Friday, October 28, 2011

Apple iPhone 4S Problems: Short battery life & other issues

The Apple iPhone 4S is a great phone but it hasn't been without its problems. From concerning security issues to shoddy battery life, we round up the problems users have experienced with Apple's latest handset

The iPhone 4S has been marred with problems and security issues since it launched earlier this month and, although it’s a great phone, as we mention in our Apple iPhone 4S review, flaws in the device and its iOS 5 operating system are still being found.

Which is why we’ve pulled together a list of the problems you will or would have experienced with the new iPhone, including OS and security flaws, so you know exactly what you’re getting – that is until Apple decides to fix the software glitches, most probably in the form of a software update.

Siri security flaw

Apple’s virtual assistant Siri was supposed change the way we use our mobile phones. Instead of typing and trawling the net to find information for ourselves, Siri aimed to cut all that out by doing the heavy lifting for us. But a few flaws in the make up of the software have caused major concern among the media and customers alike.

Siri has been the subject of several reports concerning a worrying security flaw. At the press of the Home button, a person is able to send texts, emails, make calls and request calendar information without having to unlock the homescreen using a passcode.

That, of course, could prove very costly indeed if someone gets their mitts on your handset.

But the setting isn't a permanent one - users have the option of switching it off by disabling the option to enable Siri at passcode lock - however, Alan Goode, managing director of mobile security firm Goode Intelligence, argues that because this setting was set at default without users' acknowledgement, many iPhone 4S owners would have been unaware of the potential risks they were exposing themselves to.

He said: “We feel that this option should have been the default option that Apple should have configured on all devices and then let the user decide whether they want to take the risk of someone accessing text, call and appointment services without entering the correct passcode.”

Siri 'cannot connect to network'

When the iPhone 4S first launched last month, users took to Twitter and forums to vent their frustration at Apple’s virtual assistant application, Siri, claiming that it didn’t work. When asking a question, users were greeted with an error message informing them that the app “cannot connect to the network."

Several outlets have reported that the issue can be fixed by first turning Siri off in the settings menu, then going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings. T3 did this and found that although it reduces the frequency of the problem, it doesn’t solve the problem completely.

It is believed that Apple will fix Siri-related problems in a new software update – hence why it was released in beta – but not much information is available from Apple on this front.

Mute button relocation

This isn’t a problem per say, but users may have been given the impression that the iPhone 4S body is 100% identical to that of the iPhone 4. It’s not. The mute button has moved slightly lower, and although most iPhone 4 cases can fit onto the device, covers that have holes cut out specifically for the mute button won’t fit – they’ll simply cover it up.

So be warned – don’t buy expensive cases unless you’re certain they'll fit or are specific to the iPhone 4S.

Short battery life

The Apple iPhones have never been known for their long battery life and it would seem the iPhone 4S is no different. In fact, the Apple news-dedicated website iLounge reports that the battery life gets considerably drained when using 3G data and audio/video playback/recording on the 4S.

Fortunately, you can read Apple’s iPhone battery power saving tips  to see how you can save some much-need handset energy.


When they launched last year, the Apple iPhone 4 and Apple iPad 2 both aroused suspicion among Apple devotees when some of their screens sported a faint yellow discolouring. Apple put this down to the adhesive used to glue the device together not curing properly and the problems seemed to have disappeared after just a few weeks, which could be the case with the iPhone 4S.

Several users on Apple forums have complained about the exact same problem occurring on their iPhone 4S handsets, but whereas the discolouring in previous Apple devices saw yellow spots dotted around the screen, this time round it’s encompassing the whole touchpad, leading to complaints from Apple fans worldwide.

If you’ve got the same problem and it hasn’t gotten any better throughtout the weeks, you’re best bet is to contact Apple customer services: 0800 048 0408. Lines are open Monday-Friday 08:00-21:00, and Saturday-Sunday 09:00-20:00.

iOS 5 Error 3200

Apple fans were hit with an iOS 5 error 3200 message on October 13 as they attempted to download the tech giant's latest mobile operating system. It was believed the company’s servers were swamped by demand, causing thousands of users to face continued error messages.

The Error 3200 message greeted ‘hundreds of thousands’ of users across the globe as they attempted to update their existing Apple iPhones, iPads and iPods to iOS 5, ahead of the Apple iPhone 4S release date which took place on October 14th.

According to Apple’s support pages a 3200 error is caused by “a network-connectivity or traffic issue.” The Cupertino-based company advised: “If you see this error, wait an hour or more and try again.”

What other problems have you experienced with the iPhone 4S? Let us know in our comments box below and we'll investigate...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

iPad 2 smart cover found to 'bypass' passwords

"Access granted"

After Siri, the Apple iPad 2’s “Smart Cover" has been found to pose a potential threat to the security of the popular tablet computer, an Apple enthusiast site reported.

