Battery-saving tips for your Android phone

battery savings tips android

Having the latest Android phone is cool and all, but what’s the use of it if your battery is always running low or dead? Fear not. There are many ways to help save on battery juice – some well known, and some not so much. We’ve found some not-so-well-known tips that we think will make all the difference in maintaining your Android’s battery life.

Limit your location settings

Imagine every single app on your phone accessing your location and using it to provide information to you or the app makers – exhausting, right? Well, it’s exhausting for your battery too. Unless you are actively using your Google Maps app while travelling somewhere, you shouldn’t need all of your apps to be able to access and use your location. Android has three modes in your battery settings that can either optimise location services or limit them so that your battery and data doesn’t get drained so easily. High Accuracy Mode and Battery-Saving Mode uses WiFi and Bluetooth to access your location, however, Device Mode, only uses your phones GPS system to locate your device.

To enable Device Mode on Android Oreo, you need to:
– Go to your Settings app
– Tap Security & Location
– Select Location
– Toggle on Device Mode

To enable Device Mode on Android Pie, you need to:
– Go to your Settings app
– Tap Security & Location
– Select Location
– Choose Advanced, then Scanning
– Toggle OFF WiFi Scanning and Bluetooth Scanning

Darken your display theme

When selecting the theme for your display, you can choose between dark and light themes. If you have an OLED display, which Android phones do have, the display is able to disable individual pixels and backgrounds with darker colours, even deep black colours, can help preserve your battery.

How to change your display theme to a darker colour:
– Visit Settings
– Select Homescreen
– Select Theme
– Scroll through to see which dark theme you would like
– Tap it to apply

If you don’t like any of the themes your Android has to offer, the Google Play store offers free apps that have dark themes. Here’s a cool article showing 14 dark themes for your Android via Make Use Of.

Switch off automatic WiFi

With the new Android Oreo update, your smartphone may continue to search for WiFi networks even if WiFi has been manually turned off. For your battery, this means any time you go somewhere – the mall, a friend’s house, a restaurant or a business meeting, your phone is still searching. Needless to say, your battery takes a knock when your device is constantly searching.

How to turn off automatic WiFi on Android:
– Go to Settings
– Visit Network & Internet
– Tap WiFi
– Under WiFi preferences, toggle OFF the “Turn on WiFi automatically” option

Stop apps from running in the background

Even once you’ve exited an app, many of them still continue to run and update. Imagine running on a treadmill that never seems to stop or end? That’s what it is like for your battery when your apps continue going even if you’ve exited them. Android has a nifty app-specific battery tool that will help with this. 

How to stop apps from running in the background:
– Visit your Settings
– Tap Apps & Notifications
– Select Advanced
– Select Battery
– Turn on Background restriction

Disable Google Assistant

For those not in the know, your Android gives you your very own assistant. However, she/he can be a little draining for your phone’s energy. When Google Assistant is on, it is constantly listening for the wake command and uses your location to give you context when you ask a question. If you are not reliant on Google Assistant in any way, it would help your battery to turn it off.

How to turn off Google Assistant:
– Go into the Google app
– Select More
– Tap Settings
– Select Google Assistant, then Settings again
– Tap Assistant again, then scroll to find your phone’s name
– Turn off Google Assistant

   

Cut back on notifications

Nowadays, there’s an app for everything and a notification for everything. The more apps you have, the more notifications you’ll get – especially if you have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, photo editing apps, communication apps for work… the list is endless. And each time you receive a little ‘ping’, it drains your battery just that much more.


Here’s how to limit your notifications:
– Go into your Settings
– Select Apps & Notifications
– Under “Recently Sent”, you can see a list of apps that recently sent you notifications
– Scroll down the list and turn off, individually, which apps you want no notifications for
– We suggest turning off all notifications for social media apps, especially if you are frequently on them anyways

None of these tips working? Well, like we said earlier, there’s an app for that. The Play Store has some cool apps that help you save on battery life. Greenify and AccuBattery are two well-known apps proven to do exactly what they say they’ll do.

