Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iPhone OS 3.0 | iLounge Article


Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iPhone OS 3.0

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Photos and Camera

For iPhone and iPhone 3G users, the Camera application remains unchanged from the previous iPhone OS, although new features are buried within the OS to provide support for new camera features in the iPhone 3G S. The only immediately noticeable change in the Camera app in iPhone 3.0 is a small thumbnail preview button in the bottom-left corner, which takes you to the camera roll in the Photos app. There appear to be small performance improvements in the application, as well.


The Photos app itself now adds support for selecting multiple photos from a given album to either delete from the device, share via e-mail or MMS (if enabled), or copy to the clipboard for pasting in another application. Note that the Delete option is available only in the Camera roll—photos synced via iTunes can only be shared or copied to the clipboard.


As elsewhere on the iPhone, the MMS option will only appear if MMS has been enabled by your carrier and is turned on in your iPhone’s Message Settings.

MobileMe subscribers can also send photos to any of their MobileMe albums. In previous iPhone OS versions, the Send to MobileMe option was simply a shortcut to submit the selected photo to your MobileMe album via e-mail as an attachment. This meant that your MobileMe album had to be configured to accept new photos via e-mail. Now in iPhone OS 3.0, the MobileMe submission process now provides direct uploads to any of your MobileMe albums, regardless of whether they are enabled for guest uploading or not, and submits your photos directly to the MobileMe service rather than relying on the Mail application.


Reports indicate that the iPhone 3G S may also allow for video clips to be submitted to MobileMe in a similar manner.

iPod and Media Playback

The iPhone OS 3.0 release also makes some small improvements to the iPod playback experience, adding some additional audiobook and podcast features and improving the scrubbing and navigation experience.

Audiobooks and Podcasts

New controls can now be found on the Now Playing screen when listening to audiobooks or podcasts. The normal Shuffle button is replaced by a variable-speed playback button allowing the user to select half-speed, normal speed, or double-speed playback, and the center button now provides the ability to immediately skip back 30 seconds.


Note that the audiobook playback speed option has been removed from the iPod Settings. The last selected playback speed on the Now Playing screen is retained as the default for all audiobooks until changed by the user.

When listening to or viewing podcasts, an e-mail envelope icon is now displayed at the top left corner of the Now Playing screen. Tapping on this will open the Mail application with a link to the current podcast so that you can share it with your friends via e-mail. Note that not all podcasts support this feature, as the URL must be embedded somewhere in the episode file for this to work. The envelope will be greyed out for those podcast episodes that do not support this.


Variable-Speed Scrubbing

One of the more frustrating experiences in prior versions of the iPhone OS when playing back long tracks, particularly movies, was the lack of precision with the touchscreen scrubbing controls. Happily, Apple has found a solution to this by allowing you to vary the speed of the scrubbing bar by moving your finger up or down while scrubbing.


To use variable-speed scrubbing, simply place your finger on the scrub slider as you normally would, and then drag down before dragging left or right. Dragging down slows down the scrubbing speed to allow for more precise selection, while dragging back up will scrub through the current track more quickly. The current speed is shown above the scrub bar, and ranges from Hi-Speed (the default) down through half-speed, quarter-speed and fine scrubbing.

Note that variable-speed scrubbing works for videos in both portrait and landscape mode, although the scrubbing speed will not be displayed when viewing videos in landscape mode.

Shake to Shuffle

With iPhone OS 3.0, the iPhone and iPod touch gain a feature that was introduced with the iPod nano 4G: Shake to Shuffle. Enabled by default, this allows you to engage Shuffle mode and switch to a new song when listening to music simply by shaking the iPhone or iPod touch. The option can be disable under the iPod Settings, found in the main Settings app.


Unlike the iPod nano, there are a few restrictions on this feature for the iPhone and the iPod touch: specifically, it will only work if you are currently playing music and either have the iPod application active or have the iPod controls active on the Home screen or lock screen.

iPod Library Access for Third-Party Apps

One important change under-the-hood in iPhone OS 3.0 is that third-party apps will now be allowed to access your iPod content. This will open the door for apps that allow you to play your own music, such as during certain types of games or for use as an alarm clock, particularly since the iPhone is still conspicuously missing the feature to wake to a playlist from its own built-in Clock application.


