With text messages and iMessages being such an important form of communication between people, it doesn’t make much sense that there’s no easy way to store them and back them up. They’re backed up when making backups through iTunes or iCloud, but if you have to wipe your device clean, then they’re lost forever. And because of the personal and private nature of these messages, important ones can be lost, unlike email which exists on cloud servers. Now, there is a way to backup your SMS and iMessages manually. Note that this guide will require you to be at a computer with iTunes, and to poke around some hidden directories. If you’re comfortable with this, let’s begin.
Now then, the fun part. We need to go into where the backup is stored. On Windows PCs, this location has to be accessed by opening a local Explorer window, and typing in %APPDATA% (a shortcut to your Windows primary hard drive’s Users/[your username]/Application Data folder). On Mac, open up a Finder window. Hold down the Option key, click Go in the top bar, and select the Library folder that now appears. It only appears when you hold down the Option key. The necessary folder will not be visible if you just go to the Library folder from your Mac on the left sidebar in Finder. Open Application Support.
Now, on either OS, open up MobileSync -> Backup. Open up the most recent folder, as that should be your latest backup.
Look for a file called 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28. It may or may not have a file extension on it. Copy this file to a safe place.
Now, if you just open it up in a text editor, the file will be full of gibberish but you can search for text strings and they will pop up. It’s largely unreadable, but it’s something.
Now, if you want them available in a readable format, this can be done. Go to http://iphone-sms.com. Upload that file you just saved, and choose an export format. Note that you are uploading your message data to a remote website, so if you’re concerned about the privacy of your data, you might want to be careful, though there’s no known risk factors with the site. Also, the file doesn’t include picture data, so you might want to save those to your Camera Roll manually.
So, that’s how you get your SMS and iMessages backed up. It’s not easy, but it’s a way to preserve your treasured messages. Or not-so-treasured ones. Such is the beauty of text messaging.
So, you want to play Real Racing 3 but are cursing your parents that you weren’t born an Aussie or Kiwi? Why do they get the game first, anyway? Well, developers often release free-to-play games early in countries like these in order to let a small segment of the global public get their hands on it, allowing them to tweak things like gameplay and IAP costs, as well as testing a game’s technical backend, before its worldwide release. But there is a way to become an honorary member of another country to get their free apps (at least in iTunes), and I’m going to tell you how.
First, let’s build a fake identity. I use FakeNameGenerator.com, which generates fake names and addresses in order to create a convincing identity. Choose your country to generate a name and address – I recommend New Zealand for this example, as they also get App Store games first on release day as they are close to the international date line.
Now go to iTunes on PC/Mac. Go to the iTunes Store, click the Home icon on the top sidebar. Now scroll to the bottom and to the right, and click your country’s flag in the bottom-right corner.
This opens up a screen to pick a new country. Scroll to Asia Pacific and choose New Zealand. This will switch you to the New Zealand App Store. Now, the easiest way to create an Apple ID without entering payment information is to start to download the app, as just going through the standard iTunes account creation process will require the input of payment info. So, search for the app you want to download, like, say Real Racing 3. Start to download it, and when the dialog to sign in pops up, click Create Apple ID.
For your email address, I recommend putting something like “+nz” after the name but before the @ if you use Gmail. This will still send it to the same base email but will work separately in iTunes. For example: TupacHologramfirstname.lastname@example.org still goes to TupacHologram@gmail.com. Otherwise, go through the process to register an account, using the info from the fake name generator. Apple will ask you to verify the account by sending you an email. Do so. The app should start downloading on iTunes, or you can now log in to this account on your iOS device. The store will automatically switch to New Zealand from your home country’s account, and switch back upon logging back in.
Note that unless you get your hands on a credit card or gift card for that country’s App Store, you will only be able to download free games, and you will not be able to buy in-app purchases, even if you log in to your home country’s App Store account. This is because iTunes requires that you buy IAP on the account that the game was downloaded from. If you use our guide to transfer saves by deleting the New Zealand app, installing the US version, and then restoring the save, it should work to keep your progress.