AccuBattery: Your battery and phone usage is measured and monitored over a period of time. After that, the app gives you stats on how much battery you have left based on various intensities of usage. For example, you will have a lot less battery left if you continue to scroll on social media or watch videos versus sending a few texts.
Greenify: This app is really smart. If forces apps you don’t use often to hibernate. This not only helps maintain your battery but also cuts down on data usage.

Both AccuBattery and Greenify are on the Google Play Store for free!

Battery-saving tips for your iPhone

Learn how to charge your smartphone smarter. Didn’t think this was possible? Think again. You may have thought charging your phone was pretty simple: You plug in your phone and you let it get back to its former glory. Nope. Here are our battery-saving tips for iPhones…

Don’t expose your phone to heat

Extreme temperatures, whether it is cold or heat, are not good for your smartphone. One of these is sunlight, whether it’s direct or from sitting in a car. Exposure to extreme heat and direct sunlight are disasters for your smartphone, which all seems to make sense when you think about what your phone is made of. The first thing that happens is that your battery life will start to drain faster. Exposing the battery to excessive heat can damage the battery performance permanently, especially if the battery is charging or even 100% full and exposed to direct sunlight or heat.

You don’t have to wait until it’s fully drained to recharge

Lots of people make this mistake: You keep using their phones until it practically begs to be charged when it hits 10 to 15 percent or even just shuts down because there’s no more juice in it. What users should remember is that their smartphones use Li-ion batteries and those do NOT need to be drained then charged in full. In fact, Battery University says that following this practice only shortens the lifespan of Li-ion batteries because it adds stress.
Here’s our top tip for a quick charge: If you’re in a hurry and need to get more juice into your battery faster, turn your phone onto Flight Mode, turn the screen off and let it charge. When your phone isn’t connected to any networks or doing any battery-intensive tasks like using the screen, it charges much faster!

Leaving your phone on charge overnight

This one has been up for debate in smartphone circles for years. People at Battery University in the US say that smartphone users who plug in their devices before they sleep, then pull the plug when they wake up many hours after, are actually damaging their battery by doing this. The theory is that the temperature rises when the battery is overcharged and shortens the battery life due to stress. On the other hand, some say this is not true. PC Magazine spoke to smartphone engineers who said that devices these days are “smart” enough to know not to overload. “Extra protection chips inside make sure that can’t happen in a tablet or smartphone or even a laptop. Once the internal Lithium-ion battery hits 100 percent of its capacity, charging stops,” says PC Magazine.

So, if you want to charge overnight: Make sure you’re charging your phone in a well ventilated area so that it doesn’t overheat while charging. Also, make sure your phone is at least 1 metre away or, even better, on the other side of the room. Why? Well, radiation exposure has not been completely disproven in our view and we would rather you exercise caution. It doesn’t hurt, right? This way, you’ll get a better balance.

Find out which apps are sucking your battery life

Luckily, this isn’t as hard as it may sound. Every smartphone, no matter which manufacturer you’ve chosen, will give you some kind of summary in your battery settings that shows what is using up battery life with a percentage. Close the apps that are draining your phone when you’re not using them and consider creating a time limit for how much you use it on a daily basis.

How to find out which apps are draining your battery:
– Visit your Settings
– Select Battery
– Scroll down to see a list of your apps and the percentage of battery use.
– Use this as a gauge to decide which apps you don’t need or can cut down on

Use Low Power Mode or Flight Mode

Believe it or not, this really works. When you batter reaches 20% and then 10%, you have the option of activating Low Power Mode. However, you can activate this feature even when your phone is at 70% or 80%. This dramatically helps your charge last longer.


