Even the Apple iPhone isn't perfect. Here are the top 10 things we hate about Apple's smartphone... and ways to fix them.

When it comes to technology, even some of most-loved gadgets aren't perfect. They have flaws, albeit only little ones, but it still niggles us. And Apple's iPhone is no exception.

However, there's always someone in technology who manages to create a workaround, ensuring that we don't always have to put up with the problems. Fortunately, We've not only put together a Top 10 list of iPhone annoyances to vent about, we're also offering solutions (where we can) to fix those pesky iPhone problems we hate so much.

10. Default apps can't be hidden

The iPhone's start screen is filled with shortcuts to prepackaged applications that come with your iPhone whether you want them or not - for example, an app for checking stocks whose shortcut can't be removed from the iPhone interface.

Despite Apple's insistence, not everyone wants to check the Dow Jones Industrial Average or for that matter the weather, or even use the iPhone's calculator. That the iPhone's prepackaged apps can't be hidden, deleted, or otherwise customised speaks to the stubborn rigidity of Apple.

Ideally: If Apple wanted to fix this annoyance, it would have an 'Appearance' option in the Settings menu that would allow users to make unwanted apps disappear without actually deleting them.

The workaround: Isolate undesirable apps on your last home page - that's the quick and dirty method. A more elaborate trick, detailed at Macenstein, stashes apps on a hidden overflow page, though this works only until the iPhone is turned off. Jailbreakers will seek out programs such as Sbsettings or Poof.

9. You can't run internet radio or other apps in the background

One of the iPhone's greatest assets is the ability to stream internet radio from anywhere with a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. Too bad you can't listen to that music while checking email or playing games.

Ideally: In a perfect world, Apple would allow certain apps to run at the same time as others. We understand that Apple's trying to keep the smartphone running smoothly, but if the iPod app can play music in the background, the iPhone's audio apps should be able to do the same.

The workaround: Sadly, you'll have to use your get-out-of-jail-free card. Jailbreakers can download Gaizin's Backgrounder app for full multitasking glory.

Apple iPhone 3GS review

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NEXT PAGE: Making browsing the app store easy

  1. Hiding default apps
  2. Making browsing the app store easy
  3. Improving Gmail on the iPhone
  4. Our top two iPhone annoyances

Even the Apple iPhone isn't perfect. Here are the top 10 things we hate about Apple's smartphone... and ways to fix them.

8. The app store is a pain to browse

There may very well be an app that suits your wildest dreams, but good luck finding it among the junk that populates so much of the iPhone's App Store. Only a text search or sorting apps by release date will get you beyond the top 100 in each category, and even then you'll turn up plenty of unwanted results.

Ideally: A great search option would be a ‘Show All' feature. This would allow you to sort by name or rank, covering the full breadth of the App Store's vast shelves.

The workaround: Use an app to browse the store, such as App Miner, which builds lists of apps that go on sale -including paid apps being given away - and lets you create a 'watch list' for discounts. For filtering and better user recommendations, try using websites such as Apptism and AppBeacon.

7. Battery drains too fast

Because the iPhone is a mobile phone, we tend to forget that the battery won't hold up for more than a day when its computer-like functions are pushed to their limit. (Isn't it disheartening to see the battery meter drain during a prolonged session of Tap Tap Revenge?)

Ideally: We are still waiting for Apple to let users replace the battery or buy a bigger one. I'm not holding my breath.

The workaround: Turn Wi-Fi off when you're on the road. Turn 3G off when using Wi-Fi or turn off Wi-Fi if you don't need it. Turn down screen brightness as much as possible. Go into Settings and turn off auto-refresh for individual apps. If all else fails, buy an external plug-in battery, even if that drains the coolness factor.

6. You can't store files or attach them to email

Sure, the iPhone isn't a computer, but a smartphone with so many capabilities and a generous hard drive should at least allow storing and sending of files. Photos and video can be sent directly only from the iPhone's camera roll; also, you have no way to download Word documents and other files for editing and sending later.

Ideally: The solution would be for Apple to add a file manager for photos and documents, along with a convenient way to attach files to email. For security, Apple could restrict downloads to just certain file types, and the files would have to be scanned by a third-party app hosted online.

The workaround: File transfer and storage tools abound for the iPhone. Check out QuickOffice Files, a 59p app that allows you to email documents, transfer them to a computer, or view them on the iPhone. The free Box.net allows you to store documents in an online locker and access them through the app.

Apple iPhone 3GS review

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Mobile phone buying advice

NEXT PAGE: Improving Gmail on the iPhone

  1. Hiding default apps
  2. Making browsing the app store easy
  3. Improving Gmail on the iPhone
  4. Our top two iPhone annoyances

Even the Apple iPhone isn't perfect. Here are the top 10 things we hate about Apple's smartphone... and ways to fix them.

