Home > Useful Tips > Tips & Tricks Every webOS User Should Know! (Part 2 of 5)

Tips & Tricks Every webOS User Should Know! (Part 2 of 5)

Back for more, eh?  Can’t say I blame ya. Learning all the cool things you can do on the Palm Pre and Pixi can be kind of fun.  If you’re just joining us, feel free to read my first article in this five part series, which showed you just a few tricks you can apply to the overall phone (system) and the launcher. Let’s cover the phone and contacts next…


1) Useful phone codes!
Recond status
a. Find out if your phone is refurbished.
Type ##786# in your phone app, and you’ll see the picture  on the right pop up. Look where it says “Recond status.” If the answer is “no,” then your Pre is new, not refurbished. If it says “yes,” look above at the “Recond date.” That tells you when your Pre or Pixi was refurbished.

b. Get a GPS Fix.
Type ##477# in your phone app and you will be presented with a dialogue that says “Get GPS Fix.” Tap it, and you will get the following info: latitude and longitude, speed, elevation, and GSP accuracy.  I’ve read in some forums that if the GPS in your webOS device does not seem to be working well, this may fix the issue.

c. Force your phone into broadband or 1x speed
Typing ##3836# in your phone app gives you the option to force your phone into EVDO (broadband) or 1xRTT (“slow” … think Edge for AT&T).  Most phones will be in “Hyprid Rev A” by default, which means the phone automatically detects when a broadband signal is available. Make sure to take note which default setting is on your particular device! You can always switch back to it if needed.

  • EVDO only: For those who live in an area without EVDO coverage, life can really suck when trying to do anything data-intensive, like browsing or tethering. Switching to “EVDO only” can give you broadband data speeds! Bad news: you lose voice calling. So make sure to switch back when you are done.
  • 1xRTT only: So why the heck would you wanna select a slower speed?  Easy:  conserving battery life.  Broadband connections (even when not actively in use) consume battery life much faster than 1x.  So, if you don’t plan to use your phone or are in an area of poor reception, you might want to consider switching to 1x.  You can always switch back to your default.

2) Erratic phone signal? (SPRINT ONLY)
Try this. Open the menu in the phone app. Tap Preferences.  The picture on the left will pop up.  First, tap “Update Network Settings.” This will make your Pre lock in to the nearest cell tower for optimal signal. After you do this, tap “Update PRL.” This makes sure your phone is up to date with your provider’s preferred Roaming list.  I check this maybe once a month or so. (You also don’t necessarily have to do these things in the same order as in the picture, it’s just the habit that I’ve gotten into.)

Another thing: in this pic, Data Roaming is turned off: if you are roaming, you’ll be able to use your phone for voice only.  Mine is usually on. If you have Sprint, no worries: you can use voice and data roaming pretty much all you want (up to 5gb data.)

3) Dialing Shortcuts!
Work in a hospital or office and you wish you could just dial the extension instead of the WHOLE NUMBER? You can. Many phones have this feature, but I didn’t realize the Pre/Pixi had it until I discovered it recently by accident. In Phone prefs, just tap “Add New Number” where it says “Dialing Shortcuts.” Pretty sweet.

4)  Maximize your phone’s signal: open the slider!
Most people don’t know this, but the Palm Pre’s phone radios are located in the bottom portion of the phone, where the keypad is located.  So, sliding the phone open effectively acts like extending an antenna! To optimize your signal, especially in an area where it is weak, make sure to keep your slider open.  (Same goes for wifi and data, by the way.)

4)  Ignore call and send caller to voicemail:
Tap the power button twice to send an incoming call to voicemail.  It’s that simple. 🙂

5)  Mute ringer WITHOUT sending caller to voicemail:
While the phone is ringing, tap the power button or one of the volume keys once. Ringer will stop and caller will go to voicemail after four full rings.



