Blog

Archive for Mobile Computing

7 Things You Didn’t Know Google Search Could Do Until Now

Google is way more powerful than most people realize. Regular searches are helpful, but they don’t even scratch the surface of Google’s abilities. Sometimes, your basic search inquiries may not be enough or you need a tip to get the best results.

There is a range of cool Google tricks you can use to narrow your results even further. It’s high time you learned what your search bar could do.

1. Get more options on your Google search results page

With rare exception, Google will spit up thousands of links for any search. This is great, in theory, but most relevant information shows up on the first couple of pages. So what happens if you don’t find what you’re looking for in the first few seconds? You get annoyed, and you wonder what the issue is – bad search, or Google being weird?

One way to mitigate this feeling is to expand the number of results on the first page, so you don’t have to click through as many individual pages to find what you’re looking for.

Simply click Settings underneath the right-hand side of the search bar on your results page and you’re taken to a page where you can adjust the number of results you see. Move the slider in the direction you want, but note that the more results you select per page, the slower Google will appear to run.

2. Search verbatim for more refined results

Sometimes Google doesn’t exactly “get it” when it comes to your search terms. The search engine tends to rely on context, after all. If you want more literal search results, all you’ll need to do is activate Verbatim searches.

This makes it that all search results must have your search terms included exactly as they appear. To activate Verbatim searches, click Tools on your results page, then hover over All results and click to select the Verbatim option. Alternatively, you can also type your search terms in quotation marks for the same effect (“like this”).

3. Remove old searches from your search history

To make the change, visit Google’s Delete activity page. When you follow Google’s instructions and click the Try it link, you’ll be able to search for specific topics and delete them by clicking the three dots symbol.

Now you’ll have cleaner results and more relevant ads when you browse.

4. Search for books, news, and movies

Most people know how to find images and videos, using the tabs at the top. But Google knows how much the internet loves different kinds of media, so the search engine has curated specific topics to bring you more relevant results about what you’re looking up.

Take Books and News, for example. Right under the search bar (if you don’t already see Books), you can click the menu item that says more to search among books and news articles specifically – much like you would with an image search. This prevents you from seeing results that aren’t related to what you’re looking for.

Take Books and News, for example. Right under the search bar (if you don’t already see Books), you can click the menu item that says more to search among books and news articles specifically – much like you would with an image search. This prevents you from seeing results that aren’t related to what you’re looking for.

As for movies, Google handles its searches without any extra work on your part. Simply type in the name of a movie, and you’ll be greeted with cast info, links to Wikipedia, and even showtimes and tickets if it’s a movie that’s still in theaters.

5. Plot directions right from your Google search bar

You’re probably already familiar with Google Maps, but did you know you can get directions without even needing to open Maps itself? All you need to do is type in “directions to (destination) from (location)” and the search engine results will take care of the rest.

You can switch between car, public transportation, and walking directions if you choose to.

6. Instantly translate in your search bar

Google is fluent in multiple languages, and its abilities improve every day. You can quickly convert text from one language to another – and with astonishing accuracy – by adding one word to your search: type Translate (phrase) into (language of choice).

This is extremely handy in case you come across an unfamiliar bit of language on social media, or want to send a greeting to a friend in a foreign language.

7. Search within specific websites

This is one of the handiest features that Google offers. Sometimes, you want to find something specific on a certain website – but let’s say it doesn’t have a search feature of its own. Wouldn’t it be convenient if every website had its own Google search bar?

add site:(website) to the beginning of the search, and you’ll quickly narrow down your results from the world wide web into just what you’re looking for. Happy hunting!

Most people know how to find images and videos, using the tabs at the top. But Google knows how much the internet loves different kinds of media, so the search engine has curated specific topics to bring you more relevant results about what you’re looking up.

Take Books and News, for example. Right under the search bar (if you don’t already see Books), you can click the menu item that says more to search among books and news articles specifically – much like you would with an image search. This prevents you from seeing results that aren’t related to what you’re looking for.

Komando, Kim. “7 things you didn’t know Google Search could do until now” USA Today July 25, 2019

Posted in: Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

Why You Should Take Advantage of Firefox Send

By Jonathan Heitz

What is Firefox Send?

Firefox send is a new service from Mozilla that allows anyone to share files with the click of a button. You can share files up to 1GB in size if you decide not to sign in to a Mozilla account. If you sign in, you can send files up to 2.5GB.

How do I access Firefox Send?

It’s easy! To access Firefox Send, simply go to send.firefox.com on your web browser. Once you’re there, you can upload a file, and then you’ll get a link which you can share to friends or coworkers.

There you go! We hope you take advantage of this convenient new free service from Mozilla. it’s perfect if you do not have access to your email or cloud storage service. Check it out!

Posted in: E-mail, Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

How to Prevent Phone Hacking

Traditionally a headache reserved for celebrities, smartphone-hacking concerns have crossed the VIP vs. everyone else blood-brain barrier and are now a legitimate concern for anyone who owns a cell phone.

