Saturday, October 29, 2011

The iPhone Keyboard Dictionary, Predictive Text / Spelling Auto-Correct

Predictive text on the iPhone comes from a user dictionary or database that learns new words as you type. When typing from some applications on your iPhone, when you reject a spelling correction the word that you originally typed is added to the dictionary on your iPhone. There are also ways to manually include new words in the iPhone User Dictionary as well.

Manually add words to the iPhone Dictionary

1. Typing Words in Applications

I have found that there are a few apps that can be used to update the user dictionary to include new words. I’m sure that there are more, but I have been successful in updating the dictionary so far with the following applications:
  • Messages (typing text messages) - by rejecting an auto-correct suggestion
  • Safari (entering a word into the Google Search Field) - By searching for the new word
  • Contacts - Including the new word in one of the fields available when creating a contact. As this requires creating a contact, I was reusing the same contact for updating the dictionary instead of adding a new one for each word to keep things tidy, but abandoned the method in favor of the manual solutions described below.

2. Manually Customise the Dictionary

Prior to iOS 5 (I haven’t got the following working since upgrading to iOS5), you could add a second International keyboard for another language to your iPhone, which enabled a new option on the Keyboard settings page to “Edit User Dictionary...”. I found the post Add words to your iPhone's dictionary that demonstrates this process.

After installing iOS 5 a new “Shortcuts” option is available, also on the Keyboard settings page. The Shortcuts feature allows you to enter a phrase, and associate with a shortcut. Adding a new word as a Phrase without a shortcut also includes the new word in your iPhone dictionary so that it is no longer auto-corrected.

Disable Auto-Correction

To disable auto-correct on your iPhone all-together, turn off the option on the Keyboard settings page:

Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> tap Auto-Correction to turn it off.

If disabling auto-correct, you may also want to disable the “Check Spelling” option as well o the same page.

Clear / Reset the iPhone Dictionary

To remove all custom words that have been added to your iPhone Dictionary when typing, you can use the Reset Keyboard Dictionary option:

Using the “Reset” settings / options for your iPhone:
  1. Open the “General” Settings page
  2. Select the “Reset” option
  3. On the Reset page, tap the “Reset Keyboard Dictionary” option.

iOS5 Update Installation Steps on iPhone 4 - Error Restoring iPhone after iOS5 Update

Today I installed the iOS5 Update on my iPhone 4. The process eventually completed successfully, but I received an error after the initial restore of my data and settings after the update had installed. In this article I explain the steps to install the iOS5 update.

The first thing that I did was to make a backup of the iPhone in it’s working state with iOS4 installed. (Right click on the iPhone from under “DEVICES” in iTunes and selected Backup). This probably isn’t necessary as part of the update is to make a backup of all data and settings on the iPhone, but I like to be safe than sorry.

I then pressed the Update button after selecting my iPhone from the devices in iTunes, which displayed a message saying that all data, apps, etc. would be backed up and restored after the software update. The iOS5 Software update downloaded to my PC and started installing.

The update installed ok on my iPhone, which was shortly followed by the phone connecting and disconnecting a series of times as the updated drivers/software were recognised by my computer.

The next phase was “Restoring iPhone from backup...”

The process of restoring data and settings to the iPhone completed after 5 to 10 minutes (status bar reached 100%), but the following error displayed after the restore appeared to finish:

(An error occurred while restoring this iPhone (-1).

The iPhone was on, but had the languages scrolling across the screen and an option at the bottom to select a language. iOS5 appeared to be working on my iPhone, but as it was asking for me to select my language it appeared as though the new OS was a fresh install without my previous settings. I didn’t select a language on the iPhone, and instead returned to iTunes.

I pressed OK to the error message...

A second message was the displayed saying

“iTunes was interrupted while restoring the contents of the iPhone “iPhone Name”. Would you like to restore this iPhone again now?

I selected the “Continue Restore” option...

After the process completed, a success message was displayed and the iPhone reset.

