re always near WiFi for data, or don’t ever use your phone to browse the web, or simply don’t mind the slower data speeds of EDGE, then you can disable 3G.  Go to: Settings (you’ll go here for all of these suggestions) -> General -> Network and turn off 3G.  Your battery life just improved dramatically.howto savebattery21 200x300 How To: 5 Tips to Improve Your iPhone Battery Life
  2. One of the long-anticipated features of the new iPhone OS 3.0 is push notifications.  Unfortunately, this is also a feature that will contribute to a quicker battery drain.  If this feature isn’t important to you, here’s how to disable it: Settings->Notifications, now turn it off.  If you’re using apps such as Textfree with notification, disabling this feature will cause that you are not notified when your friends text you, or when AP Mobile app needs to alert you to the death of another Hollywood star.howto savebattery22 200x300 How To: 5 Tips to Improve Your iPhone Battery Life
  3. Don’t ever use WiFi?  Turn it off.  Turning off another radio on your phone will only improve your battery life.  However, don’t turn it off in lieu of using 3G, since that will be taking a step backwards in terms of battery life.  If you use WiFi and are in WiFi area, then see #1 above.  To turn this one off, go to Settings->WiFi and tun it off.
  4. Bluetooth is another radio in that device of yours using up power, albeit not much.  However it is using power to scan devices in its vecinity if BT is enabled.  So if you don’t use BT for anything, turn it off.  Settings->General->Bluetooth.
  5. The final radio to disable is  your GPS or Location Services.  Since you can’t just disable the GPS radio you have to actually disable the service altogether.  Doing so means that Google maps will no longer display your location, and any location aware app (a lot of them) will no longer be able to determine your location.  However, once again, it’s another radio taking juice so if you’re main focus is a long battery then this will help. Settings->General, turn off Location Services.
  6. [Updated] This post really should have been the top 10 ways to save battery because undoubtedly I’ll get to 10.  But here’s one that was overlooked in the original post: Dim the light.  That’s right, turn down that brightness and turn on auto-bright.  The light used to illuminate your screen is a big battery killer, so if you can tolerate a lower brightness then this will help eek out some battery juice.  Settings->Brightness then slide the slider.

These suggestions are not for everyone, we get that, but if you’re trying to figure out how to  get a little extra life out of your iPhone then surely there’s something in that list that will help.  We also intentionally omitted suggestions such as limiting your call time or web browsing time and focused solely on what features of the phone could be disabled in order to extend your battery life.  Furthermore, the list is not conclusive.  In fact, if there’s other things that you’ve found that you can do to improve your battery life, by all means let us know in the comments. homebutton icon How To: 5 Tips to Improve Your iPhone Battery Life

How To: Easily Remove (some) Apple App Icons

I see and hear complaints all the time of people wanting to remove pre-installed applications from Apple off of their iPhone or iPod Touch.  Everybody knows by now that to remove an app installed from the App Store simply touch and hold the app icon until all the icons jiggle.  Once the icons start to jiggle the non-Apple apps will have a black “X” badge in the corner of them.  Touch there to remove that app from your device.  But what if you want an Apple app removed?  There is no black “X” badge that appears for Apple apps, so that doesn’t work.

removeappleappicons1 200x300 How To: Easily Remove (some) Apple App Icons

With the introduction of iPhone OS 3.0 Apple added Parental Controls called “Restrictions.”  Using the Restrictions function you can block access to all sorts of content on the device – including a few applications.  While not a surefire way to remove all of the Apple icons from the springboard, you can use Restrictions to block access (ie: remove) to a few of the Apple installed applications such as Safari, YouTube, Camera, iTunes and App Store.  You’re still stuck with the other Apple apps such as Notes, Calendar, Weather, Stocks, Mail, etc.  But for these few applications turning them off and hiding their icons is easy.

removeappleappicons4 200x300 How To: Easily Remove (some) Apple App Icons

To use Restrictions to hide the icons of these apps you must first enable it in the Settings app. Navigate to Settings, select Restrictions,  enable Restrictions, and enter a passcode.  Now you can easily turn off the apps that you don’t want showing up anymore.  That’s it! You’re done!  If you need help on how to enable Restrictions via step by step then see our earlier post: Tour of Parental Controls.

removeappleappicons3 200x300 How To: Easily Remove (some) Apple App Icons

  • Follow Us

  • TopSites

    Apple Top Sites