This guide should work for other countries as well – having a Canadian account is also handy. Just remember that these games are often not going to be in perfect form as they are still undergoing testing, and that you should redownload on your home country’s account if you want to buy IAP to support the developers. Have any cool games you’ve downloaded besides Real Racing 3 with this guide? Let us know!
The App Store can be a wonderful place full of far too many games to count spread across every genre imaginable. However, despite all the rules and regulations for submissions, a few shady characters will inevitably fall through the cracks. In my numerous App Store searches I’ve seen my fair share of cash-grabs, some obvious and some not so much, but I’ve also begun to notice a few telltale signs that can be a good indication of a developer’s intentions.
This guide is not written in stone, and there are always exceptions to every rule. And I in no way mean to imply that the majority of App Store developers are simply out to con the unwary out of their money. Quite the contrary. Most of them are great folks who are just trying to make an honest dollar doing what they love and making other people happy. I only wish to pass a few tips along in the hopes that it may give you all a better idea of some of the things to look out for.
Tip #1 – Judging a game by its icon
Not all icons can be winners. That being said, if you see an icon featuring a recognizable character or a recognizable character who’s been slightly tweaked so they look a little different, proceed with caution. Using an icon that looks incredibly similar to a top selling iOS (even PC or console) game is a tactic often used to trick potential buyers.
Tip #2 – Check the screen shots
Screen shots are another good indication of legitimacy. They won’t all feature showpiece visuals but they still need to be there. If a game only has one or two screens available for viewing in the store, and those screens don’t actually show any in-game content, tread very carefully. Another “tell” of sorts is the actual content of the game screens. If the visuals look exactly like another game, or if (and I’ve seen this before) it looks like someone pasted some virtual buttons on top of a screencap, you might want to think twice before buying.
Tip #3 – File size
You see a game that looks awesome and the description makes it sound like the best thing since, well, the iPhone and it has a dozen glowing reviews. Before you hit “Purchase,” just take a quick peek at its file size. If this jaw-dropping showcase of iOS visual prowess takes up 5 MB (or even 50), it’s highly unlikely those screens or reviews are for real. Which brings me to my final tip.
Tip #4 – Check those reviews
User are largely subjective, but they can still be quite telling. If a game has a dozen five-star reviews and three or four with one-star, take the time to read the one-stars. Not liking a game is one thing, but when a buyer claims the game in question is totally different than what’s advertised you might want to pay attention. Also look out for reviews that are way too positive. It might be a trap.
Safari is an app that’s been around for a long, long time, having been on iPhones since the original one! It’s easy then to get into a rut where you use it and don’t consider what else it can do. Well, let’s go through Safari’s section in Settings to poke through some of the options that can tweak your Safari experience to be much better.
Search Engine allows you to set Bing or Yahoo as your search engine. Sorry, AltaVista fans and Pawnee residents.
AutoFill makes it easy to enter passwords and personal info in website forms. Enable Use Contact Info with your contact card, set as the iOS default but something that can be changed from here, to have names and addresses in forms filled automatically with your data. Names & Passwords will fill in usernames, passwords, and other info from your contacts in forms as appropriate. Tapping Clear All will reset this data.
Private Browsing changes a Safari session to not store any history or browsing data once completed. Open tabs can be saved or closed when switching back and forth. If anyone gets suspicious as to why you’re using private browsing, just tell them it’s for the sleek dark interfaced that indicates you’re in private mode.
Finally in Advanced, the Website Data section allows you to clear up some storage space by deleting saved data from websites. Web Inspector is a feature for developers who are working to optimize their sites for Safari on iOS.
Hopefully this guide has shown you some useful features for Safari that you never even knew existed or had no idea how to use!