After turning back on, a “Restoring iPhone apps...” dialog appeared in iTunes, and ran for a few minutes.

After this completed, the next dialog was “Restoring iPhone music and videos”, which also ran for around 10 minutes.

My iPhone displayed the following message, with a “Continue” button at the bottom of the screen:

Your iPhone was restored successfully.
There are just a few more steps to follow and you’re done.

After pressing Continue, a screen requesting for Location Services settings appeared with the following options:
  • Enable Location Services
  • Disable Location Services
I selected the Enable option (my preference), and pressed the “Next” button.

The next screen asked which Wifi Network to connect to. The same secured wireless network that I was connected to prior to installing the Update was available in the list, which was preselected so I pressed Next.

The next screen asks to sign in with an Apple ID or create a Free Apple ID. I selected the Sign in option and entered my ID and password.

Next: Set Up iCloud (iCloud enables you to store images, documents, apps, calendars remotely using your Apple ID, and access them seamlessly from other devices including your PC or Mac).

I am not setting up iCloud at this point with my iPhone, so selected the “Don’t Use iCloud” option and pressed Next.

The next (and final) screen asks if you would like to send diagnostics and usage information to Apple. After selecting my preference and selecting yes, the final message is displayed:

Your iPhone is now set up.
You’re ready to start using the most advanced iOS ever.

Everything was back up and running on the new iOS 5, my data had been restored successfully including iTunes media and apps.  Back in business...

One thing I noticed after upgrading to iOS5 was that a large number of emails that I had previously read from each of my accounts were now marked as unread.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Finger Lovin' - Short Film Shot on iPhone 4

Today I came across a short film called Finger Lovin' that I found quite amusing.  The film runs for just a few minutes and tells of a love story between two fingers...  Definitely worth the laugh!

What I found interesting, was that the film was shot on an iPhone 4 using the 8mm Vintage Camera film app on a "rainy day" with a $0 budget and edited using iMovie on an iMac.  Props used in the film were selected based on what was literally within reach at the time the film was shot.

Read more, and watch the film here: Finger Lovin' - iPhone 4 + iMovie Short Film

Monday, November 22, 2010

iPhone Not Recognised After Error

I came across an issue recently with an iPhone 4, where error messages were being displayed when syncing the phone:

“File not found”
“internal device error”

The sync failed each time I tried. I believe that the issue was caused by a large application being installed, which caused iTunes to display the same set of error messages each time a sync was attempted before failing. After restoring the phone, there were issues opening applications, so I tried turning it off and back on again. When iTunes detected it once turned back on, it was not seen as the phone that was previously synced to the iTunes profile even though it was. The only options available were to restore from a backup, or set the phone up as a new phone.

I was able to fix the issue win the applications not opening simply by downloading and installing a new app on the iPhone. I then canceled the download of the large application via iTunes, and was able to successfully sync the phone again. After the phone had synchronised, it was detected again when connected to the same iTunes in future as well.

iPhone 4 Apps Not Opening (Closing Straight Away)

I recently moved to an iPhone 4, which I have run into an issue where none of my Apps would open. when I select an App from the home screen, the App would appear to open for a split second before closing and returning to the home screen.

This started happening when I made a series of purchases from the App Store (via the iPhone) resulting in a download queue for each one. One of the Apps was quite large in size, which seemed to get caught during the loading process. It was 'loading' for almost an entire day before i decided to turn it off and back on again. Once it was turned back on, the App that was previously loading was now 'waiting', and the progress bar at 0%. The name of the App was not displayed, and the icon had turned grey (no icon).

I tried syncing the iPhone. This appeared to work, but close to the end of the sync when the apps were being updated, an error message appeared stating that a file could not be found and the sync failed. I tried again, and this time it suggested that the device had an internal error, an again the sync failed. After the second time, the available space jumped from over 15gb free to being 12GB over.

At this point, I decided to see if the phone and apps were still working, or if it was iTunes that was playing up and noticed that none of the installed Apps would open at all. The core applications (mail, iPod, Safari, etc. were all still working). When I selected an app from the home screen, it would start opening, but immediately close and return to the home screen.

