Mac OS X provides several log files that keep track of system operations--a resource that can be extremely valuable when troubleshooting issues. When Mac users experience problems with MobileMe syncing, the sync logs can be used to determine the source of the issue, or sent to the MobileMe support team.… Read more
Find My iPhone, a service Apple provides to MobileMe subscribers, is certainly paying off for one Pittsburgh-area man. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the man was robbed at gunpoint in the Shadyside area of east Pittsburgh by two men who demanded his credit cards and their PINs.
The local Pittsburgh police reported that the victim, who was not identified, handed over his wallet, PINs, and iPhone to robbers. He later used a computer to locate his iPhone using the MobileMe service, which eventually led the police to the suspects at a local gas station. Officers arrested the two suspects plus … Read more
Among the bevy of problems--some large, some small--reported by iPhone users following the release of iPhone OS 3.0 and the iPhone 3GS lurked a bug I encountered in Find My iPhone on Apple's MobileMe service.
Find My iPhone remembers all your devices, including any old iPhones turned off or sold after you upgraded to the iPhone 3GS. Until now, there was no way to make Find My iPhone forget that old iPhone.
Apple has quietly released an updated Apple support document, "MobileMe, iPhone OS 3.0: Troubleshooting Find My iPhone and Remote Wipe," which now states:… Read more
After more than a month of waiting, Apple has finally brought its MobileMe iDisk application to iPod and iPhone users. Originally announced during Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference in early July, the free iDisk app offers users of Apple's MobileMe service a way to access files they, or their MobileMe contacts have stored on Apple's servers.
Some of the nicer features include being able to view and send any native file types. This includes music, so if you've got a bunch of tracks stored on iDisk, you can stream them from the app. Movies work as … Read more
We have been exploring iPhone OS 3.0 for nearly a month and continue to discover new features, so when we recently stumbled across a productivity boosting MobileMe news post about searching your MobileMe Mail on an iPhone or iPod Touch, we had to share.
According to Apple, iPhone OS 3.0 gives your iPhone and iPod Touch the ability to search messages stored on the MobileMe cloud (server). The process works like this:Select your in-box or another folder belonging to your MobileMe account. Flick scroll to the top of the screen to reveal the search field. Tap the … Read more
Apple has updated a support document that details MobileMe enhancements for an iPhone running iPhone OS 3.0. The updates include the following features.
Mail On an iPhone or iPod Touch, a user can search all messages including those stored on the MobileMe "cloud" (server). You can search in the From, To, and Subject fields.
GalleryiPhone 3GS users can publish videos to a Gallery album. If no Gallery albums exist, an album is automatically created when publishing a photo or video from the iPhone.
Push Contacts and Push CalendarThere's an option to merge existing contacts … Read more
Over the weekend, Livejournal blogger HappyWaffle (real name Kevin), posted a great story about how he purportedly used Apple's MobileMe service to track down his iPhone, which was stolen while he was at a bar. By using a laptop with a Sprint EVDO wireless data card, he and his friends figured out where it was and managed to get it back from the person who had taken it. They even used Google Translate to alert the thief (in multiple languages) that they would call the police if the device was not returned.
As good as the story is, a lot of it relies on iPhone owners having certain settings flipped on, as well as the person who has the phone not knowing the right ones to turn off. For one, they can disable all of the MobileMe features by simply yanking the SIM card out or deleting the MobileMe account from the phone. They can also perform a software wipe right on the phone, which means your data gets erased, however that means you can no longer track where it is without carrier intervention.
This isn't the main thing to worry about though; it's that… Read more
Apple recently sent out an e-mail to developers testing the latest iPhone OS 3.0 software. Apple wants to put the Push Notification system through one last stress test before releasing OS 3.0 to consumers on June 17. The app picked for this second test was the AOL AIM $2.99 instant messaging application. (Previously, Apple tested the Associated Press application, AP Mobile Free.) We assume that Apple chose news and instant messaging apps because these applications will be using Push Notification the most.
