Back up iPhone SMS messages into an excel database without jailbreaking [solved]

So here’s a somewhat complicated but entirely graphical way of backing up your SMS messages from your iPhone into an excel spreadsheet. I couldn’t get Syphone to work so here is my solution.

The first thing you’ll need is iPhone Backup Extractor. It’s a mac program, but there are other cross platform backup decoders out there such as mobilesync-inspect. You’re looking for the SQLite SMS database (iPhone Backup Extractor calls it SMS.db). iPhone Backup Extractor is not compatible with iPhone OS 3.0 yet but it does work with 2.2.1. Hopefully 3.0 will work soon.

Run iPhone Backup Extractor and select your most recent backup. Scroll down to the bottom of the applications and choose iPhone OS. Choose a folder to save it in.

iPhone Extractor

Then, use an SQLite browser such as SQLite Manager (don’t know why this is a firefox addon, but it rocks) to view the database.


All of the SMSes are stored in the messages table – you can right click on it and export it as a CSV. Alternatively you could export the whole database as an SQL or XML file. But open up the CSV in excel and you’re done! Sweet!

SMSes in excel

Sync notes with iPhone 3.0 beta

I’m trying the new iPhone 3.0 OS because I’m a registered developer. So far it’s sweet! My only issues so far are that wifi had trouble connecting at first, and my notes apparently didn’t sync.
Turns out my notes were in mail. They didn’t show up in my left hand navigation bar at first, but I tried doing “new note” and just writing “test”, and then the rest of them all showed up from my iPhone. (no clue where windows would put them.)

Read Safari on the iPhone while lying down (rotation workaround) [solved]

As neat as the accelerometers on the iPhone are for switching between portrait and landscape modes, it gets to be annoying as hell trying to read when you’re lying down. You naturally hold the phone sideways when you’re lying down, and then the screen rotates, turning the text 90° away from you in landscape mode. You rotate it back and it rotates the screen 90° away again. The makers of the eReader application have already noticed this was a big issue and corrected it with a lock orientation setting. Safari, however, still does not have this.

I just figured out a workaround: lie down and turn the phone horizontally so that it goes into landscape mode. Then, continue rotating the phone upside down. Unlike the photo application which will display photos upside down, Safari will only rotate 270° and will remain in landscape mode, so you can comfortably read google reader in bed.

Sync iPhone with Google Calendar and Outlook [solved]

I have too many calendars. I’ve managed to consolidate most of them though:

First, I synced my work Outlook calendar (on my PC) to my gcal with the fantastic app Google Calendar Sync. I gave it my info and told it to sync both ways every hour.

Then, I subscribed to my google calendar in iCal: First, in google calendar, click on Settings, Calendar Settings, Calendars, [your calendar], Calendar Address: and click on ICAL. Copy this URL, and then in iCal, paste it into Calendar: Subscribe… and have it update every hour.

And you’re done! My iPhone will only sync when I connect it to the computer, which is fine with me, but you can either subscribe to mobileme for push calendar notifications, set up text messaging alerts with google calendar, or use the web-based iphone version of google calendar in Safari.

Edit: The events show up as separate calendars on your iPhone.

It looks like this currently does not work with mobileMe. You can convert the items to your personal calendar in iCal by exporting them and then importing them. See macosxhints workaround here.

How to import contacts from windows mobile to an iphone with outlook [solved]

There seem to be a variety of ways to import your contacts from your windows mobile phone to your iphone. This is how I did it. You will need: Activesync and Outlook on Windows, and Address Book and iTunes 7.7 on OS X.

1) Sync your windows mobile phone with outlook with activesync.

2) Launch Outlook (I have v. 2006) and click on contacts. Your contacts should be listed.

3) To avoid syncing all 1000+ contacts I had, I scrolled right, and clicked on the ‘Mobile Phone’ column to sort by contacts with a mobile phone number. I then selected only contacts with a mobile phone number and right clicked and chose ‘Send as Business Card’. This step might take a while because it’s creating potentially hundreds of attachments as vCards to a new email.

4) I tried emailing this to my email account on my mac. My server basically said ‘Are you crazy?’ and blocked the entire message – one for having hundreds of attachments and two because .vcf is normally a hostile file format for email attachments (lots of exploit potential in ’em).

5) However, I still had a copy of my message in my Outlook outbox, and was able to right click on the attachments and choose ‘Save all’. Then I transferred the folder I saved them in to my mac.

6) Simply double clicking on one attachment opened address book and asked me ‘do you want to import 1 contact?’ I clicked yes. Then I selected the rest and dragged them to address book, and it asked me if I wanted to import the rest and I clicked yes.

7) Plug your iphone in, click sync in iTunes and you’re done!

Other options I can think of:

• Take your sim card and put it in the iphone with the sim card ejection tool and go to Settings > Mail, Contacts and Calendars > Import SIM Contacts. I’m not sure if it will let you get this far if the card is from another network.

This link says you can click on the ‘MessageSave’ outlook toolbar button and select ‘Save all messages in folder Contacts’ and choose vCard in the format field, but this didn’t work for me (I don’t have that icon).

Mark all as read – Windows Mobile Messaging [solved]

This is such a microsoft way of doing things. Sure there’s a way to do it, but we’re just going to provide the source code in this SDK, and it’s up to you to compile it.
Anyway, here is a link to an installer that gives you a menu option to mark all messages as read in windows mobile. It also allows you to delete all:
It says it’s for Windows Mobile 2005 but I had no problem running it in Windows Mobile 6. By the way, kicks ass.
Thank god. I have 6 email accounts on my phone, some of which subscribe to mailing lists, and it was a pain in the ass to select them all with the stylus and mark them as read. Worse yet, if you selected a read email, first you had to mark it unread, and then mark them all read.

