Smartphone Spring Cleaning

smartphonesSmartphone slowing down? No room for apps? “Storage full” errors when trying to run updates? Welcome to the world of digital overload! Before you start deleting all of your text messages, voice mail, photos (precious ones, at that), check out some solutions for spring cleaning your mobile device…

Give It Room

  • (Android only) Add an SD expansion card to your phone and move your photos, videos & albums to it. If there’s an option to set the default location for saving photos, be sure to change the default to the SD card. (While you’re at it, delete any blurry or no-good pics you may have taken. And if you’ve got multiple pics of the same scene, keep the best & delete the rest!)
  • Move some of your installed apps to the SD card, too. (Some apps won’t allow it, so move the ones that will!)
  • (Apple Users) Since iPhones & iPads don’t have expansion slots, connect the device to a computer to transfer the Camera Roll to a computer – especially if iCloud is full (or rent more space from iCloud). Then, you can safely delete pics you don’t need to be carrying around with you.
  • Do the same for your music.

Help Your Text Message App

  • If your text messaging app is slowing down, it could be due to the fact that you have lots of pictures attached to messages. Save the pics to your Gallery or Camera Roll, then delete them from the messaging app.
  • Group texts are also memory hogs! Since they are considered “multimedia”, they take up more space than a one-to-one text conversations. Make it a habit to delete group text threads that are no longer active.

Browser & Other Apps

  • Your web browser may need a cleaning, too. Be sure to periodically clear the “cache” data to speed up your web surfing. The Settings list will lead you to the button that deletes this temporary data saved by websites you’ve visited.
  • Open apps stay open even when you’re not using them. Close down open Android apps using the Recent Apps button (found at the bottom of the screen next to the “Back” and “Home” buttons – looks like two overlaid rectangles). Swipe up/down to scroll through open apps. Tap the “X” to close unused apps. On iPhones, double-tap the Home button, swipe right or left to select the running app, swipe up to close.
  • Still feeling bogged down? If your phone hasn’t been turned off recently, simply re-starting it can do the trick.

With significant improvements to smartphone cameras, photo & video quality increases and so do the size of these files. One other way to clear some smartphone storage is to move photos (and other files) to a cloud-based storage service and use their app to view/reference the files when needed.

Like any relationship with man, woman or machine, maintaining it revives and restores it! With these little steps, your smartphone will LOVE you for it!

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Changing Your Email or Phone Number?

passwords word cloudOur digital identities are tied to our email address and phone number. No longer is it just usernames, passwords and answers to a few secret questions that we need to remember. Someone came up with the bright idea that, for security, they want our email address and/or phone number, too. This is how companies send verification codes and reset instructions when we can’t get into our accounts because of a forgotten password. So, BEFORE you change your email or your phone number and/or mobile phone carrier – think twice (or more.)

The Nightmare

Recently, I’ve had trouble calls from clients who are caught in the horror of attempting to reset their account passwords AFTER changing their email address or phone number (and old ones were no longer accessible).  One company, Microsoft, took them through a form that asked for answers to secret questions, old phone numbers, recent email contacts, and more, yet still denied access to reset the password. After hours of phone calls to the company, they still refused to grant access to the accounts. The customer service agents basically told them there was no further resolution.

One of those clients no longer has access to any of the Microsoft’s services – including his email. Another could no longer unlock her computer every day since her login is tied to her Microsoft account!

Another company, Verizon, has been getting out of the email business – transferring all of their customers who used their email service ( to their new acquisition, AOL. They promised customers that they’d receive an email with special instructions and links to a form that transfers their email account to AOL. A client of mine never received the email. One day, his email stopped working. After inquiring with both AOL and Verizon, he was told to wait for the email as there was no other way to help him. It still never came. He no longer has access to his email. Unfortunately, he used that address to set up all of his OTHER online accounts. Now, he’s tasked with changing his email address-on-record with EVERY online account he owns – we calculated, it’s over 40 accounts!

