Tips for iPhone with a broken lock button

My iPhone 4 has a broken lock button. This is really annoying, because I can’t just press a button to lock the phone. I found a workaround, which makes it possible (though still clumsy) to lock the phone.

Settings | General | Accessibility | Physical & Motor | AssistiveTouch | On

This adds a small circle area that you can tap on and then it brings up a little popup in which you hit “Device” and then “Lock Screen”. This is still clumsy because it requires multiple taps and also because that little circle is constantly in my way – you can drag it around, but there’s no area of the screen where it’s not annoying some of the time. I have “Triple-click Home” set to AssistiveTouch so I can do a triple click to toggle the dot, but it’s hard to get the device to recognize the triple tap and it tends to be very laggy. Honestly, it’s almost worse than having the dot there all the time.

Another problem that I only recently solved a few days ago is how to take a screenshot on a lock-button-challenged device. On a normal device, you hold down the home button and hit the lock button to take a screenshot. This doesn’t work when your lock button doesn’t work of course. But it turns out that the virtual lock button in AssistiveTouch will emulate a lock button for the purpose of taking a screenshot as well! So to take a screenshot:

  1. Tap the AssistiveTouch dot.
  2. Tap “Device”.
  3. Hold down the Home button while tapping “Lock Screen”.


There is some more info about the AssistiveTouch feature (including a video) at the Assistive Technology Blog.

Find my iPhone weirdness and how I fixed it

A few weeks ago, my wife lost her iPhone 4 and we bought another one. When I set up the phone in iTunes, I did a restore of the backup of her old phone and everything worked great. Except that I could not get her phone to show up in Find my iPhone. I tried numerous times to delete and add the MobileMe account and I could not get the phone to show up. Not in; not in the Find my iPhone app on my iPhone; not even in the Find my iPhone app on her own phone!

There was another weird symptom. When I tried to switch off Find my iPhone it instantly switched back on. This is kind of hard to explain, so here’s a video that shows the problem.

Deleting the MobileMe account and adding it back did not fix it. FMiP still switched itself back on.
Restoring to a previous backup did not fix it.
Restoring as new worked but it nuked all of my wife’s data, so I would then have to do a lot of manual restoring.

My fix:

  1. Restore iPhone to latest backup with all of the data. All data now there, but FMiP switches itself back on again. (Tried deleting and recreating MobileMe account. No dice.)
  2. Go to and remove the iPhone.
  3. On the iPhone, delete the MobileMe account
  4. Add the MobileMe account back again, but set Find my iPhone to off initially.
  5. Go back into the MobileMe account and turn FMiP on. Answer yes to two prompts – one that syncing will be disabled and one that location will be tracked.
  6. Refresh, iPhone shows up! On the iPhone, I can now turn FMiP on and off at will!


Workaround for TV show sorting bug in iOS 4.2

I downloaded a bunch of TV shows to our two iPhone 4’s yesterday. Everything looked great on my iPhone 4 (running iOS 4.3), but the iPod application on Nicole’s iPhone 4 (running iOS 4.2.1) showed the TV shows sorted incorrectly – episodes from two different shows showed up under the same show. Since this happened only on Nicole’s iPhone, I am guessing that this is a problem in iOS 4.2 that was fixed in iOS 4.3.

After some searching, I found a workaround here:

…adding the Artist, Album, and Album Artist as the name of the TV show…

This worked like a charm and now the shows sort properly on both phones.

Xcode/iPhone error 0xE8000001: problem and fix

As you all probably know, I’ve written a word game for the iPhone called Word Up!

reacquainted - 288 points

Tonight, I started getting an error while trying to run my app from Xcode on my device (provisioned for development). The error was:

Your mobile device has encountered an unexpected error (0xE8000001)
during the install phase: Copying file.
Try disconnecting and powering off the device; then power the device
on and reconnect it.

I tried resetting the device a number of times and rebooting my MBP as well to no avail. It was beginning to look like I was going to have to do the dreaded restore and then lose all the cool jailbreak stuff that I’ve become so accustomed to. And then that made me remember that because my device is jailbroken, I can ssh to it and poke around. I wondered if a previous failed copy left some garbage on the device that was causing subsequent copies to fail.

iPhone:/ root# find . -name 'Word Up*'
./private/var/mobile/Media/PublicStaging/Word Up!.app
iPhone:/ root# cd /var/mobile/Media/PublicStaging/
iPhone:/var/mobile/Media/PublicStaging root# rm -rf Word\ Up\!.app/

Bingo. That fixed it. So if you hit this problem and you happen to have access to the filesystem of the device, give it a shot.