Inside the iPhone Part 3: Tips for Getting the Most Out of The Internet on The Go
Most cell phones, from entry-level phones that come free with activation to Windows Mobile smartphones and Blackberries, come with stripped down web browsing and email features. What makes the iPhone stand out is that it comes with a much more full-featured web browser, the mobile version of Safari. Safari mobile loads full web pages that are easy to zoom in and out on thanks to the iPhone's multi-touch display.
Safari on the iPhone is a generational leap for mobile browsing, but it isn't the iPhone's only Internet-enabled trick. You also have a relatively strong email client and dedicated applications for checking stocks and weather, for browsing YouTube, and for finding people and places using Google Maps. But at the end of the day, you're still using a small handheld device. So how do you get the most out of the Internet on your iPhone?
When it comes to the iPhone, critics tend to complain loudest about its lack of 3G data service. Thanks to AT&T's pokey EDGE network, even checking your email can be slow. Loading most web pages—especially large ones that contain lots of graphics—can feel like watching paint dry. So, limiting your iPhone Internet access to those times when you're in range of a Wi-Fi hotspot often results in a much better experience (although sometimes that isn't an option).
By default, the iPhone is constantly on the prowl for wireless networks, which is a good thing. It may be annoying to see the iPhone constantly asking if you want to join networks, but once you've joined a network once, the iPhone will remember it and automatically join it again. This means that if you typically use your iPhone for Internet in the same locations, you can have it ask to join networks the first time you're in those locations, join the network(s) you want to use, and then turn off the "Ask to Join Networks" option in the Wi-Fi settings.