Walt Mossberg

Recent Columns by Walt Mossberg


Secret New iPhone Features


One of the nice things about the iPhone is that, like the iPod, it can be easily updated by Apple with new features and bug fixes. When such new software is available, you are notified the next time you plug your iPhone into your computer and the new stuff is downloaded into the phone automatically.

Apple issued its first iPhone update this week. And, while the company billed it as merely a bug-fix and security-improvement patch, in fact it has several small feature improvements that Apple hasn’t announced or documented. These aren’t the big items, like an instant-messaging program, which may come later. But they make the phone nicer to use. Here are a few of these hidden new features I discovered after performing the update:

  • In the Favorites list in the Phone module, the iPhone’s equivalent of a speed-dial list, you can now have 50 entries instead of 20. This matches the capacity of the quick-dial list on the Palm OS version of the Treo.
  • In the email module, you can now automatically BCC yourself on every message you send, allowing you to get a copy without revealing to the sender that you are doing so. In the original iPhone software build, this option (in the Settings menu under “Mail”) only allowed you to CC yourself, which told the sender you were getting a copy and cluttered the address fields.
  • The iPhone can now play music through many previously incompatible car adapters and other external speakers originally designed for the iPod. In the first software build, the phone wasn’t recognized as a music source by some of these devices, which get the music through the iPod connector on the bottom rather than the headphone jack. For instance, after I did the update, I was suddenly able to route the iPhone’s music output through my car iPod adapter, which the iPhone had previously recognized only as a charger, even though it acted as both a charger and an audio adapter for my iPod.

I’m sure readers have found some other secret features in this first iPhone update. Let me know what they are.

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