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“There is a downside, however: the search only includes message headers; a full-text search of message content is not performed, either locally on your device or on the server. “

Other reviews (such as on Ars) have specifically shown that it did include emails with the results in the body (when choosing the “All” search in email.

So what’s the deal; does it search message bodies or not?  Just from the screenshots on the Ars review alone it seems clear it did, as it included search results where the search term was not in the headers.

Posted by TomHandy on June 17, 2009 at 3:15 PM (CDT)


Great guide! I found something I thought I would share: when trying to select 6 pictures or more on my iPod disabled the email button; this may be to keep the size down or something. However, you can always just select as many as you want and copy and paste them into a new email.

Posted by mikeman118 on June 17, 2009 at 3:20 PM (CDT)


#1: It definitely does not search full message content, either locally or on the server. This is easily tested just by pulling up an e-mail, picking an obscure word that wouldn’t otherwise appear and then searching on that word.

Bear in mind that just because a word doesn’t visibly appear in the search results listing doesn’t mean that it may not form part of the header that isn’t displayed. The message list doesn’t necessarily display full subject lines, for instance.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 17, 2009 at 3:33 PM (CDT)


Nice guide. Very clear.

I have not upgraded to 3.0 (maybe tomorrow if I have the time) but I have been noticing the sliding blue location dot in Maps for awhile now (when outside). If I open maps in the house, I get the location compass and five red dots spread out around the city. I assume because I cannot be pinpointed.

I was hoping for an audible click when tapping the stopwatch on. Alas. If that’s all I will have to complain about, then Apple has done well.

Posted by MidNorthCanuck on June 17, 2009 at 4:51 PM (CDT)


When 3.0 was released to developers there were rumors that it would enable Bluetooth via the Nike+ chip in the 2nd gen iPod touch. This was to allow stereo Bluetooth headphones like the iPhone now supports. Is this actually the case?

Posted by Neil on June 17, 2009 at 5:11 PM (CDT)


#4: The blue location dot has been appearing in Maps on the iPhone since the 3G added GPS capabilities. However, prior to v3.0, it only appeared *after* GPS coordinates were obtained. With 3.0 it appears immediately on both the iPhone and iPod touch.

#5: Yes, as noted above in the section on Bluetooth Enhancements, the 2G iPod touch now gets full Bluetooth support that is basically on-par with the iPhone. The only difference between the iPhone and iPod touch 2G Bluetooth is support for hands-free headsets, since this is a phone-specific feature.  Note that the original iPod touch does not contain any Bluetooth hardware.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 17, 2009 at 5:36 PM (CDT)


Can’t seem to copy a phone number in the Contacts without dialing it.  Could go into Edit and grab it fine.  Click and hold as described above doesn’t seem to work in this context.

Posted by Dave Williams on June 17, 2009 at 7:53 PM (CDT)


I don’t know why the email search doesn’t seem to work for you guys..

I just took a very specific text “XXPDK” from an email where it appeared towards the very bottom of the message.

Search found it in both the Mail app search under ALL, and the spotlight search on the home page.

Maybe your phone hasn’t finished indexing yet…

Full Mail search DOES work

Posted by Brian on June 17, 2009 at 8:08 PM (CDT)


I just did a similar test and searching the body of emails does NOT appear to work. I’m on an original first-gen iPhone (two more days till I get my 3G-S).

Posted by icruise on June 17, 2009 at 8:58 PM (CDT)


I think I’ve already found a bug.  For whatever reason, my playlists on my iPhone are not sorting correctly.  Typically I sort all playlists by album; this is carried over to the iPhone.  However, when I check my playlist on the iPhone, it’s all out of order - I have no idea what criteria Apple is actually using.  In iTunes for both the editable playlist and the playlist on the iPhone as seen by iTunes, the sort order is as expected.  Looks like the testers didn’t test thoroughly enough.

