Use Your iPhone 5s Camera To Help With Troubleshooting

The iPhone 5s' high-speed camera can be used to take pretty pictures — or to assist in troubleshooting if you're having trouble reading a system alert.

Photo by Janitors

This tip was passed on by friend of Lifehacker Matthew J.C Powell, an Australian tech journalist of some note, who recently found himself helping out a friend with his server issues. As Matthew tells it:

I was helping a friend's son get his Minecraft server working under Windows 8. Anyway, after eliminating most of the possibilities I figured that the local IP of his machine might have changed, which would of course bugger the port forwarding.

To check this I tried to run ipconfig from the command line. Problem was, every time I tried to open a terminal it would flash up on screen and disappear instantly. Why, I don't know — and figuring it out would take far more patience than I have with Windows 8.

Solution: I used my iPhone 5s to shoot a video at 120fps, pointed it at the screen, then ran ipconfig. Even at that speed, the window was on screen for only a couple of frames, but I got the info I needed, fixed the port forward, and got the server running.

That's a recipe for a classic tech lifehack in my book. I'm pretty confident that nobody in Cupertino had that in mind when they were building the 5s.

Thanks to Matthew for the tip!


    Real shame you can only use an iPhone 5s for this trick.

    I'm wondering if OP tried running ipconfig from the run dialog or start screen... The fact he referred to command prompt as the "terminal" backs this up... Next time run cmd.exe and type ipconfig into the command prompt instead of running ipconfig directly from windows.

      That's what I thought, too.

      It's funny, because I rarely ever use the run dialog.. let alone to launch a command prompt.

      That's the interesting part for me. 'noted australian tech journalist employs elaborate gadget-based solution rather than googling the problem' makes a better headline, I feel.

    Running "ipconfig" from "Run" in the start menu (or Win+R) will run the command and close the window. Run it from the command prompt instead (run => "cmd.exe").

    I'd be very concerned if the "terminal" window disappeared after running ipconfig otherwise.

    But the lifehacker tip is still valid!

    Like the others said, if you run "ipconfig" straight from the "run" box, the window closes as soon as the command has processed. If he typed "cmd" first to bring up the command prompt, it wouldn't disappear. Before I knew this, I used to press "print screen" just as it appeared, and usually it wouldn't take more than 2 or 3 tries.

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