Apr 262012

One common question amongst iPhone users since the phone’s first release was “How do I change the new mail tone?” Although this somewhat natural feature was previously missing, this option is finally available, beginning with iOS 5 (available for the iPhone 3GS and higher). As we will see, users now have the option to set custom mail sent, mail received, and other notification sounds, using their choice of the iPhone’s built-in ringtones, custom ringtone files (which can include custom notification tones, of course), or custom ringtones available for purchase from the iTunes store.

To get started, open the Settings app, and tap “Sounds”

Now, after scrolling a bit, you will see the different notification sounds which you can customize. These include the New Voicemail alert, the New Mail alert, the Sent Mail alert, and more.

Selecting one of these alerts shows you the tones available to use in place of the default.

Select the sound that you would like to use, and you’re all set!

Apr 262012

This post will be a short one. While playing around with iMessage today, I noticed that you can send animated GIFs and they will animate within iMessages both for you and for the recipient. One item of note, however, is that the image will not animate within Photos.app, which seems to include clicking the message to show the image full-screen.

In case you are wondering what source you may use for GIFs, I’ve found that browsing to a website with animated GIFs on Safari works. Simply press-and-hold on the image, and select “Copy” from the resulting menu. Then, in Messages, tap in the text area and choose “Paste”.

Apr 262012

At least several people have ended up at this blog because they were searching for a way to disable iMessage. I recently warned about iMessage’s fallback to SMS, with the end-point being that such a fallback should be disabled. Some people wish to disable the use of iMessage completely. I think that disabling iMessage entirely is a bit extreme, and while I haven’t yet thought of a usage scenario to suggest that one stop using iMessage (feel free to comment below!), especially with the consideration that iMessage uses very small amounts of data and, in contrast, text messages are quite expensive, I will provide the instructions to disable it in this post.

First, load the “Settings” app on your iPhone, and select “Messages”:

Next, tap the word “On”, to the in the “iMessage” column, to move the slider from the “ON” position:

When you are done, the slider next to “iMessage” should read “OFF“, as seen below:

And that’s all! Note that to re-enable iMessage, simply slide the iMessage slider back to the “ON” position (you will need to accept the data use warning, and you may need to re-enter your Apple ID password, if you use iMessage through your Apple ID as well as phone number).

Apr 262012

Update:I recently blogged about disabling iMessage. To view that post, see: Disabling iMessage.

One important thing to remember when using Apple’s iMessage in the recently-released iOS 5 is that, by default, your iPhone will fallback to SMS if the iMessage service is unavailable during a conversation with another iOS 5 user. While this may not matter much if you’re chatting with another iPhone user in your country and you both have text messaging plans, if youtext message any iOS user in another country, I strongly recommend disabling this option. Why? Because if your conversation falls back to SMS, then you will be charged for that international text message by your operator, and the fees are generally quite heavy (generally about $0.25/message, depending on the operator).

In this post, I will provide an example what you will see if you drop back to SMS from iMessage, and show you how to disable this option. Note: Disabling the option to “Send As SMS” does not affect regular SMS messaging, as far as I can tell. It should only stop your iPhone from sending an SMS in place of an iMessage, in the event that the iMessage service is for some reason unreachable when you’re already in an iMessage discussion.

A message sent as an SMS after it failed to send through iMessage.

A message sent as an SMS after it failed to send through iMessage.

To disable this option, load the “Settings” app on your iPhone, and select “Messages”:

Now, tap the slider by “Send As SMS” and ensure that it is turned OFF.

NOTE: In my testing, this still does not work as well as we might expect/hope. My test message with data disabled in an iMessage conversation did not seem to send (though it did not error out, and did eventually send when data was re-enabled), however, when I closed the Messages app and reopened it, the text bar went from “iMessage” to “Text Message”, and did send a new message as a text message without any other notification. Bottom line: Still be very careful when using iMessage with someone overseas!

Apr 232012

Due to unfortunate circumstances, this blog has received another “reboot”.  I’m hoping to get some of the previous content back up soon, and of course, some new material out as well.

Stay tuned!