Sunday, 23 February 2014

Make the iPhone battery last longer

It seems that as long as there is no new kind of technology (such as solar, kinetic or a sterling engine) integrated into the phone that produces at least part of it's needed energy to function, we probably won't see any big changes in battery runtime despite the advancement in battery technology.
So until that time arrives, here are few things that can be done now to save your iPhone's battery life:

1. Location services (Settings-Privacy)

There are several apps that enquire your location, which often includes the use of GPS. Since the latter uses a lot of power, you may want to switch off location services for the apps that you don't really use. If you want you may switch of location services entirely but I'd leave 'Find My iPhone', 'Maps' and 'Camera' on just out of convenience.

2. Notification Center (Settings)

You may want to turn off the maximum of notifications from Apps, especially those that you don't consider important enough to be notified by. This is a big battery eater especially because each notification will turn on the screen, when it's off, even if it's only for a moment. So everytime you get a notification even when the phone is in your pocket or bag, the screen will turn on for no one to look at yet consuming precious energy.
Just set 'Alert Style' to 'none' for each App you consider not essential.

3. Automatic Downloads (Settings-iTunes & App Store)

When I first found out iOS7 can automatically update apps in the background, I thought how convenient, now you don't have to update manually anymore. However switching on automatic Updates will use a lot off wifi, which consumes a considerable amount of power considering you're using batteries. So it's a good idea to leave this switch off and manually update your Apps through the App Store.

4. Reduce the special effects (Settings-General-Accessibility)

Some people got a bit sea sick when they used iOS7 the first time and had to witness the slightly overdone effect when opening an app and returning back to the home screen making me wonder didn't Apple test these effects on normal people before they released it to manufacturing? Perhaps this kind of detail wouldn't have gone through with Mr. Jobs. Thankfully in an incremental iOS update they introduced a 'Reduce Motion' switch which does what it says, taking off some (unnecessary) load off the graphics processor thus saving a bit of battery power.

5. Background App Refresh (Settings-General)

This is Apple's answer to previous versions of iOS which lacked multi-tasking abilities. Although it's still no real multitasking, it does let certain Apps run in the background while you're currently using another App. One example is allowing you to play music while you're browsing in Safari. Or like practically all messaging Apps such as BBM, Facebook and WhatsApp have the ability to run in the background so will always be connected to the service and receive messages instantly.
However there are probably a bunch of Apps on your device which don't necessarily need to be continuously updated in the background (which, you guessed it, eats your battery) so you can easily switch off the 'App Refresh' function for those.

5. Push (Settings-Mail, Contacts, Calendars-Fetch New Data)

You may want to turn off 'Push' entirely thus preventing your email providers to push incoming mail directly to your device (again consuming battery). 'Fetch' will after a given time check your email regularly (in case push isn't supported). This can also be turned off. If you're waiting for an important email you still just can open the mail app to download the latest.

6. Wallpapers & Brightness (Settings)

Since the screen is one of the biggest power drains, decreasing the brightness will increase battery life quite a bit and you may want to turn off Auto-Brightness, since it occasionally makes the screen brighter than necessary apparently. You still can quickly adjust the screen brightness manually by opening the control center (swipe a finger from the bottom upwards).
Choose a still wallpaper (as opposed to a dynamic one which consumes more battery).

7. Bluetooth

If you're not using it, easily turn it off from the control center (swipe a finger from the bottom upwards) from most windows.

8. Vibrate (Settings-Sound)

Any movement consumes energy including vibrate, so switch this off if you don't necessarily need it.

9. Auto-Lock (Settings-General)

Set this to the shortest time you are comfortable with to save a bit of power

  Turning on 'Do not disturb' (moon-like icon in the control center) will also save battery life as well as switching on Airplane mode. However the latter won't let you receive any calls or use the internet.
Completely turning off the iPhone (hold down the power button on the top of the screen until there is the 'slide to power off' message) will prevent the phone from consuming any power at all, which maybe useful if you haven't got much power left and you know it may take a while until you have access to a charger.

