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My Experience with an iPhone 4S w/5.0.1 Autosetting Time zone

I noticed my iPhone said Cupertino for it’s timezone setting. I live in Phoenix, AZ, where there is no observance to DST at all unless you are on some some tribal land which they do. That’s another story.

So how does this happen I wonder? With a non-jailbroken phone you can perform lots of tests like I did. Or you can get AppSwitch by XCool Apps for $1.99. This app can view the console and you can see some of the realtime settings being applied behind the scenes. That would sum up some up most of this, but that wasn’t as much fun as doing what I did below. Of course you gotta be real bored.

My method was very similar. I used a free Cydia app called syslogd to “/var/log/syslog”, and SSH.

First login to your phone’s IOS using the root user. Always change your password from the default password that apple had set, which is alpine. Once logged in, type date and enter. That should echo back what you have your phone set for. Depending on your settings it could be a number of time zone settings.

The location where the phone gets it’s timezone info is from a symbolic link called “localtime”residing in /var/db/timezone. For me, being in Phoenix, my phone fetches the Los Angeles file, which is aliased out from /usr/share/zoneinfo/America/Los_Angeles.

While I was in there sure enough there is a file called Phoenix, why won’t it use it?! Hmmm. Ok, so what I did next was manually rename the existing symbolic link “mv localtime localtime.old”. But first set the folder permission to this path to “chmod 777 /var/db/timezone” Next I setup a new symbolic link to Phoenix, “ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/America/Phoenix ./localtime”

Nope, still reporting Cupertino when set to auto. Next I renamed the LA file “mv Los_Angeles Los_Angeles_old” and then ran the date command, now it is set to UTC and 7 hours ahead of where I was when I was set to Phoenix manual. Ok I get it, that makes sense in away. Notice the red text below. That means the phone isn’t finding the file link now.

So if you put back the LA file, it’ll go to PDT and the clock will be the same as Phoenix. If you set timezone to manual and to Phoenix, then date shows MST.

Ok, back to syslogging the console. Did I already mention you have to be real bored to do this? Once you install it you have to reboot the phone. Then console back in using SSH, and type “tail -f /var/log/syslog”

Here ya go, I set it to Detroit and then back to auto, the process is in the red square below. So it does call on GPS at some point, which makes sense. You see it kicks off timed, and eventually sets the clock via NITZ, or Network Identity and Time Zone. NITZ is used by Apple and also by AT&T. It follows along with the GSM standard, so this will work since iPhone 2G. What you don’t see here is the console doesn’t report the carrier info, whether or not it’ll grab time via NITZ under AT&T if all else fails. I am assuming it would.


I also attempted prior to this setting to off the location services/system services/setting time zone to “off”. Nothing will budge Cupertino.

How about I put the whole phone in airplane mode? Same thing, it’ll set the auto to Cupertino. Fascinating. Cupertino is here to stay, it’s the default setting when nothing works. I could had saved a few hours of my time just knowing this. I guess I was truely bored.





iPhone 3GS – Take apart

I did a repair recently on an Apple iPhone 3GS.  Parts were cheap for the backing and the power button.  All under $10 including shipping.  The repair was to replace the back of the phone as well as replace the power button due to a drop that occurred.  No small feat but it’s pretty annoying if you are missing a power button especially if you need to put your iPhone into DFU mode or simply put it back to sleep.

What a lot of the videos out there don’t tell you is that there is adhesive on some of the parts like the antenna assembly and battery for sure.  The top glass section doesn’t get worked on in this fix, however it too has a slight adhesive bond and weather stripping I call it around it that can get damaged on the botton when using the plastic tool to lift it.  Alternatively you can use a suction cup.   I included some of the pics here for reference.

The take apart can go quickly but make sure you record which screw goes where since they are different sizes and it gets confusing later when you have to put it all back.  The button assembly is the hardest to put back.  Screws here are angled and very tiny! I advise you to use a magnetic screwdriver and take photos of the tear down stages.  I strongly advise also when you put back the volume button that you keep the pads on it, they will fall off, put them back the best you can because it allows for the button to fully rock back n forth in a smooth way.  The back doesn’t come with the speaker screens which essentially are just metal mesh stickers.  They pop out easily and keep their stickiness. Lastly, I don’t know for sure but I did fry a 3G once when the order of the flex cables got put back wrong.  I would stress that it is very important to slowly make sure you put back each flex cable in the order they go.  Obviously this means take apart starts with 1, and reassembling starts with the highest number.  On this phone that was #7.

I probably spent 4 hours doing the whole job with a 45 min break to overcome frustration.  If I had to do over again and being familiar with the processes now, it would probably be half of that.



broken case - see where power button broke out


switching out the back cases


iphone 3gs mother board is green.  the 3g was blue if i recall

iphone 3gs mother board is green. the 3g was blue if i recall

speaker and microphone assembly


vibration assembly


button assembly - 3gs

iphone 3gs camera


iphone button assembly - putting back is hard


iphone 3gs battery


iphone frame - must come off including the side buttons


power button replaced into new iphone back case

phone all put back, just need 2 bottom screws and it's ready - you'll need the sticker adhesive to help bond the front to the frame. separate purchase


back in box and booting

all ready, home screen works and so do all buttons.