iPhone “Unable to Move Message” Error

If you add an e-mail account to your iPhone you might see “Unable to Move Message” when you try to delete a message. I believe this only happens with IMAP accounts (and not POP3). Here is how to fix it:

  1. Start the Settings app, then tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  2. Tap the e-mail account name, then on the next screen tap Account.
  3. Tap Advanced.
  4. Under MAILBOX BEHAVIORS, tap Deleted Mailbox.
  5. There are two sections on this screen: At the top is ON MY IPHONE and underneath is ON THE SERVER. There should be a check mark next to the Trash folder in the ON MY IPHONE section. Tap the Trash folder in the ON THE SERVER section.
  6. Click the back arrow at the top. You should probably repeat the process for other folders.
  7. Click the back arrow again, then click Done.

How to Disable Notification Center in iOS 7

UPDATE 6/24/14: Unfortunately it looks like this trick no longer works in iOS 7.1.1.

Version 5 of Apple’s iOS system for iPhone and iPad added a Notification Center, a “pull-down” window accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen. iOS 7 adds a Command Center, activated by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. These are convenient shortcuts, but not everyone uses them, and if you’re playing games that require swiping (like the old chestnut Flight Control) they are a big nuisance. Sadly, Apple gives us no obvious way to disable them.

I discovered a fairly easy way to disable and enable the Notification and Command Centers. First the setup:

  1. Go to the Settings app. Select General, then Accessibility.
  2. Scroll down to the very bottom and tap the Accessibility Shortcut option.
  3. Tap the AssistiveTouch option so there is a check mark next to it. This should be the only option with a check mark; if not, un-check the other options.

Once that’s done, here’s how to disable the Notification and Command Centers. This can be done from the home screen or within any app:

  1. Click the Home button three times in quick succession. A black square with a white dot will appear on the screen. Tap it once.
  2. A menu with several options will open. Tap the Home option three times in quick succession. The menu will disappear.

Your Notification and Command Centers should now be disabled. Try swiping down from the top of the screen and swiping up from the bottom to verify.

NOTE: I’ve discovered this method has one undesirable side effect. When Notification Center has been successfully disabled, your device will no longer sleep automatically. Your device’s battery will drain quickly if you’re not aware of this. If you want to disable Notification Center on a long-term basis, you will need to remember to manually put your device to sleep when you’re not using it by hitting the Sleep/Wake button. This effect is only temporary; if you re-enable the Notification Center (as outlined below), the device will sleep automatically once again. Because of this, I would recommend disabling Notification Center only when you really need to (when playing a game, for example), then re-enable it when you’re finished.

If you wish to enable them again, here’s how:

  1. Click the Home button three times in quick succession. The black square with a white dot will appear; this time ignore it.
  2. Click the Home button again three times in quick succession. The black square with a white dot will disappear and your Notification and Command Centers should be working again.

That’s it! This worked on both my iPhone 5S and my third-generation iPad. I hope it works for you!

I Got an iPad

I love my iPhone and I’ve wanted a tablet for some time. The iPad was an obvious choice but I was put off by the high price tag.

I looked into a couple of lower-cost alternatives to the iPad. I tried the Amazon Kindle Fire last year but wound up returning it. I really liked the form factor and great price, but it was clunky compared to my iPhone and you’re stuck with Amazon’s anemic App Store if you want to add new apps.

I also looked at Sony’s Tablet S, which I was very impressed with. It has a unique “folded magazine” shape and was very pleasant to hold; even though it’s about the same weight as the iPad 2 it felt lighter. It also has a higher resolution screen than the iPad 2 and lets you add external storage in the form of an SD card which no Apple iOS product does.

While I was pondering my non-Apple tablet choices, Apple announced their new iPad. The big selling point is a remarkable 2048-by-1536 pixel screen—double that of the previous iPad and unmatched by any other tablet on the market today. One of the things I wanted to use a tablet for was reading, and thoughts of looking at text on an astronomically high pixel-per-inch-count display was too much to resist. Yes the Sony tablet was less expensive, but I reasoned that the cost would be offset by the fact that I had already invested in dozens of apps on my iPhone that could be installed on my iPad for free, where as if I bought the Sony tablet I’d be starting from scratch, thereby effectively increasing the start up cost of ownership. (Yes, I’m very good at talking myself into splurgy electronics purchases when I want to be.) So I bought one. White. 64 GB. Wi-fi only.

