Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’
“Cool. I didn’t know it could do that!”
That’s a phrase Agents hear every week. Most customers spend a good deal of time preparing for their major tech purchases – comparing features, checking system compatibilities, measuring dimensions and reading product reviews. The strange thing is that many seem to forget how their new gizmos can simplify their lives between the time they say “I’ll take it” and they get it out of the box at home. Yeah, it’s all in the manual, but who has time to read the manual?
Here are some tips and tricks you may have forgotten since the salesperson mentioned them back at the store. Never hurts to be reminded…
There’s so much more you can do with a smartphone beyond making calls.
So many people said technology would kill reading as a pastime. But e-readers and tablets have only increased our appetite for the printed word. Here are some steps you can take to help your devices help you.
These days televisions are for more than watching shows and movies. High-definition displays and internet connectivity mean getting the most out of your TV is a bit more complicated than making sure all the cables are hooked up correctly. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Web connectivity has made gaming systems more fun than that old Nintendo machine you grew up playing.
If you aren’t sure that you are getting everything out of your new computer, home theater or gaming system, we can help.
Agent Ron G. has been battling the forces of unruly technology run amok since 2001, prior to Geek Squad’s acquisition of Best Buy. When not busy creating video & technical training content for Geek Squad Agents in the field, Agent Ron enjoys home brewing, international travel, and learning how to cook new cuisines.
According to a recent study, more than 8,000 mobile devices were left behind at just seven of the country’s largest airports in the last year. The most common places mobile devices were left behind? Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints and restrooms.
Losing your mobile device – smartphone, tablet or laptop – can be a traumatic experience. Life in the modern world is so device-driven that suddenly being without the gadget you’ve come to rely on can be amajor inconvenience. Even more of a drag than paying for a new phone is recovering all those saved contacts, emails, documents, photos, music files and passwords c — if you even can, that is.
Don’t panic. We’ve got some helpful tips for you to lock, locate and recover your device, and give you better peace of mind.
Locking your device with a password can help ensure that your data is kept safe in the event of loss or theft.
For laptops, mobile devices and tablets, we recommend using a strong password that is at least 8 characters long. It should contain a combination of numbers, letters and symbols, using a combination of upper and lower case whenever possible. For added protection, laptops should be physically locked when left unattended (even at home). Finally, never write down your password (it makes it easier for someone to find it) or tell anyone what it is.
If you misplace your device before you’ve had a chance to lock it with a password, make sure to change the passwords to all personal accounts your accessed through that device before it disappeared, or else whoever finds the device will have access to all of them. This is especially important for email accounts, online banking login information and social media sites, because they tend to contain the most valuable personal information.
Also, be sure to contact your service provider when you discover your device is missing. Many providers are able to remotely lock your device or account, helping to prevent unwanted phone calls, data usage and costly fees.
While passwords and locks are a good first line of defense, there are several additional ways to protect your device if you set it down somewhere, or it falls out of your pocket.
One of the first things to do is install a mobile security suite on your mobile device. On Android smartphones, free apps like Lookout Mobile Security, Norton Mobile Security Lite, Seekdroid Lite and Webroot Secure Anywhere Mobile let you remotely locate your device, lock it, and/or delete all the data in it.
Users of the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch can get similar functionality by, installing the free Find My iPhone app. Users can sign in with their Apple ID, and a map showing the approximate location of their device will be available. The app gives users the option of displaying a message on the lost hardware, locking it down, or remotely wiping it.
For even more security, you might want to check out Geek Squad’s Locked & Found app($2.99/month). It allows users to remotely lock their device and use GPS to locate it. Plus, if someone finds your device, they can report it through the device even if you locked it. If your device is stolen, Locked and Found can take a picture of the person holding the device and turn on a screaming alarm. We also have a 24/7 service available to facilitate getting your Apple, Android or Blackberry device back to you, and is included in Geek Squad Protection plans (or can be purchased purchased as a standalone app).
LoJack for Laptops is another lock, locate and recover service available specifically for laptops. As with the services for smartphones, LoJack allows subscribers to remotely lock and delete files from the laptop if it is ever stolen. The system uses patented technology to track the laptop and assist local law enforcement to recover it. Plans start at $40 per year.
If you haven’t installed a security program on your device, you can always try locating your device by contacting it via phone, text or email. If you’ve installed them, you can use free services, such as Skype or Google Voice. You can also send the device a detailed message with information on how to return your missing device through email or SMS message using Gmail.
Equipment is replaceable. Often times, data is not. Make sure you don’t lose your data by regularly backing up your gadget’s information.
