“Free Memory” iPhone app Saves The Day

19 06 2009

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So I’m sure ya’ll are sitting on the edge of your seat wondering how my iPhone upgrade has gone after the the other day’s fun. Seems this wasn’t a problem limited to just me, which is cold comfort, but it is what it is.
In the end I did get the phone re-activated, and carried on with my day. After a bit I noticed that the phone was ‘hot’, and the battery was draining at an alarming rate (full to 1/4 in under a half hour). This is a sure sign of a stuck thread or process. A quick reboot is usually all that’s necessary to clear it.
Three reboots later, and a phone that wouldn’t stay charged overnight, the problem still persisted. There was obviously a problem – but I had no way of telling what was going on.
Enter “Free Memory” – an iPhone application available in the AppStore that lets you not only do a little ‘cleanup’ on cached data on the phone, it includes a process list, showing what processes are currently active. Apple is very stingy about releasing ‘utility’ type applications through the appstore, so this is a rare find.
After installing Free Memory, I watched the process list, and noticed two applications bouncing back and forth regularly in the top slot. One was ‘ReportCrash’, and the other was ‘Mail’. Things began to fall into place pretty quickly. I have a split mailbox setup, where the iPhone reads not only my IMAP folders on my personal mail server, but is also coupled to the Exchange server at work, which is set up to ‘push’ content into the phone (I get realtime meeting invites, etc directly on my phone – rather nice actually). It was obvious that there was something ‘out of sync’ here, and the push update was causing Mail to crash, which would try to update via push again. Wash, rinse, repeat.
So now I had something to focus on – Mail. Initial tests were showing that my IMAP connections were not completing successfully. I’d try to sync the 40-50 messages in my queue, Mail would crash, and it’d try again. I was having regular mail crashes under 2.2, but it was always a matter of just restarting Mail, and it would complete successfully. This time it wasn’t.
Some magic combination of changing back to my ‘view inboxes’ screen, going into Exchange, back out again, then back to IMAP seemed to clear whatever condition was causing this. My iPhone ceased eating it’s battery in half an hour, and is now nice and cool to the touch.
What do I think of the 3.0 release? It’s good. There’s nothing that completely rocks my socks off – I’ve used the cut and paste, which works fine (but as many others have said… a lot…. this is a feature that should have been in from day 0), and Spotlight is pretty nifty as well. I’ve noticed some other small things, like the SMS app no longer ‘wedges’ during a send – it backgrounds the sending so you can work on something else (like another text) while the first one is sending, etc.
My new Bluetooth headphones should be here in the next day or two, and that’s when I’ll explore the feature I most want – A2DP enabled playback. Booyah.

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