Sunday, 7 October 2012

Restoring/Downgrading/Clearing iPhones

There's a few scenarios why you may want to do this:
  • You want to clear out the iPhone as it has slowed down over the year(s)
  • You want to sell your iPhone (or change owners) 
  • You want to unjailbreak it to take it back to the Apple store

Generally speaking, you can do this by simply connecting your phone into iTunes and then clicking "Restore"; this will wipe your phone and install the latest iOS available... this, however, may not the solution if you want to keep your iPhone jailbroken or on an older iOS.

If you need to take your phone back to the Apple store, you will need to unjailbreak your phone and update to the latest version. From Apple's point of view, if you are not using the latest iOS, then you have not attempted everything to resolve the problem you wish to discuss. This obviously means you will have to re-jailbreak the iPhone post visiting the store... if a jailbreak is actually available for the latest iOS. 

Downgrading or Re-restoring your iPhone
  • Re-restoring means, you want to remain on the same iOS version you currently have on the iPhone e.g.  iPhone currently on iOS 5.1.1 and restoring to a clean iOS 5.1.1. because iOS6 jailbreak is not available.
  • Apple stopped signing iOS 5.1.1 in Sept 2012. This effectively means that the following process will not work if you want to remain on iOS 5.1.1. I've detailed the steps below as it will work if you are on the latest iOS release: 
    • Download the IPSW file for your device: LINK
    • Put your phone into DFU mode: Link to Instructions
    • Connect your phone to the PC and load iTunes 
    • Hold Shift + click Restore button  (Alt/Option + Restore on Mac)
    • Point the file to the downloaded IPSW
  • Note: for iPhone 4S, you will need to wait for Redsn0w to release an update of their software - skip to "cleaning your iPhone without re-restoring" below.
  • To be able to downgrade or re-restore your iPhone 4 (or lower model), you will need to save your SHSH blobs and use Redsn0w to stitch it to the IPSW file.

Clearing your iPhone without re-restoring
  • Why? All the processes above will not work because, Apple has stopped signing the iOS you want  AND you currently cannot use the SHSH blobs (e.g. iPhone 4S A5 device as at Oct 8th 2012)
  • Non jailbroken iPhones:
    On the iPhone click:  Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Contents and Settings.
  • Jailbroken iPhones:
    • Removing all apps and accounts
      • Sync the iPhone with an empty iTunes account/library
      • Log out of iTunes store
      • Manually delete any remaining data: Messages
      • Run iCleaner to clear any random caches, etc. (see previous blog entry for details)
    • Removing all Cydia Tweaks
      • I have not tried this, so please backup and read all the instructions carefully prior to attempting anything. 
      • Link to removing all Cydia Tweaks on ijailbreak

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

iPhone Backups

iCloud backups are great... if you pay for the service to increase the size AND like waiting.
iTunes backups are also great... if you constantly connect your phone to your computer and click backup.

Pros: As they are Apple products, these methods complete a full backup and fairly hassle free.
Cons: You cannot partially restore files/sections of your phone; only a COMPLETE restore can be done.

If you're like me, I'd like to have some control in the way I backup things; preferably incrementally and wirelessly. Below details advice on how I prefer to backup the data on my iPhone.

FYI - to do a complete backup on iTunes, I always:
  1. Right-click on iPhone in iTunes and click on Transfer purchases. 
  2. Once complete, click on Backup. 

Backup: Calendar & Contacts
  • I've seen so many iPhones setup without auto-magically backing up their calendar and contacts to their gmail accounts.
  • Once setup correctly, every new contact or calendar event that is added on your phone will automatically be synced onto gmail so you'll never have to worry about data loss. 
  • This also means if you decide to move to another phone device (e.g. android), you simply need to input your gmail account details into the phone to download all your contacts and calendars! 
  • If you also use Outlook and want to keep Outlook-Gmail-iPhone synced, this adds another level of complexity. Although I haven't not tried this, have a read of this link I've found that seems useful:
Requirement: Google mail account
Detailed setup link:
Setup Procedure Summary: 
  • When inputting the setting into the iPhone, use Microsoft Exchange option (not Gmail!)
  • Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account... > Microsoft Exchange
  • Email: enter your full Google Account email address. 
  • Domain: leave blank
  • Username: Enter your full Google Account email address
  • Password: Google Account password
  • Tap 'Next' and choose 'Cancel' if the 'Unable to Verify Certificate' dialog appears.
  • Server:
  • Press Next to then enable Mail, Contacts, Calendars complete the process.
  • If you have never saved contact/calendar information onto Google: when prompted "what would you like to do with the existing local contacts/calendar events on your iPhone?" select "Keep on My iPhone" .