Which features does Low Power Mode disable? Let’s look…
– Your emails will not automatically receive
– Background app refresh is paused
– Automatic downloads are paused
– Some visual effects will be temporarily paused
– Auto-lock defaults to 30 seconds
– iCloud photos temporarily paused

How to activate Low Power Mode:
– Visit your Settings
– Select Battery
– Toggle Activate Low Power Mode
– Or, alternatively, you can swipe up/down your Control Centre and toggle it on from your home screen

Turn down your brightness and haptics

Believe it or not, that little sound your phone makes when you get a message or when you’re typing a message can drain your battery. The same goes for anything that vibrates. Another thing – your screen’s brightness. You don’t need it to be on 100% to be able to see! Turn it way down, especially when you’re streaming from your phone.

How to turn down your haptics:
– Go to Settings
– Select Sounds & Haptics
– Toggle off Vibrate on Ring and Silent
– Then, use the slider to turn down the volume

How to turn down your brightness:
– Visit your Settings
– Select Display & Brightness
– Toggle off True Tone (this feature gives you a more lifelike look in terms of colour and does draw juice from your battery)
– Then, use the slider to turn down the brightness

Stream on a lower resolution

This not only chows your battery but also your data. Whether it’s YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, DsTV or Showmax, turn down that streaming resolution from HD to about 700 mps or anything under 1 GB. It will certainly make your battery and data last longer!

Disable location services

When you get your phone straight out of the box, your location settings are made to be able to find and track you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Well, this is unless you manually change it.
Do you need all your apps to be permanently locating you?
Definitely not. You might want to keep your location services on for apps like Facebook, Instagram, Google Maps and Weather for sharing your location in social media posts or up-to-date info about the weather in your city, but not all apps need to constantly know your location. For example, your Notes app, Voice Memos, Calculator, iMovie, Facebook Messenger and many more don’t need it. Your iPhone will give you three options in terms of curating your location services: You can choose “Never”, which means the app will never be able to use your location, then there’s “While Using” which means the app will only access your location when you’re using the app. Then, lastly, there’s “Always On” which always has access to your location.

How to choose which apps use your location:
– Go to Settings
– Go into Privacy
– Toggle ON for Location Services
– Then, toggle OFF which apps you want to switch off location services for or choose to leave it on while using the app only.

Block ads from reaching you

For some time now, Google has been making money off of using your location to forward ads for shops, services, restaurants and more each time it uses your location. For example, Google will pick up that you are in a popular mall in Cape Town and will divert ads to your feed based on that location. This means that your phone is constantly sending information to update and maintain your location – and this takes up a lot of power. You can choose to use location services only while using that particular app, and not all of the time.


How to stop ads from using your location to reach you:
– Visit your Settings
– Select Mobile Data
– Scroll, then select System Services
– Toggle off Location-based alerts, Apple ads and suggestions

Turn off background auto-refresh

When you get your phone, whether it is new or used, the settings have all been restored to factory mode. This means that all of your apps have been set to automatically refresh and update as soon as there is one – and that could be every day depending on how many apps you have (we have a lot).

How to turn off your background app-refresh:
– Visit your Settings
– Select General
– Toggle your auto-refresh to manual
– Then, select the apps you want the refresh to be manual or automatic

Use Flight Mode for speedy charging

Flight Mode is another awesome solution for your battery woes. If you aren’t using your phone at all for a period of time (say when you’re watching a movie or in a meeting), put your phone on Flight Mode. You won’t be connected to any networks or WiFi connections and therefore can’t receive battery-draining content from messaging platforms, social media, email or app updates.

Not helping? Your battery might need to be replaced, then. Here’s how to check the health of it:
– Visit your Settings
– Select Battery, then Battery Health
– Here, you will see a percentage of your battery health relative to its condition when it was brand new. The higher the number, the healthier your battery. For example, 100% is the highest number and signifies a healthy battery.
– In the first frame below, you will see on your phone a summary of the last 24 hours and alternatively, 10 days. It will show you a list of your apps with percentages showing how much of you battery juice has gone to each app.