The beauty of individualized ringtones is simple: it’s nice to know who’s calling solely by sound when not looking directly at your phone. But who calls anyone any more that isn’t one’s parents? It’s all texting nowadays. And how about vibration? Well, there is a way to do this, and though it was once only available as an accessibility feature, it’s possible for all users to do this as a system-level feature. While it’s somewhat buried, it is easy to setup.
Go to Contacts. Find the contact you want to set up the custom sound/vibration for, and open up their listing. Now, tap Edit in the top right. This doesn’t just open up the various fields for editing, but it also unlocks the custom sound and vibration settings.
Choosing a ringtone will make that sound play whenever the contact calls. The vibration setting directly below that will be the vibration that goes off when they call. For text tone, this will be the sound that plays when they text, and the vibration setting below this will be the one that goes off when they text.
For vibration, it will be set to the pattern you have set by default, and the other built-in ones can be selected here. To create a custom pattern, scroll down to the Vibration section and choose Create New Vibration.
This will open up a screen where the new vibration pattern can be made. Tap on the screen in various lengths and frequencies in order to create the pattern you want. When finished, tap Stop in the lower right corner to stop recording. Tap Play to play back the pattern, Record to re-record it, and Save in the upper right corner to name and save the pattern.
Saving a vibration pattern makes it available for other contacts, in case you just want a more defined vibration pattern, or want to create vibration patterns for certain groups of people, for example. You can also set a custom vibration pattern as the system default by going to Settings -> Sounds, and then each sound category’s vibration setting can be found by scrolling up.
Posted by Jeff Scott on September 10th, 2012 iPad Only App - Designed for iPad
NextGuide was released last week and it looks to be a great way to find TV shows, both from your cable provider, and online. This includes sources like Netflix and Hulu. You can create a custom guide page for any subject you choose – for me that would be “storage auction shows” or “gold miners” or maybe just Kardashians. Take a look and let us know what you think.
A little-known feature of iOS is parental controls, known as Restrictions. With this feature, it’s possible to set an iOS device to block off certain functions, secured by 4-digit passcode.
Why use Restrictions? This is not just because of the potential for minors to view content that is not appropriate for their age. This is also because of the rise of free-to-play games. Many of these games have expensive in-app purchases, and children who may have access to a credit card connected to an iTunes account may wind up buying thousands of dollars of in-game items, not knowing they are spending real-world items.
So, let’s get started with enabling Restrictions on iOS. Screenshots below are from the iPad, but the steps are identical on the iPhone and iPod touch.
Open up Settings. Tap on General. Tap on Restrictions.
Tap on Enable Restrictions to pull up a password prompt. Enter a custom 4-digit code that will be used to access the Restrictions in the future. The device will prompt to re-enter this password when setting it.
The first section is for disabling certain system apps and features, including disabling installation and deletion of apps. Sadly, Stocks can’t be disabled on the iPhone/iPod touch using Restrictions.
Next is the Location Settings controls. This makes it possible to enable and disable location access on a per-app basis. As well, way at the bottom of this list is the System Services section. This makes it possible to disable some system functions that have access to location, and to be notified when a system service tries to access location.
Next are the content settings. This makes it possible to disable the playback of explicit music, to disallow movies of a certain MPAA rating, and to disallow TV shows with a certain rating. Note that only an upper limit can be set, despite it looking like certain ratings can be disabled – no way to make only TV-MA shows appear on iTunes!
Most importantly for those worried about in-app purchases, these can be disabled entirely. As well, it’s possible to make any iTunes purchases require that the password be put in immediately, instead of having the usual 15-minute period where it doesn’t need to be re-entered. As well, it’s possible to set restrictions on Game Center games, disabling multiplayer and the ability to add friends.
To disable restrictions, just tap the Disable Restrictions button at the top and enter the passcode set earlier.
Note that as of iOS 5.1, all Restrictions settings reset when they are disabled. As such, this is not a good a way to let little Billy or Billie play with mommy or daddy’s iPhone, but to set up a device that they can safely use without being able to view explicit content, spend money, or mess up important settings.