From iTunes, I restored a backup from a few hours prior when the phone and apps were working. This resulted in the recently purchased apps to be removed from the phone, and the available space returned to a positive amount. All apps were still not working.

I updated the sync options to re-install the recently downloaded apps and tried another sync. Again, it failed with the same messages as before and the available space was way over. The partially installed app that seemed to cause the problems initially was no longer visible on the phone, and iTunes also detected that it was an pending download. From my iPhone, I then removed the majority of the apps, but this still didn't allow the remaining to open. Turning the phone off and back on didn't help either.

After reading through some similar issues that others were having, I tried downloading a new app via the App Store on the iPhone, which worked. All other apps remaining on the phone were also working again now, but the partially downloaded app had returned.

I did another sync from iTunes to copy all applications back onto the phone, which continued to work after that. I abandoned using the app that i suspect was the cause of the issues. It was over 200mb in size, with gb of additional "Other" data, so the phone didn't like it for some reason even though there should have been ample space available.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

iPhone 3GS Software Update Issues

I recently upgraded the software on an iPhone 3GS to the newer firmware / software version 4.1 from version 3. The upgrade was not as smooth as I was hoping, as I ran into a few issues along the way.

The process I went through, was to first update iTunes to the latest version. After iTunes was updated I connected the iPhone, which iTunes detected as expected. I was then prompted to update the software on the phone to the latest version, which I accepted. The update was downloaded, but while applying to the phone, I started receiving error messages in iTunes during the sync (device error, device not found). A final message was displayed saying that the operation had failed, and when i returned to the iPhone, I found that it was no longer functional. The phone displayed the screen requesting that I connect it to iTunes.

I turned the iPhone off and then back on again, which did not help at all. Connecting the iPhone back into iTunes resulted in a series of the same error messages displaying. iTunes detected that there was an error, and gave me only one option to "Upgrade, and restore from backup". After accepting, I watched and waited as the phone went through the upgrade process again from scratch. This time, the upgrade process completed successfully. It then restored from the most recent available backup, which was also applied successfully. I disconnecting the iPhone from the computer after the upgrade and restore to find that the firmware / software had been successfully updated, and that all existing data (contacts, messages, photos, apps, etc.) were still there.

There would be a number of possible causes of issues such as this, but in this case I am leaning toward the initial upgrade being interrupted prematurely, which left the phone in a semi-upgraded (non-functional) state. At the time, I was connected to the Internet using the Mobile (Wireless) Broadband connection, which has not been 100% stable in the past. The Internet was working both before and after the unsuccessful upgrade, but i suspect the the connection (mobile coverage) dropped out for a few brief moments during a critical stage in the process, which has in the past has caused issues. The computer used in this case is a 2 month old G7, which I have not experienced any issues with apart from this one so I don't think this was the cause.

If anyone has had similar issues, different opinions on the cause, or have resolved this issue using an alternative process, it would be good if someone can shed some light on the situation.

iPhone 3GS Camera Not Working

iPhone iOS 5 Software Update Issues
In this post I explain the steps to Update an iPhone to iOS 5, including some issues I came across after the software was installed when I received an error when the data and settings was being restored to the phone.

iPhone 3GS Camera Not Working

I recently updated the software on an old iPhone 3GS, which aside from having a few issues with the iPhone 4.1 software upgrade, it worked ok.

Until today, I had not experienced any issues with the upgraded software, when was attempting to take a photo. After opening the camera it seemed to start and work ok. If I tried to enable the zoom slider, switch to the video camera or take a picture, nothing worked. It was as though the touch screen was no longer active, although I managed to focus an area of the photo occasionally.

Returning to the home screen and back into the camera did not help, and terminating the camera process and restarting also had no affect.

To fix the issue, I turned the phone off and back on again, and stopped all running processes before trying (not sure if this had an affect). After the camera opened, if was fully functional and able to take photos.

Windows & iPhone Development