1) Send your contacts to various places:

a. Send contacts to car via Bluetooth. If you own a car that allows for hands-free Bluetooth  calling, you can export your phonebook to the car via Bluetooth. If you want to send all of your contacts in one go, just tap the menu in the upper right hand corner of the main contacts screen and select “Send All To Car Kit.”  If you’d rather send just a few contacts, select the contact you want to send, open menu –> Send Contact –> Send To Car Kit.

b. Send contacts to Launcher.
If you want instant access to a contact, tap “Add to Launcher” and it will do just that. No need to use Universal Search or open your contacts anymore. Just open your launcher and there’s your contact.

c. Send contacts to someone else via MMS or email. You can send an individual contact as a .vcf file to someone else via email or MMS, as shown on the left.  Anyone with a phone able to read .vcf files (like webOS phones) will be able to see your contact information as though it was included in their contacts. To add it in their phonebook, all they’d have to do is tap “Add Contact.” This is a great tool for sending your personal business card, like old Palm phones used to do.

2) Add Contact Reminders:
This is an especially handy tool. If you have an important  message or question for a contact, you can enter a reminder on your webOS device. The next time you and the contact are in touch (by phone call, email, or text message/IM) the reminder pops up as a notification! Kinda cool, huh?  The quickest way to do this is to type the contact’s name and find them via Universal Search. At the very bottom, you will see a selection that says “Add Reminder.” Away you go!

(No I don’t really know the Hollywood actress Shannon Elizabeth… but she does happen to own a Palm Pre Plus, in case you didn’t know!)

3)  Set speed dials:
Every single letter key on your webOS device can be programmed as a speed dial.  That’s 25 options, when you take away the “E” key, which is taken up for voicemail.  All you have to do is tap the menu button when you are displaying a contact.  This makes dialing a whole lot easier. 🙂

4)  Back up your contacts to your computer:
People are understandably nervous about trusting their contacts to “the cloud.”  Former owners of Palm OS devices have complained that they no longer can “Hot Sync” their contacts to their computers.  Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get a local backup of your contacts.  I won’t go into all of them here (Chapura Echo, The Missing Sync, etc. are available in the App Catalog), but I do want you to be aware that, if backing up your contacts (as well as memos, calendars, etc) is what you want, there is a way to do it rather easily.
Take Google for example, which is the main “cloud” to which I sync my contacts and calendars.  To save a copy of my contacts, all I need to do is:

a. Log in to Gmail

b. Click on “Contacts” in the left column
c. Click on “Export” in the upper right hand corner of the resulting screen. (see below)
I have several file types to choose from, and Google explains them all to you.  Should any catastrophic event occur and Google (or Palm) loses your contacts, you can import these contacts into your Google account and sync them right back to your webOS device.  See?  easy!

Update: for those wanting to sync their Palm Profile, Outlook, and Facebook contacts, there are options available.  Unfortunately, there is no one way to do this right now.  But there’s good news:  word from Palm is that there will be, in their words, “full phonebook transfer” capabilities added with the next 1.4 webOS update, which launches this month.  In the meantime:
  • For Palm Profile:  Try the 3rd party app Echo for Palm by Chapura. (Syncs with Palm Desktop!)
  • For Outlook: Try PocketMirror for Microsoft Outlook by Chapura.
  • For BOTH Palm Profile and Outlook:  Try CL USB Sync by CompanionLink Software.
  • For Mac Address Book:  Try The Missing Sync by Markspace.
  • For Facebook:  There’s no formal sync option but this article shows you how to sync these contacts with Google so you can then sync them to your computer. (Thanks, @jjshore)

Again, Palm has indicated that “full phonebook transfer” (whatever that means) is coming with webOS 1.4 … so if you’re not desperate to sync this information just yet, I’d wait.

That’s basically it for Phone and Contacts!  Check out my next and possibly most important installment: Messaging and E-mail! You won’t wanna miss it.  Psst!  Shannon Elizabeth?  Call me!
Categories: Useful Tips

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