Category Archives: iPhone

missing album artwork on iPhone

After spending hours figuring out a fix for 43 GB of mysterious “other” on my iPhone a few months ago, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that I ran into yet another problem syncing my iPhone and iTunes.

This time, the problem is with an iPhone 6 running iOS 8, and iTunes 111.  I’ve got over 60GB of music on my iPhone.  One afternoon earlier this week, I noticed that after syncing my iPhone, all of my album artwork was missing.  I’ve got album artwork for everything in iTunes, and it was quite annoying to have it go missing.  I tried the basic fix, which was re-syncing the iPhone.  That didn’t work: my iPhone still didn’t have any album artwork.

Next, I decided that I would try to delete the music from my iPhone, and then re-add it.  That didn’t work.  I connected my iPhone to my Mac, unchecked “sync Music”, and then clicked the “Sync” button.  I let it go for 3 hours, and it seemed stuck.  In the Music app on my iPhone, the list of songs was constantly updating, but nothing was actually getting deleted.  So I cancelled the operation, then tried to sync again.  When I did that, I discovered that I had 60GB of “other” on my iPhone.

At least I’ve been here before.  I tried rebooting the phone, and that didn’t make a difference.  I did the same thing as last time: erased the phone and let iTunes restore it.  This time, the mysterious “other” was missing.  Of course, the sync stalled again.  I let it go for about 20 minutes before pulling the plug and restarting the sync.  On the second sync, I had a functional iPhone, but no music.  I re-checked “Sync Music”, and started yet another sync.  A couple of hours later, my iPhone had its artwork back.

All told, I lost a whole evening to this.  Come on, iTunes.  Get it together.

  1. Yes, I haven’t updated to iTunes 12. It’s so unusable, and it’s not like I have a lot of confidence that the problems that I experience are any better.

iPhone announcement anniversary

Eight years ago today, the iPhone was officially unveiled.  Since I was working for Microsoft on Office:Mac at the time, I was at the Moscone Center.  We also officially announced Office:Mac 2008 (whose previous codename was Magnesium) that week, an announcement which got overshadowed by the iPhone announcement.

I remember that announcement.  Since we were going to announce Office:Mac 2008, several of us got to sit in the VIP section for the Stevenote.  Behind me in the VIP queue was the guitarist of Cheap Trick, which meant that I knew who the super-secret band was for the Macworld Blast party that night.  During the Stevenote, I sat next to my then-manager.  Just before it began, he told several of us that he was sick of seeing John Mayer at these things, and he swore he was going to storm the stage in protest if Mayer showed up again.  He didn’t, but we had a lot of fun coming up with what the headlines in the tech press would’ve been.

I also remember the announcement because that’s the time that I got blind-quoted by Cult of Mac.  I remember the calls that night to let the PR team know that it was me.  They told me that no-one else would notice this thing because nothing was going to get column inches if it wasn’t iPhone-related.  I was still freaked out.  They were, of course, right.  (It does mean that when I got approached a few months ago by the self-same writer of that story to do an interview, I laughed and laughed and laughed.)

Looking back at my blog post that considered what little we knew about the UX of the iPhone, it’s fun to see what I got right and what I didn’t.  I guess it’s a toss-up about whether I was right about scrolling behavior, since the iPhone and Mac scrolling behavior was divergent for awhile, but now has converged to the iPhone model, and scrollbars have mostly disappeared, too.  I was right about the apps that I can’t delete.  I still have a stock ticker that I never use, and there are even more apps that I can’t get rid of.  Tips?  Really, Apple?  Tips is like Clippy but even less useful.

My iPhone immediately replaced my iPod, and I effectively haven’t used one since.  Once my iPhone got Exchange support, and thus I could stop trying to use Exchange Web Access 2007 on my iPhone1, my iPhone became something that I didn’t let out of my sight.  And, ever since I got that launch-day no-subsidy iPhone, I don’t think I’ve let an iPhone out of my sight.  I’ve got an iPad to keep my iPhone company, too.  The iPhone replaced my flip phone, my Palm, and my iPod.  My iPad hasn’t replaced anything, although it has reduced my laptop usage some.  Perhaps when the iPad hits its eighth anniversary, it will have replaced more.

  1. Now that was a website not optimized for mobile!

43 GB of mysterious “other” on my iPhone

This afternoon, I ran into a problem with iTunes 8 and iOS 8 on my iPhone 5.  When I connected my iPhone, iTunes said that I had 43 GB of “other” data on my phone.  I had no idea what it was.

After much wrangling, I finally came up with a solution that did work.

On the iPhone, I erased it (Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase All Content and Settings).  Then, after the iPhone finished erasing, I reconnected it to iTunes, and let it restore from backup.  At first, I thought it didn’t work because the iTunes screen still showed the big yellow bar of “other” data.  A couple of minutes later, it refreshed, and suddenly I had <1GB of “other”.  I did have to reboot my phone and my Mac a couple of times each during this process to get it to work, and I had to sync twice to get all onto the phone.


(Edited to add in some reboots.)

in retrospect

I gave a talk at AltConf a few weeks ago entitled “user research for awesome products”.  In it, I used quotes from the launch of the iPhone to illustrate the central tenets of user research and how it contributes to making a fantastic product.  During the talk, I reminded my audience that the most popular phone in 2007 was the Motorola Razr flip phone.  I discussed some of the shortcomings of flip phones of the era, such as texting and taking pictures.  I also talked about how we didn’t didn’t perceive them as shortcomings because they were as good as or better than any alternative we had.  I discussed other ways the iPhone understood our needs and used the technology to support the goals of real live people.