Need a phone? Eight steps to instant credit with Phonetradr

instant credit

What did the credit application process look like 20 years ago? Intrusive background checks, plenty of paperwork, high interest rates and strict payment terms. But what happens when you don’t have cash on-hand or a perfect credit rating to buy something you want – perhaps a smartphone? Well, it’s a good thing it’s not 1999 anymore. The solution to this long-standing issue with the credit application process is innovative, easy to use and a first for South African consumers.

Applying for instant credit on Phonetradr with FASTA takes place solely online and is complete within six minutes, from start to end. Need help getting started? No worries. Here’s a step-by-step guide to applying for credit to get you that quality-approved smartphone…

How do I buy a phone with instant credit on Phonetradr?

Step one: Choose your device

After choosing the phone you want on our ‘Buy’ page, click ‘Buy Now’, then fill in your details. At checkout under payment methods, select ‘Instant Credit’.

Step two: Now it’s time to set your budget

How much credit do you need? How much of a deposit are you able to put forward? Using the easy-to-use slider, move left or right, increasing or decreasing the amount of credit you need. Then, below, choose how many months you will need to pay it off.

Step three: Give us your info 😉

In the empty boxes, fill in your full name, ID number and contact details. Once your enter your cell number, a one-time pin (OTP) will be sent to you phone via SMS. Simply enter the pin into the open box at the bottom.

We’ll need to know where to deliver the awesome phone you’re buying so wherever you’d like our delivery team to go, here’s where you tell us. Again, you are guaranteed 100% security while providing Phonetradr with your physical address.
Remember, your personal details are always private and secure with Phonetradr!

Step four: This step is divided into three sections:


1: Your employment status
Here, you will tell us if you are employed or not, where you work and for how long you have worked there.

2: Your monthly credit expenses
Thanks to the personal details you gave us earlier on, we’re able to pull through your current credit accounts, showing how much you pay towards them per month. If some of the information is incorrect or outdated, you can easily select the status of the account and how much you pay per month.

3: Your monthly living expenses

Do you pay rent? Or contribute to groceries, electricity and water? Here’s where you’ll tell us how much. Below section 3 is a summary on how much of your income you have left once you’ve paid all your credit obligations after your living expenses.
Something to look out for…..If the ‘submit’ button is red, this means that you don’t have enough of your income left over to pay all of your expenses. In this case, it is not wise to incur more debt and it’s unlikely that your application will be successful.

On the other hand, if it is green this means your application can continue!

Step 5 will now be for you to click ‘submit’ where your information will be reviewed.

Step six: You’re almost there…

After the wizard has accepted your bank statements, you’ll be asked to click ‘accept the offer’, then tick the T’s & C’s box, and finally, click ‘sign agreement’.

Step seven: This step offers three options

Once your application has been given the green light, it’s time to fill in your banking details so that your monthly installments to us can go off without a hitch. In addition to providing your banking details, we’ll also ask you for three months of bank statements. To make it easy for you, we have three ways to do this…

1: Log into your internet banking

Simply log into your online profile and we will automatically collect three months worth of statements. This is an industry first and is 100% secure and safe!

2: Email, if you’re not comfortable with us automatically collecting your statements
You are given a unique email address to send your bank statements too. If this is the method you’ve chosen, no one else will be given the same email address when sending your documents.


3: Upload from your laptop
If you’re super organised and have your latest bank statements saved to your laptop, simply upload it from your PC or Mac computer.

We must stress that choosing any of these banking-approved options promises total security and encryption of your personal information. You’ll never have to worry if your personal or banking information will be lost, hacked or misused! This is probably the safest way to apply for a loan online – that we can promise.

 

Step eight: You’re finally at the end!

The last step sees you transferring your deposit via EFT. We’ve included all of the main banks so nobody should feel left out! Also, your EFT payment is 100% safe and secured. No worries!

Ready to buy your awesome phone? Let’s go.