Slide to Unlock with Windows Mobile [solved]

This is my new favorite program for my T-mobile Wing:

Yes, it’s an iphone ripoff, but whatever. Not only does it prevent my phone from calling my friends 18 times in 2 minutes when it’s in my pocket, it has an amazing settings screen, it displays full screen pictures of my friends when they call, it can shut the screen off when I call someone (no more dialing with my cheek by accident!), and it can handle sequenced, randomized, animated wallpapers.
Thank you so much A_C!

Use ActiveSync with Windows XP in Parallels (solved)

When you try and run activesync in Windows XP inside parallels, it always fails after a couple minutes and never completes a sync.
I don’t know who these people are or what they did to solve the problem, but the nice folks at Aspecto Software made a free app that you run before you sync and it works perfectly. You also have to run your device in serial mode, which for me (in windows mobile 6) meant going to settings > connections > usb to pc > Enable advanced network functionality. More info in this thread, app available here.

Manage Programs on Windows Mobile 6 [solved]

Google Maps with My Location is amazing, but it has one bug…Whether you tell it to install to the internal memory or to the storage card, it always installs to the internal memory. Even though I’ve overclocked my T-mobile wing and changed its pagepool size, it’s still so slow that sometimes it doesn’t even let me answer calls, which is really frustrating. It’s important to have as much internal free memory as possible – even though its internal RAM and internal storage are separate, it still seems to run faster with more internal storage free.

The windows file explorer and start menu interface is cripplingly stupid — the Start Menu is controlled by the menus setting but has all sorts of arbitrary limits such as some items that you can’t delete (such as T-zones) and an 8-item custom program limit. The file explorer is even worse, hiding file extensions, files and whole directories from you, with no ‘advanced view’ setting that I’m aware of. For instance, the programs in the programs folder and the shortcuts in the start menu are stored in \windows\start menu\programs and \windows\start menu\ respectively, but you are not allowed to access those directories from the file explorer.

When I moved google maps from the internal storage to the storage card (edit>cut and edit>paste in file explorer), the shortcut remained in the start menu. Even worse, in the settings menu, when I would uncheck the old shortcut, Windows would give me the error “this shortcut cannot be removed” and check the box again for me. Thanks.

Luckily a solution is available – get Total Commander for Pocket PC. This is an enhanced file explorer that actually shows you file extensions and all directories. You can also get the cab from this useful page, though never install Silent Boot from that page onto your wing.

Anyway, to create a shortcut, use the regular file explorer, click and hold on the exe and choose copy, and then choose “paste as shortcut” somewhere arbitrary. Then, open up total commander and move that shortcut.lnk file that you created into the \windows\start menu\programs directory. You can also put it in \windows\start menu\. Voila, it will show up in your start menu and programs folder.

I miss T9 [solved]

So, I definitely love a lot of things about my T-mobile Wing, which is like a super computer compared to my old nokia 6800. The reason I love it is it runs windows mobile 6, which has a huge developer base, so there is software for everything…Skype, NES roms, overclockers, riven, myst, streaming music, etc. Whatever I can think of for this phone to do, it pretty much can do it.
That said, it can be so stupid sometimes. Like my past two phones were unbelievably stupid compared to this phone, but why is it so hard to send a text message?
On my old phone, I’d hit the left navigation button and I’d be composing. I’d use T9 to jot a message out real fast with one hand, and then hit send, and scroll down, again using T9 as a shortcut to find the contact I want to send.
On this phone, it has a dedicated messaging button, but I also have to scroll through my email accounts to get to messaging, then hit menu, new, SMS. The To: field is an autocomplete box which is nice, but I still have to type in a contact or use the ridiculously small contacts manager which is impossible to use without a stylus.
After that, I have to click into the body to start typing, and there’s no easy way to do this with one hand. Let’s say I’m standing on the 147 express bus holding onto the bar for dear life with one hand. I want to write a message to a friend. Either I try and use my fingernail to hit the tiny buttons on the onscreen keyboard (impossible with the bumps in the road and no form of auto correction), or I open up the wing and awkwardly try to use it with one hand. I usually ended up holding it half upside down clung to my body to type on the keyboard. Do they want me to drop this thing? Even with two hands I’m faster at typing T9 than with the skinny little keys it has.
Finally, some googling was fruitful.
The best link I found was here:
Alternative Text Inputs for Windows Mobile
There is a program by HTC called phonepad that adds an additional soft input keyboard for T9. Thank god! HTC used to include this with their devices but got rid of it for some reason. People have complained that its dictionary doesn’t remember the words you use but it does for me.
I found the CAB in a few places (it’s slightly obfuscated on this site) but it was hard to get because without the proper MIME types it would show up as text in internet explorer. So here is a ZIP that you can download, unzip and install directly:
Phonepad For Windows Mobile CAB
Thank god for this. Like I said it’s possible to do anything with this phone, but you have to go through the aggrivating steps to find what you’re trying to do.
This page has other forms of input managers, including an iphone-like keyboard that auto corrects. With the applications out there to mimic the iphone (such as slide to unlock), I think this phone beats the pants off the iphone, I just wish that it was designed right from the beginning.