The Security Risks of Phone Hacking

But is this really a serious problem for us regular folks? Are our voicemail messages so interesting that someone would invade our privacy to listen in? Before we go barking up the narcissism tree, it’s best to examine what phone hacking is and whether you really need to worry about it.

There are many types of phone hacking methods, ranging from hacking into a live conversation or into someone’s voicemail, and to hacking into data stored on one’s smartphone. While the fear of the unknown can keep anyone on edge, the person most likely to hack into your live conversation or voicemail will be someone that you already know, and in today’s mobile world, phone hacking continually grows as a security issue. As people increasingly store sensitive data on their mobile devices, the opportunity to exploit privacy weaknesses becomes more tempting to unscrupulous frenemies, exes or the occasional stranger.

The Security Risks of Phone Hacking

There is a cottage industry of phone hacking software, ostensibly developed for legal uses, but that can be easily abused by anyone (password crackers aptly named John the Ripper and Cain and Abel are two examples). Opportunistic hackers can wreak havoc with data deletion or install malicious software that gathers bank account logins and confidential business emails. So, how can you make things tougher for hackers?

How to Secure Your Phone From Hackers

If you want to be proactive, there are several measures you can take to protect yourself against phone hacking, most of which involve common sense. In addition, there are advanced methods to ensure that your phone is as secure as possible (without losing its full functionality). For example:

Basic Phone Security Tips

For casual phone users, adhering to the basics is a great place to start when it comes to blocking simple hacking efforts:

  • Never leave your phone unattended. Keeping your phone with you at all times while in a public place is the first, best rule to follow.
  • Change your phone’s default passcode. Your phone likely comes with a simple, predictable default password, and those who know can use this to their advantage. Change your code to something more complex, and resist the usual “1234,” “0000” and “2580” codes that are commonly used.
  • Manage your Bluetooth Security. Avoid using unprotected Bluetooth networks and turn off your Bluetooth service when you aren’t using it.
  • Protect your PIN and Credit Card data. Use a protected app to store PIN numbers and credit cards, or better yet, don’t store them in your phone at all.

Advanced Ways to Prevent Phone Hacking

If you’re still worried about hacking, there are further steps you can take to protect yourself. However, taking things too far will defeat the purpose of having a smartphone at all.

  • Avoid unsecured public WiFi. Hackers often target important locations such as bank accounts via public WiFi that can often be unsecured due to relaxed safety standards or even none at all.
  • Turn off your autocomplete feature. By doing this, you can prevent stored critical personal data from being accessed.
  • Regularly delete your browsing history, cookies, and cache. Removing your virtual footprint is important in minimizing the amount of data that can be harvested by prying eyes.
  • Have an iPhone? Enable Find My iPhone. By turning the feature on in your settings, you’ll be able to locate your phone if you misplace it before the hackers can lay their paws on it.
  • Use a security app that increases protection. For Android owners, Webroot offers the all-in-one Mobile Security for Android app that provides antivirus protection and allows you to remotely locate, lock up and wipe your phone in the event you lose track of it. For iOS users, Webroot also offers a free secure web browser for increased mobile security on your iPhone and iPad.

Remember—if the thought of hacking has you tossing and turning at night, you can just turn the phone off, remove the battery and hide it under your pillow for some sweet lithium-ion induced dreams. Or, you can double down on securing your mobile devices with mobile security solutions offering secure web browsing and real-time defense against phishing attacks.

Webroot Smarter Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity Education Resources, Tips/Articles

Posted in: Mobile Computing, Security, Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

If You’re Not Texting With Android Messages for Web by Now, You’re Doing it Wrong

Google’s answer to iMessages for typing texts on your laptop will save you time.

Nothing is more irritating than bouncing back and forth between your computer and phone while trying to work and text someone. For years, Android phone users had no choice but to use other messaging apps if they wanted to chat with friends from their desktops. But if you didn’t know, you can use Android Messages on your desktop browser to type. Google calls this Messages for Web.

It’s important to note that your phone has to have service and your computer needs to be connected to a Wi-Fi network. (It doesn’t necessarily need to be the same network, though.) If your phone is off, your computer doesn’t have Wi-Fi or your using airplane mode, you won’t be able to use Messages for Web.

Messages is the default texting app for Pixel phones, but there’s also a dedicated app anyone can download from the Google Play store to use instead of the default texting app on non-Google Android phones. It’s easy to use and there’s no penalty from your carrier to switch apps.

As with Apple’s iMessage, Messages for Web lets you carry on conversations from your computer screen. Note that you might have to re-pair your phone with your desktop from time to time.

Make sure your phones’s Messages app is up to date before getting started.

Let’s do this!

How to set up Messages for Web on your computer

  1. Open a new browser tab or browser window on your computer (we recommend a window) and navigate to messages.google.com/web. A QR code will appear.
  2. Open the Messages app on your phone.
  3. In Messages, tap Settings (the three dots in the upper right corner).
  4. Tap “Messages for web.”
  5. Hold your phone a few inches from the QR code you see on your computer screen, making sure it fills the viewfinder on your phone screen.
  6. After you scan the QR code, your contacts will automatically populate on the screen, ready for you to start texting.
This is the QR code to scan with your phone.

