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iPhone 3.0 beta firmware FAQ

Ryan Block, @ryan

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While most people would probably agree that 3.0 doesn't represent a revolutionary upgrade for iPhone users, it's still large (and interesting) enough to warrant tons of questions, which we've been collecting to answer in a FAQ about the beta. Feel free to submit some more below! Just remember that just about anything can change between now and the final launch of 3.0 -- it is a beta, after all.

So, how do I get this thing?
Well, unfortunately you need to be part of the developer program (which costs $99).

Whatevs, I just got it off of BitTorrent!
Okay, but it may not work. Your iPhone's unique ID must be authorized for the 3.0 upgrade, and Apple checks that. So until someone cracks the 3.0 beta firmware image, you have to be a registered developer, or know somebody who can hook you up, pretty much.

How did installation go? From Miqal
Running it on a non-jailbroken device, it went smoothly. Took about as much time as your traditional restore. Just be warned: from what I've been hearing, once you go to 3.0, you can't go back to 2.0. (Apple must have changed some of the baseband firmware or something, no real surprise.) Update: been hearing it IS possible to go back to 2.0 from 3.0, but be warned, it could require some baseband hacking and god knows what else, so it'd be wise to prepare for the worst.

How's performance been? I heard it's really sluggish.
Actually, it's been pretty good for me so far! Spotlight is actually faster than I expected and the rest of the common interactions feels the same as 2.2. I'm going to continue to keep an eye out for issues, but so far things have been humming along nicely. [Interestingly, Nilay, Ross, and Chris have all reported occasional slowness, proof that Ryan's zen-like patience is a virtue. -Ed.]

Do all of your apps sync? Do they work okay? From Kwarren and davidiom
So far, yes, I haven't seen anything really go missing. 3.0 isn't a fundamental architectural change, so I don't think most apps need to be re-worked to function. Granted, there have been a few apps which have definitely given me some trouble when running in 3.0 (like the Peanut Butter Jelly Time! app -- don't you judge me), but so far I've run into very few problems and apps have been working mostly without much issue. As always, with something like this your mileage may vary.

Is it stable enough for real use?

So far, yes -- if you're an Engadget reader, you're probably an early adopter-type who's willing to deal with a little pain. So far 3.0 has been pretty good, I wouldn't try to talk anyone out of it (unless they had some crucial apps that weren't yet working in 3.0, or needed it to be unlocked or jailbroken).

Does Spotlight let search the apps on the phone?
Yep. If you've got pages and pages of apps, it'll make finding them much easier. It also keeps your last search and its results open, if you want to refer back to it.

Does the iPod app do anything significantly different?
Yes! For audiobooks and podcasts there's a playback speed option now (1/2, 1, and 2x), a 30 second replay (á la TiVo), and some mail function which isn't yet implemented. There's also variable-rate scrubbing for that content -- you drag your finger down away from the play head to make the scrubbing more precise. Oh, and they finally fixed that annoying bug where some chaptered podcasts are downloaded over the air as video.

Does copy/paste extend to the URL bar in Safari? From jomolungma
Yes! Copy and paste has been working in a lot more places than I might have expected, even (especially in 3rd party apps).

Does Safari's new login auto-fill sync back to OS X's Keychain? From compboss17
So far it doesn't look like Keychain flows in either direction. That may or may not change in the future, but for now it's best not to expect that.

Are file upload fields enabled in Safari? From Tom W
Nope, looks like they're still disabled.

Did Apple add more search engines to pick from in the Safari preferences? From 54M
Nope, still just Google and Yahoo.

Does 3.0 allow you to record video?
Apple announced over 1,000 new APIs in iPhone OS 3.0, but video wasn't mentioned. Video recording isn't present in the default app set as of right now, but I wouldn't entirely rule it out. We'll have to wait for a thorough audit of all the new changes to know for sure, though, whether video will be possible. I will say this, though: if Apple had enabled video recording support, I'm pretty sure they would have taken a moment to mention that yesterday.