If you still want more power you may consider getting a case with built-in battery such as from Mophie or a cheaper option would be an external battery pack which has the benefit of not only charging your phone, but that of your companion you may be with and a bunch of other USB powered devices.

Some say de-charging your phone about once a month (completely depleting the battery until the phone switches off and won't turn on anymore) and recharging it without interruption until fully charged will keep your iPhone battery in good shape. However I'm not so sure if this still applies to modern lithium-ion batteries. Everybody seems so say something different on this matter.

Deleting Apps you haven't used in 6 month or so may also reduce power consumption, and free up precious internal memory.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Play Gameboy games on the iPhone and iPad with GBA4iOS
The Emulator GBA4iOS 2.0 which has been updated to work with iOS 7, will let you play Gameboy, Gameboy Color and Gamboy Advance ROMS on your non-jailbroken device. There is only a slight work-around to install it on the iPhone or iPad since Apple's AppStore doesn't allow any game emulators.

All you have to do to install it is set your iOS device clock to before February 19 2014, visit the download page from your device and click on the Download GBA4iOS 2.0 button there and install. After you've run the app once, you can set back the date to the actual date. But in case you reset the iPhone or iPad, you'll have the set back the date again to before February 19 prior to the first launch of the app.

You'll be able to load ROMS either through the built-in browser of the gameboy emulator app or you can sync the ROMS from your Dropbox folder named "GBA4iOS 2" in the Apps folder. The folder is supposed to be created automatically when you switch on the sync with Dropbox in the GBA4iOS settings, however there seems to be an error authorizing the app when I tried. Perhaps this will be remedied in a future update.

The emulator even supports MfI external game controllers so if you are proud owner of a Logitech Powershell bluetooth/battery pack iPhone game controller, then you'll probably enjoy the nostalgia gaming even more.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Copy music mp3 files from PC to iphone with PhoneTrans
Of course you can use iTunes to transfer music from the PC to the iPhone if that's the only one you use. But what if you want to copy mp3 files from another computer that is not the usual PC you connect the iOS device to (without agreeing to wipe out your entire music library on your device).

Thankfully there is PhoneTrans by iMobie which will let you easily copy music from the PC to the iphone (as well as export files). Even though iTunes needs to be installed on the PC on which you want to use PhoneTrans, the iOS device doesn't need to be "paired" with the PC.

After downloading and installing PhoneTrans, simply launch the program, wait a bit until it loads data from the connected iphone, click the "Music" tab on the left hand side and click "+ Add" on the top menu to choose the mp3 files you want to copy the iPhone and wait a bit for it to rebuild the index or something. If you want to verify that the transfer went smoothly, just open the music app on the iPhone and look for the name of the mp3 file in the list of songs and tap play.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Turn your PC into an airplay receiver with Shairport4w
Use any speakers connected to your PC as airplay speakers in order to stream music from iTunes. All you need is to download Shairport4w, which is a small program (less than 1MB), unpack the zip file and double-click on the executable. Select the option to start it with windows automatically so you won't have to think about launching it first if you want to stream music to the connected speakers of the PC.
It's also nice to hear that the same music played through multiple airplay speakers (up to 7) including the 'emulated' Shairport4w will play in sync!

For some inexplicable reason the current iTunes doesn't has this feature built in (or enabled). Another strange thing is that if you play a video in iTunes on your PC you can't stream the audio (of the video) to an airplay speaker, however if you watch a video on an ios device you can stream the sound to an airplay speaker/receiver (swipe with your thumb from down up to open the ios control center, tap airplay and select the available airplay receivers).

Monday, 3 February 2014

U2's Invisible (RED) free today on iTunes
BoA will give $1 for every download of the song Invisible by U2 to the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

"(RED) was founded to get people involved in the fight against Aids. To find out more about it go to "