A few important tips

Note that the computer you’re texting from won’t save your information unless you toggle on Remember This Computer under the QR code before scanning. If you don’t, you’ll need to pair your devices every time. You’ll only want to save your contacts if it’s a personal laptop or desktop to protect your privacy.

If you do text on a public computer (which is not recommended), make sure to sign out afterward. If you forget, you might get a notification on your phone letting you know that you’re still logged in. You can also bookmark the website so it’s easier to text when you need to.

More than texts

Once you have Messages fro Web set up on your computer, there’s a lot you can do with it. Start by typing in the name of a friend or group and begin texting. You can also add a phone number. You’ll receive texts on Messages for Web just as you would on your phone, and you’ll see a notification banner in the upper right of your screen (and hear a ding) when a new message comes in.

Messages for Web supports much of what you can see and do with Android Messages on your phone. You can send your friends dozens of emojis, GIFs, photos, videos and stickers. You can also enable Dark Mode.

You won’t be able to share your location, send or request funds with Google Pay, use voice-to-text, share contacts or attach a file. You also won’t see predictive text suggestions. However, the time you’ll save typing on your desktop while you work is well worth these few omissions.

Brown, Shelby. “If you’re not texting with Android Mesages for Web by now, you’re doing it wrong” CNET May 1, 2019

Posted in: Android, Mobile Computing, Technology

Leave a Comment (0) →

12 Google Search Tips Everyone Should Know

Searching the web for information is a skill. Yes, you can enter a term into Google and find information, but by using a few simple tricks, you can quickly and easily whittle down your results to get exactly the information you’re looking for.

1. Find new stories

In general, putting a year or date in your search term will help limit results to more recent entries. However, if you want to limit your results, Google lets you search by the past hour, past year or create a custom date range. You’ll see this option when you click on Tools.

2. Search for a specific phrase

When you’re looking for search results for a specific phrase, put your search term in quotes. For example: “Internet privacy.”

3. Search a specific site

Most websites have their own search function, but it’s often not as good as Google. To limit results to a particular site, you can add “site” and then add the Web address. To exclude a site, put a minus sign before the word site

If you want to find something you’ve already read. Go to Settings> History and then re-enter the original search term.

4. Eliminate a term from search results

If you want to find information about Donnie Wahlberg but you are getting a bunch of results containing Mark Walberg, you can put a minus sign in front of any term you want to eliminate. So type, “Wahlbreg -Mark.”

5. Limit results to search terms in a title

If you want to make sure you’re returning results that focus on a topic, you may want to limit results stories that include the term in the title. Simply put allintitle: ahead of your search term.

6. Using an image to search

Click on Camera in search bar to use a saved image
choose upload or paste image

See a recipe you’d like to make but don’t know what it’s called? If you have the image saved on your computer or open in another window of your browser, you can use it to search using Google’s image search. Select the image and drag it into the search bar on the Google image search page and Google will find similar images and make the best guess or upload from your image files.

7. Searching for local results

Most of the time your search engine will know where you are. If it doesn’t, or you want to search in another location, you can add a zip code to the end of your search. Or, under Search tools, you can select your location

8. Finding appropriate content for children

Turn on SafeSearch, which you can find under the settings button. This will filter out explicit results. You can also lock on SafeSearch with your Google ID and password.

9. Finding a product

If you’re looking to purchase a product, type in the product name or type and click on Shopping. On the left side, you’ll be able to sort by price, whether the prodcut is available nearby, the color, brand and more. You can also add a price range to your search term by adding the minimum price followed by two periods and the maximum price. For instance, you’d type: Laptops $200..$350.

10. Solve a math problem

Kids checking up on their math can type a numeric equation into the search bar and get their answer. You can also get quick number conversions by inputting the conversion factors, like liters to cups or dollars to Euros.

11. Get immediate results

Google prepackages relevant information on frequently searched topics. So, you can simply type in a flight number to get flight status, a tracking number to track a package, the name of a sports team to get the score, a stock ticker symbol to get the current stock price and weather to get the forecast.

12. Get help in a natural, manmade or humanitarian disaster

When a crisis occurs, Google creates SOS Alerts. These special search results make emergency information more accessible by listing resources (Emergency phone numbers, mas of affected areas, etc.), showing updates from local, national and international authorities, and providing links for donation opportunities, among other listings. If you’re using the Google app and turn on location sharing for the app you’ll automatically receive SOS alerts in your area.

Kantra, Suzanne. “12 Google Search Tips Everyone Should Know” Techlicious, April 17, 2019

Learning how to best navigate the internet is very helpful and time saving. But first and foremost, please be cyber safe.

Approximately 1 MILLION CYBERATTACKS are attempted a day and on average compromised credentials aren’t reported until 15 months after a breach.

Be careful. Be educated! We offer tools that monitor your credentials and raise awareness so that you and your employees will learn to avoid the pitfalls that put your company credentials at risk.

Give us a call to further discuss how we can help in protecting your business against cybersecurity threats, and how we can make technology work for your business.