Plus, is anyone else getting the “Updating library” graphic on their iPhone when accessing the iPod app right after syncing?

Posted by Jay on June 17, 2009 at 9:15 PM (CDT)


Thanks for the info Jesse! Great read while waiting for the download of OS3.0 to finish.  Definitely making me salivate all that much more!

Posted by Michel Savoie on June 17, 2009 at 9:30 PM (CDT)


So I installed 3.0 on my Ipod Touch 2G and everything went great. The only thing that I noticed that now holding down the home button to close Safari, or mail or music no longer works. I used to do this all the time to free up memory. I anyone else experiencing this. Is there some reason that this no longer works? It’s not the end of the world. I’m just curious why Apple would turn this off.

Posted by Tyler Laird on June 17, 2009 at 11:20 PM (CDT)


Bacause holding down the Home key triggers Voice Control on the 3GS, so Apple removed this from the 3G and 2G.

Posted by Idomilliomos on June 17, 2009 at 11:39 PM (CDT)


On the subject on full mail search, I’m guessing that Spotlight indexes at intervals and hence that is a disparity in findings.

Posted by Young on June 18, 2009 at 12:10 AM (CDT)


The Mailsearch does Fulltext since the early betas - it just has to index first.

Anyone noticed the bug:
Compose a new SMS, add another recipient = title changes to “group-SMS” (only if you have mms configured on your device) - quite costly to send an mms, compared to sending multiple SMS, where you have free quotas in most contracts.

Posted by Josh on June 18, 2009 at 12:52 AM (CDT)


I am having the same two problems as Jay.  The orders of songs in my smart playlists do not transfer—no matter how I sort them in iTunes, the order on my iPhone stays the same.  Also, the “Updating Library…” message appears every time (for a couple minutes) every time I open the iPod app after syncing.

Posted by Mike on June 18, 2009 at 2:11 AM (CDT)


@12: Hold down the power key until you get the “slide to power off” message.  Then instead of sliding, hold down the Home key for 6 seconds.  This will force quit the open app.

#13 I believe is correct as to why this has changed.  Sure your old phone doesn’t do voice control, but I’m sure Apple wants to keep the mechanism uniform across all devices with the new OS.

Posted by Dyvim on June 18, 2009 at 10:04 AM (CDT)


@Tyler Laird
“The only thing that I noticed that now holding down the home button to close Safari, or mail or music no longer works…”

It’s still working this function. Apple has just changed the buttons.
Now, you have to press 2 buttons instead of one.
Hold down the on/off power button till you see the slider,
Then hold down the square button(the only button under the screen till your application closed.
It’s working very good for me.
hope it helps.

Posted by jaovao on June 18, 2009 at 10:06 AM (CDT)


Any confirmation if Apple improved the audio quality w/ the 3.0 update? I swear playback of music via the iPod mode sounds clearer, warmer and far less brittle than in earlier device OS releases.

Posted by Scott on June 18, 2009 at 12:21 PM (CDT)


Resetting home screen layout resets application alphabetically.

Posted by Name: on June 18, 2009 at 12:29 PM (CDT)


Search in Calendars produces just one result despite multiple entries, the nearest to “todays” date.

For instance I had two Dentist appointments, one on the 2nd June (done)and the next on 1st September. Only the June appointment shows up.

I can understand repeat appointments need to be curtailed in Search but similar irregular appointments need to work I feel?

Posted by Joni on June 18, 2009 at 1:20 PM (CDT)


Im having a hard time trying to connect the bluetooth to my car…
When I go to the Ipod icon in my iphone it doesnt have the connect the bluetooth button thing…Can anyone please help me.

Posted by Elvis on June 18, 2009 at 3:47 PM (CDT)


I’m not really sure what people who think they are getting full-text search results are actually seeing, but the Mail search does NOT do full-text searching. Not only have we tested this very specifically for some time on multiple devices, but Apple’s own iPhone User Guide for iPhone 3.0 explicitly states this on page 37:

Mail:  To, From, and Subject fields of all accounts (the text of messages isn’t searched)

...and further on page 65:

Tap From, To, Subject, or All (From, To, and Subject) to choose which fields you want to search.

