Mossberg’s Mailbox

Switching Networks for an iPhone

Published on April 1, 2009
by Walt Mossberg

Here are a few questions I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability.

I am utterly fascinated with the iPhone. Dying to get one. I’ve been a Verizon Wireless person for 15 years and have never had a coverage problem in the metro Boston area. I don’t hear great things about AT&T’s 3G. Do you think it’s worth the switch?

While I believe the iPhone is a marvelous device, I have always advised that nobody should get any phone unless it is on a network that they are sure works to their satisfaction in the areas where they will use it. Personally, I find AT&T’s network adequate where I use it, and getting better, so I am happy with my iPhone. But there are many others who have either given up their iPhones out of frustration with AT&T, or who have decided against buying one because they prefer another carrier, or want to avoid AT&T.

So, my advice is to ask friends around Boston who have iPhones or other AT&T 3G devices how they feel about the network. You might also enter your ZIP Code at some Web sites that track overall carrier coverage and dead zones, like, or

If this research suggests you should avoid AT&T, but you are still “dying” for an iPhone, you might consider the iPod Touch, which is essentially an iPhone without the cellphone inside. It lacks the iPhone’s camera, GPS and built-in microphone, but it does connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi and runs the vast majority of iPhone apps. It doesn’t carry any monthly fee or require a carrier contract.

How do I forward an email from Gmail? I don’t see any icon for forwarding messages like I do on other email programs.

Gmail hides a bunch of menu choices under the Reply icon in the upper-right-hand corner of open emails. If you click on the small downward arrow next to the Reply icon, you will see more actions you can take on the message, including Forward, Reply to All, Print and others.

I read your recent article on IE8 and installed it on my desktop. I did not notice in your article any mention of IE8 slowing the computer down significantly, but it has had this effect on my PC. Why didn’t you mention it? Can I uninstall IE8 and return to the prior version?

I didn’t mention the problem you are having because I never observed that Internet Explorer 8 caused any general slowdown of any of the multiple Windows PCs on which I tested it. I did warn that IE8 itself grew sluggish when it had a large number of Web sites open simultaneously in tabs, but, in my tests, even that didn’t slow down the whole computer.

However, you can indeed uninstall IE8 and return to the previous version. Microsoft has provided complete instructions, and even an automated uninstall program, at:

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