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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

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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

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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

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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

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OneDrive vs Google Photos: What’s Best for Backing Up Photos

Losing Pictures and videos due to hardware failure hurts you the most.  Hence, it’s of paramount importance that your library of photos and videos is appropriately backed up, especially to decent cloud storage.  It’s easier said than done – high resolutions associated with smartphone cameras combined with miserly storage offerings mean that you are bound to run out of space sooner rather than later.

OneDrive and Google Photos are two cloud storage services that provide top-notch sync capabilities when it comes to backing up multimedia content.  Yet among certain aspects, they differ quite significantly in the functionality that they offer.  So, how do they stack against each other on the major mobile platforms?  Let’s find out.

Availability

OneDrive, while giving off the impression of being a cloud storage for all file types in general, also doubles up as a photo backup service. It’s available on both iOS and Android, and works quite well, thanks to Microsoft’s uncanny flair for developing high-quality mobile apps. You can grab it either from the App Store or the Play Store.

On the other hand, Google Photos focuses solely on images and videos, leaving other file types to Google Drive — this minimizes confusion over what the app actually does. Google Photos comes pre-installed by default on most Android devices, but you can download it from the Play Store in case you had it removed at some point. For iOS devices, the App Store is the place to get it.

Backing Up Images

Both OneDrive and Google Photos allow for seamless uploading of images and videos to the cloud. On iOS and Android, install the OneDrive app, enable Camera Upload from within the Settings panel, and you are good to go. Google Photos does the same once you provide it with the appropriate permissions required upon installation — the app automatically prompts you once you attempt to set it up.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of both apps. OneDrive’s upload management capabilities feel rather limited. On Android, you can manage certain preferences such as enabling video backups, specifying Wi-Fi-only uploads, and selecting individual media folders for taking a backup. The iOS version has a set of additional features such as background uploads, image organization by month or year, and automatic conversions of HEIC images to JPG. But that’s about it.

Google Photos, on the other hand, provides a greater range of options that include modifying upload preferences for both photos and videos, grouping images by face, customizing Assistant cards, etc. Also included are many settings that let you easily add contacts with whom to share your photo library with, as well as multiple ways to determine the items you want them to see or have access to.

But perhaps the most useful feature is the ability to free up massive amounts of space locally. To do that, tap the Free Up Space option, and any backed up photos and videos are automatically deleted. This feature is pretty useful for devices running low on storage.

Available Free Storage

Available free storage is where the seams really start to show in-between both services. OneDrive offers 5GB of storage for your photos, but since the quota is shared with any other files that you may upload, expect it to fill up pretty fast. Google Photos, however, gives a generous 15GB of free storage, which is three times that of OneDrive’s — it’s also shared with Google Drive, but that isn’t the end of the story.

Google Photos features two modes to take a backup of your photos with — High Quality and Original. They confusingly look quite similar at first glance. However, the mode you select can have a direct impact on how Google Photos consumes your storage. Original works just like one would expect — Google uploads the photos in their original resolution and thereby consumes a lot of storage.

High Quality, on the other hand, compresses your files, though not drastically — photos and videos are re-encoded to a maximum of 16MP and 1080p respectively, which is more than enough for normal usage. But what makes this mode a favorite is that it doesn’t require any storage at all. That’s right. Upload thousands of images and videos, and you’ll still have your 15GB of storage left for other purposes.

View Uploaded Photos

OneDrive and Google Photos, albeit for some minor differences, work quite similarly on both Android and iOS. On the OneDrive app, tapping Photos shifts the user interface into a photo-viewing mode. Tabs labeled All Photos, Albums, and Tags appear, letting you conveniently view uploaded photos from all of your devices regardless of platform.

The Albums tab on OneDrive, in particular, is quite useful — while you can create your own albums from scratch, also expect to find automatically generated albums that display freshly uploaded picture-sets or past images in the form of memories. Same goes for the Tags tab, which scans photos and categorizes them with tags — person, animal, city, etc.

Google Photos takes things a notch higher. Thanks to advanced machine learning algorithms at work, expect all of your images to be intelligently analyzed and grouped by person, geographical landmark, location, object type, etc. While OneDrive’s pre-set tags are meant to bring forward the same concept, Google Photos drills down to the most minute of aspects — for example, OneDrive categorizes all photos with people under the broad #person tag, while Google Photos uses facial recognition technologies to group people individually.