5. IMAP Gmail is lame

If you're an avid Gmail user, you know that you can configure the iPhone's Mail app to retrieve your Gmail. Sadly, the iPhone's Mail app is devoid of all the features you love about Google's mail service, especially threaded viewing and starring. If you like to email friends or engage in otherwise long conversation threads during the day, the Mail app will quickly become overwhelmed.

Ideally: We'd like to see Apple blend traits from Gmail's web application with its Mail app. The look of Gmail would be preserved, but old messages would be cached for offline viewing. Naturally Hotmail and Yahoo mail users would also benefit.

The workaround: While you can't replace the Mail app entirely, you can swap it for Gmail's web app, which sports an iPhone-optimised layout that's always getting better. Swipe recognition was recently added, so you can archive email messages with a finger stroke, and caching will likely come along with HTML5 support. Add Gmail to the iPhone's home page through the '+' button in Safari, and toss the old Mail app onto your junk page. You'll hardly know the difference.

4. You can't create contact list groups

On the iPhone, everyone's your friend, even your boss. That's because the built-in Contacts app won't let you split work and personal contacts into separate groups or allow you to create custom groups. Everyone's co-existing in one massive list unless you first create subsections on your computer.

Ideally: Apple could fix this. A simple drop-down list on the info page for each contact, along with separate tabs above the contact list, would do nicely.

The workaround: Get an app to do the job instead. ABContacts lets you set up smart filters that divide contacts into groups by name, location, place of employment, or notes. Groups lets you do the sorting in a drag-and-drop interface, and includes the ability to send mass emails - perfect for your mobile spam operation.

3. Email management is weak

Though the Apple iPhone 2.0 OS update added bulk email management, it's not very good. You can tap individual messages to mark them for deletion or movement to another folder, but there's no ‘Select All' option for deleting or moving batches of mail at one time. It's also not possible to run a search term and delete the results, so forget about easily wiping correspondence with particular people.

Ideally: Apple could make bulk email management more robust simply by adding the features described above.

The workaround: There's no truly satisfying alternative. Accessing your email account via your provider's web-based interface is the only option for more control. It may not be as pretty as the built-in iPhone mail app, but you'll get some of your functionality back.

Apple iPhone 3GS review

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Mobile phone buying advice

NEXT PAGE: Our top two iPhone annoyances

  1. And ways to fix them
  2. Making browsing the app store easy
  3. Improving Gmail on the iPhone
  4. Our top two iPhone annoyances

Even the Apple iPhone isn't perfect. Here are the top 10 things we hate about Apple's smartphone... and ways to fix them.

2. Remote wipe costs £59 Per Year

The iPhone was definitely in your pocket when you got into the taxi, but now that you're home, it's nowhere to be found. What to do? If you aren't already paying £59 per year for MobileMe, you've got no way to nuke your phone from afar and protect personal information.

Ideally: Apple could offer a pay-per-use remote wipe feature, without requiring a MobileMe subscription. That'd make it less like buying insurance and more like canceling a lost credit card.

The workaround: A £1.19 app called iSecurity (Find My Phone) creates a spoof app called either iPasswords or iBlackBook. The app pretends to hold your personal information. Each time a foolish criminal tries to enter the password for this app, it emails you the phone's location. As an alternative, consider securing your iPhone the old-fashioned way with password protection.

1. It's only available on O2 (for the moment)

If you're not an O2 customer you can't get an iPhone on a contract unless you swap networks half-way through your contact incurring a penalty charge, or wait until your contract expires to get your hands on an iPhone, for the moment anyway. You can purchase a sim-free iPhone through retailers such as Play.com but this comes with the hefty price tag of £589 for a 16GB 3GS.

There are rumours that O2's exclusive deal with Apple will end later this year and T-Mobile and Orange will be stocking the handset, although neither network will confirm this (see also: O2 iPhone deal to end in October).

Ideally: Apple will end its exclusivity deal with O2 ensuring no matter, which network you're with, you'll be able to get your hands on Apple's smartphone.

The workaround: There's only one option for now. It is thought T-Mobile has stocks of sim-free iPhones from abroad, which it is importing and offering to customers that spend big with the network if they threaten to leave. However, the network refuses to comment on this matter. 

See also: 10 things we want to see in iPhone OS 4.0

Apple iPhone 3GS review

See all mobile phone reviews

Mobile phone buying advice

  1. And ways to fix them
  2. Making browsing the app store easy
  3. Improving Gmail on the iPhone
  4. Our top two iPhone annoyances