Five tips to shopping Black Friday like a pro

Black Friday

We’ve all heard the horror stories or seen the video footage of shopping on Black Friday. It’s chaos, and furthermore, the pandemonium doesn’t disappear just because you’re shopping online. From crashing websites to depleted stock, learning to (successfully) shop online on Black Friday has become an Olympic sport. Here are our top five tips to winning #BlackFriday.

Start your shopping at midnight (yes, that’s correct)


This may sound a little extreme, but take it from us – you’ll be grateful you sacrificed your sleep for this. Many online stores begin their Black Friday deals at midnight, which many don’t know about and don’t take advantage of. Set your alarm clock for 11:55pm, boil the kettle, then get shopping.

Create your wish list days in advanced


This is something avid online shoppers do anyways, so why not utilise it on Black Friday to avoid your shoe size from running out? Stock gets depleted extremely quickly, especially on once-a-year events like this, so make an effort to add all of your items to your wishlist beforehand. That way, you can log in and simply pay without sifting through hundreds of discounted items before you find your picks.

Set a budget


Each year, financial advisers say, “Don’t fall victim to Black Friday!” because of how many people spend money they don’t have on items they don’t need. Just because something is 50 percent off, doesn’t mean you’re making a “saving” – you’re still spending the other 50 percent! Set a budget using funds you know you can spend – shopping responsibly is a thing, people.

Sign up to email newsletters


Believe it or not, if you create an account or sign up to receive email newsletters, you are likely to cash in on extra deals. Many online stores give first-time buyers or customers who’ve signed up an additional discount, free delivery or an early heads up on their deals. You know the saying: the early bird catches the worm!

Shop on websites you trust


If a deal seems too good to be true – especially on a site you’ve never heard of – it probably is. South Africa has many established, trusted online stores that make online shopping a safe and easy task. Do your research: If a site has a good social media presence, plenty of good reviews and is recommended by a friend of yours, you can most likely trust it.

Happy shopping!

Three ways to removing ads from your iPhone apps

remove ads on my iphone

Facebook, TV and even Snapchat – it’s hard to get away from adverts these days, especially in the era of unprecedented technological innovation. From the moment you access the internet – whether it’s from your smartphone or desktop computer – you’re being bombarded to buy this, use that, or become this person. In fact, from 2017 to 2018, South Africa’s internet and video game marketing expenditure jumped from $303.4 million to $399.3 million.

How does Apple get ads onto my apps and games?

When you think of Apple, the first thing you may not think of is an advertising agency, however, part of how Apple makes money is by selling ad space through iAds on iOS to businesses and brands through apps and games you download to your smartphone. Smart for them, but annoying for us. iAds allows app developers to earn money without having to do any of the advertising themselves, and in turn, Apple is able to gather information on you in a similar way to Google. For example, when you use an app or a game that has placed iAds in them, Apple can see and store your location, your installed apps and games, how often you use a particular app, which movies or TV shows you’ve watched or what music you listen to on iTunes.

In other words, Apple uses all of that information on you to select specific ads based on your data to target your apps and games. Long gone are the days of ads being a thing of the TV generation.

Okay, I want to stop Apple from advertising through my apps and games. How?

Although you are anonymous to the advertisers using your downloads to target you, just knowing that tech giants are able to use personal information of yours to make more money can rub anyone up the wrong way. So, if you’d like to disable Apple’s iAds on your phone, here’s how…

Option 1: Block websites and advertisers from tracking you in Safari

iOS 11 has built-in features with privacy protections against ads, however, it’s not made obvious to iPhone users. Safari is just like Google in the sense that they use tools and techniques to target you with ads based on your location, browser history and more. Blocking this from happening in pretty easy. Simply go to your Settings and follow the below instructions:

  • Select “Safari”, then “Privacy & Security”
  • Toggle the “Prevent Cross-Site Tracking” to ON
  • You can also toggle “Ask Websites Not To Track Me” and “Block Pop-ups”
Option 2: Limit iAds tracking in your apps and games

This will be specific to the games and apps on your smartphone. Follow the below steps:

  • Tap “Settings”, then “Privacy”
  • Scroll to the bottom, then tap “Advertising”
  • Toggle “Limit Ad Tracking” to ON
  • You can also tap “Reset Advertising Identifier” to clear your data used by iAds to target you
Option 3: Limit location-based ad tracking

Location tracking is one of the most commonly used tools Google and Apple pack your social media accounts and search engine searches with adverts. To limit this, follow these steps..