It’s been three weeks now, and I LOVE my iPad. It’s at least 1,000 times better than my iPhone for surfing the Web, making music, gaming, watching video, and for reading any block of text that’s longer than a phone number. No you can’t slip it in your pocket like an iPhone, but the new iPad has a higher resolution screen than my 24″ desktop computer monitor and you can take it with you to the bathroom. That is awesome.

There are some disappointments that I can live with but just can’t seem to get used to. It’s heavy, the edges are just slightly sharp, and I just can’t seem to find a way to hold it comfortably for long periods of time. The speaker is terrible; it’s tiny, located on the bottom, and projects the sound backwards away from you. And there’s only one speaker; this is a premium multimedia device, couldn’t they add a second, stereo speaker? The screen, as amazing as it is, is very glossy, and you spend too much time trying to find just the right angle to view the screen without nearby light sources masking the display. There’s also no GPS; you don’t get a GPS unless you buy one of the even more costly cellular-enabled models, and I didn’t want to do that.

Problems aside, I am now as hooked on my iPad as I have been to my iPhone.

iPhone Compass Interference Problem

I have an iPhone 3GS. I’m not sure why but the compass stopped working. (Maybe because the phone is a couple of years old, has some cracks in the case, and has seen heavy use.) When I’d start the compass (or any app that used the compass) I’d get a message about interference and an instruction to swirl the phone around in a figure 8.

I tried the using the compass away from all electronics or other metal objects that might cause interference and swirled it around in a figure 8 until my arm was about to fall off. Nothing got it working. Finally after some Google-assisted research someone suggested moving a magnet near the phone.

I had trepidations about putting a magnet near a sensitive electronic device (magnets can erase hard drives), but I figured what the heck, let’s try it.

I grabbed a flat refrigerator magnet, fired up the compass app, slowly moved the magnet close to the right side of the case, and when it got about 1/8″ from the side of the case, BINGO—the interference message disappeared and the compass was working again! No problems with the phone that I can tell, and the compass is pointing in the right direction.

Now I can finally try that SkyView app I bought the other day.

iPhone iOS 4 iDisappointment

Apple released their latest iPhone operating system upgrade yesterday, dubbed iOS 4. Naturally I upgraded my 3Gs at the earliest possible moment. Although I was excited about the significant new features, I’m disappointed after actually having used them.

iOS 4 lets you organize your application icons into folders. You can put all your photography-related apps in one folder, all your music-related apps in another, etc. This is theoretically a big convenience for people with a lot of apps, as you can access related groups of apps quickly without having to swipe through a multitude of separate screens.

The problem is that once you have several folders on one screen, you can’t really tell them apart. Previously each app had a unique icon and it was easy to tell what each one was—the Clock app looked like a clock, the Notes app looked like a notepad, etc. But the folder icons are black squares checkered with minuscule icons of the apps inside the folder, and at a glance it’s impossible to tell which folder contains what. The only practical way to do this is to read the tiny description type below each folder, but this is difficult to do quickly unless you’re sitting perfectly still and have reasonably good eyesight. I wind up hovering my index finger over the screen, waving it back and forth like an idiot looking for the right folder.

I suppose in time I will have memorized what each folder contains and where it is. In the mean time I wish Apple would let me assign an icon to a folder so I can tell what it is just by looking.

The upgraded mail app adds semi-sophisticated features like a “universal inbox” (where you can read all of the messages from your various accounts in one place) and Gmail-style message threading. But it still won’t it let me do simple things like arrange the order in which the mail accounts appear or have a different signature for each mail account.

My biggest gripe about the iPhone Mail app is that you’re stuck with it. Because it’s considered a “core feature,” Apple doesn’t allow third-party e-mail applications. I can’t see how it could possibly be a bad thing to give people the option for upgraded e-mail handling, but oh well.

Now you can have a photo or graphic as a background for your home screen. Why would anybody want this? All it does is clutter things up and make that tiny text beneath the folders even harder to read. And once you set your wallpaper to a photo you can’t change it back to plain black, unless you stand in a dark closet, take a photo of the blackness, and set that as your wallpaper.

Apple says iOS 4 enables multitasking for “all apps.” This is not true.

The new iOS features a “tray” at the bottom of the screen, accessed by double-clicking the Home button. Anytime you start an app, its icon gets added to the tray. Open the tray, then tap the icon to switch to that app. But unless an app is specifically written to take advantage of multitasking, tapping its tray icon is exactly the same as starting it anew. No multitasking here.

For apps that are written to take advantage of multitasking, once you start them they sit in the tray, running, until you specifically go in and stop them. This is a potential battery-killing disaster, especially when running power-hungry apps like GPS navigators.

