It’s been a little over three months since I’ve been using my iPhone full time, so I figured it was time to provide an update to the original post (The Perfect Cell Phone (for Me) Doesn’t Exist. Or… Why I Finally Broke Down and Bought an iPhone) with my thoughts.

So, has anything changed? Well I still hate Apple. But the iPhone… is significantly better than the last time I tried to use one. Too be fair though, that was also circa 2014 and I was in an environment where I was providing technical support for iPhones on a day to day basis, so… that always colours your judgement (rightly or wrongly!!).

First off, I’m not going to try and list things that I like. There’s not really much that I “like” about the iPhone interface, but it is usable and I’ve adapted to it. That being said, I feel like that’s an important point. If you’re going to switch to the iPhone with the view that your entire workflow of how you’re used to doing things can switch with you, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Some of my workflow was transferrable, however others had to be adapted to the “Apple way” of doing things. First, I had to get out of the habit of closing apps after I was no longer using them. I always (regardless of platform), close shit out when I’m no longer using it. Better memory management, battery life (though I’m told iOS handles background apps and battery usage nicely), and less clutter in the list of open apps.

So, this practice of closing everything out resulted in a gotcha for me with the Music app. After closing the app, I noticed that the next time the app opened (either manually or automatically when I connected to Bluetooth in my car), the song I was playing previously when the app closed would not resume. Furthermore, even the playlist I was using would not resume. The music would start playing unshuffled beginning with the first song in all songs. WTF???

Apparently on an older version of iOS, the (sane and logical IMO) behaviour of picking up the music where it left off on app closure was the default, and all was right with the world. In true Apple fashion, however, at some point they decided that users did not want their music to behave in this manner, so they changed it to the messed-up way described above. If Apple changes something, either adapt or complain but they’ll be damned if they change it back in most cases.

So, what’s the remedy for this behaviour? Leave the Music app open of course. If you don’t close the music app, it never loses its place and therefore you don’t have this problem. I started doing that, but about a month ago I stumbled upon a much better way to handle this (at least for me).

Instead of leaving the Music app open, with the app closed just ask Siri to play whatever playlist you want on shuffle. Siri will oblige, won’t open the Music app, and best of all, the audio picks up at the exact moment it left off when auto-connecting to Bluetooth in my car without me having to ask Siri to play anything again. Woot!!!

Another annoyance I encountered was in trying to transfer my music to the phone in the first place. I mean, I’m not going to get into the horribleness that is iTunes; that’s been beaten to death numerous times already on the internet, but all I wanted to do was transfer my music.

I found that some of my music transferred, but a lot of it did not. When I started to investigate why, I found it was because I have a lot of my music ripped as high-quality FLAC files. Does iTunes/iOS support FLAC files? Well as most things Apple, that answer is complicated.

Apparently, iOS (and the iOS Music App) supports playing FLAC files as of some recent version in the past year or something. Great!! How can I get them on my phone so I can play them? Well you can’t through iTunes I’ll tell you that much because iTunes hasn’t been updated to support FLAC files. No iTunes support, no easy way to transfer the FLAC files to your iPhone for playage.

I spent about 2 hours one evening trying to work through ways of transferring FLAC files to the iPhone before I finally gave up and just used a bash one-liner to find any .flac files in my music directory (and sub-directories) and convert them (leaving the originals intact of course, I’m not a monster) into m4a files using the Apple Lossless codec. For anyone interested, that one liner is here:

$ cd Music
$ find . -name "*.flac" -exec ffmpeg -i "{}" -acodec alac "{}.m4a" \;

Sigh

Fine… the code above is not a true one-liner because I’m changing to the Music directory first and then running the find command on the current directory (.). If you want to be true to the one-liner philosophy just replace the dot with the path to your Music directory as below:

$ find /path/to/music -name "*.flac" -exec ffmpeg -i "{}" -acodec alac "{}.m4a" \;

So, after a half hour or so of my computer automatically creating an m4a file of any flac file it found, I had music that I could transfer to the iPhone.

Oh, since we’re talking about music, let’s talk about ringtones for a minute. Coming from Android (and Blackberry 10 before that), making an audio file a ringtone quite literally consisted of:

  1. Play the music file
  2. Choose “Make Ringtone” from the menu
  3. There is no third step

Imagine my surprise when I found out that it’s 2019 (2018 at the time) and iPhone uses don’t have an easy way to make a custom ringtone for their phone. Can you do it? Of course you can! Is it a convoluted process that the average person would never figure out on their own and even when following step-by-step can get confused quickly? You bet’cha. Just take a few minutes to watch this insanity in the video below:


Now let’s talk about updates. This isn’t something I don’t like, but I would be remiss in not pointing it out, especially since I made such a big deal about it in the original post.

I ordered my iPhone on November 24, 2018, and it arrived around December 12th. It came with iOS 11.4.1 installed which was released on July 9, 2018. The first thing I did was bring it up to the latest version, which was 12.1.1. But let’s just look at the release history for iOS beginning with 11.4.1 that came with my phone.

  • 11.4.1: July 9, 2018
  • 12.0: September 17, 2018
  • 12.0.1: October 8, 2018
  • 12.1: October 30, 2018
  • 12.1.1: December 5, 2018
  • 12.1.2: December 20, 2018
  • 12.1.3: January 22, 2018
  • 12.1.4: February 7, 2019
  • 12.2: March 25, 2019

That’s 9 releases since July last year, and 5 releases since I ordered my phone in November. That’s a damn sight better than any Android device I’ve had in the past.

So, final thoughts. I don’t hate it. It works for me. I’m able to do everything I want to be able to do with it, so it works. I’m still excited (and holding out hope for) the Librem5 like I mentioned in my previous post, but I feel ok with using the iPhone as my daily phone while I wait.

It might even be hard to switch away. Maybe I am becoming an iPhone princess.

Until Later ^‿^

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