  • Tap “Settings” then “Privacy”
  • Tap “Location Services” then scroll down and tap “System Services”
  • Look where it says “Location-based Apple Ads” and toggle OFF

Let us know if this blog post has been helpful by sharing it to Facebook or commenting below!

Our top six apps to keep you and your kids safe

safety apps

Facing and experiencing crime as a South African is something almost everyone will deal with at least once in their lifetime. In fact, according to the latest crime statistics that were released by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in September 2018, an average of 56 crimes were committed per day. We know, it’s frightening to read that.

Which safety app is best for people who walk/exercise in their neighbourhood?
Many South Africans use walking and public transport as a way to get to work and back. Furthermore, South Africa is a country that enjoys exercising in the outdoors. So how can you keep yourself safe when it’s just you and a long, dark road ahead?

Made in South Africa, by South Africans: Namola


Namola is taking South Africa by storm with over 200,000 downloads and 10,000 app users receiving help in real-life incidents.  Business Insider says the app functions similarly to the 911 system in the USA without having to make a call.
After simply touching the “request assistance” icon which appears on your screen and picks up your exact location, an emergency message will be sent to a Namola call centre. On your behalf, they’ll contact emergency services like the police or an ambulance. Business Insider also tested the response and within 30 seconds, a Namola consultant had responded.

The app also allows to save a number of contacts to it that can be sent an emergency alert. Download the app for free on Apple or Android or check out their website here.

But if the police don’t arrive, who can help you?
In 2016, Namola created a community watch initiative called Namola Watch. This sees members of your community work together to keep your area safe, similar to an armed response company like ADT or Marshall. There are 282 community crime-fighting organisations signed up to the Namola Watch app in areas all over South Africa.

Which app is best for women?
Crime against women in South Africa is on the rise, which is why we wanted to look at which safety app is best for South African women.

MySOS South Africa


– mySOS Active My Emergency
This part of the app allows you to send an emergency alert for yourself or on behalf of a friend. You can choose the nature of your situation, ranging from “medical” to “fire” to “sea rescue”. It also automatically notifies  your pre-listed emergency contacts with your full name, location and phone number.
– mySOS Find Near Me
This part of the app helps you find hospitals, clinics, police stations, fire departments, vets and pharmacies closest to your current location.
– mySOS Track Me
Auto-track the duration of any outdoor event or journey including running, driving or even hiking. Once the timer runs out and is not cancelled, the app auto-notifies your registered emergency contacts on your behalf. It also provides them with your full name, location and phone number.

Check out their website or download it for FREE on Android or Apple.

Which app is best for parents with kids who have smartphones?
Some parents may feel strange about using an app for track their kids, but it is less invasive as one might think, especially if you use one of the below apps.

Live tracking with bSafe


bSafe has been downloaded over 1 million times in 123 countries and is one of the recommended apps for parents who have allowed their kids or teenagers the privilege of owning a smartphone. The live location of the app user (in this case, an adolescent or teenager) can be tracked by a parent or guardian. In other words, Mom and Dad will be able to watch you as you walk to school, run along the beach or go to the movies with friends – and let’s be honest, one can’t be too safe nowadays. The app user can load their parents’ phone numbers onto the app, and if they are ever in a scary situation, a distress message and a GPS location will be sent to them.
Download the app on Apple or Android for FREE!