It’s also worth nothing that Calendar item notes are not searched either.

Now, to be fair, when continuing your search on the server side, it’s entirely possibly that you may get full-text results. This would depend on the server implementation and whether it extends that search to message bodies. However, none of the IMAP services that we have tried, including both GMail and MobileMe, have provided any results beyond those found in the message headers.  Further, even if your IMAP provider supported this, it would only apply to the second-tier search on the server itself—once you have already finished searching the local device.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 18, 2009 at 5:57 PM (CDT)


@Dyvim & @javvao thanks for your help!

Posted by Tyler Laird on June 18, 2009 at 7:41 PM (CDT)


Just spotted a new feature that everyone else missed!

Double-tapping the home button to bring up Music/iPod playback controls now works even if the screen is locked (the controls will appear below the current time).


Posted by oboewan on June 18, 2009 at 8:14 PM (CDT)


That was actually there in v2.x.  I’m not sure if it was introduced in a specific sub-version, but it was definitely there in v2.2.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 18, 2009 at 9:54 PM (CDT)


#25: That always worked for me on my iPod Touch long before the 3.0 update.

Posted by Ned Scott on June 19, 2009 at 12:23 AM (CDT)


To #‘s 12, 13 & 18
Apple has altered this function.
Force quit an application : Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on top of iPhone for a few seconds until a red slider appears, and then press and hold the Home button until the application quits.
One thing tho - don’t hold down both buttons at the same time as this will do a hard reset of the iPhone which is not desireable - especially every day.

Posted by Joe B on June 19, 2009 at 7:17 AM (CDT)


my beef, picky beef for sure

Why no enable the ipod controls from the lock screen on a single click, or at least have the option?

Still no option for music alarm clocks in the built in clock app? Why?? Sure 3rd party works if you plug in and run the app all night.

Very limited Bluetooth Remote support. I can’t pause or skip. Still love the a2dp but that’s half the equation.

super picky
Allowing choice between headphone or speaker without making me unplug would be nice. Also a quicker way to get to bluetooth than 4 menu items deep.

Posted by cdlenfert on June 19, 2009 at 7:56 AM (CDT)


One new feature of 3.0 that I had not seen reported that I experienced this morning was how it deals with entering a WIFI location that requires you to go through a splash page to accept terms.  Previously if you entered a new WIFI location (like when I enter a hospital) my phone would kick over to it, but I had to open Safari to go through the authentication splash page and accept the terms…ie had to jump out of mail or whatever else.  this morning when I entered the hospital while checking email a new splash screen popped up within the email App and allowed me to accept the terms without jumping off and starting Safari.  Quite a time saver.  I didn’t test it out with other 3rd party Apps to see if it works like that for all of them.

Also used the auto-login at Starbucks this AM, much quicker!

Posted by TosaDeac on June 19, 2009 at 10:46 AM (CDT)


“Live Updating” of smart playlists is broken, now have to re-sync for playlists to update.  Also broken—factory Honda and BMW iPod integration. Really, really bummed :(

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on June 19, 2009 at 8:04 PM (CDT)


will the Dock Connector Access allow 3rd party apps to provide video-out?  Currently only apple native apps provide this.

Posted by Ladd on June 22, 2009 at 1:41 PM (CDT)


#7 There is a great little app called copycontacts that allows you to do this quickly, check the app store, pity Apple didn’t think of this though…

Posted by Marcus King on June 26, 2009 at 8:35 AM (CDT)


Where’s the hidden To-Do list sync with OS X’s iCal? Oh that’s right,  IT’S STILL NON-EXISTENT after 3 major versions of the iPhone OS.

Apple incompatibility with itself v3.0.

Posted by Herr Doktor on July 2, 2009 at 11:34 AM (CDT)


I have an iPod Touch 2G.  Great article and I’m enjoy 3.0 on my 2G even more!

My tip for for any iTouch 2G owners - get the 3.0 OS.

Posted by Tim on July 11, 2009 at 11:51 PM (CDT)

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