Understanding New Software With Old Batteries

batteriesI’ve come across lots of tweets, blog posts, and in-person comments regarding battery life on older devices after having upgraded to iOS 7.  While I know many people simply enjoy complaining, perhaps a dose of knowledge will help ease misguided anger.

There are two primary factors in the degradation of lithium-ion batteries.  The first is charge cycles. Apple rates iPhone batteries at 400 charge cycles.1 An iPhone battery that has been recharged more than 400 times will experience decreased performance. Second, these batteries have an expiration date. The useful life of a lithium-ion battery is two to three years, even if it goes through zero charge cycles.2 The battery in an iPhone 4s purchased at launch in October 2011 has likely reached the end of its usable life.

iOS 7 was launched alongside new iPhone models with improved batteries. New, more power-intensive features were likely developed with the new battery technology in mind. Older devices not only have previous generation battery technology, but those batteries are approaching, if not already past, their usable life cycle.

If you’re not ready to upgrade your device, but your battery has exceeded its usable life in charge cycles, age, or both, You can purchase a new battery at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

1: http://www.apple.com/batteries/iphone.html
2: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/everyday-tech/lithium-ion-battery2.htm

Email to SMS Gateways

System administrators may find themselves wanting to send SMS messages to mobile devices for a variety of reasons, such as sending over the air enrollment invitations to devices to be enrolled with the Casper Suite. Many carriers, though certainly not all, employ an SMS gateway that allows email messages to be received by the carrier’s gateway and in turn transmitted to devices as SMS messages. In some cases, MMS messages are supported as well.

Addressing a mobile phone number through one of these gateways is accomplished by sending an email to @. For example, a Verizon Wireless phone with the number 212-555-1212 can receive SMS messages at the email address 2125551212@vtext.com.

Below, find listed the SMS gateway domains I have been able to find for official iPhone carriers. Where I’ve been able to find the pertinent information, I have noted carriers with special considerations, such as an activation process. The note “difficulties reported” indicates domains that are frequently referenced as not working. If your carrier isn’t listed below, I recommend contacting their customer service line to find out if they offer an SMS gateway. if they do, ask for the domain name and whether activation is required. If you discover any domains not listed below, I’d appreciate a comment on this article so I can update it for future reference.

Carrier Domain Country
AT&T (SMS) txt.att.net United States
AT&T (MMS) mms.att.net United States
Boost Mobile myboostmobile.com United States
C Spire cspire1.com United States
Cricket sms.mycricket.com United States
MetroPCS mymetropcs.com United States
Sprint messaging.sprintpcs.com United States
T-Mobile tmomail.net United States
U.S. Cellular email.uscc.net United States
Verizon Wireless (SMS) vtext.com United States
Verizon Wireless (MMS) vzwpix.com United States
Virgin Mobile vmobl.com United States
Telstra onlinesms.telstra.com
• Note the absence of .au
Optus optusmobile.com.au Australia
Vodafone Service not offered Australia
Bell txt.bell.ca Canada
Fido fido.ca Canada
Koodoo msg.koodomobile.com Canada
MTS text.mtsmobility.com Canada
Rogers pcs.rogers.com Canada
Sasktel sms.sasktel.com Canada
Telus msg.telus.com Canada
Virgin Mobile vmobile.ca Canada
3 three.co.uk United Kingdom
EE mms.ee.co.uk
• Difficulties reported
United Kingdom
O2 mmail.co.uk
• Include +44
• Must activate by texting “EMAIL” to 2020
United Kingdom
Orange omail.net
• Difficulties reported
United Kingdom
T-Mobile t-mobile.uk.net
• Include leading “0” in number
• Must be activated via customer service line or account web portal
• May not be functioning since joining EE alliance
• Unverified
United Kingdom
Vodafone vodafone.net United Kingdom
O2 o2online.de
• Use leading 0
Telekom (T-Mobile) t-d1-sms.de
• Use 12 digit number, leading 0
• Use 11 digit number
Vodafone vodafone-sms.de
• Use leading 0
Orange search ongoing France
SFR sfr.fr France
Bouygues Telecom mms.bouyguestelecom.fr
• Difficulties reported
Virgin Mobile search ongoing France
Free search ongoing France
1010 csl1010.com Hong Kong
Three sms.three.com.hk Hong Kong
Broadway search ongoing Hong Kong
Fortress search ongoing Hong Kong
one2free search ongoing Hong Kong
SmarTone search ongoing Hong Kong
Wilson Communications search ongoing Hong Kong
Softbank username@softbank.ne.jp
• Note username is used, not phone number
Mobily Gateway not offered Saudi Arabia
STC Support did not respond Saudi Arabia