To stop a multitasking app from running, you have to “kill” it. Herein lies the problem I have with iOS 4 multitasking: It’s not particularly easy to kill running apps. Remember, every app you start gets added to the tray, whether it is multitasking-enabled or not; there could be dozens of apps in the tray. The tray displays only four icons at a time, and you have to swipe repeatedly to scroll through all the icons. Once you find the app you want to kill, you have to hold your finger down on the app’s icon for several seconds until a little “minus” sign appears, then tap the minus sign to kill the app.

There is no way that I know of to kill all the apps at once (not even restarting the phone does this), and no way to prevent an app from going to the tray. So if your battery is dying and you’re not sure which app is doing it, you have to start the tray, hold down your finger on an icon to bring up the minus sign, then keep tapping the minus sign over and over for every app until they’re all killed. Grrr….

iPhone FaceTime Hype

I saw the promo video for Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 4 today. One of the new features they’re touting is FaceTime, a video conferencing application made possible by the iPhone 4’s front-facing camera. I have to say I’m a little dumbfounded at the hype they’re spinning into this “new” feature.

Way back in 2006 I lived in Japan and owned a Sony SO702i, a tiny cell phone with both forward- and rear-facing cameras. (Here is a Japanese-language Web page with some nice pictures of the phone.) Apple says they’re “bringing video calling to the world,” but my little Sony had virtually the exact same video conferencing features as the new iPhone. In fact, the Sony had a feature that made it significantly better than iPhone’s FaceTime: It could video conference over the cellular network. The iPhone only does it via WiFi.

When talking about the video conferencing features of the iPhone 4, one narrator in the Apple video says, “the very first time I had a FaceTime call I was blown away,” and another exclaims, “I can’t believe this is real, this is actually happening.” Have these people never heard of webcams?

This all reminds me of another hyped-up product, the Dyson Airblade. Dyson claims to have invented new technology that drys your hands faster than conventional air dryers by shooting tiny jets of air at your wet hands when you insert them into the machine. I’m not clear how they can claim to have invented this type of hand dryer; I used a nearly identical device the first time I visited Japan in 1994.


WordPress for iPhone 2.0

WordPress released an update to their free blogging app for iPhone. My initial impression is that it’s easier and quicker than running WordPress in Safari (the iPhone’s Web browser), although you do give up some features like the WYSIWYG text editor. I’ve been able to moderate comments (for that it works very well), and now I’m test-posting this blog entry directly from my iPhone. To make sure it’s a thorough test, I will include a photo from my iPhone gallery (in this case, a piece of pizza with a Caesar salad on top).

Note: I couldn’t figure out how to publish this, until I realized you need to set the Status to Published (it defaults to Draft), then hit Save. Easy, but not particularly intuitive. Just making a note of this in case anyone else runs into the same problem.

I Got an iPhone

iPhone ScreenI was never really a big fan of cell phones. They are quite costly, you have to deal with cell phone salespeople (one step away from used car salesmen in my opinion), and when it comes down to it I don’t like talking on the phone all that much.

After much deliberation I decided to cancel my old cell phone service and get an iPhone. A couple of things led me to this decision: First, cost-wise it made sense. I need a backup Internet connection for business purposes and was paying AT&T ~$60/month for cellular Internet plus ~$50 a month to Verizon for cellphone service; the iPhone costs ~$70 a month and replaces both of those. Second was the convenience of a device small enough to fit in my pocket yet having capability equivalent to a small computer.

After using it for several days I have to say the iPhone is nothing short of phenomenal. There have been three times in my life where I was completely blown away by a piece of technology; the first was my first personal computer (the Radio Shack TRS-80), the second was when I experienced the first Macintosh computer (with its revolutionary mouse and graphical user interface), and the third is this iPhone. This is one electronic device that lives up to and exceeds its hype.

The iPhone’s interface is unsurpassed in usability and ease-of-use. This is truly one of the few very sophisticated electronic devices that a non-computer person can pick up and use (and I have several non-computer friends that have iPhones as proof of that), but is still capable enough for a power-user like me.

