Today, Apple released an update to the iPhone OS that fixes a few issues. The issues covered in the update are: 1. Resolves sporadic issue that may cause iPhone to not wake from sleep. 2. Resolves intermittent issue that may interrupt cellular network services until restart. 3. Fixes bug that could cause occasional crash during video streaming.
The update is available now, so if you haven’t already, connect your device to your computer and hit the “Check for Update” button within iTunes. Don’t forget to sync and backup your device prior to applying the update as well. The update is available for both iPhone and iPod Touch.
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.
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.
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.
Apple’s recent release of the iPhone OS 3.0 has brought a lot of new functionality to the iPhone and iPod Touch. We now have the long awaited push notifications, the ability to search our devices (spotlight), as well as copy and paste. However, it has also brought a whole new level of worry for parents.
This new OS allows a higher degree of parental controls and lock outs, which is good. However, with the new parental controls in place, Apple decided they could start releasing more explicit apps in the iTunes App Store. There is a new rating of 17+, which opens the door now for apps containing full nudity and porn to be submitted for sale on iTunes. In fact, one such app was released Wednesday. It was later pulled from the App Store, but not because Apple didn’t approve. Rather, it was pulled because the developer’s servers were at capacity. [Update: Apple did indeed remove the application in question after they realized the developer had remotely changed the content to include nude photos.] It seems the introduction of these types of apps is imminent.
So, we decided it was high time we got information out there on how parents can keep their kids, and themselves, safe. Enabling parental controls, called “Restrictions,” on an iPhone or iPod Touch is very easy.
1. Open the Settings app
2. Tap on General
3. Scroll down the page and tap on Restrictions
4. You will then be asked to setup a four number passcode. Remember what you enter here, as you will need to re-enter the passcode to make changes to parental controls in the future.
5. At the top is a button to enable restrictions. Touch there. Now there is a section for apps that you can choose to allow or block. These apps include: Safari (an internet browser), You Tube, iTunes, Installing Apps, and Location. The bottom section of the screen allows you to block or limit the content that can be viewed on the device. You can allow or block In-App Purchases, block explicit Music & Podcasts, and choose the acceptable rating for Movies, TV Shows, and Apps.
Any content on the iPod or iPhone that does not meet the restrictions you place on the device should simply disappear once you have set the restrictions. After you have adjusted the settings, exit the app. The restrictions will not be accessible again without the passcode you put in place.
One further word of caution. Placing restrictions on an iPhone or iPod does not guarantee that your child will never run across anything that you don’t want them to see or hear. I have run across some apps that I found offensive that only had a rating of 4+. I would never allow my 5 year old to play with them. They are inappropriate for that age group. Furthermore, you should not consider the new parental controls as an end-all to keeping your kid’s away from this content. Most know that they could just launch Safari and browse any of the millions of porn sites already on the web. There is no substitute for staying involved in our kids lives and being aware of what things they are viewing and listening to. That having been said, the parental controls that are there help block most of the content you’d like to keep from your kids and make these devices a little safer for all.
For more information, or to watch a step by step tutorial, check out our video on parental controls coming soon to YouTube.
The day has finally come that push notifications are available for iPhone and iPod Touch with the new firmware 3.0 update. This capability is one that many iPhone/iPod Touch users have been anticipating for some time now. It will enhance the usefulness and function of many apps. One app in particular caught my interest. So, I took a look at exactly how Textfree Unlimited will work with this new function.
The addition of push notifications to Textfree Unlimited allows you to receive a notification when you receive a text using the app. When you open up your Textfree app, it will ask you if you want to allow push notifications (the most recent update is required). If you tap “OK,” they should be enabled. Now, when someone texts you to your textfree.us account you will receive a notification. This is regardless if the app is running or not or if your device is locked or not. It works much like getting a text message on an iPhone.
The notifications come in three different ways, the alerts or pop-up windows, sounds, and badges seen as a number in the upper corner of the app icon on your screen. In the Settings app on your device you can choose to turn any one of these on or off at any time.
I tested this app sending and receiving texts first with my iPod Touch on when the app was closed. Next, I tried locking my iPod. The push notifications still came through (very cool). [Update: Push notifications on an iPod Touch will only work when the iPod is locked if it is connected to a power source (either your PC or charger), it will not work otherwise. Thanks to Brick for the comment.] With the new addition of push notifications, the need to pay for the ability to text is near zero. The only limit now is the range of your Wi-Fi network.
Testing push notifications on an iPhone was near identical to the iPod Touch tests but with two exceptions: no need to be connected via WiFi (obviously) AND push notifications work whether the iPhone is locked or not.
If you’re looking for an alternative to text messaging that AT&T’s plans, or you have an iPod Touch, the introduction of push notifications makes Textfree a whoooole lot better.
Textfree Unlimited is $5.99 in the iTunes App Store.
Textfree Unlimited is not the only app to take advantage of this new capability, though. Other apps that make use of push notifications include AreMySitesUp (Free), Tap Tap Revenge (Free), Star Defense ($5.99), Pollen (Push) (Free), Weather Alert ($0.99), AP Mobile (Free), Leaf Trombone ($0.99), E*Trade Mobile Pro (Free), and Hey Where Are You (Free). Many more apps are coming that will support this functionality, keep checking back for more updates.
For more OS 3.0 information check out: iPhone OS 3.0 is here. Where to Start and Changes to check out
As many of you may know, Apple had their iPhone OS 3.0 live event today in Cupertino, California. The event, hosted at Apple, was to give everyone a view into the upcoming iPhone OS 3.0 and the many new features and enhancements to the platform. So, without further delay, this is what I got as some long awaited features due to hit iPhones everywhere this summer:
- Major API enhancements and additions for app developers (over 1000).
- App subscriptions and in-app purchases now supported (Apple to take 30% still).
- Discovery of nearby devices via bluetooth.
- SDK dock support for proprietary apps and accessories.
- Map app enhancements for in-app maps via the APIs.
- CoreLocation to support turn by turn navigation, developers must supply their own maps.
- Push notification – Can push badges, text and sounds. Major infrastructure changes to support it.
- Cut, Copy & Paste supported across all applications. Minimal effort to implement for developers.
- All Apple apps to receive landscape mode keyboards.
- A whole new messages app (texts) to support MMS and more.
- A whole new voice memos app.
- Updates to Calendar app to include syncing with Google, Yahoo! and others.
- Spotlight search to search across all apps and launch the appropriate app.
- Stereo bluetooth support (A2DP) for wireless stereo headphones, etc.
- Many more enhancements.
This is definitely the largest and most complete update that the iPhone has ever seen. Nearly every single gripe that anyone has had with the device will be overcome with this new update. I’m also very happy to see that every one of the items on my wish list have been met – thank you very much!
The update will be available this summer to all 3G iPhone owners. 2G iPhone owners can also use it but with missing features and iPod Touch owners will have to caugh up $9.95 to run it on their devices. However, judging by the laundry list of enhancements every device owner will benefit from an upgrade to 3.0.