Call 732.780.8615 or email support@trinityww.com

Posted in: Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

Top 5 benefits of the OneDrive Mobile App

In an era of rapid digital transformation, how we work is changing. Work does not solely revolve around an office space. Tech-savvy millennial and information workers expect to be productive even when they are working remotely- be it at a client’s location, a cafe, their home (on the porch in the sun preferably 😉), or while traveling. This means that they need to stay connected, updated and access and share their corporate content especially when beyond the walls of the office.

Install for iOS and Android and try each benefit as you read.

Let us look at the 5 key benefits of the OneDrive mobile app – especially when on the go:

1. All your files at your fingertips

Stay connected to all your files from anywhere and any device, with the OneDrive mobile app. You can upload, preview, edit and co-author in native Office apps, share, delete and recover files directly from your mobile devices.  You can even mark files and folders for offline access to make them available when you do not have an internet connection; when you are on a flight and need to work on your files on your iPad or Android tablet.

The OneDrive mobile app serves as an interface to access your individual work files and team files across Office 365. You can also keep tabs on file activities and manage multiple accounts in the same app – be it for work (business) and life (consumer).

Finally, with automatic camera backup, OneDrive ensures that critical business media captured on a mobile device stays backed up and secured within your organization.

1.1.PNG

Stay connected to all your files from any device. Edit, share, access photos and take files offline while on the go.

2. Scan to boost your productivity and capture 
A major “wow factor” of the app is undoubtedly the built-in scanning capabilities that allow you to digitize content, while on the go. The power of Microsoft Office Lens is built right in to assist with dynamic image correction for whiteboards, documents and business cards along with converting them to easy-to-read PDF format. This enhanced capture experience with multi-page scan capabilities allows you to crop, add filters and annotations directly to the image.

Scan multiple pages with OneDrive mobile app.

Real life usage scenarios could include scanning and sharing interesting print articles or marketing research at trade shows or resumes at recruiting events and job fairs as well as capturing business cards and expense receipts when traveling to customer conferences. It’s fast, clean and if associated with a meeting, you’ll be prompted to share the scan with all or select attendees.

In the words of Cox Automotive , “Someone from the marketing team was out at an event and used the scan feature in the OneDrive mobile app to quickly upload photos direct to the right folder for the event. Team members back in Atlanta, GA, were able to grab those pictures in real time and use them to create content immediately.”- Lynee Willison, Senior Manager, Cox Automotive

Also, if you save a scanned document or image to a shared library in SharePoint, you can choose metadata properties as you upload. An example being, a Firstline worker can photograph a piece of equipment while on field inspection, enter the condition, equipment id, and other important attributes – all from their phone.

2 new.PNG

Capture metadata for the scanned image.

3. Collaborate and share on the go with OneDrive + Office

Need to collaborate on files while travelling to work or to a client’s location or flying to another city for a conference? Don’t worry! The OneDrive app has your back.

You can easily create, annotate, edit and co-author documents in real-time with your colleagues. You can also securely share these files with your peers, across departments or an external vendor outside your organization – directly from the app, with a seamless in experience with respect to web or desktop.

Note: To edit and co-auth, simply use the Office Mobile apps; the file remains in OneDrive so you are working with others on the single source of truth.

3.PNG

Share within or outside your organization. Edit, annotate and co-author directly from your mobile.

To quote Chevron ,“I can have 10 people distributed around the world, all working on mobile devices, editing a PowerPoint presentation in real time, without worrying about losing data. When you show people how easy it is to collaborate and share from anywhere, including their trusted mobile devices, and they ask, ‘Where has this been all my life?’ it’s very fulfilling.”- Jeff Jones, Productivity Champion, Chevron Corporation.

4. Save time “intelligently”

Like the main Web interface in Office 365, Microsoft Graph powers the OneDrive app to help you to find files that matter the most to you. Be it, discovering personalized recommended content in “Discover” view or surfacing files that you have recently accessed or shared.

This intelligence also improves the overall search experience within the OneDrive app. Machine learning automatically categorizes and indexes images unlocking additional content “inside” the pictures. So, whether you have scanned and uploaded a bill for a client dinner to expense or a business card, you need not remember their file name and location for future access. All you need to do is search with the text in the images- say “latte” or the information on the business card.

Search-v2.gif

Intelligent search with OneDrive.

With a recent update to the app, now when you take a photo during a meeting, maybe a scan of notes you wrote down or a snap of a whiteboard where you brainstormed project plans with your colleagues, the OneDrive app will automatically prompt you to share the image with the meeting attendees, based on your Outlook calendar.

4.PNG
5.1.PNG
Automatic promo to share captured notes during the meeting.

5. Protect and manage, by policy, with ease
Admins, this one is for you! We understand how important data governance is to you- which is why you will have the peace of mind with Microsoft’s trustworthy enterprise grade security and compliance. OneDrive encrypts all data, not just on the device and in the cloud but also the data in transit. Also, from the OneDrive admin center, you have the ability to control all aspects of all employees’ OneDrive from storage quotas, to internal and external sharing, to device access.