The security flaw allows anyone with a “Smart Cover" to bypass even a password-protected iPad 2, said in a blog post .

“Now, a real iOS security flaw has emerged, and anyone with a Smart Cover can break into your ‘password-protected’ iPad 2. This issue occurs in iOS 5, but we’re hearing uncorroborated reports of it also working in earlier versions of iOS 4.3," it said.

The discovery was publicized days after it was bared that Siri, the personal assistant in Apple’s new iPhone 4S, can allow access to iPhone functions even if the iPhone is locked.

However, said the problem with Siri was more of an indented feature since the iPhone 4S’ user settings can prevent Siri from giving access to a locked iPhone.

A demo video posted on the site showed that while a person unlocks your the iPad 2 will not have complete access to the iPad, he or she will be able to gain entrance to whatever the user locked his or her iPad 2 on.

“If your iPad 2 went to sleep in Mail, Safari, Messages, Contacts, or Maps, you can imagine the sorts of personal information that can be viewed on your iPad. If you left your iPad 2 on its Home screen, the person can view which applications you have on your device, control media from the multitasking bar, but not much else," it said.

The site said users can recreate the scenario with the following steps:

Lock a password protected iPad 2
Hold down power button until iPad 2 reaches turn off slider
Close Smart Cover
Open Smart Cover
Click cancel on the bottom of the screen

Temporary solution

A temporarily fix for this bug is to disable Smart Cover unlocking in the iPad 2 settings menu under the General tab.

‘Misleading’ Apple statement

Computer security firm Sophos noted a “misleading" statement by Apple regarding the iPad for business, where it supposedly provides hardware encryption for all data stored on the device.

It also provides additional encryption of email and application data with enhanced data protection.

But it said iOS 5 devices have the exact same implementation flaw of the AES 256 encryption as iOS 4: While the data is encrypted, iOS provides unfettered access without knowing the passcode or posessing the encryption keys.

“This type of misleading statement shows how the specific meaning of a statement might imply that all of your data is protected where the reality is the devil is in the implementation details," it said in a blog post .

Sophos said this means all media such as photos, videos, sound recordings and music can be accessed from a computer that can speak Apple’s control protocol without any authentication, even if the device is locked.

Unauthorized calls

Sophos also cited an article on describing how to make unauthorized outgoing phone calls with someone’s locked iPhone with iOS 5 - if you have a missed call notification.

“If you were to forge your caller ID (somewhat trivial for VoIP users) you could call someone’s iPhone with a number you wanted to call out to and then just tap the screen to dial the number," it said. — TJD, GMA News

Siri Security Glitch Adds to IPhone 4S Problems

An iPhone 4S glitch allows access to the Siri voice-activated virtual assistant when the phone is locked, adding another item to the list of problems plaguing the device.

A default setting lets anyone who picks up the iPhone 4S to send emails and texts or access a user’s address book, calendar and personal information simply by speaking into it and activating Siri without a passcode, even when the phone itself is password-protected.

Apple likely made Siri available when the screen is locked to facilitate easy, eyes-off, hands-free activation of the voice-recognition software, a nice feature to have when driving or walking around.

The phone toggles Siri’s settings right out of the box, which may surprise unsuspecting users and put them at risk for compromised security, especially in the event of a lost iPhone.

News of the security snafu follows users’ complaints about a yellowish tint on some iPhone 4S screens and reports of connection problems with Siri just a few days after the device launched.

No device debut is without its glitches, but a growing list of iPhone 4S concerns, coupled with last week’s reported problems with the iOS 5 and iCloud download and upgrade, may chip away at Apple’s reputation, something the company probably does not want to risk as it heads into the competitive holiday sales season.

Several technology blogs reported the Siri problem and offered a fix. Users can turn off Siri access when the 4S is locked by visiting “Settings,” clicking “general” and “passcode lock,” then toggling the switch for “allow access to Siri when locked with a passcode” to the off position. After this action is taken, the handset requires passcode entry before Siri can be used.

Not all iPhone users read technology blogs or news, though, so many may be unaware that they are walking around with a potentially unsecured phone in their pockets, or that there is an easy solution to fix the issue.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Apple TV Update Bricks Some Systems

from TFTS

[Just Six Days After The 4.4 Update, Apple Releases 4.4.1 With Several Problems Reported From Those Installing It, Leads To Apple Pulling The Update]
If you’re shaking your head right now and wondering why I’m talking about an Apple TV update when I just put up a story about an Apple TV update, your observant nature has shown that something is up. I assure you there are two good reasons to do this: one, this is update 4.4.1, and two, it seems to be having some adverse effects for users that install it.