Expect all of your images to be intelligently analyzed and grouped by person, geographical landmark, location, object type, etc.

And then there’s the Assistant feature which provides you with the ability to easily create your own albums, movies, and animations from scratch. Want to splice together a few video clips to make a movie? Or do you want to drum up a cool collage using a mix of images? Not a problem!

Further, you also gain access to a range of one-tap touch-up options and basic editing tools. Any changes made can be re-uploaded to the cloud or shared with others immediately.

Compared with OneDrive, Google Photos is significantly better in terms of the image management tools available at your disposal.

Pricing Tiers

The 5GB of OneDrive cloud storage is bound to run out in no time. And even with Google Photos’ 15GB offering, you would fill up your quota pretty quick if you start uploading photos and videos at the Original quality. When it’s time to upgrade your storage, here’s how the paid plans work for both.

OneDrive’s immediate upgrade tier lies in at 50GB and costs $1.99 per month. Compare that to Google Photos, which provides twice the storage (100GB) at the same price, and you’ve got a clear winner.

The situation becomes a tad muddled with the upper tiers, with Google Photos providing 200GB and 2TB for $2.99 and $9.99 per month respectively in contrast to OneDrive’s monthly fee of $6.99 (or $69.99/year) for 1TB of storage. In the end, Google Photos still comes on top in terms of value per GB.

However, OneDrive provides a sort of middle-ground with its 1TB storage plan, not to mention that the tier also carries a free subscription to Office 365. There’s also another plan at 6TB, though that’s something shared equally among six users.

At the end of the day, you’d never have to consider paying for storage if you plan to use Google Photos’ High Quality mode. But with OneDrive, an upgrade is a nagging reality right from the get-go.

On Desktop

It’s always better to be able to check out your media library easily on a larger screen, but regardless of what cloud storage you opt for, that’s something that you don’t have to worry about. Both OneDrive and Google Photos feature support for PCs and Macs, with dedicated desktop apps that sync photos locally in real time. OneDrive uses the OneDrive sync client (pre-installed by default on Windows 10), while Google Photos require that you have the Backup and Sync client installed.

Once synced onto a desktop, OneDrive groups uploaded photos within the Camera Roll folder by year (or month), while Backup & Sync categorizes them under a folder labeled Google Photos.

The desktop versions of both OneDrive and Google Photos also offer the ability to automatically detect and take a backup of images and videos stored locally, as well as copy over images from connected SD cards, cameras, and USB devices to the cloud.

Aside from the fact that you can also upload images to Google Photos using High Quality mode, there are no other remarkable differences between the desktop versions of the two cloud storages.

So, What’s Best

Google Photos is most definitely the better pick out of the two — there’s simply no way that OneDrive can beat its High Quality offering with unlimited image and video backups. Even if you want to upgrade at some point, things are still skewed toward Google Photos with its cheaper tiers and better image management features.

Unless you’ve got a solid reason to stick to OneDrive (perhaps due to its tight integration with Windows 10 and Office 365), then there really is no reason why you shouldn’t use Google Photos as your primary multimedia storage medium.

Senevirathne, Dilum. “One Drive vs Google Photos: What’s Best for Backing Up Photos” Guiding Tech Dec 2018

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

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12 Simple Things You Can Do To Be More Secure Online

Follow these easy tips to protect the security of your devices, your data, your internet traffic, and your identity.

If a major shopping or financial site suffers a data breach, there’s not much you can do about it except change your password, get a new credit card, and possibly freeze your credit.  Protecting against that sort of attack is just out of your hands.  But there are many kinds of security problems that hit closer to home.

Ransomware could effectively brick your computer until you pay the ransom.  A data-stealing Trojan could lift all your secure logins.  Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to defend against these local problems.

Making your devices, online identity, and activities more secure really dosesn’t take much effort.  In fact, several of our tips about what you can do to be more secure online boil down to little more than common sense. These 12 tips for being more secure in your online life will help keep you safer.

1. Install an Antivirus and Keep it Updated

We call this type of software antivirus, but it actually protects against all kinds of malicious software.  Ransomware encrypts your files and demands payment to restore them.  Trojan horse programs seem like valid programs, but behind the scenes they steal your private information. Bots turn your computer into a soldier in a zombie army, ready to engage in a denial of service attack, or spew spam, or whatever the bot herder commands. An effective antivirus protects against these and many other kinds of malware.

