Bugs & Fixes: Tying up loose ends

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Usually, I’m too busy writing up new material for upcoming columns to have much time to look back on what I’ve already written. Today, I’m taking that time. Here are updates to three recent Bugs & Fixes columns.

Apple TV deleted files: Fixed?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a problem where DRM-protected files might get deleted from an Apple TV without the user requesting it. While it was a bit difficult to nail down the exact circumstances that triggered this symptom, it appeared to result from having iTunes open, your Apple TV connected and syncing, and no Internet connection. At the time, I wrote: “I have contacted Apple about all this and they intend to reply. If appropriate, I’ll include their response either in an update to this column or in next week’s column.”

As it turns out, Apple never did get back to me on this matter. They did, however, release version 2.4 of the Apple TV software. For me, as well as for a few others who wrote to me, this appears to have eliminated the problem with deleted files. Apple hasn’t officially confirmed this; its release notes for the update only mention what’s new, not what’s fixed.

On the downside, if you’ve installed Boxee on your Apple TV, the 2.4 update wipes it out.

iPhone signal strength: Numeric readout

Last week, I wrote about a potential problem where, in areas of weak signal strength, the iPhone 3GS might shift from 3G to EDGE in situations where the iPhone 3G remained (or appeared to remain) on the 3G network. At the end of the article, I mentioned using Field Test Mode (dialing *3001#12345#*—and you have to do this manually; tapping on a contact for this number will not work).

With this mode active, the bars display in the upper left of the iPhone’s status bar switches to a numeric indication of signal strength. Normally, when you press the Home button to quit the Phone app, the number goes away and the default bars display returns.

However, there’s a way to keep the numeric indicator displayed permanently. To do so, all you need to do is force quit the Phone app. In iPhone OS 3.0, you do this by holding down the Power button until the option to “power off” appears. Rather than select to either power off or cancel, hold down the Home button. After a few seconds, the Phone app will force quit, with the number still there.

It gets better. You can now toggle back and forth between the bars and the number by tapping on whichever item is displayed. This makes it easy to access the signal strength number without having to bother with Field Test Mode.

What if you later decide you’d prefer the original bars-only default back? According to what I have read (I have not yet tried it to confirm), go to Settings -> General -> Reset and tap Reset All Settings. Selecting the less disruptive Reset Network Settings isn’t sufficient. Unfortunately, after resetting, you’ll have to re-enter all your iPhone settings (which is why I haven’t bothered to test it out as yet).

Toasted white iPhones

Finally, in a column on iPhone overheating earlier this week on iPhones running hot, I wrote: “According to a report on the Web, a newly-released iPhone 3GS became so hot during normal use, that its white case turned a bit brown. While this toasted iPhone has generated a lot of Internet buzz, let’s keep it in perspective. So far as I know, it is the only instance of this happening.”

Several readers took me to task here, noting that either they, or people they knew, had a similar toasting with their white iPhone. I still have been unable to find unequivocal confirmed reports of this on the Web. Given how fast information travels on the Web, and how easy it is to find, this is a bit of surprise. Still, I take these people at their word. Apparently, this is more than a “one in a million” problem, although I would contend it is still a rare one.

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