Top 10 iPhone annoyances -- and how to fix them

Is your iPhone suffering from poor battery life, a frozen touchscreen, or an inability to connect to the Internet? You're not alone, and we can help.

The Apple iPhone is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of device. The people who won't buy one love to talk about how much they hate it. And although some iPhone fanboys won't admit to a problem, other people who love it (including me) often find themselves complaining about some frustration or another. Here's a list of ten of the most common iPhone annoyances, and what you can do to fix them.

My iPhone Won't Turn Off

The sleek design of the iPhone is so streamlined that the handset has little room for actual buttons, so turning the phone on or off isn't always as simple as it seems.

If your iPhone is refusing to turn off, you may be able to force it to turn off with a simple restart, which you can accomplish by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button (the slim, rectangular button on the top right side of the phone). Hold the button until you see 'slide to power off'. Once the phone turns off, you can press the Sleep/Wake button again to turn it back on.

If restarting it doesn't work, try a reset, which is roughly the equivalent of rebooting your PC--it turns everything off and restarts the phone for you. To reset the phone, press and hold both the Home button (the round button on the iPhone's face) and the Sleep/Wake button at the same time, and hold them past the 'slide to power off' option. After that disappears, continue holding both buttons until you see the silver Apple icon. Your phone will then start up again.

My iPhone Won't Turn On

If your iPhone refuses to turn on, the first step is to make sure it's charged. Connect it to the charger, wait a while, and try to turn it on again. If the phone's screen displays this image, you'll know it's charging:

Note that if your iPhone is very low on power, this screen may take a few minutes to appear. If the red part of the battery image flashes three times and then the screen goes black, your iPhone is not charging.

If your iPhone still won't turn on, a battery issue could be responsible, so keep reading.

My iPhone Won't Charge (or Hold a Charge)

If your iPhone won't charge at all, connect it to your computer via USB, and determine if it will charge that way. Don't use the USB port on a keyboard or monitor; always use a USB port that's on your computer itself, as they provide more power.

If your iPhone charges this way but seems to run out of power very quickly, use iTunes to check for a more recent version of the iOS software. Updating the software can fix a variety of problems.

If that doesn't work, try adjusting some settings on your iPhone to conserve battery life. Turning off Bluetooth, setting the phone to check e-mail less frequently, and shutting off the phone's ability to search for and suggest new Wi-Fi networks will all conserve battery life.

Occasionally, however, those fixes still don't do the trick--something I learned from personal experience. I had a year-old iPhone 3GS that suddenly began losing power rapidly. I could leave it plugged in for hours, but the battery would charge only partially. I could make one call before the phone would die completely. If that happens to you, the first fix to try is restoring your iPhone in iTunes.

During the restoration process, you'll have two options: restore your iPhone from a backup, or set it up as a new iPhone. To completely eliminate problems, you should set the device up as a new iPhone so that you don't restore any troublesome settings back to the handset. Make sure to sync the phone to iTunes before you restore it so as not to lose any music, movies, or apps on your device.

If restoring your iPhone doesn't fix it, or if you are unable to get it to charge at all, you may need to take the phone into an Apple store for repair. This is what I had to do: I brought my iPhone 3GS to the store, and the Apple Genius recommended that I take all of the steps outlined above. When I told her that I had tried those to no avail, I was able to get a new iPhone, as my handset was still under warranty. (I had, luckily, purchased the extended warranty on it.)

If your iPhone isn't under warranty, Apple may be able to repair it for a fee. You also might be able to purchase a replacement battery from a third party, but remember that cracking open the phone's case will likely void any warranty you do have--and it may cause Apple to decline to repair the phone in the future.

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