You may be thinking, wait, isn’t antivirus built into Windows? Not only is Microsoft Defender Security baked into the operating system, it automatically takes over protection when it detects no other antivirus, and just as automatically steps aside when you install third-party protection. The thing is, this built-in antivirus just doesn’t compare with the best third-party solutions. Even the best free ones are way better than Windows Defender. Don’t rely on it; you can do better.

One more thing. If your antivirus or security suite doesn’t have ransomware protection, consider adding a separate layer of protection. Many ransomware-specific utilities are entirely free, so there’s no reason not to try a few of them and select the one that suits you best.

2. Explore the Security Tools You Install

Many excellent apps and settings help protect your devices and your identity, but they’re only valuable if you know how to use them properly. Understanding the tools that you assume will protect you will go a long way toward them actually protecting you. For example, your smartphone almost certainly includes an option to find it if lost, and you may have even turned it on. But did you actively try it out, so you’ll know how to use it if needed?

Your antivirus probably has the ability to fend off Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs), troublesome apps that aren’t exactly malware but don’t do anything beneficial. Check the detection settings and make sure it’s configured to block these annoyances. Likewise, your security suite may have components that aren’t active until you turn them on. When you install a new security product, flip through all the pages of the main window, and at least take a glance at the settings.

To be totally sure your antivirus is configured and working correctly, you can turn to the security features check page on the website of the AMTSO (Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization). Each feature-check page lists the antivirus tools that should pass. If yours shows up in the list but doesn’t pass, it’s time to contact tech support and find out why.

3. Use Unique Passwords for Every Login

One of the easiest ways hackers steal information is by getting a batch of username and password combinations from one source and trying those same combinations elsewhere. For example, let’s say hackers got your username and password by hacking an email provider. They might try to log into banking sites or major online stores using the same username and password combination. The single best way to prevent one data breach from having a domino effect is to use a strong, unique password for every single online account you have.

Creating a unique and strong password for every account is not a job for a human. That why you use a password manager. Several very good password managers are free, and it takes little time to start using one. The good thing is that when you use a password manager, the only password you need to remember is the master password that locks the password manager itself.

4. Get a VPN and Use It

Any time you connect to the Internet using a Wi-Fi network that you don’t know, you should use a virtual private network, or VPN. Say you go to a coffee shop and connect to a free Wi-Fi network. You don’t know anything about the security of that connection. It’s possible that someone else on that network, without you knowing, could start looking through or stealing the files and data sent from your laptop or mobile device. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, routing it though a server owned by the VPN company. That means nobody, not even the owner of the free Wi-Fi network, can snoop on your data.

5. Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication can be a pain, but it absolutely makes your accounts more secure. Two-factor authentication means you need to pass another layer of authentication, not just a username and password, to get into your accounts. If the data or personal information in an account is sensitive or valuable, and the account offers two-factor authentication, you should enable it.

Two-factor authentication verifies your identity using at least two different forms of authentication: something you are, something you have, or something you know. Something you know is the password, naturally. Something you are could mean authentication using a fingerprint, or facial recognition. Something you have could be your mobile phone. You might be asked to enter a code sent via text, or tap a confirmation button on a mobile app. Something you have could also be a physical Security Key; Google and Microsoft have announced a push toward this kind of authentication.

If you just use a password for authentication, anyone who learns that password owns your account. With two-factor authentication enabled, the password alone is useless. Most password managers support two-factor, though some only require it when they detect a connection from a new device. Enabling two-factor authentication for your password manager is a must.

6. Use Passcodes Even When They Are Optional

Apply a passcode lock wherever available, even if it’s optional. Think of all the personal data and connections on your smartphone. Going without a pass-code lock is unthinkable.

Many smartphones offer a four-digit PIN by default. Don’t settle for that. Use biometric authentication when available, and set a strong passcode, not a stupid four-digit PIN. Remember, even when you use Touch ID or equivalent, you can still authenticate with the passcode, so it needs to be strong.

Modern iOS devices offer a six-digit option; ignore it. Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and select Change Passcode (or Add Passcode if you don’t have one). Enter your old passcode, if needed. On the screen to enter the new code, choose Custom Alphanumeric Code. Enter a strong password, then record it as a secure note in your password manager.

