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#907: Common iPhone Problems and How to Possibly Fix Them, Stuck Between a Black Screen and a Cursor?, Easy Strain Relief Mod


So how about those new operating systems at WWDC?! While we didn’t get any real glimpses into any new Apple products, the updates will offer awesome integration between Mac OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. I love the ability to finish on my Mac what I started on my iPhone, and features like iCloud Drive and AirDrop between Mac and iOS will only satisfy what users have been wanting for years.

Some of the smaller features will be welcomed as well. Are you in 15 person mass-texts that you wish you weren’t in? You can leave the thread. Don’t like the iOS keyboard? Install a third party one. Need to send a large attachment? Now you can with Mail Drop.

Great Apple announcements, beautiful Vermont, and Trader Joe’s frozen pork buns (seriously, I think I’m addicted to these things) make for a pretty good Small Dog life. Keep reading and you’ll find solutions for some common iPhone problems, another take on the black screen with cursor issue that was recently discussed, and a tip for prolonging the life of your portable’s power adapter cable.

- Mike

  Common iPhone Problems and How to Possibly Fix Them  

PROBLEM: Unable to send email

Some people have found that they are unable to send emails after the iOS 7 update. They can still receive emails, but when they try to send emails, it doesn’t work. For some people it’s failing to send with an error message, for others email appears to send, but never arrives in the recipient’s inbox.

This seems to occur intermittently and it can potentially happen on various types of email account. There are a few things you can try.


  • Double tap the Home button and swipe the email app up to close it. Then try restarting it again. It may work properly for a while.
  • Restart your iPhone by holding down the Home button and the Sleep/Wake button until you see the Apple logo.
  • Enable Airplane Mode and wait 30 seconds then turn it off again and try again.

Potential solutions:

  • Select the email account that’s giving you problems from Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars and tap on the Account section at the top where your email address is listed. Now tap on Outgoing Mail Server listed at the bottom and then tap on the Primary Server at the top of the next page. Make sure your email address is listed under User Name and then tap on the Password and re-enter it, even if it’s already filled in.
  • You could try deleting the problem email account. Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars select your email account and tap the Delete Account option at the bottom of the screen. Now make sure you have all the correct setup details and go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account to add it again.
  • Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings and set up your Wi-Fi connection again.

PROBLEM: Can’t make or receive calls

If you’ve run into problems with making or receiving calls after updating to iOS 7, you are not alone. You might find that people are trying to call you, but your iPhone is not ringing, or perhaps you are unable to make a call.

Some people report calls apparently connecting, but the line seems to be dead and they can’t hear the other person. Assuming you’re not just in a dead spot (try making the call from another location), there are a few things you can try.

Potential solutions:

  • Go to Settings and toggle Airplane Mode on for five seconds and then turn it off again.
  • Make sure that Do Not Disturb in Settings is not turned on.
  • Go to Settings > Phone and make sure Call Forwarding is not turned on.
  • Go to Settings > Phone and check under Blocked.
  • Make sure you have the latest carrier update by going to Settings > General > About. If there’s something available then you should be prompted to download it (make sure you’re connected the Wi-Fi and your mobile network).
  • Make sure there isn’t another iOS update by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Try removing the SIM card, make sure it’s clean and replace it carefully.
  • Try resetting your network settings via Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
  • Go to Settings > Cellular and try toggling Enable LTE and/or Enable 3G.
  • Contact your carrier and make sure there’s no problem on their end.
  • Try factory resetting your iPhone.

PROBLEM: Rapid battery drain

Many people are finding iOS 7 is more power hungry than iOS 6 was. You can find some general help by referring to Apple’s documentation on how their iPhone batteries work.. There are also a couple of specific fixes worth considering.

Potential solutions:

  • Disable the parallax effect that gives the home screen that 3D look by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion.
  • Turn off the background app refresh for at least some of your apps by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh.
  • Turn off AirDrop by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and selecting the toggle in the Control Center.
  • Go to Settings > Notification Center and toggle off any apps that you don’t want to include.