Monitor online activity with Kaspersky SafeKids


Kaspersky SafeKids is one of the leading cybersecurity companies that acts as an all-in-one tracking and controlling tool for your kid’s smartphone. All you have to do is install the app on your child’s phone and you’ll be able to control it from a dedicated dashboard. This includes which apps and websites they can access and for how long. When you install the app, you will get to use a special pin, which is useful in securing the app from unauthorised access.
The premium version of the app, which costs R180 per annual subscription, lets you schedule screen time, receive notifications about suspicious activities and get summaries of what children search, see and share as well as creating GPS safe zones.
It’s free to download for Apple or Android, however, as mentioned above, it costs R180 per year, which is not a large price to pay for more security for your babies!

Which app is best for drawing attention to you in the fastest way?


In a scary situation that sees you being followed, harassed or mugged, it’s not like you can stop and ask the perpetrator to stop his crime for a few seconds so that you can send a text message and GPS location asking for help. In this instance, it can be helpful to have a siren or alarm that goes off to attract attention to you.

SOS Siren Emergency Alarm


This app functions exactly like the name suggests – like an extremely loud attention seeker. All you need to do is click one of the alarms ranging from “siren”, “scream” or “dog”, which will cause your phone to become a deafening siren to attract the attention you need to be helped.
If ringing the alarm is not what you need for your particular situation, you can also select the “SMS” icon, which automatically sends off a pre-saved text message to a configured phone number.

For iPhone users, there’s Emergency SOS


Apple included a key safety feature into iOS 11 in 2017 that makes sending an SOS even easier than opening up an app. It’s called Emergency SOS which turns your sleep/wake button on the right-hand side of your phone into an SOS feature. All you need to do is click it and one of the volume buttons on the left fives time in a row and emergency services will be called. But first, you need to set it up. Go to Settings > Emergency SOS > toggle ‘Auto Call’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple as offers parental controls which can be set up on the family iPad, Mac or your child’s iPhone. These controls allow you to create a more PG device for the younger members of the family, including limiting features, apps and content by putting a password on it that’s unbeknownst to your little one. To enable this, go to Settings > General > Restrictions > toggle ‘Enable Restrictions’, then enter your secret password.

Android’s safety features focus on parental control too


Don’t worry, Google cares about your kid’s safety too! On an Android phone or tablet, you can create a “restricted profile” which allows you to set up a limited account for the tablet, one that prohibits access to certain apps, messages or wide open internet access. Here’s how to do it: Settings > Users > Add user or profile > Restricted profile > then tap the settings gear on the right > Give your profile a name (eg: My little one) > toggle off the apps you’d like to stop access to > Remember to select this profile before handing it to your child

Our recommendation


All of the reviewed apps would be easy and helpful tools in any situation of panic. But it all depends on what you are looking for. We recommend mySOS for a number of reasons:
– it’s available on both the Google Play and the App Store
– It’s FREE!
– It’s made for the South African audience and geography
– It includes multiple services including an emergency alert system, the ability to locate nearby hospitals, police stations or clinics using your location, and a timing system that sends out a distress message to your emergency contacts if you have not returned home after a certain period of time
– mySOS has also just launched a wearable panic button that connects to your phone via Bluetooth, however, the only downfall is that is costs R499 for the panic button. Visit more here.

How to have a new smartphone with your old phone’s data

how to back up your smartphone

Having a smartphone for an average period of two years means that a lot of memories, routines, information and the ups and downs of a relationship with a smartphone have built up quite a bank of information that screams “back up your smartphone!” You don’t need to start from scratch every time you get a new phone (Although sometimes a new beginning can feel good. But we’ll get to that another time).

If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to keep your beautifully crafted camera roll or your high profile contact list. Apple or Android, here’s how to back up your smartphone! 