It Doesn’t Stop There

Other companies, like Apple, don’t ask for just ONE email address, they want two! One of them will be used just for password recovery. It can’t be the same as the address you use to set up your account (AppleID). This means that you have to remember that if you change (or LOSE access to) one of your email addresses, you had better make sure to go tell your AppleID account about it! With all of your data and devices that rely on (and tied to) that one AppleID, a loss of this account will be devastating.

Google & other companies use your phone number to send text messages with a verification code to be entered on a webform should you ever need to recover your account. If you change your phone number, make sure you tell Google about it! (Microsoft uses this method, too.)

Other companies will not allow you to change ANY security setting, including email address and password, unless they send a verification code to your phone via text message! So, be sure you have access to the phone they have on record before you change anything.

The Lessons

  • Remember your passwords! Use an app, keep a log, spreadsheet, document – ANYTHING. If the passwords change or you add a new account – update the list immediately.
  • In your passwords list, include login name, account number (if any), email addresses & phone numbers associated with the account.
  • Before you change your email address or phone number, refer to your list so you know which accounts you’ll need to update.

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New Phone = Lost Contacts?

smartphoneHow many times have you heard this? “I got a new phone and I lost all my contacts.” I call that bad customer service and I can almost guess who is their wireless phone carrier. Consumers need to educate themselves and take some responsibility when it comes to preserving their personal information (and protecting it)! They need to speak up!

Most folks don’t stop to think about where information is stored and how they will get it back when it’s lost. They’re not really thinking about how valuable it is, and the hours it will take to re-create it – not until it is gone! If mobile phone users only knew how easy it is for their carrier to transfer information to new devices, they wouldn’t be afraid to ask for (intentional cross-out) DEMAND that it be restored.

Best bet would be to ask the question BEFORE you get a new phone, BEFORE you switch carriers, BEFORE the phone is lost or damaged: “How can I protect my data from loss?” Some carriers have an app that backs up automatically. Others will tell you about an app for the computer – when you plug in the phone, it’ll begin the backup.

If you’ve never had it happen to you, don’t let it… any lost data is preventable.

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Business Travel Without Internet – REALLY?

free wifiWhy do we still have to pay for Internet access in hotels? Do you realize how little it costs for them to provide it as a service? I know that not everyone travels with a laptop, but practically everyone I know has either a smartphone, iPad or tablet of some kind, even my mother!

As the founder of PC Tech Associates, I’ve provided tech support to small businesses since 1996 – before people even HAD computers in their homes, let alone Internet. So, I don’t understand why hotels continue to charge fees for Internet usage – wired or WiFi. Some might say, that while the equipment/hardware is cheaper today, the maintenance is what keeps the costs high and therefore, they’re passing it on to the hotel guests. Maintaining a network is really not that expensive, computer techs aren’t as expensive as they used to be, and there are lots of them.

The hotels could further argue that since they have guests who don’t use/need Internet service, why should those people have to pay for a service that they don’t use? But, hotels offer other services that  not all guests take advantage of. For instance, what is the percentage of people who use a gym or swimming pool during their stay versus the percentage of those who WOULD use Internet service if there was no charge for it? How much does it cost to maintain that pool or the gym? I guarantee that if you add up the cost per square foot to have the pool plus the costs to maintain it, that, by far outweighs the costs of providing free Internet to all the guests!

Sure, there are lower-priced, three-star chains that offer free Wifi, but I’m talking about the four- and five-star hotels where I pay a premium already – I expect to find it included and IN my room! Bottom line is that guests want Internet, and hotels are taking advantage of that by continuing to charge for it. Until we start demanding it by speaking out or choosing only hotels that include it, we’ll continue to pay extra for it.
Know of a site to help Find Free Internet Hotels? Help me build this list, post a
Here’s what I found:
Free Wifi Hotels
Hotels With Free Internet
Free In-room Wired Internet