With the proper utilities, you can easily synch your smartphone or tablet to your computer using the USB port to transfer information. You can also use a cloud storage app such as iCloud (free) for Apple and MyBackup Pro ($4.99) for Android, which allow users to back-up and access their mobile device’s data from any location. If you’re a Google+ user, the Instant Upload feature automatically uploads photos and videos from your smartphone to a private album, so you never lose a memory.
With PC laptops, software programs such as Genie Backup Manager ($39.95), Norton Ghost ($69.99) and Second Copy ($29.95) automatically maintain current archives of your personal information (as does Time Machine for Macintosh computers). You can access cloud storage sites such as Evault and IBackup from any Internet connection.
Want to back things up the old-fashioned way? Burn it to CD/DVDs, or manually copy your data to external hard drives or USB devices (just remember to back up your data on a regular basis).
No matter which approach to securing your mobile devices your choose, always remember that in our mobile world, data security comes down to three words – lock, locate and recover.
There have been a number of articles in the tech press lately about vulnerabilities with smartphone passcodes. Phones using both Android and iOS systems have been plagued by hacks that allow unauthorized users to get around the passcode lockscreen. Apple recently released an update to their operating system intended to address this problem. A similar issue was also discovered in Galaxy Note 2 phones.
When things like this hit the press it’s often difficult for most users to understand whether they should be concerned or not. Lifehacker has a good article that discusses what these vulnerabilities allow unauthorized users to do, how passcodes work, and how best to secure your phone. If you’re concerned with the security of your smartphone, it’s definitely worth the read:
If you still need help understanding and using your smartphone, Geek Squad can help.
It’s vacation time! Get ready to lovingly bubble wrap that tablet, gently pack that smartphone into its case and stock up on a myriad of chargers. Technology withdrawal is no laughing matter. (Trust us, we know.)
Yes. And a voltage converter plug too.
Clothes are always a good idea. So is bringing an adapter plug for your tech gear. (Afterall, martphones do not run on oxygen.) In the UK, we have 3 pin sockets that run on a different voltage to US electrical items.
American smartphones are usually 115v products, but UK sockets are 240v. Iif you have a 240v smartphone, you need to purchase a 2 pin to 3 pin voltage converter plug - not just a regular one – or you risk blowing fuses in your expensive hotel room.
No. Just because Nyan cat says so, doesn’t make it right.
Listen up, this is very important. Turn off data roaming before boarding that plane. Please do it. Oh please. If you don’t turn your GSM smartphone off, it will automatically connect to the most appropriate UK mobile network as soon as one becomes available, and pump out all the lovely interwebs juice you usually inject into Facebook, Song Pop and Sound Cloud.
Settings > general > network > data roaming – toggle to off.
Settings > mobile network > data roaming - untick it.
Settings > Mobile Network > Data Roaming Options – tap ‘don’t roam’.
Menu > settings > networks and connections > mobile network – set ‘While Roaming’ to off.
Your smartphone is simply bursting with stuff that’s important to you, from contacts whose numbers you never bothered to learn, to photos of that thing that happened that one time which nobody mentions in public. Hey, you don’t want to lose all the music you spent hours adding to your computer, then to your phone, then to your computer and, sigh, the process is never ending. So, for goodness sake, back up your smartphone before travelling abroad.
While abroad, don’t be tempted to switch on 3G on your GSM mobile and connect to a UK network, which can be very costly. Connect to a secure Wi-Fi network whenever you want to frantically thumb through Facebook to see all the posts from your crush or best friend that you’ve missed during your vacation. If a network doesn’t ask for a password or network key when you attempt to connect, it isn’t secure. We advise you not to connect to unsecure networks when checking anything personal. If your hotel doesn’t provide access to a secure network, try BT Fon, which allows you to connect to a network of Wi-Fi hotspots, for a pre-paid daily charge.
We’re not saying that Britain is any more hazardous to your smartphone than the US, but if your phone does get lost, broken or stolen while you’re over here, pop into a Carphone Warehouse and chat with a Geek Squad Agent there for help. Find out more here.
Have a safe trip over here in the glorious British summer rain, and remember that Geek Squad UK are always only a phone call away whenever you need technology support.
By Agent Brown (UK)
Thinking of heading abroad this Summer? In this connected world, we take our smartphones everywhere. Here’s our guide on making sure your beloved device works the way it should during your holidays!
In the USA, there are two different types of mobile network, GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications, originally Groupe Spécial Mobile) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access). These two types of network use different technology to make and receive calls, making a CDMA phone not compatible with a GSM network and vice versa.
