Posts Tagged iTunes

How to read and export iPhone SMS text messages on Windows

First, you want to do a local backup so that you have the SMS database on your computer.

Open iTunes, and select your phone from the list at the left, such as mine appears below:

Next, under the summary tab, make sure the backup option is selected to “Back up to this computer” and encrypt backups is turned off, like so:

Now, perform a backup of your iPhone.

Here’s an updated screenshot from iTunes 11.0.2.26.

iTunesBackup_11.0.2.26

Second, download a SQLite editor so that you can open the database.

I used SQLiteSpy, available here:

http://www.yunqa.de/delphi/doku.php/products/sqlitespy/index

There are other SQLite editors, but this one was the one I was able to get to work.

Next, open the database

Click Start > Run, and paste the following line to open the backup location.

%APPDATA%Apple ComputerMobileSyncBackup

You should see one directory for each phone you have synced to your iTunes.

When you open this directory, and then open the Snapshot directory within it, you should see a file named

3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28

This is your SMS backup database.Open it in SQLiteSpy (or your editor). The rest of these steps apply to SQLiteSpy. If you’re using a different viewer, adjust for yours.

Select File > Open and select the file. You should see the list of tables appear in the left pane.

Now, paste the following SQL query in the top right pane, which will query the database and return correct date/time stamps as well as the destination phone number:

SELECT datetime(message.date, 'unixepoch', '+31 years', '-6 hours'), handle.id, message.text FROM message, handle WHERE message.handle_id = handle.ROWID;

This will return the correct date and time (you may have to edit the ‘-6 hours’ statement to reflect your local timezone) as well as the other phone number and body of the text message.

Reference image:

sqlitespy_1

Now, click Execute > Execute SQL (or press F9) to run it. Your results will be displayed in the bottom right pane.

Tested on an Apple iPhone 4S and iOS 6.0.1

Comments and feedback are welcome.

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Keeping your iTunes library synced to a Synology iTunes Server

I have a both Synology DiskStation with an iTunes Server and my own iTunes library on my PC.  Since it’s too much of a pain to keep the files organized between the two, here’s a way I’ve found to have them kept in sync automatically. Note that once the music files are saved or updated on the DiskStation, the iTunes Server updates its lists automatically.

Microsoft SyncToy is a freeware utility that will keep pairs of folders synchronized across locations, even network drives and UNC paths. I’m going to show how to use Microsoft SyncToy to keep my iTunes library folder synchronized on my Synology DiskStation’s music folder.

First, download and install Microsoft SyncToy from here. SyncToy supports Windows XP, Vista, and 7, both 32 and 64-bit environments.

Assuming this is the first time you’ve run SyncToy, you’ll be greeted with the following screen.

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Click Create new folder pair.

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Next, on the Left Folder side, click Browse then select your My Music > iTunes > iTunes Media > Music folder.

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Next, on the Right Folder side, browse Network and select your Synology NAS music folder.

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Once that’s done, your setup should be similiar to the following:

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Because iTunes can keep music organized on its own, and doesn’t like when changes are made to the library, we only want to reflect changes made from iTunes library to the external location, not a full sync. Choose Echo to get this behavior.

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After clicking Next, you’ll be prompted to give your sync job a name. After that, you can run the task.

By default, SyncToy requires manual runs to keep things up-to-date. If you’re interested in scheduling SyncToy to run automatically, see this link for instructions on how to set it up.

Do you have other ways of keeping your iTunes library synced externally, or another program that you use instead to accomplish something similar to this? Please feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks!

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Google Music vs iTunes Match

Google and Apple each brought their own services which allow users to upload their music library and stream it to their devices in the form of Google Music and iTunes Match, respectively. But how do those services compare?