Different Android devices offer different paths to setting a strong passcode. Find the Screen Lock settings on your device, enter your old PIN, and choose Password (if available). As with the iOS device, add a strong password and record it as a secure note.

7. Pay With Your Smartphone

The system of credit card use is outdated and not very secure at all.  That’s not your fault, but there is something you can do about it. Instead of whyipping out the old credit card, use Apple Pay or an Android equivalent everywhere you can. There are tons of choices when it comes to apps. In fact, we have an entire roundup of mobile payment apps.

Setting up your smartphone as a payment device is typically a simple process. It usually starts with snapping a picture of the credit card that you’ll use to back up your app-based payments. And setup pretty much ends there; you’re ready.

How is that better than using the credit card itself? The app generates a one-use authentication code, good for the current transaction only. Even if someone filched that code, it wouldn’t do them any good. And paying with a smartphone app completely eliminates the possibility of data theft by a credit card skimmer.

Some smartphone payment apps let you pay online with a similar one-time code. If yours doesn’t, check with your credit card provider. Bank of America, for example, has a program called ShopSafe that works like this: You log into your account, generate a 16-digit number as well as a security code and “on-card” expiry date, and then you set a time for when you want all those digits to expire. You use the new temporary numbers in place of your real credit card when you shop online, and the charges go to your regular account. The temporary card number will not work again after it expires. Other banks offer similar services. The next time your credit card company or bank calls you to try and sell you upgrades, ask about one-time use card numbers.

8. Use Different Email Addresses for Different Kinds of Accounts

People who are both highly organized and methodical about their security often use different email addresses for different purposes, to keep the online identities associated with them separate. If a phishing email claiming to be from your bank comes to the account you use only for social media, you know it’s fake.

Consider maintaining one email address dedicated to signing up for apps that you want to try, but which might have questionable security, or which might spam you with promotional messages. After you’ve vetted a service or app, sign up using one of your permanent email accounts. If the dedicated account starts to get spam, close it, and create a new one. This is a do-it-yourself version of the masked emails you get from Abine Blur and other disposable email account services.

Many sites equate your email address with your username, but some let you select your own username. Consider using a different username every time—hey, your password manager remembers it! Now anyone trying to get into your account must guess both the username and the password.

9. Clear Your Cache

Never underestimate how much your browser’s cache knows about you. Saved cookies, saved searches, and Web history could point to home address, family information, and other personal data.

10. Turn Off the ‘Save Password’ Feature in Browsers

Think about this. When you install a third-party password manager, it typically offers to import your password from the browser’s storage. If the password manager can do that, you can be sure some malicious software can do the same. In addition, keeping your passwords in a single, central password manager lets you use them across all browsers and devices.

11. Don’t Fall Prey to Click Bait

Part of securing your online life is being smart about what you click. Click bait doesn’t just refer to cat compilation videos and catchy headlines. It can also comprise links in email, messaging apps, and on Facebook. Phishing links masquerade as secure websites, hoping to trick you into giving them your credentials. Drive-by download pages can cause malware to automatically download and infect your device.

12. Protect Your Social Media Privacy

You can drastically reduce the amount of data going to Facebook by disabling the sharing platform entirely. Once you do, your friends can no longer leak your personal data. You can’t lose data to apps, because you can’t use apps. And you can’t use Facebook to log into other websites (which was always a bad idea).

Of course, other social media sites need attention too. Google probably knows more about you than Facebook, so take steps to manage your Google privacy, too. Make sure you’ve configured each social media site so that your posts aren’t public (well, all except Twitter). Think twice before revealing too much in a post, since your friends might share it with others. With care you can retain your privacy without losing the entertainment and connections of social media.


This article offers excellent cyber security measures that you should apply.  However, knowing, choosing, and implementing the right tools for your environment can take a lot of research and time.  We are here to offer our expertise, so that you can focus your time and energy on your business!

If you are in the market for a managed service provider that specializes in cyber security – CALL US!  We can assess your IT environment, identify areas that can be improved and implement inexpensive, effective cyber security measures to keep you safe.

Email us at support@trinityww.com or give us a call at 732.780.8615 to get more information, or to schedule an appointment with one of our trained professionals.

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

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We compared 3 of the most popular note taking apps for iPhone — but the winner depends on what you want to do

I shudder to think where I would be in life if it were not for my smartphone note-taking apps.