Push Notification is a system Apple developed to work around the fact that Apple does … Read more
MobileMe's Find My iPhone service is alive and ready for anyone using iPhone OS 3.0. Using it allows you to locate your iPhone or iPod Touch on a map, send a message along with a sound to the device, or wipe your device remotely if its been misplaced, lost, or, stolen.
Here is the location screen for an iPhone (iPod Touch is similar in all cases below) in the Account settings section at me.com.
The location screen supports the following actions:
Press the Update Location button and MobileMe will attempt to query your iPhone and display an updated map showing its location.
Press the Display a Message... button, and MobileMe will send a text message to your phone that displays with an optional sound playing for up to 2 minutes. You'll be prompted to enter your message and check the box to include the sound.
The message then appears on your iPhone like this:
Next, you get a confirmation e-mail that your message was sent, received, and displayed on your missing iPhone.
Press the Remote Wipe... button and MobileMe will remotely erase your iPhone. According to Apple:This will permanently delete all media and data on your iPhone, restoring it to factory settings. This will not suspend your wireless service. Once wiped, your iPhone will no longer be able to display messages or be located. Learn more.
You'll be prompted to erase your device with a warning that you cannot undo this process once it has started.
If the iPhone is eventually recovered, users can restore their data by enabling their MobileMe account on the iPhone or syncing with their computer. It's unfortunate that the iPhone cannot be completely disabled, but at least you have a chance of destroying your personal data if it lands in the wrong hands.
The system isn't foolproof, however. One problem with Find My iPhone, according to Jonathan Zdziarski in a Twitter post, is that, "There's a magic button on every iPhone a thief can use to disable remote wipe and LocateMe; it's called the SIM eject button."… Read more
Let me begin this by saying that I'm a stingy guy. In high school, I bought a hair clipper and adopted a buzz cut largely to save cash by not having to go to the barber. I will also stop dead in my tracks to pick up a penny.
So for me, spending $99 a year on Apple's MobileMe, a service that basically does Web e-mail, contact syncing, photo hosting, and file storage, was a hard sell--especially after its bad start. This week, however, Apple finally got me to take the plunge. Why? It's starting to add genuinely useful tools for Apple hardware owners, with the promise of more to come.
On Monday, the company demoed a new tool for MobileMe subscribers called "Find My iPhone" that lets you both find a lost (or stolen) iPhone, as well as remotely wipe its contents. You can also get it to ring and vibrate for two minutes straight, which can be a huge help if it's stuck between couch cushions or buried deep within a bag. Anyone who's been late to work, or had a near-heart attack from trying to find a lost phone can appreciate how this service alone may be worth a Benjamin.
Then there's the upcoming iDisk iPhone and iPod Touch application that lets you access files you've stored in your MobileMe online storage. This in itself is not groundbreaking, but if you're an iPhone or iPod Touch user who is already using MobileMe's online storage, it's a nice bonus. Apple is advertising this as a way to show off presentations and get at important business documents, but I'd argue that it's a great way to extend the limited storage on the iPhone by keeping some of your music and videos on MobileMe instead. If you've got a Wi-Fi connection, you can stream both.
But let's get back to the basics. Is the rest of the service worth the cash? Not in my mind--and a big, fat no if you're using it for the Web apps alone. Let's break it down:
For Web e-mail: No On the iPhone and iPod Touch, you get messages as soon as they're sent. On the browser, however, it's missing a lot of features that competitors like Yahoo and Google have had for years. Both of those services are free, and between Gmail's labs, and Yahoo's just-introduced apps platform, MobileMe's Web mail feels rudimentary. It also drives me nuts that the service logs you out after 15 minutes of activity. This isn't my bank account, it's my e-mail. (Note: readers wrote in to let me know that you can avoid having this happen if you check off the "keep me logged in for two weeks" option when first signing on).… Read more