Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to fix the 7 most common problems with iOS


Apple designs some great software and iOS is lauded by many for its stability. But it is by no means infallible. Here we show you how to get around some of iOS' biggest annoyances.


Battery drain
Although the iPad offers fantastic backup, battery life is a frequent complaint from iPhone users. You can eke out a bit more battery life by tweaking a few settings. Switch off automatic brightness for the display and maually set the brightness level at 50%. Adjust upwards as required. Make sure you close apps running in the background every few hours. Finally, switch off location services (some apps constantly use GPS which taxes your battery).


External battery

Another way to keep the low battery issue at bay is by getting a portable charging source such as a power bank or case. Cases with built-in batteries by Mophie start from Rs 8,000 onwards. Portable power banks are available in various sizes and battery capacities from various online retailers (Rs 699 onwards). A power bank with 4,000mAh can charge your iPhone to full battery state twice on a charge. If you prefer a branded battery pack, consider options from Sony, Nokia, Portronics, Lapcare & Cooler Master.



Sync with only one computer?
This is A limitation built into the devices — the inability to sync your device with more than one computer. If you connect your device to a different computer, iTunes usually tells you that all the data will be wiped off if you sync. However, there is an easy way around. Connect your iOS device to your usual computer (to which it is normally synced). On the main page, select the option to 'Manually Manage Music and Videos'. Now just copy the iTunes folder from the existing PC onto a USB drive. On MAC OS X, the folder is usually present in the Music folder.

In Windows, the folder is present in Your Username > My Music > iTunes. Copy this iTunes folder to the same location on the second computer (to which you intend to sync). If that machine already has an iTunes folder there, just replace the folder. This will copy the album art, multimedia files and playlists on to the PC. Now when you connect the device to the second computer, iTunes will work without a hitch.



Easier file & data transfers
You'll probably hear a lot of Apple users complaining about iTunes. Whether on Windows or Mac, iTunes is confusing, clunky and completely unnecessary. There's no reason to be tied to it either. There are free alternatives that let you sync devices and manage multimedia.

Check out PhoneTrans which is free for Windows & MAC. It lets you transfer music to and from your iOS device along with support for transferring apps to the computer (app backup). Other free iTunes alternatives that you can try include Media Monkey, iFunBox and CopyTrans.


Video without conversion
Apple devices are great for watching videos. Which is why it's a shame that by default, iOS only supports playback of MP4 format videos. You may also find that some MP4 files inexplicably refuse to play on the device (caused by higher bitrates, incompatible resolutions or video codec issues). The long-winded way to watch a video is to first convert it using a video converter before iTunes allows you to transfer it to the device.

However, you can use free apps like PlayerXtreme and VLC media player, both of which are multi-format video players. Both of these apps support playback of most common video formats as well as transfer of video files over WiFi. Wired transfer (over USB) still requires iTunes though — you have to copy files to the device through the Apps Management page instead of the video section. It takes a few minutes to transfer the video and once done, it is visible in the app's library.


Limited storage
iOS devices come in variants of 16,32 and 64GB fixed storage — the more storage it has, the more expensive it is. Out of 16GB storage, you get around 12GB to install apps as well as photos, videos and music. Considering that some games hog over 1GB of storage space alone, most users are bound to run out of storage space quite quickly.

iOS keeps accumulating temporary files, caches, cookies and various other kind of files during usage. Over a few months usage these files can easily consume a couple of GB storage. We recommend using the free PhoneClean software that is available for both Windows and Mac. It scans and removes junk and corrupt files from your iOS device swiftly — recovering precious storage space. 


Use wireless hard drives

Wireless drives like Seagate's Wireless Plus (Rs 13,000) offers 1TB of storage with USB 3.0 wired connectivity and wireless connectivity. It generates its own Wi-Fi hotspot — you connect to the hotspot using the free Seagate App (available for iOS and Android). You can even download files to and from the hard drive on the move.


Maps not working?
There was a time when Google Maps was the default mapping service on iOS. It occupied pride of place on the first page of apps. That was before Apple decided to get into the game with Apple Maps. Now, if you're in the US, Apple Maps does seem to work rather well. In India though, Apple Maps severely lacks detail — details which are otherwise available on competing apps. Thankfully, you do have multiple choices when it comes to maps on your latest iOS device. Google Maps remains one of the best options. It now includes live traffic as well as voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation.

Google Maps can also be cached for offline use. Another alternative is Here Maps by Nokia. Here is similar to the offering on Nokia Lumia devices though it does not offer offline navigation. The free community-based Waze app also offers real time traffic, voice-guided navigation and maps that are constantly updated by community users. If you need more detailed maps and navigation, MapmyIndia's Sygic is available for Rs 1,500. This includes 3D landscapes and free updates.


Missing album art
When you browse music on your iOS device, it's nice to be able to see and flip through glossy album covers. Now if your only source of music is the iTunes Store, everything falls into place quite neatly since the albums, songs and covers are already pre-arranged to display correctly. The problem arises when you start ripping CDs into iTunes or borrowing music from multiple sources. You'll end up with a lot of blank album covers — the ones with a musical note on them. iTunes does do a lookup and download album art automatically (if connected to the internet), but there's another problem.

Not all albums are listed, your own compilations will have no artwork and a precise lookup depends on the music tracks themselves having correct tags (ID3 information). You can manually add album artwork. First, download artwork images using a Google image search and place it in each album folder. Next, open iTunes and select all the songs that you want to apply artwork to > click Get Info and click Artwork. Now click the add button and select the image you downloaded


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