The iPhone and iPad are just black boxes. You switch them on and they just work, except on those occasions when they don't. Then you are struggling to find out what the problem could be because there is little information. The solution is Phone Doctor Plus.
What goes on inside iOS devices is almost a complete mystery to most people, although the latest version gives slightly more information than previous versions of the mobile operating system. You can view a list of the amount of storage space used by apps, and now at last you can view a list of apps that use the most battery.
These features aside, it is still a mystery how the hardware works, how the iPhone/iPad uses memory and storage, what software is running in the background and so on.
Apple clearly does not want people to be concerned by what goes on inside their iOS devices, but some people do not like not knowing. If you know that there is a shortage of memory or storage, or that the processor is being worked flat out, it means that you can set about solving the problem. For example, closing apps in the background, uninstalling software, stopping run-away apps that are hogging the processor and so on.
Phone Doctor Plus is a cheap (£0.69 / $0.99) app that enables you to see what is going on inside the iPhone and iPad and to test the hardware. There are four sections, ignoring More, which is just for rating the app, sharing on Twitter and Facebook, and other unimportant tasks.
Phone Doctor Plus Overview
The Overview screen has several sections and at the top is a summary of the hardware tests that are performed on the Checkup screen. More of that later.
The Battery section shows the remaining time on battery power. Tapping it displays a comment about battery consumption, like “3 high power consumption functions are activated.”
In the bottom left corner is the CPU and memory usage. You can easily see when the processor is working hard by or idling by the value displayed. Memory usage always appears to be high and there is little free. It is not clear whether the memory requirements for iOS are pushing the limit of the iPhone and iPad or whether iOS is simply making the most of the available memory. As iOS 8 runs on older devices that have just 512MB of RAM, the iPhone 6’s 1GB should be plenty, even though Phone Doctor Plus reports usage of 80 to 90 % most of the time.
The Network section shows the amount of data uploaded and downloaded. Tap it and it shows the amount of data used on cellular and Wi-Fi. This is very useful for anyone that needs to keep an eye on their data usage.
Phone Doctor Plus Checkup
This screen has multiple items and it is used to check the iPhone or iPad hardware. For example, you can check that the audio mute button and the volume buttons work. You can test the camera flash, home button, sleep/wake button, accelerometer and gyroscope and so on. The screen’s touch capabilities can be tested, the compass and proximity sensor tested and more.
Each of these tests are very simple and sometimes you have to press the screen, press buttons, wave the phone around to trigger sensors and so on. Some of the functions display hardware information such as the amount of RAM and the speed at which it can be accessed, the read and write speed of the storage, the CPU model, number of cores, architecture and performance rating. It is slightly technical, but you do not need to be an expert to understand it.
You could use the tests to identify a problem with an aspect of the hardware, such as a malfunctioning proximity sensor, gyroscope, vibrator, touch screen and so on. It can also be used to get hardware information so that you can compare it to other iOS devices.
Phone Doctor Plus Usage
The Usage screen has a large memory display at the top that is live and scrolls right to left. It is not that useful because iOS always seems to use nearly all of the available memory, even when there are no apps running and the device has just been restarted. Tapping the chart shows a list of background processes, but it doesn’t mean a lot and you cannot stop processes from running.
The two live scrolling CPU charts are similarly unhelpful and they show little to no CPU activity. The reason is that multitasking is minimal on iOS and apps in the background show very little CPU usage. What you see on the CPU charts is mainly just Phone Doctor Plus CPU usage, which is minimal.
At the bottom of the screen is a network usage chart and this shows the data usage a month at a time. It keeps track of the amount of data uploaded and downloaded each day and shows this as bars on the chart. It is useful for people that need to track their data usage.
Phone Doctor Plus Battery
The Battery screen shows a large image of a battery and the remaining time is displayed in hours and minutes. It shows how much the time can be extended by turning off Wi-Fi, cellular data, GPS and Bluetooth. There are some maintenance tips too.
If you want to know what is really happening inside your iPhone and iPad, check the hardware, monitor data usage and get other information, this is an excellent tool. iOS limits what apps can do, so if you have switched from Android you might be surprised to see some obvious features missing, but Apple does not allow apps to have the same degree of system access.
Phone Doctor Plus is well worth it for the more technically minded iPhone and iPad user.
Title: Phone Doctor Plus (iOS App Store)
Price: $0.99 / £0.69
Developer: Cheng Calvin
iOS: 7.0 or later
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Published: 16 August 2015