Admin controls on device access in the OneDrive admin center.If your organization has Intune, you can enforce further controls to manage the app and its respective data.

5.2.PNG

Mobile application management with Intune and OneDrive.

To summarize, the OneDrive app lets you easily work with your personal and work files when you’re on the go – without compromise to productivity or data security and privacy. Our goal is to make your experience ubiquitous no matter what platform – from Mac and Windows to iOS and Android.
One experience to rule them all! 😊

Pro Tip:

1. For iOS devices, a long-press on the app prompts options like share, scan and access recent files. OneDrive for iOS also supports scan centric Siri shortcuts.

Note: Siri shortcuts only show up after you’ve used the scan feature once.

protip.PNG

OneDrive shortcuts for iOS. Scan or take a photo with Siri.

2. OneDrive is natively integrated with the Files app on iOS allowing you to access, upload, edit, and save your content to OneDrive or SharePoint Libraries from apps that support Files app integration. You can also tag and favorite your OneDrive and SharePoint files from within the Files app.

Files App ODB integration.png

OneDrive integration with iOS Files App

Kirti, Ankita. “Top 5 Benefits of teh OneDrive Mobile App” Microsoft Support, April 24, 2019

Posted in: Cloud Computing, Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

How to Import Excel Data Just by Photographing a Spreadsheet

  • The technology doesn’t work perfectly, but it can save you some time.
  • A version of the technology is coming soon to Excel for iOS.

Microsoft just launched a new tool inside the Excel app for Android — it’s coming to iPhones soon — that lets you take a picture of a spreadsheet and import it right into Excel. When it works, it means you don’t need to manually re-enter data into Excel, which is huge if you have a lot of printed data and can’t copy and paste the spreadsheet you’re looking at.

We tested it out and found it could be hit or miss. When we took pictures of really big spreadsheets, the kind that you’d probably most likely want to use this tool for, instead of having to re-enter all of that data, it didn’t work. There were sometimes hundreds of errors that had to be cleaned up.

But, when we took a picture of a smaller spreadsheet, like one with a few columns for a grocery list, it worked just fine. Our guess is this will improve over time, but it’s worth trying since it’s a free add-on feature for Excel anyway. Even if it’s not perfect, you can get some of the data imported with just a picture.

Here’s how to take a picture of a spreadsheet and import it into Excel.

Get the new Excel app for Android

  • Download the Excel app for your Android phone or tablet. It’s available on the Google Play Store. If you already have the app, make sure it’s up to date.
  • Create a new spreadsheet, or open up an existing one.
  • Tap on a cell in the spreadsheet, and you’ll notice different icons pop up in the row on the bottom of the screen.
  • One of the new icons shows a black and white spreadsheet in the background, and a little blue camera in the foreground. Tap that one.
  • Accept an alert that says Microsoft needs to run a cloud service to import the spreadsheet.

Take the photo

Now the app will open a camera viewfinder, which you should use to snap a picture of the spreadsheet you want to import into Excel. If you already have a photo, there’s an option to select a picture from your gallery, too.

It’s OK if the spreadsheet you’re taking a picture of is on an angle — the app will pick up on the borders of a table, or the entire piece of paper, by drawing a red box around it. Feel free to tap on the text printed on the paper in order to focus the camera.

Next, tap the circular shutter button to snap your picture.

Check the data

On the top half of the next screen, you’ll see a bunch of cells that are essentially a preview of the digital version of your data, and below that, you’ll see your photo. The performance can be hit or miss. Sometimes spreadsheets are imported without an issue, while other times they were jumbled messes of data.

Excel will let you know if it suspects there are errors, which you can move through and edit accordingly. Expect to have to make a few edits. While it’s not perfect, this will still save you a ton of time compared to having to enter in all of the data manually.

Posted in: Android, Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

How to Snoop Proof Any Phone or Tablet

It’s likely that you’ve got details of your whole life stored on your phone—the people you know, the banks you’ve used, the videos you’ve wasted hours watching—and you don’t necessarily want that info getting out into the wider world. If you’re keen to lock down your handset against unwelcome visitors, you need to take a few steps.

There’s lots to cover, from protecting against friends at parties who might pick up your phone and start scrolling through photos, to government agencies who might be eager to tap into your outgoing messages. There are plenty of ways to put up barriers and stop all but the most advanced attacks, and we’ll cover the most important ones here, for phones and tablets running iOS and Android—though many of the principles can be applied to laptops and other kinds of devices too.

It’s worth noting at the outset that it’s very hard to make a device completely snoop-proof—even if you physically remove the camera and the microphone, Edward Snowden-style, determined hackers can still get at your data.

Basic security tips

Every so often a new report appears lamenting the high number of people who leave their phones unlocked, or who use an easily guessable PIN like 1234. In 2017 there really is no excuse for leaving your device unprotected, with so many options available—from trusted locations on Android, which helpfully turns on additional security when you’re not at home, to Touch ID on iOS, which demands your fingerprint for accessing protected data. Go to Security in Android’s Settings app or Touch ID & Passcode in the iOS one to get something in place.