Apple’s 4.4.1 update for Apple TV was geared toward fixing bugs in the 4.4 update, but as it turned out, it caused more problems than it solved, the biggest of which was reducing your Apple TV box to a paperweight. While in many cases the bricking didn’t seem permanent–many reported that they could fix it with relative ease by plugging it into a USB port and reverting to the 4.4 update, though it does seem a lot easier here just to not install 4.4.1 in the first place and let them fix the update that was set to fix the update.

The problems, however, don’t seem to be universal, with more than a few folks reporting that 4.4.1 went on their system without incident and improved 4.4 nicely. Though at last report, Apple seems to have pulled the 4.4.1 update entirely, so the reports of bricking must have ultimately outweighed the reports that nothing went wrong while having this installed. Either way, it’s part of a strange set of recent failings for Apple–between the reports of poor battery life and yellowing screens on the iPhone 4S and now this, things have been going oddly wrong of late for them.

But what about you guys? Anyone out there install the 4.4.1 update on their systems? Are you finding it’s improved your Apple TV system, or has it made things worse? The more user stories we can hear about this one the better, especially when it comes to making sure our home theater products work as well as they might. So help your fellow Apple TV users out and head on down to the comments section to tell us what you think!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apple backlash: Is it brewing?

Let's hope it doesn't come to this.
If my email is any indication of consumer sentiment – and over the years it’s proven pretty reliable – a backlash seems to be brewing pretty strong against Apple and its constantly evolving  i-Devices.
Because the higher-than-everyone-else prices, it’s penchant for proprietary everything and the seeming planned obsolescence of every product, Apple and its innovation train seems to be heading for a derailment.
What had been maybe a once or twice a month occasion, I’m now getting weekly emails from former Apple fanboys who are jumping ship.
Take the one I received today from Bill Carver, a huge Apple booster since 1986. I remember Bill as a regular caller to my PC Mike radio show a few years back, usually raving about some new Apple gizmo or service. I respect Bill’s technology take a great deal. He knows gadgets and gizmos and cares about the technology industry. So when I hear he has abandoned the brand he once so much boosted, I listen.
Here’s an excerpt from the email that describes why he has bailed on Apple.
“I have an iPad that less than nine months later, Apple has chosen to develop software for a newer iPad that I cannot use.  NINE MONTHS.   No wonder they’re warranty is out in 90 days.
I have since purchased my next laptop computer, but this time from toshiba.  It was about $400, outperforms my current Mac and unlike my current mac can use icloud.  Apple is developing software for computers it never sold, but will not develop software for computers it did.
Longevity of purchase for Apple equipment is gone.   The current life span is less than one year before you are forced to upgrade and as you do, you lose the ability to run software you had previously purchased.  I can run Microsoft Office 97 on a Windows 7 machine.  But I cannot run Photoshop CS2 on the latest Mac.   I can’t run iCloud on a machine less than one year old.
Apple, you have found a way to lose a customer whose been not only a loyal customer, but a cheerleader for your great work.  However if all  your products are going to be more expensive than anyone else and have a longevity of purchase of less than one year, my next phone will be an Android and I’m salivating over Windows 8.”
Carver, I submit, is not alone. Any other former Apple fans out there? Anyone thinking of joining him? What does Apple in this new post-Steve Jobs era need to do to shore up and expand its base? Is he off-base, or right on?
Use comments to share…

Monday, October 17, 2011

iCloud transition off to a rocky start for MobileMe, family users

Apple's transition from MobileMe to iCloud brings the promise of centralized, cloud-based storage for all your important data. Unfortunately, the transition hasn't been smooth for all users. Aside from Apple's servers being overloaded with MobileMe account transitions, some are having issues reconciling Apple's assumption that every user has a unique Apple ID and that every Apple ID is used for just one person.

People who never used MobileMe and only ever used one Apple ID for iTunes purchases appear to be experiencing a completely smooth transition to iCloud. We haven't heard of any serious complaints from users in this scenario. It's the users with more than one Apple ID, users who have shared an Apple ID with family members, and users transitioning from MobileMe, however, who have reported a variety of problems making the jump to the cloud.

Though rumors popped up in the weeks running up to the iCloud launch that Apple was working on a way to merge multiple Apple IDs, such a process still is not publicly available. People who have used more than one Apple ID in the past may have a variety of iTunes song, video, app, and other purchases associated with more than one of them. While a Mac or PC can be authorized with more than one Apple ID at a time, only one can be associated with an iOS device in any 90 day period. Being able to sync past purchases from more than one account just isn't possible.

Other users are having the opposite problem. Some families have used a single Apple ID for iTunes purchases for mom, dad, brother, and sister (or various other combinations). While such a strategy may have made sense for a particular family's needs—especially if younger children were using iPod touches with parental approval—if that ID is used for iCloud, it could create headaches. Unless all devices are going to be synced to the same data store—with everyone sharing contacts, calendars, and other information—other users who were previously dependent on that account may have to re-purchase apps or music.

