A Quick Tip For iPhone Users Living On The Edge

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This quick tip may be obvious to many but it is easy to forget (as I did) so I thought I might share it with everyone. It is especially useful for iPhone 3G and 3GS users but really applies to anyone using a data connected phone and living on the edge… of a 3G signal.

Here’s the story…

I live in a rather rural part of New Jersey. (Okay, as rural as New Jersey gets… now stop laughing.) Our town has no lights, a lot of woods and a rather weak cell signal on all carriers. It happens to be one of the reasons Google Voice is great for me. People call my on GV and it rings my cell but, when I am home and would not get the call on my cell, my home phone (my recently aquired ooma voip system) rings too. It works great.

Well today I was working in my home study. I got to my desk at about 7:30. My coffee cup was full. My iPhone 3GS was too. It showed a 98% full battery. I used it a little… less than usual since I had my phone and computer right there… by 8:45 the iPhone had dropped to 72%.

72%!!!!!!! in less that and hour and a half!!!

Needless to say I was perplexed. So I sent out a cry for help to the good folks here on Gear Diary. Fortunately Carly was thinking more clearly than I. Without missing a beat she asked how good a signal I had. Yup, that was the problem, in a low signal area the phone kept searching for something to lock on to. Searching and searching and searching… all the while sucking battery life, like a thirsty man in the desert.

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So I tried an experiment.

At the rate I was going the phone would be dead and gone before noon. So I kept the WiFi on but turned off the 3G radio. I still had Edge (for what it is worth here at home) but would live off WiFi. Well, by noon the phone was still going. By 3PM… still going. In fact it didn’t run out until 6:18 PM tonight. And while that isn’t stellar battery life, it is acceptable.

So it looks like I’ll be managing my 3G radio a bit differently from now on and toggling it on and off. Annoying but doable. That, however, leaves one remaining issue- Apple put the switch for the 3G radio a bit too deep in the settings.

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Fortunately, thanks to Larry’s help jailbreaking, the 3G toggle is now just a swipe of the screen away.

Just one more reason to consider sticking it to Apple’s lockdown.

Neither Gear Diary nor this author recommend jailbreaking (do it!) or take and responsibility if you choose to jailbreak (do it!) and something goes wrong. If you choose to jailbreak (do it! do it! do it! do it! do it! do it!), you do so at you own risk. (do it! do it! do it! do it! do it! do it! do it! do it! do it! do it!)

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.