In the UK, all mobile networks use GSM, so if you have a CDMA handset then you will not be able to connect it to a UK mobile network at all.
If you want to know if you are on GSM or CDMA then you just need to know which carrier you are with. Verizon & Sprint use CDMA. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. If you are with a smaller carrier, you will need to check with them to find out which system they are using. This is definitely something to check before you travel, as you could get a nasty surprise when you touch down and try to make a call!
If you have a GSM phone and SIM card, using the UK mobile networks will be as easy as turning your phone on and waiting for it to connect. The phone should automatically pick up a UK network and you should be able to start making and receiving calls and texts as normal.
Make sure to check the charges with your carrier before you travel. Making calls from abroad can be very expensive.You don’t want your fond holiday memories spoiled by a huge phone bill when you get home.
Your network may allow you to add a special holiday bundle to your account, making it cheaper to use the handset when you are in the UK. This usually involves making a one-time payment to will provide you a pre-determined amount of time and will likely save you a lot of money if you intend to use the phone a lot.
A data connection can be particularly expensive, so most phones will not allow you to use data services while abroad unless you specifically turn on data roaming in the settings menu. If you do need to get online to check your emails or update Facebook, it is best to do this by connecting to a Wi-Fi network. Most hotels will have Wi-Fi available and there are thousands of free Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK.
If you are using a CDMA handset, then you will not be able to make or receive calls or texts on your handset via any UK network. However, there are alternative ways you can communicate with your friends and family back home if you have access to a Wi-Fi connection.
If you have an Apple iPhone on iOS 5 or above, you can use Wi-Fi to make and receive free video calls using Face Time. You can also send text message to other iPhone users using the free iMessage service. Both of these options work automatically without any further setup if you have a Wi-Fi internet connection.
If you have a different brand of smartphone, you can use applications like Skype or WhatsApp to make internet calls and send free instant messages over Wi-Fi. Skype allows you to make free calls and send messages to other Skype users, on either a smartphone or a computer. You can also call landline and mobile numbers from Skype for a minimal charge.
WhatsApp is another popular way of sending free text message over Wi-Fi. Unlike iMessage, WhatsApp is universal, so there is a version available for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Nokia and Blackberry. This means you can contact pretty much all of your friends and family who have a smartphone with the WhatsApp app..
There are a number of other messaging applications you can use depending on what your friends are using on their handsets. Facebook messenger for example, is another popular app that allows you to communicate with any of your Facebook friends who have messenger installed. And of course you always have the option of just sending an email from your phone.
We hope you have a safe, happy trip in the UK. If you need assistence, don’t forget to pop in and see your friendly neighbourhood Geek Squad Agent at a Carphone Warehouse store.
By Agent Hall (UK)
London is one of the world’s most exciting cities. There’s so much to see and do– from free art exhibitions, to jaw-dropping musical productions and family-friendly festivals (Like the chocolate festival, aaahhh). While you’re there, make the most of your trip!
Leaving on a jet plane? Let’s face it you’re probably looking at hours aboard a tin can on wings. But at least these handy planning apps can make the prep stage a little easier.
TripIt (all platforms – free) – organize your flight the easy way! Forward any booking or confirmation emails directly to firstname.lastname@example.org, and get a personal itinerary sent to you automatically. You can sync your itinerary with Google calendar or iCal. TripIt can also synchronise with other travel apps like FlightTrack for an even better service.
WorldMate (Android, iPhone – annual subscriptions service) – If you like the look of TripIt, but want to squeeze even more options and services out of your apps, WorldMate should suit you well. Although the WorldMate service carries an annual subscription charge, it offers a massive amount of functionality, including updates for delayed/cancelled flights and offers of alternative routes and transport.
The Trainline (all platforms) (free) – as far as UK train travel goes, Thetrainline.com has always been a boon. The mobile app is easy to use, lets you check train times and book tickets quickly and securely. It also syncs your booking with your Google calendar..
Virgin Trains (all platforms) (free) – you can use this handy app to book trains up to ten minutes before departure and collect them from Virgin’s FastTicket machines.
London Bus (iApple iPhone – £0.69) – similar to Google’s Layar app, London Bus by Press Elite uses augmented reality to show the location of tube, bus and tram stops. It also ties in with places to rent bikes, attractions and refreshments. If you prefer augmented reality to staring at a map, this will be the app for you.
London Transport Pro (Android – £1.49) – out of the many London transport apps on Google’s Play Store, this one has it all. Merging information from Tube and DLR services with live departure boards for London’s bus network, London Transport Pro allows you to set your favourite locations making it even easier to get from A to Zoo.
