Take Control of iPhone OS 3: Online FAQ by Ted Landau

Welcome! Take Control of iPhone OS 3 couldn’t hold everything we wanted to include. But we still wanted to provide some of the most noteworthy information. So we came up with a solution: Offer additional information online. Here it is!

Some of what follows is based on material cut from the previous edition of the book, necessary to keep the latest edition within page count limits. Other material remains from the online FAQ supplement for the prior edition. In a few cases, these items may need further updating; I’m working on it. The rest of the items are newly added for this edition.

For much more information about the apps included with an iPhone, check out our companion book, Take Control of Your iPhone Apps.

Note: This list is current as of February 25, 2010. Check back periodically for further updates.

Setup and Sync FAQ

This section covers a range of related topics, from setting up a new iPhone to problems syncing, updating, or backing up an iPhone. It extends the information presented in the Sync Your iPhone section of the book.

I just purchased a new iPhone. How do I set it up?

Assuming nothing goes wrong, the setup procedure is sufficiently simple and self-evident (especially if and when activation is handled by your iPhone carrier at the time of purchase), that I did not feel it necessary to provide details in the book. Essentially, just connect your iPhone to iTunes and follow the prompts. The process is similar to what happens after you select to Restore your iPhone (which is described in the book).

I just purchased an iPhone 3G or 3GS to replace my original iPhone. Can I still use the original iPhone as a phoneless device, essentially converting it into an iPod touch?

Yes you can, as detailed in an Apple article. Doing so requires that you keep the SIM card that came with the original iPhone. Simply reconnect the iPhone to iTunes and follow the prompts to activate it. The activation will succeed, but there will be no phone service or fee associated with the iPhone.

Otherwise, to simply replace an original iPhone with an iPhone 3G or 3GS — or a 3G with a 3GS, see this Apple article.

When I connect my iPhone to iTunes, the phone never appears in iTunes Devices list. What do I do?

I covered this in the book (in Solve Sync Failures and Errors > The iPhone Doesn’t Appear in iTunes). There is one less common fix, not covered there, that is worth mentioning: The Apple Mobile Device Service, installed when you installed iTunes, may need to be removed and re-installed. To do so:

  1. Quit iTunes if it is running, and then drag the iTunes application icon to the Trash.
  2. Go to /System/Library/Extensions. Locate AppleMobileDevice.kext, and drag it to the Trash.
  3. Go to /Library/Receipts. Locate AppleMobileDeviceSupport.pkg and drag it to the Trash.
  4. Empty the Trash, restart your Mac, and re-install iTunes (available at Apple’s iTunes site).

See this Apple article for more details.

I know a new iPhone Software Update is out, yet it does not appear when I connect my iPhone to iTunes. Instead, iTunes keeps saying my software is up-to-date. What should I do?

When this happened to me, I was able to fix things by reinstalling iTunes. I suspect the AppleMobileDeviceSupport component of the iTunes software (just cited) was the specific locus of the trouble, but I did not confirm this. In any case, a simple reinstall was sufficient to get the update to appear.

When I connected my iPhone to iTunes, a message popped up that said "An update to the carrier settings for your iPhone is available." Should I update?

Yes, by all means update. As described in an Apple article: "Carrier settings updates are small files (about 10k) that are downloaded from iTunes to be installed on your iPhone. The carrier settings can include updates to the default APN (how iPhone accesses the carrier’s cellular data network), special dialing codes at Settings > Phone > [Carrier] Services, default settings for Stocks, Maps, Weather, and other items." You can determine the currently installed version of your carrier settings by navigating to Settings > General > About on your iPhone. Once there, look for the Carrier item.

For much more detail about carrier settings, including how and why to modify these settings, read my article in Macworld.

A message appeared on my iPhone that says "Connect to iTunes." When I do, I get an error that states: "iTunes cannot activate your iPhone because the SIM card is not inserted or a SIM PIN is required." What do I do now?

Verify that your SIM card is inserted properly. If you’ve enabled SIM PIN, enter it when prompted. If the symptom persists, you’ll have to restore your iPhone.

A similar situation exists if you get a message that displays the default IMEI (00 499901 064000 0) and an ICCID of "Unknown," as explained more in this Apple article.

When attempting to back up my iPhone, a message appears stating "iTunes could not back up iPhone because the backup could not be saved on the computer." What should I do?

According to an Apple article: " iTunes may show the error message if the existing backup file is locked, damaged, or unreadable." The simplest fix is to go to iTunes Preferences, select Devices, locate the backup for your iPhone in the Device Backups list, and click to Delete Backup. The next time you attempt to sync or backup your iPhone, the error message should no longer appear.

For more general information about exactly when backups are created, as well as how to restore from a backup, see the relevant (backup) sections of Take Control of iPhone OS 3, as well as in two Apple articles: one and two.

I selected to sync just the "#" most recent episodes of a podcast. However, it now syncs all the episodes. What do I do?

This is a bug that was supposedly fixed in iTunes 9.0.1. However, I still have it in iTunes 9.0.2. I still haven’t figured out an adequate work-around. The main solution will be for Apple to eradicate the bug altogether in a future iTunes update.

I’m still having problems with subscribed calendars. Do you have more advice than what’s in the book and the online articles linked there?

This is a messy topic. And too long for me to go into details here. My best advice is to check the Web for answers to specific questions. A good place to start is this Apple article.

Can I backup my iPhone data to more than one Mac, without syncing to both Macs?

Yes, using the Backup and Restore from Backup commands, as described in the Create or Update a Backup section of the book, you can back up to and restore from a computer other than the one you use for syncing - such as if you sync to your desktop Mac but want the option to backup and restore from a laptop that you use only when traveling.

After updating my iPhone Software, I can no longer sync my iPhone. When I try, iTunes crashes. What do I do?

The typical fix for this is to deauthorize and then re-authorize your computer in iTunes. To do this:

  1. From iTunes, select Deauthorize Computer from the Store menu. Enter your iTunes Store Account ID and Password when prompted. Click the Deauthorize button.
  2. Next, choose Authorize Computer from the Store menu. Enter your iTunes Store Account ID and Password when prompted. Click the Authorize button.