Coming from a background of Palm and Windows Mobile PDAs and phones, it's taken a bit of getting used to that, while syncing my iPhone, I have enough time to eat dinner, watch a football game, play a game of Risk, and still return to my Mac in plenty of time to watch my sync complete. Heaven forbid I get a phone call mid-sync. Ok, I exaggerate (a little). You may have noticed lengthy sync times (backing up is a killer) for your iPhone. If not, count yourself lucky. Join me after the break for a tip that may make things a little easier for your iPhone syncing!

This week's Tip brought to you with thanks to clayrussell over on Twitter. 

On the eve of the much-anticipated iPhone update 2.1, this Tip is timely and will hopefully help you avoid much pain and suffering. As I said before, my iPhone sync times are somewhat horrendous. Although you can manually cancel a backup, my iPhone always defaults to performing an automatic backup before syncing my data, and the backup time is long.

Most of my syncing is uneventful, but sometimes a call comes through in the middle of a sync and effectively torpedoes the process. I could eat breakfast during my first sync attempt and, if interrupted by a call, I could have lunch over my second sync attempt (I kid, I kid!). Seriously, though, the last thing you want is a phone call during your sync. To avoid this problem, there is a very simple solution.

  1. Tap "Settings" on your iPhone
  2. Slide "Airplane Mode" to "On"
  3. Sync as normal
  4. Enjoy!
UPDATE: Community members have cautioned that having Airplane Mode enabled during a firmware update may brick your iPhone. Consequently, it is recommended that you enable Airplane Mode only for syncing, NOT for firmware updates. Thanks Mike, diaz2010, and DLC!

UPDATE (as of 9/12, 12:04pm MST): First, I appreciate the concerns expressed in the Comments about Airplane Mode catastrophically bricking iPhones during the update process. Now, let me respond here. I can speak only from my own experience and also that of Mr. Rene Ritchie (who also responded in Comments below). Our updates were identical experiences. He is in Canada on Rogers, I am here in the States on AT&T (of course). Following is my step-by-step update process:

1.  Activated Airplane Mode, connected iPhone and performed sync with full backup.
2.  Downloaded 2.1 update.
3.  After both 2.1 download and iPhone sync/backup completed (and with Airplane Mode still activated), started 2.1 update.
4.  Watched iPhone reboot as 2.1 installed.
5.  Once 2.1 update completed and iPhone rebooted, iPhone began to sync again with iTunes, Airplane Mode STILL activated -- I never touched my iPhone throughout this process.
6.  iPhone now updated to 2.1, working just fine, no bricking whatsoever.

If anyone has had problems during the 2.1 update, I doubt it is related to Airplane Mode being activated or not. Rene Ritchie and I performed the exact same steps above, both with successful updates. If you are still concerned, then DON'T activate Airplane Mode before your update. I chose to do so to avoid any interruptions during the entire process.

As an extra, rumor has it that switching Airplane Mode on and off can reset the 3G radio, if necessary. Give this tip a try and let us know how it went! Does it work well for you?     
That's it for this week's Tip. If you have a tip of your own that you would like to share with the rest of us, please leave a Comment or you can email me at: brian.hart@tipb.com.

Disclaimer:  Tip o' the Week makes no guarantee, express or implied, that any tip found herein will be new or particularly useful to the reader (and following this step-by-step will not guarantee that copy/cut/paste will be included in your 2.1 update).