The iPhone has been reviewed to death, but let me just make a few personal-experience comments, good and bad:

  • The Web browser: I’ve tried Web-browsing features on other cell phones and the experience they offer is so limited it’s almost worthless. The iPhone’s Web browser does it all. There hasn’t been a page I’ve tried that doesn’t look and function like it’s supposed to, including complex Web server control panels and even Amazon.com. It doesn’t support Flash (the website animation software), but since I find most Flash-based websites and advertising banners annoying it’s not something I miss.
  • The keyboard: My previous phone had a flip-out “thumb” keyboard. I never thought the iPhone’s touch-screen keyboard would be usable for anything but slow pecking, but I was completely wrong. It’s much easier to “thumb type” with than the physical keyboard of my previous cellphone, and although it’s more prone to errors the iPhone’s software generally does a great job of figuring out what I meant to type and making corrections in real time. The result is that I’m typing about twice as fast with better accuracy vs. my old cell phone.
  • GPS: The iPhone comes with a ton of great goodies right out of the box, and one of my favorites is the built-in GPS that interfaces with Google Maps. Here’s a typical example of how I use it: The other day I was in an unfamiliar area and needed to find a pet store. I started the Maps application on iPhone and it instantly located my position via GPS and gave me a zoom-able street map of my local area. I hit the search button, typed “pet store,” and got several “pins” dropped on the map of nearby locations that matched my search. Touching a pin brings up a small flag telling me the name of the store at that location, and touching the flag brings up a page with contact information for that store. I touched the phone number and called the store to find out when they closed, then touched the “directions” button and got turn-by-turn directions to that store with the route highlighted on the map. Amazing.
  • Apps: While the iPhone surpasses any other phone I’ve come across right out of the box, the number of add-on applications (or “apps”) is truly amazing. There are literally tens of thousands of applications you can download to extend the capability of your phone, from utilities to games to musical instruments, and many are free or available for only a dollar to two. Here’s one example: I had a dozen or so of those store “club cards” clogging up both my wallet and key chain. I discovered an app called CardStar which lets you store all of those club cards electronically on your phone. You just enter your card’s ID number, and when you select that card in the future CardStar generates a bar code which the store can scan. No need to carry all those plastic cards around anymore, and I am no longer reluctant to sign up for new cards. And CardStar is free!
  • The battery: The battery life is often bemoaned in reviews, but I think it’s fine. The problem is that if you’re constantly using your phone—and as capable as the iPhone is you likely will be—it runs out the battery in a few hours. The thing is, the iPhone battery lasts longer than either of my two laptops batteries, and the iPhone is much smaller and doing the same work a laptop would. The main issue I have with the iPhone battery is that it is internal and therefor not changeable. A car charger is a must (a good, inexpensive car charger I found is the Griffin PowerJolt SE).
  • Picture messages: Here’s one of the few scratch-my-head disappointments I had with the iPhone. While you can send text messages to other phones, you cannot send picture messages (technically referred to as Multimedia Messaging Service or MMS). This is a capability I’ve had on other phones for years now. The iPhone sort of makes up for it with its excellent e-mail app and the ability to attach pictures to e-mail, but why they’ve left out on a feature which is included on much lesser phones is baffling. NOTE: As of this writing AT&T is adding MMS capability to iPhones and is supposed to be available September 25.
  • Configurability: While the ability to add apps makes this the most configurable cellphone ever, there are some configuration options that are surprisingly not available. One is the lack of ability to import sounds for use in events like new e-mail and text-message notifications; you are stuck with a limited number of built-in sounds. You can import your own ringtones, but even then there is a roundabout trick to doing it (which I’ll blog about at some point in the near future), and the ringtones can only be used for a limited number of non-phone-ringing events (like the alarm clock sound).
  • AT&T: One of the notable aspects of the iPhone is that if you want an iPhone and live in the USA you must use AT&T as your carrier. (There are illicit ways to hack the iPhone to allow it to use other carriers, but I’m not willing to do that.) My experience with AT&T thus far has been mostly positive. I often find that inside buildings the signal is not strong enough for data (like Web surfing and e-mail), but all things considered I find it acceptable and am willing to live with occasional patchy reception. AT&T has a reputation for problems, but as I said my experience has been positive.
  • It’s an iPod too: While other phones have music playback functionality seemingly added as an afterthought, the iPhone is the best iPod you can get. It’s probably a little too bulky to use on a jogging track (not something that bothers me), but in most music-playing/video-watching situations the iPhone is fabulous.

If I didn’t have one of the new models of the iPhone (the 3Gs to be exact) I’d have more to complain about. Only recently did the iPhone add features commonly found on other phones like voice dialing and video recording. Cut-and-paste is another recently-added feature that I could not have lived without. However, the new iPhones have nearly everything I could ever want and more, and for the first time in my life I feel like I’m finally getting my money’s worth out of my cell phone bill.