Surely, I would have forgotten hundreds of tasks over the years, misplaced hundreds of paper shopping lists, or lost hours-worth of notes taken at work. All those brilliant screenplay ideas that I’ve had while riding the bus or at the gym or somewhere else where I couldn’t easily get to a more traditional word processor would be simply gone forever, if it were not for my note taking apps.

There are tons of generic note taking apps for iPhone on the app store, and they’re all pretty good at the basics. However, I’ve been using Apple’s built-in Notes app, Google Keep, and Evernote for a long time now, and have found that these three stand above the rest, each for unique reasons.

And while I’ve tried (more than once) to consolidate my usage to a single app, I’ve found that each of these meets a specific need in its own way, and I truly do rely on all three for nearly everyday use.

Rather than arguing that one should be the ubiquitous note-taking solution, I’ve pitted these three apps against each other, identified each of their strengths and weaknesses, and identified which you should use based on which kind of notes you’re taking.

Cost Comparison (Luckily, all three of these apps have a free version for iPhone.)

  • Apple’s Notes app comes pre-installed with every iOS and OS device. So if you use an iPhone, congratulations! You’re already a third of the way there.
  • Google Keep can be downloaded from the app store for free on iOS mobile devices, and a desktop version can be installed as an extension of Google Chrome, also for free.
  • Evernote has a free mobile and desktop version for Apple devices, but reserves several features and extras for premium (paid tier) customers.

Ease of Use:

Apple’s Notes app essentially acts and looks like a very minimal word processor which anyone can use with little to no instruction, although some of the most powerful features are a bit harder to get to for a first-time user.

The app allows mobile users to format their text (with bold text, italics, headings, etc) very quickly and easily on mobile, but doesn’t offer any instructions or labeling for many of the buttons, making many of the features (like check lists, photo embeds, and sketching) harder to identify.

Notes can be placed into different folders, so you won’t mix up your work notes with your screenplay ideas, and can be sorted based on the device on which you wrote them.

Google Keep offers a sleek and straightforward take on note-taking, which heavily focuses on images, lists and color-coding.

Rather than organizing your notes in a bare bones list format, Google’s Keep works a lot like cork board covered in post-it notes.

Images, check lists, maps, sketches, and regular ol’ text entries are kept on the static front page, rather than tucked away into folders, so you don’t have to go digging for that entry you made last week. Just scroll down until you see the big headline on the appropriately color-coded tile.

While Keep doesn’t offer the same formatting options for text, it does make the other features more prominent and easier to get to, so I’m more likely to open up Keep when I need to make a quick shopping list or want to draw a picture.

This view can be much more appealing on the eyes, but is clearly not ideal for long-winded musings or journal entries.

I suspect that fans of Pinterest will prefer this approach to notes, while Facebook fans might not.

Meanwhile, Evernote is ideal for long, organized notes that you can keep coming back to, rather than jotting down quick entries or to-do lists.

Evernote is easily the most fleshed-out between the three, and offers the most extensive service. Although, with more features comes added complication, and the app definitely takes some getting used to for new users.

If Notes feels like a lightweight word processor, then Evernote’s powerful formatting capabilities are giving Microsoft Word a run for its money.

To put it simply, the makers of Evernote have thought of everything. The app can easily replace every need for a paper notebook or filing system, by allowing the user to store documents, capture audio, organize and tag their own notes, and even chat with collaborators right there inside the app.

Organization:

Apple’s Notes app lets users sort their entries into folders, so you can easily keep your work notes separate from your to-do lists or quickly-scribbled thoughts. They also allow you to “Pin” individual notes to the top of the app with a swipe.

Google Keep allows you to “label” all your notes, for ease of sorting and finding them again, as well as archive old ones that you might not need anymore.

Evernote smartly uses a “notebooks” system, which allows users to sort their notes by topic, and share entire collections of entries with their collaborators.

In addition to Notebooks, Evernote also includes the ability to tag individual posts and create shortcuts to your most frequently-visited entries.

Search Functions

Notes allows the user to search for keywords through their text and attachments, but that’s about as far as this feature goes for the built-in service. I’ve had multiple frustrating experiences trying to unearth very old writings that I remembered taking down, but couldn’t remember any of the words in the actual text.

Google Keep lets users narrow their search by filtering the type of note (text, check lists, those containing images, etc), as well as searching by label, in the event that you can’t remember any of the right keywords.

