So I am blinded by anger at this point. I cannot believe this isn't possible in some way. In short: Iphone 4 has a bad battery, photos filling storage, out of date Ios so no wifi, 3g data available is much less than the amount needed to move. This ideally would be solved without leaving the house because it shouldn't be this hard in the first place and also blizzard.

Here are the specifics, along with some rough ideas:

My mother has an iphone 4 that is completely full of photos. She will not delete any significant amount of them.

Wifi is greyed out because IOS is out of date and my mom does not apply any software update ever at all. Can I FORCE wifi on somehow? I am familiar with linux and windows and android, I know I could force that flag somehow on those devices...

I cannot update IOS because it requires 1.6 GB of free space, in the storage manager thing if I add up every single app besides photos it does not add up to 1.6gbs. It's all photos. Do I actually need 1.6 gigs in the first place?

I can pair it with her macbook over bluetooth, but apparently only tethering is supported because Apple, I can't pair it with my android devices because Apple. Is there any way to break that restriction to access the iphones storage? the devices can see each other well enough for apple to tell me to f*** myself...

I may have a bluetooth capable windows laptop, if I do I could use a linux live cd or stick and this adds a bluetooth linux laptop as well, but not bt windows/linux at the same time.

The phone has 3g data, but her data cap is half used and the total amount of photos is triple the entire plan anyhow, having her move 1.6 gigs of pictures one by one over email or text is out because of that and general sanity. Also Icloud can't be made to update over 3g because apple.

The battery is bad, so it will only boot from a wall charger, I can't plug it into another computer and have it run. So can I make a USB port on another computer pump out more juice? -I have an old desk that has a power supply embedded into the back, It has two usb ports, a regular plug jack and of course the power cord to the wall. Can I reconfigure that to function as a hub maybe?

What I really don't want to hear though I may have to is:take it to a store, replace battery or go to a store and get a battery to replace yourself.

Particularly I don't want to go to an apple store because some hapless kid will get a feature rich/function poor brick punched right through their face.

-sorry I am so angry about this. I thought it would take ten minutes when she asked me to get the photos, but if someone asked me a question like this about stuff I normally use(I don't deal much with apple) I would find it a fascinating challenge, so I figured I'd ask, and every google search I've ever made for deep tech stuff has led me to stackexchange eventually.

  • 1
    Plug phone into Mac. Launch Image Capture. Copy photos to Mac. Delete some/all from phone.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 23, 2016 at 22:23
  • The usb port on the mac doesn't have the juice to boot the phone since the battery is bad it only turns on if its plugged into a usb jack with its own power supply(the wall as it stands now) Jan 23, 2016 at 22:47
  • The USB on a Mac ought to be enough to power an iPad, let alone a phone. Twice the power a phone charger can output.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 23, 2016 at 23:00
  • The USB cable may be faulty or the USB port on the Mac may not be up to spec. Are you plugging the iPhone directly into the Mac, or into a USB hub or USB port on a keyboard? Alternatively, try a powered USB hub to provide enough juice to the iPhone and provide a data path.
    – IconDaemon
    Jan 24, 2016 at 3:47

1 Answer 1


As a sidenote, the phones WiFi chip seems to be defective, WiFi will work no matter how old the iOS-version is. Maybe try resetting network settings in Settings - General.

Anyhow - I believe your only option will be to use a cable to get the pictures off the phone. Have you tried all the computers you have at home? Some devices give out more juice than others. Another way would of course be some cloud service, then again, not the best option without WiFi..

  • Thanks for the advice! Unfortunately I did reset the network settings, I also had a look down the headphone jack with a flashlight and didn't see any indication of a red sticker that would mean a water damaged wifi antenna. The cloud thing is out because it would use double the data she has on her entire mobile plan, as is email/text transfer Cable is what I'm gravitating towards as well, I have a lot of USB jacks so I guess I'll try every one. If none of them work is there any workaround to up the (milliamps i think) on one USB jack at the expense of power to the rest? Jan 23, 2016 at 21:56
  • Although after I did the network reset the greyed out bar on the wifi toggle turned to a white one with a little grey circle, but I can't drag the button to on. It doesnt seem to be the screen Jan 23, 2016 at 22:25
  • Nope, overpowering a bluetooth port won't work - at least not on a Mac, and I hardly think PCs can do that either. Do you have a powered USB hub around eventually? Jan 23, 2016 at 22:50
  • I'm afraid I don't have a powered USB Hub. And I wasn't talking about a bluetooth port though I suspect you knew that I was talking about something like this here: "The reason your android device draws less power from your USB connection than from a wall adapter is because of the USB specification. This can be side-stepped by shorting the data wires in in the USB cable, which will switch the phone or tablet into wall mode where it can draw the full available current. The amount of current available will vary considerably from PC to PC." Jan 24, 2016 at 5:26
  • I might be off topic though, would a fried battery even be the real reason it won't turn on unless plugged into a wall? I read some stuff on Ios using software to make a decision whether or not to charge and how the battery isn't involved at the point where that happens Jan 24, 2016 at 5:30

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