Apple’s iPod Touch filled a void for consumers who could not afford the iPhone or did not want to switch cell phone carries to get one. There are several things you can do with an iPod Touch. These include making and receiving calls, texting and staying connected to the Internet most of the time. These are the three primary things the iPhone does that the iPod Touch cannot do out of the box.
Since the iPhone requires a service plan from a cell phone provider, such as AT&T or Verizon Wireless, it can be hard to obtain that type of connectivity to stay in the loop on an iPod Touch. This guide is for consumers who wish to turn an iPod Touch into an iPhone without jailbreaking the device.
Why turn your iPod Touch into an iPhone?
There are many reasons why a consumer may want to turn an iPod Touch into an iPhone. The iPhone may be too expensive, they may not want to switch carriers or they may think they will not use everything the phone has to offer. The iPod Touch is a cheaper alternative to the iPhone.
However, it does not come with a carrier plan that allows it to make or receive phone calls, texts or stay connected to the Internet. This means with a bit of ingenuity, an iPod Touch user can do just about all of the above.
How to use WiFi to stay connected (just about) all the time:
The Apple iPod Touch utilizes WiFi to connect to the Internet. Anytime a user is within a range of a wireless network, they can connect to it and use the Internet, check e-mail, download music and more. Once they are out of range of that network, they will be dropped from it and unable to take advantage of any application that uses it.
The trick to staying connected to the Internet most of the time on the iTouch is to learn how to WiFi hop. WiFi hopping is when a user has a good idea of what hot spots are in a neighborhood. They go from one to the other as they go about the day and stay connected as much as they can. It takes some time, practice and frustration to learn just where WiFi hot spots are in an area. Once an iPod Touch user does, they can stay connected to the Internet almost anytime they leave the house.
Since more and more locations are offering free WiFi hot spots, such as McDonalds, Denny’s and Starbucks, users can stay connected even when passing by. While some of these hot spots will require a username and password, many are free to the public. The easiest way to find hot spots is to use a web service like Jiwire.
Jiwire allows you to search by location and narrow down results. Whenever you are looking for WiFi hotspots, you want to make sure you are looking for free ones. From there, you want to narrow your search to ones within a half mile radius of where you are going.Any further out and you may as well avoid the Internet on a trip.
Jiwire will display your results, and you can weed through them for completely free WiFi, a map of the location and nearby other nearby Wi-Fi hotspots. You can also download an application for your iTouch from Jiwire that will do the same thing.
How to set up phone service:
Once you are confident in staying connected, you can turn your iTouch into a phone. Skype is a popular service that is used to stay in touch when phone service just does not cut it. However, Skype can only be used on the 4th generation iTouch at this time.
Skype allows users to make calls all over the world for a fraction of the cost and it is all done via computer. By downloading Skype onto your iTouch, you can sign up for an account and use it to make calls.
In order to use Skype on an iPod Touch, you have to buy a compatible headset. These are mini-jack headsets and can be bought at a variety of retailers. This is the most expensive part of turning your iTouch into an iPhone, but if you are serious about using it as a phone, this is the way to do it. Once you have a compatible headset, you can login to Skype to begin making and receiving calls.
When using Skype on an iPod Touch, you will only be able to make and receive calls. You will not be able to use the video phone service or share calls with others using a traditional phone. You will be able to make free Skype to Skype calls from the get go and if you opt to make Skype to phone line calls, you will have to pay for the service to take advantage of that feature.
How to set up texting:
Now that you have begun making calls with Skype through your iPod Touch, you may want to set up texting on it, too. Texting on an iPod Touch is simple to do by downloading any number of applications from the Apps Store. You can search for a texting application by opening the App Store on your Home Screen.
From there, you can search for texting or SMS and go through the lists of apps that come up. Some will be free, but these will be lesser services than the paid ones. It may take time to find the right one.
The service I have used for texting on my iTouch is called TextNow. It is a free application from Enflick, Inc. TextNow allows you to text, picture message and if you sign up for a phone number and make certain calls for free.
You can customize the themes and many other options with it, too. I have used TextNow for awhile and have found it be a reliable application if you want to text on your iPod Touch.
Conclusion – Is it worth turning your iTouch into an iPhone?
When the iPhone first came out, everyone wanted to own one. Not everyone could afford them or wanted to switch carriers to get one. Now that they are more widely available, it is easier than ever to get your hands on one. If you are not ready for an iPhone but want some of the functionality of one, turning an iTouch into an iPhone is a great way to see if it is right for you.
If you already have phone service and a capable phone to do all the things the iPhone does, taking the time to turn an iTouch into one may not be necessary. If you are curious about just what you can do with your iPod Touch, taking the time to learn how to use it to the fullest – like turning it into an iPhone – is the best way to get the most out of it.