That should stop passers-by and curious friends from getting at your phone, but more information than you might think can be accessed from the lock screen—for example, by default on an iOS device you can launch Siri and ask “who do I call most?” to see a list of recent calls, no unlock required.

The feature is designed to help someone return your phone to you if it gets lost, but if you’re not comfortable with it you can turn this and other lock screen pop-ups off by going to Touch ID & Passcode menu in Settings. You can disable notifications too if you don’t want people taking a peek at your Twitter mentions as they flash up on screen.

On Android devices the only settings to really be aware of are the notification ones controlling what appears on the lock screen. Go to Notifications in Settings and you can disable all alerts or just ones for certain apps; the recent versions of Android also let you hide “sensitive” information on the lock screen, which typically means anything that comes through one of your messaging apps.

Securing your apps

As we’ve explained before, some apps are more secure than others when it comes to protecting and encrypting your data. Our picks for the most snoop-resistant messaging apps are currently Signal (iOSAndroid) and WhatsApp (iOSAndroid), and if you’re using anything else you’re leaving yourself more at risk to getting snooped on.

When it comes to browsing, the built-in apps do a decent job protecting you against various kinds of snooping, but there’s certainly room for improvement as well. Apps like Orbot (Android) and Onion Browser (iOS) will keep all your browsing encrypted, anonymous, and very difficult (though not impossible) to track. On top of that, a VPN tool such as Opera VPN (AndroidiOS) will encrypt all the data going to and from your device, and they’re especially useful on public Wi-Fi networks in coffee shops and hotels.

Worried about app developers snooping on your activities? Besides studying the terms and conditions very closely, you can check on (and revoke) permissions for a particular app—on Android tap Apps in Settings, then select an app and choose Permissions, or on iOS, from Settings tap Privacy then choose a category to see which apps have privileges and take them back. As a nuclear option you can simply uninstall offending apps.

On Android devices, you also have the extra option of installing an app locker, which adds an additional layer of protection for specific apps or files if someone should get past your lock screen. It can range from demanding a pin number or password, to demanding a fingerprint scan every time you want to open the app. AppLock (Android), Privacy Knight (Android), and Norton App Lock (Android) are all great choices.

One of the best ways of minimizing the risk of snooping is to have as little data on your phone as possible at any one time. How you go about this will vary from app to app, but to take iMessage as an example, you can go to Messagesfrom Settings and then tap Keep Messages to have them automatically cleaned up after 30 days or a year. Other apps will have similar options. Though be sure to offload photos and videos to the web using something like iCloud or Google Photos before you start auto-deleting old texts.

Your phone also has a habit of tracking places you’ve been and subjects you’ve searched, so you’ll want to deactivate that, if possible. Check in the Activity Controls page of your Google account, where you can enable or disable location history, the storing of voice searches, YouTube viewing history, web browsing activities, and so on.

And something you might not often think about are third-party apps hooked up to your main apps—all those little utilities and add-ons you’ve granted permission to use your Facebook or Twitter accounts. While these are usually nothing to worry about, out-dated and unsecured connected apps can be used to snoop on your activities remotely, so it’s best to keep as few active as possible.

Head into the settings pages for all your services on the web to do this. For Google, you can go to the Connected apps and sites page; on Facebook, connected apps are listed in the App Settings page; while on Twitter, you can go to the Apps page to kick out any connected tools you don’t recognize or no longer have any need for.

Nield, David. “How to Snoop-Proof Any Phone or Tablet” GIZMODO, Mobile

Posted in: Mobile Computing, Security, Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

How To Block, Stop Robocalls, Scams: ‘Nuclear Option’ On iPhone XS, iOS 12, Pixel 3, Android

While apps provide some level of protection against robocalls, spam, and scams, they’re not bulletproof.

The hard truth is that call screening apps that claim to block unwanted calls are not always effective at actually stopping the call from getting through.

That, after all, is the point: to block unwanted calls.

The nuclear option is simple, very effective

But there’s one way* to stop these calls cold. And it may save your sanity in the process: Do Not Disturb.

Here’s the starter kit for turning on Do Not Disturb on the iPhone and Android:

  • With the iPhone it’s a snap. Go to Settings, then tap on “Do Not Disturb” then select “Allow Calls From” then “All Contacts.”
  • On Android 9 “Pie,” Go to “Sound” then turn on “Do Not Disturb.” Like the iPhone, you can set exceptions for things like Contacts.

There are several ways to tweak how restrictive Do Not Disturb is, as shown in the images at the top and bottom of this article. Instead of explaining all of these different settings/tweaks in unreadable, prolix text, the images offer the most concise, clear guides.

Google also provides written how-to on its support page: here.

As does Apple: here.

The beauty of tweaking the settings is it turns Do Not Disturb into a very effective robocall/spam/scam blocking tool.

On caveat: this will stop all unwanted calls from ringing your phone. That includes unexpected calls that aren’t necessarily unwanted. And notifications will be blocked too.

