In my last post, I covered my review of the Verizon iPhone 4. While I’m on the topic, I thought I would post some tips I’ve learned during my switch to the Verizon iPhone that every Verizon iPhone customer should know about.
First thing’s first: Porting Your Number Over to Verizon
The first question I get asked quite a bit from people interested in switching to Verizon is if their number can easily be ported over to Verizon from their existing carrier. The answer is, usually, yes. I was able to successfully port both of my existing AT&T numbers over to Verizon, and the move went extremely easy. There’s a quick way to check eligibility online, and it only takes a few seconds to see if your number will port. Chances are it will, and do so with ease.
Phone Numbers Every Verizon iPhone Customer Should Know
Here’s a list of phone numbers I keep in my contacts directory that every Verizon iPhone customer should probably keep in theirs. These phone numbers offer everything from customer service to carrier upgrades to checking usage:
*611: This is the phone number for Verizon Wireless Customer Service. This handles everything from technical support to changing plans and features to account customer service. When something’s amiss, or if you simply need to add more minutes to your plan, this is usually the number you’ll call.
1-800-922-0204: This is the number for Verizon Wireless Network Support. You’ll want to select Option 3 when dialing the number. You’ll first speak with one rep who will then connect you to a Verizon Wireless Network Technician. This number is important to contact in the event you’re experiencing issues with the Verizon Wireless Network, if you’ve encountered a dead zone you wish to report, or if 3G happens to be out and you’d like to report it. Verizon’s network is pretty solid up here, but I did encounter an area where 3G was flaky, and a small dead zone up here, so I reported those issues to their Network Support team, and already I’ve noticed some improvements (since I watch the network like a hawk and constantly run various tests on it, I’m one to quickly notice any glitches needing resolution). This is the number to call when you simply want to ensure the best wireless network keeps getting better.
*228: This is the number that offers activation and programing for Verizon Wireless phones. The option you want here is Option 2. You’ll want to periodically run it to update the roaming capabilities of your Verizon phone to ensure you have the latest roaming information on your Verizon iPhone, making it easier to place calls on Verizon’s roaming network (which you’ll probably run into in some rural areas). In addition, I’ve also been told domestic data roaming is available at no extra charge, so that’s an additional benefit I see with being a Verizon iPhone customer (AT&T has limited on domestic data roaming).
*22899: This number updates the feature information on Verizon iPhones. Running this periodically will ensure your account features are synchronized with your Verizon Wireless account.
Another tidbit about carrier firmware updates. Unlike the AT&T iPhone which delivers carrier firmware updates through iTunes, Verizon delivers their carrier firmware updates over-the-air, with a simple tap to install the update from the phone. These are periodically sent out to enhance carrier-specific features, and the over-the-air delivery means not having to sync with iTunes when updating the small carrier firmware updates anymore!
1-800-711-8300: This number is for Verizon Wireless Global Services. It allows users to enable I-Dial on their accounts for international calling capabilities, or for signing up for the Occasional Global Traveler Program, allowing Verizon customers to rent (at no extra charge) a GSM/Global Ready phone before going overseas for international roaming. Business customers who travel overseas, or the globe hopping tourist, will want to keep this phone number in their contacts list.
Local Verizon Store Numbers: I looked up the phone numbers to my local Verizon Stores (I have a few in the area), and I also plugged those right into my contacts list. That way, in the event I need to quickly get in contact with one, they’re a tap away in my phone’s contacts list. Lookup the phone numbers for your local Verizon Stores and keep them handy just in case you need to quickly get a hold of one.
Other Important Numbers: Here’s a few more important numbers for Verizon iPhone users to keep on hand just in case they’re needed:
Directory Assistance: 411 (Please note, it’s $1.99/call)
Check Bill Balance: #225
Pay Bill: #768
View Minutes Usage: #646
View Data Usage: #3282
Customers will receive a free text message containing the information requested.
Calling Features Every Verizon iPhone Customer Should Know
Especially coming over from the AT&T iPhone, I had to get used to how the Verizon iPhone’s CDMA network handled certain calling features. These are the top important ones every Verizon iPhone user should grasp in order to master using their iPhone’s calling features:
Call Forwarding: On the AT&T (GSM) iPhone, toggling Call Forwarding was done in the software. On the Verizon (CDMA) iPhone, Call Forwarding is enabled by dialing *72, then the forwarding phone number. Call Forwarding is disabled by dialing *73.
Call Waiting: On the AT&T (GSM) iPhone, toggling Call Waiting was done in the software. On the Verizon (CDMA) iPhone, Call Waiting is disabled by dialing *70 plus the number you are dialing. This is to be done each time one wishes to disable Call Waiting.
Caller ID: On the AT&T (GSM) iPhone, toggling Caller ID was done in the software. On the Verizon (CDMA) iPhone, Caller ID is disabled by dialing *67 plus the number you are dialing. This is to be done each time one wishes to disable Caller ID.
Conference Calling: The AT&T (GSM) iPhone supports up to five calls simultaneously. The Verizon (CDMA) iPhone supports up to two calls (for a total of three) simultaneously. This is the opposite on the Mobile Hotspot feature (Verizon supports 5 Wi-Fi clients, AT&T 3). In some instances, it may also be difficult to add, swap, or merge calls, depending on network circumstances. In addition, when ending a conference call (or an on-hold call), it will usually terminate all calls. This took a little getting used to for me, but once I got the hang of it, I’m doing OK with it, especially due to the fact that I have stronger wireless coverage and can actually make calls!
Soft Pause: Tap and hold * when dialing. When editing a contact number, tap +*# and then tap “pause”. This inserts “,” into a phone number. Waits a few seconds before dialing additional digits. It works identical on both iPhone models.