Let’s take a side-by-side comparative look at some of the features:

Feature Google Music iTunes Match
Number of songs 20,000 songs not purchased from Android Market 25,000 songs not purchased from iTunes
Price Free $25/yr
Supported devices Works on common browsers on Win / Mac / Linux / Android / iOS (1) Works on Win / Mac running iTunes; iOS devices supporting iCloud
Sync Automatically sync music to Google Music using Win / Mac / Linux client Automatically sync music to iTunes Match using iTunes
Sync Selection Select which songs to upload using sync client All songs from iTunes library are synchronized.
Local Storage Save music to your Win / Mac / Linux / Android device for offline playback Save music to your Win / Mac / iOS device for offline playback
Uploading Every song must be uploaded Matching is performed prior to upload; Only unmatched songs are uploaded
Supported file formats Mp3, AAC (m4a), wma, flac, ogg (source) Same as iTunes
Excluded formats None 24-bit audio; Bitrates under 96 kbps; File over 200MB (source)

(1) Although Google Music is reported to work on iOS devices, I wasn’t able to get it to display any of the songs in my library — (screenshot). UPDATE: I can confirm it does work on iOS (iPhone), but only as the desktop site (which is clunky and requires zooming on an iPhone screen). Screenshots one, two, and three. The mobile site still shows I have no music in my library.

As you can see, Google Music is aimed at the Android crowd, while iTunes Match is aimed at the iOS crowd. However, a few of the major points in Google Music’s favor that I see are that it supports playback from a web browser, has a Linux client, and is free.

I’m interested in everyone else’s opinion as well. Which streaming music service do you prefer, and why? Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments below. Thank you!

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I put down my Android and picked up an iPhone… here’s what I noticed

I’ve been getting more than a few expressions of “You? Got an iPhone?” from friends and family lately, after they see my iPhone 4S. While I’ve been known not to be the biggest fan of Apple up until now, I’m starting to realize why the device has gotten to be so popular — it’s an easy-to-use, reliable device that doesn’t frustrate.

Although learning a new smartphone OS hasn’t been terribly difficult, here’s some of the major points between the two that I’ve found myself having to adjust to.

The Home Screen

The home screen on an Android phone is more-or-less a “blank slate”, waiting for you to fill it to your liking with widgets and shortcuts, to make it just the way you want it. If you want to access all your installed apps you open what’s typically referred to as the “app drawer.”

On an iPhone, that “app drawer” is your home screen. No widgets here, though apps do have what’s called “badges” that can show an indicator on the icon if the app has something that wants your attention, such as a number of missed calls over the phone icon, unread texts over the messages icon, and so on.

Removable Storage

Android-based phones feature a microSD card slot for removable storage. It’s an optional — but highly recommended — additional storage space that you can use for media, and on some versions of Android, even apps. You can upgrade this by simply popping out the card, copying the contents to a new, presumably larger card, and putting that card in your phone.

On an iPhone on the other hand, what you buy is what you get — buy a 16GB iPhone, get a gross total of 16GB. Likewise for the other sizes, such as 32GB.

However, there’s some distinct differences:

Android phones by default have their apps installed on the phone’s lower-capacity internal memory. Since the internal memory is smaller than the microSD card, (Sprint’s Epic 4G for example, only has 1GB internal memory), you are sharply limited for the space your apps have to share with everything else. Starting with Android version 2.2 (Froyo) and up you had the ability to move apps to the SD card. This frees up internal memory. However, its up to the app developer to support this feature, and if they did, most apps still required that you move it yourself from within the phone’s settings. Remember those widgets? Don’t plan on them working if you move your app to the SD card.

iPhones on the other hand have a single unified storage area for everything. Assuming you get a 16GB iPhone, that storage space is used for everything — there’s no need to move anything. Apps, media, and the OS all share a single storage space. You might say “this is less overall than an Android phone”, and you would be right. But — you aren’t going to have to try to balance what apps are stored on SD card versus the phone’s internal memory.

When you plug your Android-based smartphone into your computer’s USB port, you’ll likely get a message asking if you want to charge-only, or mount as removable storage. If you select to mount as removable storage you have full access to the SD card in the phone. This is handy if you want to use your phone’s memory card as a makeshift USB flash drive. However, once you mount it to the PC, you don’t have access to it from the phone. Apps that are installed on the SD card cannot be run, and you won’t have access to any media on the card until you unmount it from the PC.