Evernote has easily got the other two apps beat in this category, by offering a whole array of search options, including by tag, notebook and source, as well as the time the note was created or last modified, to name a few.

The app can even search for keywords among notes hand-written with a stylus or scanned in through the camera.

Which app is superior to the others?

Actually, these three apps each have invaluable qualities that I believe are unique for the function that they do best. For that reason, I think they are each superior when it comes to specific tasks.

  • Google Keep is best for making lists
  • Apple Notes is best for jotting down thoughts on the go
  • Evernote is best for taking notes at work or school

So, depending on what you need to accomplish one of these apps should suit your needs! As the title of the article states, in comparing three of the most popular note taking apps the winner depends on what you want to do!

Fagen,Kaylee. 2018, August 1 “We compared 3 of the most popular note taking apps for iPhone-but the winner depends on what you want to do,” content taken from Business Insider https://www.businessinsider.com/compared-top-3-iphone-note-taking-apps-evernote-google-keep-apple-2018-7

 

 

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Getting the most from OneNote, Part I: A hidden Office gem

The more information you put into OneNote the more useful it is. You can tag, flag, recognize, record and search just about anything.

Microsoft’s cross-platform notebook tool OneNote has long been a hidden gem in Office. In the last few years its success in the education market has prompted Microsoft to invest more in the application. As well as adding specific Learning Tools. Microsoft is bringing the Mac and web versions closer to parity with the desktop Windows version of OneNote, improving the iOS and Android mobile applications and building a brand-new Windows Store OneNote app that will soon replace OneNote 2016. It’s also making OneNote notebooks part of every SharePoint team site and Teams team. But what can you actually do with OneNote and how do you make it useful?

OneNote is ideal for storing unstructured information — not just the notes you take in lectures or meetings, or digital versions of Post It notes, but also photos, videos, receipts, emails (and attachments), web pages, PDFs, presentations, your optical prescription in case you break your glasses, the frequency for your favorite radio stations in cities to which you travel. In short, anything you can print, write down or photograph and might need to refer to one day.

Individual notes live in the sections of a notebook; you can have multiple sections in multiple notebooks that you keep private or share with colleagues and sync across devices. You can open a notebook that someone else has shared with you and have it fully synced on your own device, making it easy to collaborate. As you can rename and move all of these, you don’t need to get the perfect structure straight away. Instead, the first step of making OneNote useful is to put as much information that you might need later as possible in there, so that you can search for it.

Send everything to OneNote

You can type, handwrite, record audio and video, and paste in text, images, video and other content in OneNote. You can even do simple math in OneNote; just type in the equation, followed by ‘=’ and OneNote will work it out for you. You can also share and print from other applications straight into OneNote, but the different tools give you slightly different results.

OneNote 2016 has a snipping tool (trigger it from the toolbar, the Windows system tray or make a keyboard shortcut for it) that lets you drag to select an area and choose the notebook section or even individual page where you want to save an image of what you snip. You can find the section or page by searching for the title, so you don’t have to scroll through long lists of sections and pages.

In the Windows 10 OneNote app, you can use the Windows snipping tool, then either find the note you want and paste in by hand or open the Screen Sketch tool then use the Share charm (which can only target the current page or notebook section).

You can print from any application using the OneNote printer drivers. The OneNote 2016 printer driver is automatically installed and can print into any page or notebook section, which you choose in the same snipping dialog. The OneNote Store printer driver you have to install yourself from the Store, and can only print a new page into notebook sections, which you have to painstakingly navigate to rather than being able to search for. Both drivers save images of the individual pages you print. You can also import files into the current page in OneNote 2016 as printouts or attachments. Outlook on Windows (and Mac for Office 365 users) has a Send to OneNote button that copies email text and attachments, or the details of meeting attendees, into OneNote. You can also grab the details of an Outlook meeting that you want to take notes on from inside OneNote 2016 and OneNote 10, to get the list of everyone who’s there quickly.

If you use the OneNote Web Clipper extensions for Edge, Chrome and Firefox, you get the editable text and images (you can choose whether to clip the whole page or just the main content); you can clip into any notebook section that’s stored in OneDrive or OneDrive for Business (even ones that are shared with you) if you don’t have the notebook open on your device, but again not into existing pages. If you have a lot of notebooks and sections, having to scroll through the alphabetical list is much slower than the OneNote 2016 word wheel search. You can’t clip PDFs, so if you’re viewing them in a web browser, print them to OneNote instead.