But you won’t miss calls completely. You will typically see it as a missed call or a voicemail. Again, use trial and error to determine if this is the best option for you. And, again, you can toggle this on and off.

NOTES:

*I use Do Not Disturb on my iPhone, currently an iPhone XS Max running iOS 12, and on my Android phone, currently a Google Pixel 3 XL running Android 9 “Pie.”

Cruthers, Brooke. “How to Block, Stop Robocalls, Scams: ‘Nuclear Option’ on iPhone XS, iOS 12, Pixel 3, Android” Forbes.com January 27, 2019

Posted in: Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

24 Hidden Android Settings You Should Know About

Android phones come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes,

but within, they all run the same basic operating system. That Android code includes settings that let you tailor your smartphone to your needs. In this guide, we collected 24 lesser-known customization’s for you to toy with.

Before we start, a quick caveat: Although the same Android code runs all of these phones, manufacturers often modify the operating system by slapping a software skin on top. Our instructions specifically apply to the current stock version Android, 8.0 Oreo, which you’ll find on Google’s latest Pixel phones. However if you own a phone that runs a different version of Android, you can still apply these settings—you just have to rummage around a little more to find them.

1. Increase Font Size

You don’t have to squint and strain your eyes when viewing Android screens: Open the Settings app and choose Display, followed by Font size, to make adjustments. Drag the pointer along the slider to make changes, and check the preview window to see what the end result will look like. Once you set the Android font size, most apps will apply it.

2. Make Sure You Can Find Your Phone

Worried about losing your phone? To maximize your chances of recovering a missing device, make sure to activate Android’s built-in tracking system: Open Settings, go to Security & location, and tap Find My Device. After that, if you should misplace your phone, head to this page in any browser and log in to your Google account. You’ll be able to view your handset’s location on a map, among other options.

3. Tweak the Quick Settings Panel

Drag two fingers down from the top of the screen, and you’ll open Android’s Quick Settings panel, which provides immediate access to settings such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and flashlight mode. These shortcuts are useful, but you can make them even handier by customizing which ones show up and the order in which they appear. Open the panel, tap the pen icon on the lower left, and you’ll be able to add shortcuts and drag the icons into a new arrangement.

4. Reduce Data Usage

Android includes a built-in system to limit how much data background apps can gobble up (at least when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi). This mode will affect different apps in various ways—for example, in a browser, images might not show up unless you tap on them. To switch on this handy feature, open Settings and pick Network & internet, then Data usage, then Data Saver.

5. Stop New Apps From Creating Shortcuts

By default, when you install an app, it automatically appears as a shortcut on one of your phone’s home screens. This allows you to quickly launch a new app, but it can also clutter up your interface. To disable this default, perform a long press on any blank part of a home screen. When a menu pops up, choose Home Settings and turn off the Add icon to Home screen option. Note: This setting used to appear in the Play Store app, but in Android 8.0 Oreo, you can now access it from any home screen.

6. Rotate Home Screens

Within an app, you can turn your phone to switch the view from portrait to landscape or vice versa. But the home screen doesn’t come with the same default—you have to turn this option on. Return to the Home Settings screen discussed in the previous tip. Here, you can choose whether or not the home screens rotate with the phone by turning Allow Homescreen rotation on or off. Note: You won’t be able to access this option (it will appear grayed out) if you’ve locked the orientation of your phone. To restore this ability, you must unlock your screen orientation: Open Settings, go to Display, and change the Auto-rotate screen option.

7. Project Your Phone on a Bigger Screen

Android now comes with built-in casting, so you can mirror the screen on any monitor or television equipped with a Chromecast device. Although many apps have their own Chromecast buttons, you can also project any screen or app from the Settings. Just go to Connected devices and select Cast.

8. Change App Permissions

How much of your personal information can any individual app access? You can see exactly which permissions an app has been granted by going to Settings, tapping Apps & notifications, and picking an app (or hitting See all to view the full list). Then, to view and edit that app’s access, tap Permissions. For example, you might allow an app to access your contact list but not your location.

9. Control Battery Use

Android now optimizes apps so they won’t drain the battery as much. For example, your email app can still run in the background, checking for updates, but it does so less frequently. However, you can exempt certain apps if you want them to always run at full throttle. Open Settings and tap Battery, then the menu button on the top right, then Battery optimization. Next, hit the Not optimized link, then All apps. Finally, select an app and pick the Don’t optimize option.

10. Wake up Your Phone With Your Voice

You don’t have to touch your phone to gain access to Google Assistant. You just need to adjust your settings. Open the Google app, tap the menu button (three horizontal lines on the bottom right), and then hit Settings followed by Voice. Choose Voice Match, and then the phrase “OK Google” will work at any time, even when your device is locked. In fact, you can use voice recognition to unlock your phone this way.

11. Free Up More Memory

If you’re running Android 7.0 Nougat or later, you can take advantage of Smart Storage. If your device is struggling for free space, this feature will automatically delete local copies of photos and videos that have safely been transferred to Google Photos. To enable it, open Settings, tap Storage, and turn on the Smart Storagetoggle switch.