Google Maps/Navigation (all platforms – free) – get walking or driving directions, public transport information, all with turn-by-turn and voice guided navigation. When you pair this with the exceptional Google Maps website, you can plan your route on your computer and use your smartphone to find your way.
Navfree: Free GPS Navigation (Apple iPhone, Android - free) - a decent, cost-effective alternative to Google Maps, powered by OpenStreetMap. Navfree features turn-by-turn navigation with voice prompts, and offline map storage to save data.
Google Places (Android, iPhone – free) – Places works with Google Maps and uses your phone’s GPS to find local businesses and attractions. Simply load up the app, tell it what kind of service you’re looking for and let it search for relevant places nearby. You can see other people’s user ratings and pick the best service near you.
Yelp (All Platforms – free) – Yelp acts in a very similar way to Google Places but relies more on user reviews and opinions. Yelp has an easily accessible mobile webpage for smartphones.. Download the app and try it out.
Time Out London mobile app (Android, iPhone – free) - In my opinion, Time Out London is the best way to find hidden gems like free art exhibitions and family-friendly festivals. Find nearby restaurants, bars, films, gigs and entertainment to enjoy during your stay.
Toptable mobile (Android, iPhone – free) - I’ve been using toptable to find great local restaurants and make online bookings for years. It’s great because you get honest user reviews, star ratings and candid photos, plus booking reminders and rewards.
We hope you enjoy your stay in the UK. Don’t forget — Geek Squad is available 24/7 in the UK, should you need any assistance with your technology.
By Agent Peter Cruickshank (UK)
Sending physical postcards to your loved ones via a smartphone app sounded like a dream just a few years ago, but now you can snap a photo and get it sent to your family in just a few clicks! There are numerous postcard making apps available, for Android-powered smartphones and iPhones. We’re here to help you stay in touch with a little personality and flair this summer.
Picture this (pun very much intended); halfway through your summer holiday, you decide to send a postcard to a friend back home. First you have to find a shop to buy a postcard, spend ages searching for something suitable, find somewhere flat to write the card and then find out your pen has run out of ink. After all that, it’s usually a certainty that you won’t be able to find a post box for miles as well. If you’re anything like me then this seems like a little too much work for someone supposedly enjoying their holiday.
Thankfully, some innovative mobile app developers have created postcard apps for Android-powered smartphones and iPhones. There are several options available, each app allows you to snap a photo on your handset, personalise it and have it sent to a friend. A few days later, a printed copy of this postcard will arrive on their doorstep. (Winning.)
One of the biggest selling points of this app is that it integrates Instagram, Facebook and your phone’s photo album into one simple interface. Once your photo has been selected, you can then add a short message, along with your name and a photo of yourself, to truly personalise your postcard. Where Postagram really impresses is that the photo can later be popped out of the postcard. So even after the message in the postcard is no longer relevant, your friend still has a great photo to keep for years to come. With postcards only costing 99c, (£0.64) and the first 5 free, this really is impressive. (Available via iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.)
(Please note, this App costs £0.69 to download via the App store, your first postcard is free, and subsequent postcards carry a minimal postage cost depending on recipient’s location)
Snapshot offers a simple set of controls to add a photo, a suitable border if necessary and fill out your message on the back. The app has several font choices for the front of the card but strangely doesn’t offer a way of changing the font for the message on the back.
This app certainly seems the most straightforward out of the apps reviewed here, but is the only one to have an odd way of purchasing credits. Rather than an in app purchase it requires either a Paypal account or a credit/debit card. The app comes with the first print free which is a great way to try out the service. Available through the iTunes App Store.
(Please note, this App is free to download via the App store, but postcards carry a £1.93 cost)
This app is provided by a professional photographer and has some advantages over the competition, as well as a few limitations. It is free to download but there is a cost associated with sending postcards.
Like most postcard apps, you can send your creation to multiple recipients. What makes this one unique is that you can’t edit the photo on the front, but you are able to hugely personalise the back of the card. There is a handy guide available when you first start the app, so you’ll probably be creating masterpieces in minutes.
Cards cost $3 (£1.93) but with the amount of personalisation available this is quite reasonable. It would have been nice to have a free first print like the other apps though.
By Agent David Clayton (UK)
If you have an iPhone, we suggest that you install patch as soon as possible.
Star Trek is set to release today and I couldn’t be more excited! Sure, I’m thrilled that the new movie is coming out soon, but what’s even more exciting is all the fancy merchandise that gets released to help promote the movie itself. You’ll see tons of blogs about the movie itself, but I think I’ll change things up a bit by focusing on all the nifty gizmos that would make any Trekkie jump for joy.
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