OneNote is also a share target in the iOS and Android browsers, although that saves a printout rather than the editable text of the web page.

Microsoft’s Office Lens app on iOS and Android (and Windows Phone) can save images directly into OneNote sections, which is a good way of capturing whiteboards, presentations, business cards and documents. (The Office Lens feature is also built into OneNote on iOS and Android, so you can snap photos on your phone and have them show up in the right place in a note you’re editing on your Mac or PC).

OneNote is also an  “If This Then That” target  (IFTTT) so, you can do things like archiving tweets, RSS feeds, Reddit posts, DropBox files, starred Gmail messages or articles from Pocket, Feedly or Instapaper into OneNote. This isn’t always reliable and high-volume archiving will quickly hit the size limit of OneNote sections, but it’s very convenient when it does work.

If you record audio or video into OneNote (on Windows or Mac), any notes you take while recording or playing back the recording are time synced, so you can easily jump to the most important section of a meeting or lecture. (OneNote can also record unlimited audio on iOS, but you can’t take notes at the same time.) The audio is also searchable in OneNote 2016, but as it’s just matching the sounds of words it’s not very accurate.

Searching in OneNote

OneNote 2016 has one search box and two keyboard shortcuts for searching: Ctrl-E searches across all your notes (or a subset that you choose), while Ctrl-F searches within the current note. OneNote for Windows 10 has the same keyboard shortcuts, although they select from a unified search dropdown. Either way, that makes it easy to find the right note and then the right sentence. Both versions of OneNote use the same Ctrl-M shortcut to open a new window, so you have multiple notes open at once.

You can also see a list of recently edited notes, as a way of getting back to what you were working on recently. In OneNote 2016 you can pick multi-time periods (from ‘today’ to the last six months or even a chronological view of all notes in the section) or search for changes by specific people.

If you have a digital pen, or a touchscreen PC or iPad, you can draw and handwrite notes, and OneNote uses handwriting recognition to make them searchable even if you don’t convert them to text. If you want to draw with your finger, turn that on in the Draw toolbar — and then turn it off again when you want to go back to using your finger for scrolling. If you want more space for drawing, both OneNote 2016 and OneNote 10 have a full-screen mode that hides all the toolbars and other controls.

Images in OneNote are automatically OCR’d, so you can search for text shown in an image or a printout. You can also right-click on them to copy the recognized text to use elsewhere, making this a quick way of scanning paper documents.

Image OCR and handwriting recognition work locally in OneNote 2016, which also gives you the widest choice of where to store notebooks — in OneDrive, on your local PC or on a network file share. Notebooks stored in OneDrive can sync automatically to your other devices and you can share them with colleagues for live co-editing. Content syncs right into the page, marked by the initials of the person adding it. Notebooks stored on a network file share can sync onto other PCs that have access to the network, including over a VPN, but you can’t open them on other devices.

Branscomb, Mary. “Getting the most from OneNote, Part I: A hidden Office Gem” TechRepublic July 30, 2018

Posted in: Mobile Computing, MS Office Tips and Tricks, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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Make your Android or iPhone’s Fingerprint Reader Work Every Time

This dead-simple trick will keep you from wanting to throw your phone across the room.

Raise your hand if this is you: The fingerprint reader on your iPhone or Android phone fails often enough on the first try that you’re starting to wonder if you’ve been cursed with weird fingers.

Relax; there are plenty of reasons why you may not get an accurate read your first try, besides your mutant appendages.

  • Your fingertip hasn’t fully covered the sensor
  • You have wet hands
  • The phone didn’t get an accurate read when you first registered your print
  • The phone maker’s implementation may make the reader more sensitive, like if there are more demanding layers of security built into the software

This tip won’t help with all of those, but it definitely helps.

If you’re up to here with trying to unlock your phone so many times that you have to revert to a password or passcode, stop. Take a deep breath. And try this dead-simple solution that really works.

Register the same print two or three times. I do this with the phones I review and it makes the devices much more likely to unlock the first time around. For example, I’ll scan the finger I usually unlock the phone with at least twice — say, my thumb — and then scan a second finger that I might use to also unlock the device, like my index finger. I’ll usually also scan the index finger of my non-dominant hand, which has bailed me out more than once when I had my hands too full to unlock the phone as I normally would.