12. Adjust Lock Screen Timing

Why bother reducing the time your phone takes to automatically lock the screen? Less down time makes it less likely someone will swipe your handset before it locks itself. This will also reduce battery drain, because the screen will stay lit for a shorter period. From Settings, head to Display, tap Advanced, and choose Sleep. Then you can pick a time-out period that works for you.

13. Customize Notifications From Specific Contacts

To help you instantly identify who’s calling—and to decide whether or not to pick up—you can assign certain contacts unique ringtones. Your default ringtone will remain the same—change it in Settings, under Sound, via the Phone ringtone option. To change notification settings for individuals, launch the Contacts app, tap on a contact name, open the menu (three dots on the top right), and choose Set ringtone. Then you can select a specific sound from a list.

14. Change Volume Levels Separately

You might not want to play your podcasts at the same volume as your ringtone. To adjust those separately, launch Settings and open the Sound menu. Here, you’ll find volume sliders for media, alarms, and ringtones. You can also access individual volume settings by pressing the physical volume button, which will make one slider appear on screen, and then tapping the down-pointing arrow to the right. This will open a drop-down menu where you can see all three volume sliders.

15. Unlock Your Phone in Your Car

Once you’re securely seated in your car, you might want your phone to unlock itself. This would let you open a map without entering a code, and would allow any passengers to put on your favorite tunes. Android can do this by recognizing your car stereo as a “trusted” Bluetooth device, one that proves you’re in possession of your phone. From Settings, head to Security & location, then Smart Lock, then Trusted device. Finally, work through the simple setup process, and then your phone will unlock when it’s in the presence of your car stereo.

16. Turn on Wi-Fi Automatically

Keeping your Wi-Fi off while you’re out and about increases your phone’s security and preserves its battery. But in the presence of a strong, trusted Wi-Fi network, one that you’ve used in the past, Android 8.0 Oreo can automatically turn your phone’s Wi-Fi back on. From Settings, tap Network & Internet, then Wi-Fi, then Wi-Fi preferences. Finally, turn on the Turn on Wi-Fi automatically toggle switch.

17.  Change Notification Priorities

Oreo also lets you prioritize different types of notifications from a given app. In Gmail, for example, you might choose to receive a noisy alert for important emails and a less obtrusive one for regular updates. Open Settings, tap Apps & notifications, and pick a specific app or tap See all to view a full list. Different apps will offer different categories of alerts, so choose App notifications to view them and configure different sounds for each.

18. Quickly Switch Between Apps

Jumping immediately from app to app is not, strictly speaking, a setting—but it still makes a very useful shortcut. A single tap on the Overview button, which is the square icon in the navigation bar, brings up a view of all your open apps as tabs. However, if you double-tap on the button, you’ll immediately jump from your current app to the one you were previously using.

19. Change Emoji Mode

You can view emojis on the default Google keyboard for Android by tapping on the emoji button to the left of the space bar. But did you know you can pull up emojis with different skin colors or genders by pressing and holding on an individual icon? This works on most emojis depicting people or body parts, such as a thumbs up.

20. Show Emergency Information

 If someone should discover your phone after you’ve been in an accident, having your key medical information show up on the lock screen could save your life. To do this, open Settings, choose Users & accounts, then tap Emergency information. You can provide details like allergies and organ donor status, as well as emergency contacts.

21. Move the Cursor More Delicately

Using only your clumsy fingers, you probably have a hard time highlighting specific sections of text. If you’re using the default Google keyboard, then this neat trick will make it easier to move the text cursor just one or two characters at a time. Launch any app where you can write and edit text, such as your SMS program, and tap in a text box to pull up the keyboard on screen. Then, instead of moving the cursor within the text box itself, place your finger on the space bar. Tap and drag left or right on the spacebar to move the text-editing cursor in the same direction.

22. Tweak the color range

A phone’s “color gamut” controls the range of colors that you see on screen—a wider gamut means colors will appear more vibrant, but also less natural. You can adjust the gamut in Settings by going to Display, choosing Colors, and choosing Natural, Boosted, or Saturated. Depending on the make and model of your phone, you may see different options listed here. Play around with them to find the color scheme that works best for you.

23. Snooze notifications

To clear a cluttered notification menu, you can drag individual alerts to the left, and they’ll disappear. But what if you want to clear those distractions now, but revisit them later, when you have time to deal with them properly? Snoozing notifications is a fantastically useful feature only available on phones that run Android 8.0 Oreo. Drag any notification to the right, and a clock icon will appear. Tap the clock, and you can choose to snooze the alert for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours. Once the time has expired, the notification reappears as if it’s come through for the first time.

24. Get help from Cortana

When it comes to various AI assistants, everyone has a favorite. If you prefer Microsoft’s digital helper to Google Assistant or Bixby, you can install Cortana for Android. You can even make it the default app that appears when you hold down the Home button: Open Settings, go to Apps & notifications, and then tap Advanced, Default apps, Assist & voice input, and Assist app.

Nield, David. “24 Hidden Android Settings You Should Know About” January 18, 2018

Posted in: Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 6 12345...»