Thankfully, there's a partial solution to this. Apple allows for a separate Apple ID for the iTunes Store and iCloud; if everyone in a family creates and uses a unique Apple ID for iCloud, they could still share an Apple ID for iTunes. Even if the shared account has been used to set up iCloud for one family member, the rest could still use that Apple ID for iTunes only. Users will just have to be very careful that everything is set up properly; since everyone in the family will know the password, if another member inadvertently uses that Apple ID for iCloud during setup it could cause data syncing problems.

But wait, there's more:

Still, users transitioning from MobileMe may experience one or more of several other reported issues. Apple's servers were inundated with MobileMe to iCloud transfer requests after iCloud became available last Wednesday. Apple had to throttle account transitions in order to keep up, and some users reported as late as Saturday that they had not yet been able to move an account over.

Even those who were able to successfully move a MobileMe account to iCloud found that e-mail servers would no longer recognize valid passwords. Apple did acknowledge the password issue on Friday, and as of late Sunday, Apple updated its iCloud system status  to say that mail accounts and account transfers are now working as expected. If you still have a problem with mail servers recognizing your password, however, deleting the account from Mail and re-adding it is a known workaround.

People who originally used .Mac or were early adopters of MobileMe are likely to have both and Apple IDs. As far as Apple is concerned, these Apple IDs are interchangeable, but we've heard a handful of reports of display anomalies for some users. Logging in using might show the Apple ID as on one or more devices, or vice versa. After consulting with MobileMe support staff, we are confident that the issue does not affect functionality, whatever the bug may be that causes the Apple ID to display differently on different devices.

Some users, however, may experience an error saying that a or e-mail address cannot be verified and used with iMessage or FaceTime. The known cause for this problem is that a user's MobileMe account may have been added as an alternate e-mail address for a separate Apple ID account. (I personally experienced this problem; I had previously added a account to a separate Apple ID to use FaceTime.) The fix for this problem is to remove the MobileMe e-mail address from the other Apple ID by going to . Once removed, you may have to wait up to 24 hours before activating iMessage or FaceTime using the account.

Given the numerous problems Apple saw while launching MobileMe, it's unfortunate that iCloud has gone through these transition hiccups. Despite the annoyance, some careful planning and a little patience can solve the problems for many users. It's definitely best to keep in mind that iCloud works best when each user has a unique Apple ID. There is still no fix for those who would like to merge multiple Apple IDs into one, but after talking with support staff, it looks like Apple might still be working on a solution.

Funny Cartoon from the Onion

Thursday, October 13, 2011

iOS 5 update? Not so fast


Update at Oct. 13; 10:24 a.m. ET: Obviously, the problems I had with the iOS 5 installation was not an isolated case. I heard from several readers who encountered similar snags.

In my case, after a few more tries and baffling error messages, I was able to restore my iPhone 4 to its factory settings. From there, I finally upgraded to iOS 5 successfully. All seems well for the moment.

Our original post
Soon after Apple made the iOS 5 update available this afternoon, I connected my iPhone 4 to my iMac and attempted to download the new operating system software, which I had been testing on an Apple loaner iPhone 4S. With 200-plus features including Notification Center, iMessage, Twitter integration, Reminders, camera enhancements and iCloud, the software (along with the iPhone 4S hardware itself) earned my praise.

So now I was eager to install the upgrade on my own iPhone. Only the process has been anything but smooth.
It seemed to start out OK. The iOS 5 software appeared to download properly inside iTunes, and the long process of backing up the apps, media, contacts, calendars, notes and more that were on my phone commenced. But when that part of the drill was completed, I received an error message that the iPhone "could not be restored. An internal error occurred."

On a second attempt after I restarted my Mac, I received a different message: The "iPhone cannot be restored at this time because the iPhone software update server could not be contacted or is temporarily unavailable."

A third try brought up the following: "iPhone could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (3004)."

I have no idea what the (3004) code means, but I'm guessing Apple's servers may be overtaxed — I'm waiting for official word from the company. Of course, Apple surely must have expected the onslaught in demand.

I did better installing the free update to the Apple TV box connected to my high-definition television. That let me test a new wireless 4S (and iPad 2) feature called AirPlay Mirroring that as its name suggests gives you the ability to mirror or stream the Web, games, photos, videos or whatever else is on the phone screen on the TV screen. AirPlay Mirroring generally worked fine, though video that I was playing off the phone sometimes paused or hiccuped on the TV.

In the meantime, let us know if you are running into similar issues with iOS 5 or have had better luck with the upgrade than I've experienced.
It seems like Apple did not properly prepare for this release.   Poor planning leads to a poor customer experience.   I bet some fanbois are going to say the problems have been fabricated or blown out of proportion.  I though Apple is supposed to "just work".  Obviously not.