Does iPhone 3.0 syncing work for Entourage / Outlook / Exchange Notes? From Tom L
Haven't tested exchange notes sync, but so far I can confirm that OS X notes are properly syncing to your desktop. So your iPhone's notes are now readable on your Mac via Mail (and vice versa).

Can you send contact cards any other way than MMS? From adamreeve
Yes! Now contact cards have a little button that says "Share contact," which lets you send it via email or MMS.

Can you send receive contacts/files over Bluetooth from another handset, like an S60 phone? From mobiledivide
Contact cards, images, etc., are passed via MMS and email. It's feasible that you could do a P2P Bluetooth transfer to another iPhone, but someone would have to write an app to do that -- I expect that'll be one of the first apps devs get out there because it's a pretty obvious thing to do. It's just not built in.

Speaking of MMS, is MMS working?
It looks like it's working in 3.0, but it doesn't appear to be enabled on AT&T's side yet. Bottom line though: I wasn't able to send or receive MMS (but it didn't appear to be a bug or anything weird like that).

So you can edit notes in Mail on your Mac and they'll sync to your iPhone? From Macgirl

Is there a unified inbox? You know, some place where all my many mobile inboxes can funnel into on spot?
Oh man, I wish. But no, sorry, that's not on the features list this time around.

Can you rotate the calendar app to view week-by-week? From jasonact
No, that'd be nice, but there's no horizontal/landscale or week view mode in the calendar app (yet).

Does 3.0 support SMS and notes in landscape mode? From akaboxer
Yes, it does.

Is there syncing for iCal to-dos? From e3na
Not that I've seen -- there's no native to-do app or repository on any version of the iPhone, so I think this is another detail they've skipped over (again).

Is there any sort of notificaiton system other than the badged icons? From Jeff M
I haven't been able to test the notification system yet because I don't have any apps that support it (remember, this was JUST officially put out there). Apple does offer multiple methods of notification though: audio notification (which developers can customize the sound alert of), popover notification messages (which already drive people nuts, think: SMS), and the badged icons we've seen.

Does 3.0 support the in-line volume control the newer Apple headphones? From anthonyfriday
It doesn't enable in-line volume control on the iPhone 3G, unfortunately. (Play/pause, etc. still work). The iPod touch 2nd-gen should still have that function, though.

Will the $10 iPod touch 3.0 upgrade include the Bluetooth support? From Chris S
Yes, Apple mentioned that yesterday. Now that iPhone OS supports stereo Bluetooth (A2DP), Apple is going to unlock that feature on the second-gen iPod touch. (The Bluetooth chip isn't in the first-gen iPod touch, however.)

iPhone 3.0 is going to support A2DP, will it support AVRCP as well? From David R
So far it doesn't look like AVRCP (the Bluetooth profile for controlling playback, volume, etc. from your stereo Bluetooth headset) is functional. This is a pretty obvious thing to add, so I'd be surprised if it doesn't make it in -- eventually.

Can you finally disable repeated alerts?
To explain, this refers to what happens when you get, say, an SMS in 2.x. Basically your iPhone keeps beeping until you acknowledge its existence. It's horrifically annoying. And yes, dear lord, yes, you can disable that in 3.0!

Does hitting the home button from the dashboard return you to the first home screen, or Spotlight now? From Adam S
Say you're on your third page of apps: hit home once, it takes you to page 1 (as before). Hit it again a moment later, it brings up Spotlight. (You can always swipe right to get there from page 1, as well.)

What else have you seen that's worth a peek?
Well, 3.0 is sprinkled with nice UI and usability improvements throughout (like the new send meter in the messages app), but one thing I'm really stoked about is the ability to open links in new Safari tabs. I'd been hoping they'd do this: hold down a link, and you're given a prompt asking if you'd like to open the link here, in a new tab, or copy it. So nice.

Engadget editor-at-large
Ryan Block can be found crashing his beta iPhone, and readying his new site, gdgt, for launch this summer.

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