Media

Installing media on an Android phone isn’t difficult. Simply mount the phone to your PC as USB storage (or insert the microSD card into your computer), and copy music, pictures, or anything else you like to it. When you unmount (or insert the card back into the phone) the media scanner will automatically detect your media and propagate the media libraries. But — it’s up to you to get your own music.

With an iPhone and a Windows or Mac computer running iTunes you simply connect your phone to your PC, select what media — such as music, movies, or other — you want to sync, and iTunes adds it to your device. You can purchase your music through iTunes as well. However, you have to use iTunes. Don’t expect your iPhone and Linux-based PC to get along very well.

Backup and Restore

With an iPhone, completely backing up your device is as quick and easy as plugging it into iTunes and right-clicking on it and choosing “Backup.” iTunes takes care of it, and makes restoring it just as painless.

With an stock Android, you don’t have any options to make a “full” backup. You can sync your contacts, calendar, etc to your Google (or other) account, and there they will sit in case you need them. In case of a serious issue, you can boot your phone to recovery mode and wipe it from there, restoring it to stock configuration, after which, prepare to spend some time reinstalling and reconfiguring your apps and account. Rooted users have a few additional options, such as ClockworkMod’s Nandroid backup and restore, and the third party app Titanium Backup.

There’s a lot more differences between the two that I didn’t cover above. But I will say this: When people ask me why I got an iPhone, my typical response is something along the lines of “it’s easy to use without having to think about.” I really enjoy my iPhone, and I don’t think I’ll be picking up an Android phone again anytime soon.

What about you, reader? What are you experiences with Android and iPhones? Do you have anything to share or compare that I didn’t cover in the above? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Installing iTunes on Ubuntu Linux

If you have an iPod, and have installed Ubuntu Linux, you may have gotten used to manging your audio library with iTunes. When you go to reach for iTunes on Ubuntu, you may have a moment of panic when you realize there’s no Linux client. Don’t worry, there’s alternatives.

Linux-native applications

First, try a Linux-native application, such as Rhythmbox, banshee, or Amarok for music and tripod for photos. These apps all have some support for iPod devices, and can help you manage your already-existing music library. If you’re using iTunes for music downloads, you may find the music store section of Rhythmbox helpful.

iTunes in Wine via PlayOnLinux

Second, you can try installing iTunes 7 using PlayOnLinux. PlayOnLinux is an application that helps you install programs using wine and gives each program it’s own configuration environment. Programs are installed using configurations that usually give the best results, so there’s little if any manual configuration required after the fact.

Remember, wine is an interpretive layer between the Windows-native application and the Linux environment, and therefore there’s a good chance that iTunes will run slowly and some features may simply not work.

You can find PlayOnLinux in Software Center, Synaptic, or install it using the command line:

sudo apt-get install playonlinux

iTunes in Wine via manual install

Lastly, if none of the above options pan out for you, or you want to try the latest version, you can try installing iTunes manually using wine.

Start by making sure you have wine and ubuntu-restricted-extras installed. You can install these using Synaptic or the following command at the command line:

sudo apt-get install wine ubuntu-restricted-extras

With those installed, it’s time to get iTunes installed. WineHQ gives very mixed ratings for iTunes under wine, so your mileage may vary. In addition, you may find the WineHQ Forum on iTunes and wine helpful.

You can find older versions of iTunes at OldApps.com iTunes page.

Virtualization

Lastly, if you find you simply can’t live without iTunes in a Windows environment, you may try running a Windows virtual machine in a hypervisor like VMware (my personal favorite) or VirtualBox. I prefer VMware because it seems to have better hardware pass-through support than even the closed-source versions of VirtualBox

Have you been able to get iTunes running on Ubuntu? Have any experience or tips to share? Please do so in the comments below.

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