Hard Pause: Tap and hold # when dialing. When editing a contact number, tap +*# and then tap “wait”. This inserts “;” into a phone number. Waits for the user to tap Dial before dialing the additional digits entered after “;”. Again, this is identical on both iPhone models.
In addition, Verizon iPhone users will notice the following other differences in calling features:
One cannot put a call on hold (as they can with the AT&T/GSM iPhone). This is due to the CDMA network not offering this capability. However, one can mute calls on the Verizon (CDMA) iPhone just as they can on the AT&T (GSM) iPhone, which works basically the same way as hold.
Contacts or phone numbers on webpages that contain alphabetic characters beyond seven digits may not dial as expected. Example: 1-800-MY-IPHONE or 555-1212×1234. In these instances, either remove the additional letters or use a pause to dial the extension (555-1212,1234).
In addition, the following settings and features are not available on the Verzon (CDMA) iPhone:
* Enabling a SIM PIN (due to the fact that the Verizon iPhone doesn’t use SIM Cards)
* Importing SIM contacts (due to the fact that the Verizon iPhone doesn’t use SIM Cards)
* Selecting a carrier network or editing an APN
iPhone Applications Every Verizon iPhone Customer Should Download
Here’s a list of iPhone applications every Verizon iPhone customer should download upon receiving their Verizon iPhone. These applications have enabled me to more easily check usage, backup my contacts, and test network speeds, as well as check coverage in my area. These can be found in the iTunes App Store.
My Verizon app: This app essentially puts My Verizon on the iPhone, allowing customers to check their usage, pay their bills, lookup mobile-mobile numbers, add/remove features, change their rate plan, and much more. It’s an essential app that puts the best of My Verizon at my fingertips.
VZ Contact Transfer app: For current Verizon customers upgrading to an iPhone, this app allows customers to easily transfer their contacts from their existing Verizon phone to the Verizon iPhone. It also works with Backup Assistant to backup one’s contacts on Verizon’s servers (this is included free with every Verizon plan, although you’ll have to run it once a month to ensure your contacts remain backed up), as well as make it easy to transfer contacts from the iPhone to another Verizon phone (such as in the event of using one of the Occasional Global Traveler phones).
SpeedTest (from SpeedTest.net) app: This app allows users to quickly test the speed of their network, whether it’s 3G or Wi-Fi. I’m always using this app to see how fast my network speeds are, and up here, even in a rural area, they’re quite impressive.
Coverage? and CoverMe apps: These apps provide coverage maps of all of the top wireless carriers, allowing one to quickly see at a glance what one’s coverage is like in a certain area. CoverMe offers voice coverage maps coming directly from the wireless carriers website’s themselves, and Coverage? offers Google maps of data coverage from the various wireless carriers, allowing for easy comparison by turning overlays on/off.
Cell Towers app: For those wanting to get even more technical and see where certain cell towers are in a local area, one can download the Cell Towers app and see them all in their Google Maps glory and fun! Especially helpful when seeing how close one is to a certain cell tower.
In addition, I’ve bookmarked the following web apps on my iPhone’s home screen for quick and easy access to the following websites:
iPhone User Guide (help.apple.com/iphone): This puts a wealth of help and support information at an iPhone user’s fingertips. There’s even a book on the iBooks store with even more information contained in it, and downloading PDF copies of some of the product documentation that came with your iPhone (by going to apple.com/support/iphone) and storing them in iBooks never hurts when one needs troubleshooting tips on the go.
Verizon YourGuide (yourguide.vzw.com): This web app provides easy access to all of Verizon’s rate plans and features at one’s fingertips. Periodcally someone will ask me how much a certain Verizon rate plan is, or I’ll need to know how much a certain feature is. With this handy guide at my fingertips, it’s like carrying around an always up-to-date Verizon brochure when I need it.
Three 3G Troubleshooting Tricks Every Verizon iPhone Customer Should Know
With Verizon, I have 3G basically everywhere I go across the network footprint (unlike AT&T where I was living on EDGE, literally). However, even running on the best 3G network, I’ve encountered a couple of hiccups when my iPhone switched to 1X (2G) and for some crazy reason didn’t switch back to 3G. Here’s what I did to alleviate those issues:
Reboot the iPhone: Rebooting the iPhone will quickly get it back on 3G once back in a 3G zone. However there’s a quicker, easier way to restore 3G service to the iPhone in the event it decides to act stubborn and stay on 1X (which you’ll know by seeing the little dot instead of 3G next to the signal indicator, same dot you’ll see on the AT&T iPhone when on GPRS).
Turn Cellular Data Off, then On: This is done in Settings>General>Network. A quick toggle of the switch will restore all the 3G goodness back to the Verizon iPhone after recovering from a quick 2G bump in the road.
Reset Network Settings: If one’s experiencing major glitches in the network (and calling Verizon to check for any network outages results in finding out everything’s OK at the network level), a quick reset of the iPhone’s Network Settings might cure any ailments. This can easily be done in Settings>General>Reset, and tapping Reset Network Settings, and allowing the iPhone to reboot. Please note, this does wipeout any Wi-Fi and VPN settings, so ensure you know how to put those back before resetting things.
One More Thing: Yes, I do have just one more thing to advise Verizon iPhone users. In the event things are acting strange with your iPhone, try a soft reset before a hard system restore. This can be done by holding down the power and home buttons simultaneously until the iPhone reboots itself. Sometimes this is all it’s taken to jumpstart my iPhone back into business.
With these tips and tricks, Verizon iPhone customers can be on their way to enjoying one of the best smartphones on the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G network. I hope these help users make the most out of their Verizon iPhone experience, and receive maximum benefit and enjoyment from their Verizon iPhones.