The reason multiple scans of the same finger works is because when you register your fingertip the first time around, it isn’t always clear which parts of your print the software has captured. A nominally helpful animation will urge you to lift your finger to capture more area, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect the data your phone’s actually storing.

By laying down the same fingerprint more than once, you’re doubling or tripling the chances that your phone will capture enough data.

Of course, adding duplicate digits won’t solve your unlocking issues if you constantly struggle to reach the reader, or if your hands are too wet for the phone to register your print.

How to register multiple fingerprints on your phone

Most phones give you a maximum of five fingerprints for security reasons. The more fingers you wave through, the higher the probability the phone will unlock for false positives, the reasoning goes.

On Android phones:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Security
  • Tap “Fingerprint”
  • Re-enter your PIN
  • Tap “Add fingerprint”

On iPhones with Touch ID:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Touch ID & Passcode
  • Enter your passcode
  • Under the section “Fingerprints” tap “Add a Fingerprint

Dolcourt, Jessica. “Make Your Android or iPhone’s Fingerprint Reader Work Every Time” CNET July 5, 2018

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

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How to Change the Safari Download Location on Mac OS

By default, the Safari web browser for Mac will download any files to the Downloads folder of the active user account. Most Mac users will likely be satisfied with that, but some may wish to change the file download directory in Safari for Mac OS to another directory. Likewise, if you have changed the Safari download destination, you may wish to revert back to the default download folder for Safari on the Mac.

This tutorial will show you how to change the Safari downloads location in Mac OS. You can change it to any directory or folder you have access to, or you can revert back to the default Safari downloads destination of the user Downloads directory.

Making this adjustment will change where all downloaded files from the Safari web browser go to on the Mac. It will not impact other applications and where they download files.

How to Change the File Download Location in Safari on Mac

  1. Open the “Safari” web browser on the Mac if you have not done so already
  2.  Pull down the “Safari” menu and choose “Preferences”

3.  Go to the “General” tab and then look for the “File Download Location” section and click on the Downloads dropdown menu.

4. Choose “Other” to change the downloads destination in Safari.

5.  Navigate to the directory you want Safari to download files to and choose “Select”

6.  Exit out of Safari Preferences when finished.

Now all future downloaded files or items from Safari will go to the folder or directory you selected.  for example, if you selected the Desktop, then all Safari downloaded files will appear on the desktop of the Mac.

Changing the download destination for Safari only applies to downloads and files going forward, any flies downloads before this change was made would appear in the location set prior to any adjustment.  If you aren’t sure where a particular file downloaded form Salari is located, you can search on the Mac with Spotlight for the file name, click the magnifying glass button in the Safari Downloaded Items List or manually ivenstigate the user Downloads folder or whatever you had/have selected as the Safari download location.

How to Change Back to the Default Download Location in Safari on Mac OS

If you had prviously customized the location of the Download directory away from the default (downloads) and to another directory, you can change it back as follows.

From the Safari browser, go to the “Safari” menu and choose “Preferences”

    1. From the Safari browser, go to the “Safari” menu and choose “Preferences”
    2. From the “General” tab look for the “File Download Location” section, and then click on the Downloads dropdown menu and choose “Downloads”
      • If “Downloads” is not in the dropdown menu, choose “Other” and navigate to your user Home folder then select the “Downloads” from from there
      • Exit out of Safari Preferences when finished

    That’s it, now the Safari downloaded file destination directory will be reset to default ~/Downloads folder on the Mac.

    Most users are better off keeping all downloads in the Downloads folder of Mac OS for consistency sake, because it makes keeping track of downloaded files particularly easy if all apps are downloading all files into the same location. By default, most Mac apps that are able to download files will use the user Downloads folder as the destination for those files, including Safari, Chrome, Firefox, most SFTP apps, and even file transfer features like AirDrop saves files to the Downloads folder by default on MacOS.

    Of course this applies to Safari, which also happens to be the default web browser on a Mac, but if you use a different web browser then changing the default download location would be different.

    And in case you were wondering, yes this guide applies to both regular Safari, Safari Beta, as well as the Safari Technology Preview builds. The download settings will be similar but slightly different if you happen to be running Safari on Windows PC but since that Windows-specific software build is no longer actively developed it’s usage is debatable.

  1. Horowitz, Paul. “How to Change the Safari Download Location on Mac OS” OSX Daily July 1, 2018

Posted in: Mac OS, Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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