Backup: Photos
  • I prefer using these third party apps to back up my photos wirelessly so that I know full-well that the photos are backed up AND accessible/viewable. e.g. backing up to iCloud does not allow you to view your own photos via the iCloud login.
  • I've been using CameraSync and have set it up so that when I load the app, it will automatically scan for new photos and copy them across to my FTP server. Another great feature is that it renames all the photos to yyyy-mm-dd
  • Opening a or account and using the Box/Dropbox App will also allow you to upload your photos to your box account. (Please use this link to sign up: dropbox referral)
App: CameraSync or Box app or DropBox app (all via App Store)

Alternatively, if you want to back up and delete your photos using the iPhone cable connected to a PC:
  1. Use iFunbox to extract the photos in the original folders as found on the iPhone
  2. Use Advanced Renamer to rename the photos to yyyy-mm-dd
    I use the following details in the program:
    <Year Modified>-<Month Modified>-<Day Modified> <Hour Modified>.<Min Modified>.<Sec Modified> <Img CameraModel>
    Name Colission Rule: Append incrementing number, separator: -
  3. Use iTools to delete the photos from the iPhone
  4. Respring the iPhone so that the photo database is rebuilt. 

    Backup: SMS
    I use iBye to backup the SMS folder on the iPhone (/private/var/Mobile/Library/SMS) to my FTP server. The app compresses the folder to SMS.tar.gz before transferring it over wifi. The app also allows you to backup to dropbox and has options to backup other system files (e.g. Cydia, Phone, Contacts...)

    App: iBye (only for Jailbroken iPhones)
    • via Cydia:
    • Another recommended app is PKGBackup (BigBoss repo for $9.99) 

    Backup: Cydia Packages
    From experience, I haven't found one app that is 100% reliable yet. That's why I've opted to use all three apps to attempt to backup my Cydia packages and sources. If all fails, it's not the end of the world as I keep a manual list of Cydia packages I like in my original jailbreaking blogpost.

    Apps: APTBACKUP, OpenBackup and iBye  (all installed via Cydia)

    • Feedback and experiences: 
      • First time I used APTBACKUP and clicked on restore, it seemed to do nothing so gave up after 10mins; no progress bar. It may have possibly been extremely slow due to the server load(?)
      • Using OpenBackup to restore, restored about 50% of my Cydia apps and tweaks. 
      • Following this, I went into Cydia, added the sources, and queue the tweaks/apps in small batches at a time to install. The restore process actually kept all my settings so as soon as the Cydia app/tweak was re-installed, it worked exactly as I had set it up e.g. SBSettings had the correct theme. 
      • "If restoring from iBye, don't have the cable plugged into your computer - it did some weird stuff once with this scenario (the apple logo appeared in the background with the loading bar, like if you were updating the iOS - freaky.).... Annoyingly iBye didn't restore mail account details, photos, or other things; only SMS and notes only."

    Please let me know if you find new/better ways of completing the above tasks :)

    Monday, 1 October 2012

    Make your iPhone faster!

    Besides un-installing unused apps clogging up your iPhone to help speed it up, there are two additional things I have done to speed up my device. Unfortunately (fortunately?) it requires your iPhone to be jailbroken.

    Rather than write a long "how-to" guide, I'll let the videos on YouTube do the talking for me...

    1. iCleaner (BigBoss repo)

    This Cydia app clean up all the unnecessary & temporary files built up over the months/years. Running it will free up some space and speed up your iPhone. I recommend running it every month or two.

    2. Speed Intensifier (  or

    This tweak simply speeds up the animations on your iPhone making it feel faster. The setting on my iPhone 4S for this tweak is +6 as I find it provides a good balance between animation and speed.