Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How to fix iPhone speaker problem

BEGIN UPDATE (5/14/08). This solution worked for me for at least 2 months, since then I've had at least 4 reocurrences, all of which were fixed just by reinserting the earphone repeatedly, except for the last instance, I had to clean the earjack and seems back to normal

One day I got a call on my iPhone and I was not able to hear any audio. After a while I figured out I could still hear audio if I put it in speakerphone mode. Next I realized that the play icon was showing up with no audio. I tried pausing/playing music and I could no hear any audio at all. After doing some research on Google I found out this was a very common problem on the iPhone, and unfortunately it appears to be a problem on the hardware and not on the software.

The iPhone has a mechanism to detect when you unplug the headset, apparently this mechanism can fail sometimes due if debris gets in the headset jack. This is why you can't hear any audio, because it thinks you have a headset plugged in and continues to route all audio to the headset output. There are several workarounds published out there, some very creative that suggest using a damped q-tip. But the one solution that worked for me was plugging and unplugging the headset several times until it gets back into the correct state. However this solution was only temporary for me, eventually the iPhone would get into that same state. Because I connect the iPhone on the aux port of my car stereo I had to check every time I left my car to make sure I would be able to use my phone throughout the day!

This became very annoying, so I called Apple Support (1-800-MY-IPHONE) and the workaround they had me try was to plug and unplug my headphones 5 consecutive times as fast as I could. The problem was fixed immediately, but I was very skeptical this would be a long term solution. So I continued verifying that the phone was in the correct state everytime I unplugged the headset. To my surprise this problem hasn't reocurred since then and it's been over 4 weeks and I plug/unplug it at least twice a day, so it seems in my case this problem was indeed caused by a debris and not a permanent hardware problem, which is a relief. So there you have it: the official recommendation from Apple support if you want to give it a shot.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

iPhone update 1.1.2: the fastest and most stable version to date!

Apple has been very vague as to what is included in the iPhone updates, in particular with regards to the 1.1.2 update: " features and bug fixes..." leaving many users -primarily jailbroken/unlocked iphone users- wondering if it is worth updating just for the sake of updating. Although it is not officially stated, apparently the iPhone CPU clock speed was boosted with this update. As soon as I installed the update, I noticed that applications loaded faster and in particular web pages loaded much faster in Safari. Using sysinfo several users have been able to confirm this. The CPU frequency was 400 MHz while the bus frequency was 100 MHz in the iPhone 1.1.1 firmware. The iPhone 1.1.2 now shows a CPU frequency of 412 MHz and a bus frequency of 103 MHz. If that is not enough to convince you to upgrade I also noticed that this update makes the iPhone, in particular Safari more stable. Safari would crash for me about once a day in the earlier version, it hasn't crashed so far for me.