When I read a recent Gizmodo piece about someone who gave up their iPhone for a month in exchange for a Razr, it all felt quite familiar.  In retrospect, the Razr feels weird and clunky and useless.  At the time, the Razr was awesome.  Smartphones have changed how we communicate with others, navigate our world, and spend our spare time.  Her article is a great companion piece to my talk, full of examples of how much our expectations have changed as a result of the iPhone.

I need a new password manager

I need a new password management application.  The one that I had previously been using (which won’t get named here) has been deleted due to anti-employee actions.  I’m looking for a password manager that works well on my Mac, allows for syncing passwords with multiple computers, and preferably has an iOS app too.

How to get Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iPhoto, and iMovie for free on your new iPad

I succumbed, and bought a new retina iPad Mini this weekend.  My old iPad, the first release of the iPad 2, was showing its age on iOS7.  Apps were running slower, and the spiffiness of the newest iPads had me thinking about an upgrade.  Based on specs, I couldn’t make the decision between the iPad Air and the iPad Mini; in-store playing with the two iPads side-by-side, I knew that I wanted the iPad Mini within seconds.

I knew that new iOS 7 devices (anything purchased after September 1, 2013) were supposed to get iPhoto, iMovie, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers for free.  After I had transferred everything from my iPad 2 to my new iPad Mini, I opened up the App Store to download these apps.  But they all showed their full price, and didn’t show that they were free for new devices.  My husband also purchased an iPad Mini at the same time (upgrading from the short-lived iPad 3), and the apps all showed up free for him.  If you’re like me and the apps didn’t show up for free, here’s what worked for me to get it:

  1. Quit all apps: double-tap your Home button and swipe every running app up to fully quit out of it).
  2. Clear out Safari’s caches: Open up the Settings app, tap on Safari, then “clear history” and “clear cookies and data”.
  3. Try downloading the apps again: Open up the App Store and search for one of them.  It should show up as “free” now.

The support page says that you’re supposed to be presented with a dialog offering to download all of them for you when you launch the App Store, but that wasn’t the case for me.  I had to individually search them all out.

On my first attempt to do this, it mostly worked.  I was able to search for and install Keynote, Numbers, iPhoto, and iMovie.  However, Pages behaved strangely: it showed up for free, and when I tapped on it to install, I would get the round progress indicator and then the “free” button again.  I tried a couple of times without success.  I finally waited for the other apps to finish installing, verified that they had all worked correctly, and then repeated the steps outlined above.  This time, when I searched for Pages, there wasn’t a “free” or “install” button, just the round button that had previously indicated progress.  When I tapped on it, I got a message saying that I had already purchased the app and that it would download it again to my iPad.  It did, it works, and I haven’t yet seen a charge for it.  As far as I can tell, it has worked.  I can’t explain why everything except Pages behaved well, but at least I was able to finally install it.

I couldn’t find this documented anywhere else, so I’m sharing it in case someone else has the same problem.

MacIT 2014 call for speakers

The MacIT 2014 Call for Speakers is now live.  MacIT will be held in San Francisco, California, on March 26-29, 2014.  In short, we’re looking for people who have experience as Mac system administrators who want to share their expertise and network with other Mac sysadmins.

Personally, here are some things for which I’d love to see MacIT proposals:

  • creating heterogeneous IT environments — How did you go from a homogeneous environment to a heterogeneous one?  What did you learn along the way?  What would you do differently?  What caused you to move to a heterogeneous environment?
  • integrating Macs and iOS into enterprise IT — How did you manage the transition?  How did you train your staff?  What changes did you have to make to your infrastructure?
  • Mac virtualization beyond the desktop — Don’t get me wrong, I love the Fusion team and use it myself, but there’s a lot more to virtualization than just running Fusion on your desktop.  What are you using to provide a virtual Mac infrastructure?  What kinds of applications are you using in your virtual Mac infrastructure?  What kinds of users use your virtual Mac infrastructure?

The Call for Speakers has additional topic ideas, too.  Don’t feel limited by what I’ve listed here!

If you’re interested in speaking at MacIT but aren’t sure if you’ve got a good topic, I’d be happy to chat with you and brainstorm an awesome topic for you.  Just ping me.

how do I transfer iTunes metadata about iPhone and iPad?

I have hit a second snag in moving my iTunes 11 library on my old Mac to iTunes 10 on my new Mac.

When I plug in my iPhone, which was previously syncing with my old Mac, to my new Mac, I get the warning that this iPhone is synced with another Mac. I’m given the option of either erasing it and syncing it, or doing nothing. I would be happy to let it erase and sync since all of the content that is on the iPhone is on the new Mac. However, the vast majority of the 64GB of content on my device is music, and I really don’t want to have to go through all of the playlists and artists and albums and configure which ones get synced.

Other than manually rebuilding this information, is there any other way to do this? All of the content that’s on the phone is on the new Mac, so I’m not trying to transfer content off of the iPhone. I just don’t want to have to go through and manually configure what syncs to the iPhone and what doesn’t. I have the same issue with my iPad 2 syncing with the new Mac: same error message, all of the content is on both the iPad and the new Mac, I don’t want to have to rebuild the list of what syncs and what doesn’t (which is about which movies and books sync).

I still have the old Mac and its old iTunes library. I would try to reimport the iTunes library, but I’ve added a bunch of content to the new iTunes library before I tried to sync with my iPhone. Moving to iTunes 11 on the new Mac is not an option. I’d rather take the time to rebuild the sync lists rather than do that.