While the iPhone is going to be great, there may be a few things that we might find lacking. So here are some hopefully useful shortcuts to get around some of the iPhones “missing features.”

Uploading photos to the Web:

Even though we don’t have a special 3rd party photo uploading tool on the iPhone like we do on the Mac, many web2.0 photo sharing services provide other means of uploads. One of the most popular is Flickr.com. Flickr provides its users a special email address that will receive and post your image. Log into flickr.com and then go here to find your special email address. To provide more detail to your uploaded image, here’s a cheat sheet:

subject line = title

body = description

tags = in the email’s body or subject put “tags:” followed by the tags as you would normally add them to a flickr photo.

limiting who can see your photos = in the prefix (just before the “@”) of your special flickr email, add “+friends” for friends only, add “+family” for family only, “+ff” for friends and family, and lastly, “+private” to make the images only visible to you.

Of course, this isn’t specific to iPhone, so if you want to use this method to post your Flickr photos, it should work just fine.


iPhone so far is email and SMS texting only; no native iChat client yet. However, there may be a few ways to get around that limitation.

IM over SMS: iChat on the Mac gives you the ability to send SMS messages and have a two-way conversation that way. To do this, launch iChat on your Mac, using the phone number of person you’d like to message with, in the File menu, select “New Chat with Person…”. You’ll next receive a chat window with a drop down box with AIM pre-selected, and an area that lets you add a person’s address. Here you will add a person’s phone number, but use the prefix “+1” before the number. So, if the person’s number you want to text is: (202) 555-1212, then you’d put +12025551212 in this text field.

After you do that and send your first message, AIM will notify you that the message has been sent through their SMS gateway, but shortly thereafter, the mobile user (or hopefully iPhone user) will be able to reply to you directly.

I’m still testing this on my own Nokia cell phone, but I believe you can initiate a message from the mobile as well. To do this, create a text message and in the address put “265060” and in the body of your message, type out the username with a colon and then the rest of your message. So, if the name of the user you want to send to is “iloveiphone24”, then start out the body of the message with “iloveiphone24:”, without the quotes.

Remember, if you’re an iPhone subscriber, the default plan “only” gives you 200 messages a month, so you might consider using this sparingly.

IM over the Web: There may yet be some web-based alternatives for IM. The issue really comes down to how the web-app is enabled. For the iPhone, it has to be basic, unfortunately, and that means no Flash or Java (javascript is okay). For the moment, that knocks out eBuddy (though they say Safari support is coming soon—hopefully that means the iPhone too).

Since I don’t have an iPhone in hand, I’ve tried to setup the next best thing—my Mac with Safari Beta 3, with all plugins and Java disabled (javascript still enabled). Here were the two IM over the Web services I tried:

  • Meebo functioned just fine, and appears only to need java-script enabled. This fantastic web-app gives you access to AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, and MSN Live Messenger. It’s all text based, no voice or anything super advanced. Granted, formatted for a MacBook’s resolution, I had no problems. We’ll see how things look on the iPhone, but some comments on the Meebo Blog suggest that those lucky few with an iPhone already are have used the service and it works fine.

  • AIM Express from AOL worked fine on my Mac but didn’t function with javascript turned off, so hopefully that’s a good sign for future iPhone users that it will function just fine. Again, very basic access to AIM, but if you need it in a pinch, it’s likely AIM Express will do the job on the iPhone.

What apps do you think are missing from iPhone and how do you plan to get around it?

PS—Are there any MacCast readers who plan on standing in line on Friday for the iPhone, who live in the Washington, DC area? I’m still figuring things out, but I think I’m going to Fashion Center at Pentagon City, but the more friends in line, the better! It might be helpful to coordinate amongst ourselves, so I started a thread in the MacCast Forum. And if you’re in DC and plan on standing in line, please let me know—line buddies are a good thing!

There are 9 comments on iPhone Tips: Some hopefully temporary work arounds:

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  1. Dylan Stewart | Jun 30 2007 - 12:00

    I have my iPhone… but I am already annoyed. I am a full-time Mac-guru, so I know my way around things, but I run my business off my treo, and I use Now Contact & Now-Up-To-Date to sync my phone. iCal and AddressBook are OK programs, but neither of them is robust enough to handle my address and calendar needs. I wish you could sync the iphone to other calendaring programs… I can make do with AddressBook for now, but iCal needs a major, major update before it can hold it’s own to real calendar solutions.

    Also, I find the first data sync to be unbearably slow, and I am desperately longing for the good old days of firewire connections… oh well…. hopefully I will be more impressed once I actually get the phone up and running with my contacts, calendar and other data.

  2. Luis | Jun 30 2007 - 05:02

    Hey, one questions,

    Would the headphones from the iPhone work with a regular iPod. The main idea is being able to pause the iPod from the cable, that is great, plus they cost the same the iPod headphones cost. So why not? Anyone has a though?

  3. Peter | Jul 01 2007 - 08:37

    Great tips! Thanks!

    To Luis: The headphones work in a regular iPod, but the start/stop control doesn’t work.

  4. Luis | Jul 01 2007 - 10:26

    Hopefully the next iPod will have similar iPhone like features and the headphone play/pause thingy too. Thanks Peter.

  5. Alex Curtis | Jul 01 2007 - 11:17

    It turns out that many of the Google apps work quite well. For instant messaging, you might try out the iGoogle.com widgets–there are ones for AIM and gTalk that work sufficiently (of course, not as well as the built in SMS application on the iPhone).

    I’ve used SMS with someone on AIM in the method explained above and it works well. However, that’s going to get expensive, but I guess that’s AT&T’s hope. For now, I’m keeping that chat method to a minimum.

    Has anyone else tried any website services with the iPhone that work well? I tried leaving a comment to this post earlier via the iPhone but the browser prevented me from filling in this field with text :-(

  6. Marty | Jul 03 2007 - 11:37

    Great tips… now we could only fast forward and get the iPhone on the Verizon network!

  7. Wayne | Jan 16 2008 - 02:32

    Learned couple things this morning.

    First, if you are reading a web page on your iPhone and you get to the bottom and want to go back to the top without scrolling you just tap the bar at the top of the screen and it zips back up to the top of the page.

    Second, although it is not obvious you can add a contact while on a call.
    While on the call, click on the Add Call button in the bottom left. Then click on the Keypad Button at the very bottom right corner. Type in the number and click the Add Contact button. Fill out the info and save.
    This was a big annoyance for me but not anymore. =)

    Now if we can just get a way to copy and paste. =P

    Sorry if these have been posted already but I didn’t see them anywhere.


  8. Zoe | Oct 23 2008 - 08:29

    Hi Scott, I use eBuddy on my iPhone
    If you go to ‘settings’ and then go to ‘contacts display’ there you can select ‘all contacts’ and then you’ll have your whole buddy list :)

  9. Michal | Dec 05 2008 - 12:40

    Thanks for these great tips