When AppZapp came out two years ago it left its mark as one of the premiere apps for discovering other new apps and app sales. It made looking for fun, new apps an enjoyable activity itself. The new 4.0 update brings even more fun and functionality to the app searching experience.
One of the big new upgrades is the community feature. AppZapp users can now see what apps their friends are downloading to check out what looks interesting. This information is displayed on a news feed that also shows whether or not friends like their new apps. The other new feature is the ability for the MyApps list to view apps downloaded on all of a users devices. This makes syncing easier and more comprehensive.
The AppZapp 4.0 update is available now for AppZapp, AppZapp PUSH and AppZapp HD for iPad. The App Store is full of potentially awesome apps just waiting to be found and this app is here to help.
Are you planning on traveling to France anytime soon? How about Paris? As you well know, there are plenty of other attractions around the city, other than the Eiffel Tower, including a theme park based around a certain cartoon mouse known the world over. Opened in 1992, Disneyland Paris sees over fifteen million visitors every year. So wouldn’t it seem logical that at least a few of those folks might be iPhone owners? To address this previously neglected audience, the geniuses behind the biggest tourist attraction in all of Europe are once again proving, “there’s an app for that.”
The newly introduced Disneyland Paris app is designed to be your guide to both of the Disney theme parks housed within the resort, as well as your one-stop solution for any questions you could ever possibly have. Among the key features are interactive maps that can point out places of interest in the parks, through your 3GS or iPhone 4′s actual camera, augmented reality style. This in itself would be awesome enough, but that is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Along with the obvious benefits of an app like this, Disney has went above and beyond, providing features such as the ability to take a live look in on the expected wait time for any attraction in real-time. You can even go as far as to use the app to schedule a daily plan for each park, complete with push notifications if you just so happen to break your schedule.
Whoever came up with the idea for this software needs a hefty pat on the back. It would be impossible to compute the sheer number of hours spent waiting in line for a ride, when a simple check of this app could tell you that three other rides nearby have no wait time at all. This is a must-have for any traveler destined to don the magical mouse ears.
While there are hundreds of travel and city guide apps for iPhone, it looks like mTrip will blow them away with its unique spin on the traditional tour guide app.
While mTrip offers users the default sightseeing tips and direction tools for a location, it goes one step further helping users plan their trip itinerary. Better than that, the app can even create an itinerary for you based on your preferences, trip duration and accommodations. Daily schedules can be edited at the user’s discretion and the app is even intelligent enough to list attractions based on their opening hours and proximity to the user.
Once you arrive at your destination you can make use of augmented reality to see where sites are in relation to your current location as well as point out restaurants, bars, hotels and other points of interest. Travelers can also swap tips on locations via the app by adding notes and viewing those of others.
All of these features make mTrip a very useful and fully featured tool but its ability to function offline is the real jewel in its crown. Your itinerary can be customized and reworked without an internet connection and augmented reality also functions in the absence of a network. Pretty much the only feature that requires the internet is the fun little postcard tool that allows users to send messages to friends from their vacation via email or Facebook.
mTrip travel guides are currently available for London, Paris, Amsterdan, Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, New York, San Francisco and Chicago in a choice of five languages. Many more locations are also planned with more information available here.
If you’re heading to one of the above locations, tack another $5.99 on to the cost of your trip for the ultimate travel experience and do it quickly before the app returns to its regular price of $9.99
Economists call it a positive externality, we just call it cool. Lonely Planet, the accredited travel and information guide, is offering thirteen of its city guides for free on the App Store due to the Icelandic volcano. The applications, which offer you offline maps, geo-coded points of interest and location-based navigation, usually cost between $10 and $15. Hurry, the offer ends on 22nd April and we can be pretty sure that it won’t happen again soon. Then again, none of us are volcanologists.
gMusic: A Google Music player is in the process of being updated to support Google’s All Access streaming music service. The All Access subscription service isn’t currently available on iOS through any app, but the developer of gMusic has already submitted an update to Apple that will bring the service to the iPhone or iPad, [...]