Apple iPhone 3Gs – My Initial Observations and Tips

iphoneI have finally given in and upgraded my 2 year old Palm Treo to an Apple iPhone 3Gs. After having a bit of a play with the new iPhone I thought I would share a few of my initial observations and tips.

Save battery capacity – By switching off a couple of items when they are not required, you can get 2-3 days of use on a single battery charge, compared to 1 day on a single charge when they are all switched on.

  • Turn off WIFI  – Settings/Wi-Fi
  • Turn off Bluetooth  – Settings/General/Bluetooth
  • Turn off Location Services  – Setting/General/Location Services
  • Turn off any apps that continually send data.

The iPhone is one of the only phones on the market in which the user cannot change the battery. For heavy users or travelers, it is nice to be able to carry spares and change them as needed. When the iPhone first came out there were reports of having to send the units back to Apple to change the battery for a $50 fee if needed.

Watch your data rates – The iPhone 3G can be very hungry on data usage.  Unless you have massive data plans, it’s necessary to pay attention to data usage or you will end up with excess data charges.

  • Use the Data Usage indicator found under Settings/General/Usage/Cellular Network Data to keep a track of your data. I like to reset the statistics before using a new app to see how much data is used. You will be surprised by the results.
  • Download Apps – Download applications from the apps store via the iTunes program on your PC and then load them into the iPhone when syncing. Some apps can be fairly large in size and this will be charged to your data plan if you download directly from the apps store using your phone.
  • Application Data – Beware of apps that have high data usage. e.g.  Some news service apps access one page at a time, and some download a large selection of pages when accessed. One news reader application I tested used 7MB of data each time I opened it, compared to 10 kB for other apps. (I found one radio station app that uses 30 MB per hour…. I bet the cellular provider is rubbing their hands together.)
  • Roaming – Make sure your data roaming is switched off at Settings/General /Network/Data Roaming when travelling overseas.  I have heard lots of horror stories of people who arrive back from overseas to be greeted by huge bills for data roaming charges. This often happens because they have apps running in the iPhone background that keep sending data without them being aware. (Telstra phones are billed a horrendous $15 per 1MB when roaming.)

Use Screen Protectors – Protect your screen from scratches, grease, food, dirt etc using screen protectors. They are cheap and can be easily replaced.

Low ring volume – The default ring volume on the iPhone is quite low.  Adjust the ring volume in Settings/General/Sounds/Ring to maximum if you want to be able to hear it in city environments.

Silence button – Beware of the silence button on the left side of the phone above the volume control. It is easy to unknowingly switch your phone into silence mode when removing it from a bag or belt holder.

No Bluetooth Syncing – I was surprised to find there was no function for syncing the iPhone to a PC via Bluetooth. This is a standard feature on many Windows Mobile based phones, and is a lot more convenient than having to connect using the cable to sync each time.

No separate 3G Voice/Data controls – I had separate control of 3G voice and 3G data on my old Palm Treo. This allowed me to turn off my 3G data modem and save battery and data usage. In the iPhone the voice and data are linked together for 3G, and turning 3G off forces the phone to 2G.

No Flash support – Adobe marketing continually spout how Flash is on 98% of computers around the world, but interestingly they never mention that it is not supported by the iPhone.

If you try and access the Adobe Flash Player web page on your iPhone you get the message “Flash Player not available for your device – Apple restricts use of technologies required by products like Flash Player. Until Apple eliminates these restrictions, Adobe cannot provide Flash Player for the iPhone or iPod touch”

Hmm… reading between the lines I get the impression there is some kind of conflict between Adobe and Apple over this one.

Password Protection – Use the Settings/General/Passcode Lock function to protect the data on your phone. The last thing you want is someone to steal your phone and have access to all your contact and email information.

Free Apps – A couple of free applications worth loading onto your phone are Skype Mobile, Facebook, Google Earth, Flickr, White Pages and Tweetdeck.

Field Test Mode – For those technically minded people interested in cellular system performance and information, the Field Test Mode can be accessed by dialling *3001#12345#* and pressing send. Field test mode is then displayed with RSSI (Signal Strength), channel information, neighbor lists, 2G and 3G information, and much more.

I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if you have any other useful observations, tips or tricks.

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9 thoughts on “Apple iPhone 3Gs – My Initial Observations and Tips”

  1. Error in Telstra iPhone3Gs Default Configuration

    Is your Telstra iPhone 3Gs having problems accessing the Settings/Phone/Telstra Services/Bigpond mobile for iPhone option? Are you unable to access the internet? The reason may be the applications setting has been incorrectly configured by Telstra.

    Since I purchased my phone last week, I had been wondering why my iPhone could not connect to the bigpond network when I chose the Bigpond for iPhone option. The browser would load with the URL, but it would eventually time out as it could not connect to the server.

    Digging around in the iPhone apps store today I found a solution.

    The default Telstra setting for General/Network/Cellular Data Network/APN is “telstra.internet”. This needs to be changed to “telstra.iph”.

    If I make the change, I can load the Settings/Phone/Telstra Services/Bigpond mobile for iPhone option, it links to the URL, and forwards to, where the screen is displayed correctly.

    Alternatively call Telstra’s dedicated iPhone support line on 1800 iPhone (1800 474 663), but do it during Oz work hours so your call is not routed overseas to India or the Philippines where it will be lost in the ether.

    Hope this helps.

  2. Thanks for your tips. I have been wondering why I cannot sync my iphone to p.c. via Bluetooth. Now I know! That is a real nuisance.
    Other tips taken on board.
    They sure will help in the data usage.
    A great machine, all the same.
    Many thanks

  3. Your post was perfect for me. Being that Im a giant mobile phone nerd. I spend days seraching everything there is to know about new mobile phone gadgets. Im glad I found you.

  4. Hi Kendall,

    Feedburner is used to email out any new posts I create and post to the blog. It does not track comments that I know of.


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