PROBLEM: Keyboard lag

This one seems to be a problem for iPhone 4 owners, but it may not be limited to that model. Sufferers have been complaining about lag with iOS 7 in general, but also some serious delays when typing on the virtual keyboard.

Potential solution:

  • Go to Settings > iCloud and turn Documents & Data off.

PROBLEM: Camera not working

If you updated to iOS 7 and encountered a problem with your front-facing camera or your main rear-facing camera, you’re not the only one. Some people report that the main camera keeps freezing or refuses to load; they just get a black screen.

Others are complaining that the front-facing camera is excessively blurry. This could be down to an app or it could be a hardware failure. Here’s what to try:


  • Close the camera app, double tap the Home button and swipe the camera app up to close it completely, then reboot your iPhone and try loading the camera app again. This will work for some, but it doesn’t mean that the issue won’t return.

Potential solutions:

  • Go to Settings > General > Restrictions and make sure “Allow: Camera” is on.
  • If an app is causing the problem then removing it might fix your camera. Remove third-party apps one by one, reboot the iPhone, and test the camera. It’s a good idea to start with anything that obviously uses the camera.
  • Take it into an Apple Store and show them the problem. If you’re still under warranty then you should get a replacement without any hassle.
  Stuck Between a Black Screen and a Cursor?  

Lately, some customers have found themselves with a machine that is close, but yet so far away from working correctly. The specific symptoms are described as “a black screen with a mouse cursor that will only deliver the ‘donk’ sound,” which usually just indicates incorrect input.

Don’t fret, your hard drive has not crashed and trojans have not infiltrated your system. You’re simply experiencing a glitch caused by the OS X software updater.

Apple forums user jesseinma was experiencing the same issue, and fortunately had Apple Support provide a solution. Here are the steps as found on this Apple Support Communities page:

  1. Shut the computer down by holding the power button for 10 seconds.
  2. Restart the computer and press shift at the same time until you see the progress bar start moving.
  3. Once you reach the point where your screen goes dark and you see the cursor, type the first letter of the username for your computer, then hit Enter, then type your password, then hit Enter.
  4. After a moment, you should see the spinning beach ball.
  5. Your screen should then move on to something along the lines of “Completing OS X Installation” (or something to that effect). Let it finish. After that it should go to your normal desktop and the issue should be fixed. (If your screen goes pitch black during this process, hit the space bar. I thought it wasn’t working, but the screen was just sleeping.)

I’ve had this solution work for a number of machines I’ve come across lately, but I will say that knowing your correct username and password are essential. A little bit of patience helps as well — I didn’t always get it right the first time.

  Easy Strain Relief Mod  

All cables have the potential to fail due to something called strain relief. Essentially, the joint where the cable meets the connector can separate and fray after being pulled at sharp angles and twisting constantly.

There have been a couple techniques in cable manufacturing that help prevent this outcome. The most common, which can be seen on any Apple cable you own, is a thin rubber tube acting as a stiffener for the cord in this region. It also protects the cord housing from rubbing against the connector body. A method used on higher-end devices is a wire spring tightly wound acting as the rubber tube does.

As it turns out, even the strain relief prevention methods doesn’t always help. These cables don’t self-destruct, and this type of wear is very preventable. However, a cheap and easy way to prevent this from happening in the future is by using shrink tubing. This is a cheap rubber tube that slips over a wire and shrinks snugly onto the cable when heat is applied. Slip it over both the connector housing and the first half-inch of the cable itself. This will act as a stiffener and protect the cable from strain relief damage.

Disclaimer: We do not recommend doing this to any cables under Apple warranty; it will void it. We also don’t recommend doing this if you don’t have previous experience with shrink tubing. Small Dog Electronics takes no responsibility for voiding of warranty or damages caused by modifying your cables.

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