Help the iPhone newbie

I’ve had an Android phone for a few years, but decided to get an iPhone for work purposes. It’s a used iPhone 5 on Verizon. And I’ve used iPads for years, but despite this experience there are a few aspects of the phone I find puzzling.

  1. It it normal for the hotspot function to take several minutes before another device recognizes it? On my Droid phone it was instantaneous. Now it takes a while, which is really annoying.

  2. What the hell is the advantage of this iMessage thing? I have unlimited texting. Why do I need texts sent over cellular data, which is isn’t unlimited? And is it normal for these messages to bounce back? Several times (about ten minutes after sending) I’ve gotten a notification that it didn’t work, and do I want to send it as a normal text message? WTF? Which brings me to…

  3. Is this because I don’t have cellular data enabled all the time? I never do that unless I’m going to use it. Do most iPhone people go around with cellular enabled 24/7?

Somebody please talk me down because I have a sneaking suspicion this device was, like so much other technology these days, “improved” to the point where it doesn’t work very well. I’m thinking of taking it back and getting another Droid.

I don’t use the hotspot function so I’ll pass on 1.

As for 2&3, if you are in a wifi network you obviously won’t use any cell data for iMessage texting (which can include lots of pictures and videos for some people) so overall it is a data saver. You can designate which apps are allowed to use cell data and which aren’t instead of an all or none proposition.

I use iMessage to communicate with friends in Canada and the United Kingdom (I’m in Chicago) I can’t send them free text messages.

I occasionally use the personal hotspot; and yes, it takes minute or so to connect.

It’s never crossed my mind to turn off cellular data. I’ve never come close to using up my monthly allotment.

iMessage is useful as you can message people with iPads and such that don’t even have cell connection. I use this mainly to send messages to myself - that then show up on all my iOS devices. In areas with no cell coverage , but wifi, iMessage still works.

It’s also somewhat useful in figuring out who has what and how to communicate with people as you can sort of tell who has Apple devices - blue messages are iMessages- green are regular.

I’ve only had to resend messages as text on rare occasions - well less than 1%

Not sure I’m following this. Why do I need to know who has Apple devices? In the past, when I sent a text message people got it. Now it seems iffy somehow. I don’t work in an office, I’m moving around all the time and therefore not in WiFi contact until I get home. And since I don’t leave cellular turned on, does this mean I’m going to be missing text messages from people?

And I just timed it - over four minutes for the hotspot to be recognized. Seriously, is that normal?

Just tested mine - took about 15 seconds. 4 min is not normal.

Is your phone updated to iOS 9.2.1?

One of the advantages to iMessage was that it was a free service when most carrier data plans were charging $20/month for unlimited texting. Another advantage is it uses end-to-end encryption. If you’re worried about iMessage running up your data usage, don’t be; each text message is in the kilobyte range. Message is very good at seamlessly distinguishing between carrier text and Message text, but you can turn Messages off completely, if you want, and use only carrier text. Just remember that if you’re texting a friend who has an iPhone with no texting plan, you’ll be using up their plan for no reason.

Yes, that is almost certainly the reason. I think it’s safe to say that most cell phone people go around with cellular enabled 24/7, it’s not an iPhone owner thing. Can you tell us why you do that?

Are you having other problems besides with the hotspot? Because leaving your cell on and just letting Messages do it’s thing will fix those other problems.

Yes, I updated it right after purchase.

Huh, didn’t realize that. It just never occurred to me to leave it on. I prefer to use my iPad for internet, so I usually find some WiFi or, until recently, used my Droid to hotspot. But I only turn on cellular data when I’m going to use it.

What’s the battery draw with cellular on vs. off?

The hotspot issue is the main annoyance right now. I’m seeing other people report similar issues, but I can’t find much commonality. Hard to diagnose.

Thanks for your input!

The difference is going to minimal, maybe 5% give or take over a day. But then factor in the mental weight off your shoulders of worrying about it, the inconvenience of turning it on and off and the issues you’ve had with dropped messages. There are better tricks to try if you want the battery last longer, such as turning down screen brightness, manually checking for email via fetch instead of automatically via push, etc. Or just wait till your battery hits 20% and let it switch to Low Power Mode. Basically, I think you’ll enjoy your phone more if you just left cellular on.


If my partner sends me an SMS, I will only receive it on my phone. If she sends an iMessage I will get it on my phone, my iPad, and my home computer. I can have a text conversation with her that is not as dependant on hardware as if we were using SMS. The important people in my life have iDevices so this is a big benefit of iMessages. If my important people had Android devices or Windows or whatever then it wouldn’t matter as much.

IIRC, you can set it to automatically send as text (sms) when you don’t have an internet connection.

Under Settings -> Messages
turn on Send as SMS - your phone will then automatically send messages as sms when you’re not connected to the Internet - you’ll no longer have to manually resend as sms.

I’ve never had that issue.

Not everyone has unlimited texting. I have unlimited within Sweden, but with iMessage I can send them to my family in the UK for free. Also, if you are on Wifi it doesn’t use your mobile data. Same fro Facetime (which come in both Audio and Video forms), communication for free,

I turn my mobile data off when I go on aeroplanes. And that’s it. Then again, I am turning off all communications when I am on aeroplanes.

Then do that. Get what works for you. iPhones work wonderfully for me.

Blue means it is an iMessage and hence delivered for free.

Green means it is a standard SMS and you may have been charged, based on the ins and outs of your contract. Some people want to know that.

And yes, it is pretty much designed for data to be on 24/7. That’s how these devices work, be them iOS or Android. I don’t know anyone that turns their data off.

Four minutes is not normal.

I just tested it with my MacBook Pro. I clicked on the Wifi icon so I could see all the networks in the area. I then enabled the hotspot on my iPhone. It appeared on my Mac in four seconds.

For the record, these days SMSes should be the same. Well, at least if you are all-Apple. I don’t have my iPad here with me to check, but I can send SMSes and make/receive calls from my Mac using the iPhone’s connection. All devices have to be on the same Wifi network.

I don’t have that enabled because having the phone, iPad, and computer ringing all over the house when I got a call was annoying, to everyone.