IPSW File Primer

ipswBecause I have been asked a few times, here’s some basic information about IPSW files used by iOS devices for a short Friday post.

IPSW files (iPod Software) are the files used by iTunes, Apple Configurator, and Xcode to restore or update an iOS device’s firmware.  This includes the iOS operating system and the built-in apps.  These files are compressed archives and can be downloaded manually from Apple’s iOS Dev Center, or automatically using iTunes or Apple Configurator.  Once updated, there is no Apple-supported method for downgrading iOS on a device.

There is a different .ipsw file for each iOS version and device model.  For example, an iPhone 5, iPad Mini Wi-Fi, iPad Mini Wi-Fi + Cellular, and a 4th Generation iPod Touch can all run iOS 6.1.2, but they will each use a different .ipsw file to install the iOS system software.

Looking at the name of an .ipsw file, we can learn all we need to know about its contents.  For example, an ipsw file called…


…is for a 4th Generation iPod Touch, as indicated by “iPod4,1”, which is known as the model identifier for this product. After the first underscore, we find the commonly used version number of the iOS software contained within – in this case, 6.1.2.  Next, we find the build number, or developers’ detailed version number – in this case, 10B146. After the final underscore, we see “Restore.ipsw” which is the common suffix for every .ipsw file.

Restoring a Locked iOS Device

iPhone4If you work with, support, or own iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), you probably have or will encounter a situation where you have a locked device but have lost, forgotten or never knew the passcode.

Using Device Firmware Update (DFU) mode, you can get the device back to a factory state.  This will wipe all of the data on the device, but  from there, you can restore a backup or set it up as a new device.

Here’s the procedure:

  1. Plug the device into a computer that has an iTunes installation.
  2. Launch iTunes.
  3. Press and hold the Power button and the Home button at the same time.
  4. Hold both buttons for 10 seconds
  5. After 10 seconds, release the Power button but continue to hold the Home button.
  6. iTunes will display a dialog stating that it has detected a device in recovery mode, giving you the option to restore the device.

In DFU mode, the device’s screen will remain completely black. If you see the Apple logo, the device has simply rebooted.  Repeat the steps above and be careful with the timing on steps 4 and 5.

iPhone OS 3.0: The Medical Tricorder

So, there are about a bazillion blogs talking about the iPhone update.  I don’t have any exclusive insider info.  I’ll spare you the details you’ve already read about 3,000 times by now.  What I want to talk about are possibilities for the medical field.

One image that stuck in my head from the Apple presentation was one of a sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff) plugged into an iPhone.  Then, when the Johnson & Johnson representative described the blood glucose meter, I was struck by the possibilities.  A doctor equipped with an iPhone (or iPod Touch) can get multiple vital sign readings in a digital device which can upload that data to a database, which could be encoded in some sort of national health database, or encoded in a chip inside a MedicAlert style bracelet.  This way, all of the data from your last checkup is instantly available to doctors or emergency medical personnel.  Apple may have just enabled the creation of Dr. McCoy’s medical tricorder.

What’s great about this is that it’s a relatively inexpensive consumer device.  For the cost of a desktop or laptop Mac (with an Xserve as a desirable, but not strictly necessary, option), an iPhone or iPod touch, some medical peripherals for the mobile device, and the services of a system integrator, a doctor can have this system set up fairly quickly and inexpensively.  Over time, the cost of these systems should be less than the square footage needed to store those immense filing cabinets of patient records found in doctors’ offices.  As long as all data is stored in open standards compliant systems, the data will be portable to other doctors, hospitals EMTs, or whomever needs access to the info.