Monday, January 21, 2008

Defeating Edge

One of the first questions I had about the iPhone, prior to owning one was, "Can you turn off Edge?"

Edge is one of the two receiver/transmitter protocols the iPhone uses to conduct phone calls, receive email, surf the web and get information to populate Google maps with streets, traffic congestion, satellite views, etc. Edge is the slow one nobody likes. The other protocol is Wifi.

Now Apple built into the iPod a setting for users just to turn off Wifi because it can be a drain on battery when you are not in a wifi zone and its not being used.

"No, why would you want to turn off Edge?" was the initial answer I got from a friend.

My answer was because there are places I don't want the iPhone to start receiving calls and ring up excess charges on my AT&T bill, like when we go to Brazil, Prague, or travel in other foreign countries where Edge is extremely expensive. Edge is the metered pipeline into your iPhone. Since it is my pocketbook, I want to be able to take control of all charges. Another iPhone owning friend answered the question with a more cynical accusatory answer, "Apple and AT&T want you to be in a position where you cannot turn it off so you run up charges and they make more money off you."

Armed with Machiavelian suspicions, I went to the Apple Store and asked a sales clerk in the iPhone section, "How do I turn off Edge?" The Apple Store answer I got was you cannot turn off Edge but you can turn off Wifi. Again, the clerk asked me why I would ever want to turn off Edge.

Of course, my answer in part is the one given above but also, as a version of the iPod there are times when all I want is to listen to music, show my relatives a slide show of photos, or watch a movie, for instance, on an airplane without being interrupted by Edge. Bingo, this lead me to the answer. And I was surprised the clerk at the Apple Store didn't know to tell me about this feature.

There is no direct setting for defeating Edge as there is with Wifi so their answers aren't completely wrong, however, at the top of the Settings menu there is an item called Airplane Mode. Basically, Apple put this setting on your iPhone so when you get into an airplane and the steward announces you must turn off all cell phones and wifi devices, you have one simple setting to do so. This setting also defeats Edge by turning it off.

If you turn the iPhone to Airplane Mode ON, your iPhone will send all incoming phone calls to AT&T voice mail automatically and you can use all the other client features of your digital media device without being connected to the "cloud" as they like to say in the valley.

The downside is when you turn Airport Mode on, you will defeat both Edge and Wifi at the same time when perhaps all you wanted to do is stop Edge from communicating. This is not the same as giving iPhone users a desirable setting that would just turn off Edge but it works for now.

Now, when in Brazil or traveling to places were cell phone activity is charged a premium by AT&T, I can put the iPhone in the Airplane Mode, play music, take photos of friends and family, takes notes, use the calculator, check my calendar, and when I find a free wifi zone, I can turn Airplane Mode off and connect to receive my email without having to be pushed to the Edge.


Kiek said...

Just turning off "Network" in your settings, will turn of Edge. WIFI settings are separate. Do not turn you iphone to airplane mode, since that turns everything off

Kiek said...

Sorry, forgot to mention how to turn it off:
go to settings --> General --->Network --> Data Roaming: OFF