If you have an iPhone


If you’re an iOS user, you’re in luck. There are multiple ways for you to back your contacts, settings, photos, app downloads and more using iCloud and iTunes. However, these do come with limitations such as the fact that your iCloud account on your iPhone only comes with 5GB of free storage. You’ll have to pay (in American dollars, that is) for more. With iTunes, your limitation is the fact that you will most likely need a computer or laptop to complete the backing-up process. Nevertheless, make use of the below steps.

iCloud
1. Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network.
2.Tap Settings > iCloud > Backup.
3. Turn on iCloud Backup if it isn’t already turned on.
4. Make sure you are on a WiFi connection and tap Back Up Now
5. Check your backup by tapping Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage, and then select your device.

Apple offers more iCloud storage, such as 50GB for $1 per month, 200GB for $3 or $10 for 1TB. It may not sound like much of an expense, however, there are other ways to backup your photos and videos without paying a monthly fee (See Google Photos below). Remember, it is  vital that you are connected to WiFi during the backing up process, otherwise you can kiss your monthly data goodbye!

iTunes
Backing up via iTunes means you’ll need a Mac or PC and a USB cable to connect to your iPhone. Sounds like a but of a mission, huh? Your computer needs to already have iTunes on it for this to work, and if not, it takes about 500 MB of your WiFI to download.
Follow the below steps:

1. Open iTunes on your PC
2. Connect your iPhone to it using a USB cable
3. Click File > Devices > Backup

Using this method backs up your videos, photos, contacts, text messages and app data, however, it’s definitely not as seamless as doing it all on your phone.

Google Photos (applicable to both Apple and Android)


One of the biggest things on your phone that takes up the most amount of storage are your photos and videos. So why pay for more storage or mission to use your laptop when you can use Google Photos? The app is free to download and operates well on both iOS and Android. For iPhone users, download the version titled “Google Photos iOS”, however, the process is exactly the same for both operating systems, except you won’t need to do the third step if you’re on Android:

1. Tap the icon in the top left corner with the 3 lines
2. Choose Settings > Backup & Sync > ON
3. Go to your phone’s actual Settings > Privacy > Photos and turn on “Google Photos” to allow the app to have access to your camera roll

Don’t forget – you will need to be connected to WiFi when you upload all of your content to Google Photos, as the uploading process will certainly take a chunk of your data! What’s cool about once you’ve backed up your media to Google Photos is that once you take a new photo, it is automatically uploaded and stored with the rest of your photos and videos.

If you have an Android phone


Remember, you can use Google Photos to backup and store your photos and videos, but your data and settings will need a separate process found in your Settings.
Simply go to Settings > System > Advanced > Backup, then turn on your backup service, which is often Google Drive for Android phones. Your Drive will store:

1. Contacts, calendar
2. WiFi networks and passwords
3. Wallpapers
4. Gmail settings
5, Language, display, time and date
6. Apps and data for apps not made by Google

When you think of what is most important to you on your smartphone, make sure you’ve backed it up using the above steps. After all, living through our smartphones is never 100 percent reliable!

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How to stop Google location tracking from collecting information on you

How to stop Google from locating you

You might not know this but Google tracks your location and gathers information about you. However, living under a rock might just be the best way to stop Google from accessing your personal information.

Wait, why should I care about blocking Google from tracking me?


If you’re wondering why this may be so important to so many people, simply type into your browser “Google location tracking investigations” and you will find out why. Here’s the short version: Google promised smartphone users that if you turn off the “location history” setting on your device, they would no longer be able to track your location and use that information for their benefit. However, a damming investigation by the Associated Press found that that was not true. Google is still able to collect and store users’ data and geo-locations – a gross violation of your privacy used for corporate means. Just last year, Google’s ad revenue jumped by 20 percent to $95.4 billion thanks to location-specific advertising.
The violation has resulted in a number of law enforcers in the US and Europe filing lawsuits against Google. Google has already been fined $5 billion for breaking Europe’s antitrust laws. They’re also currently being investigated for its use of location tracking on devices that have turned off the feature.

Okay, I want to completely block Google from tracking me. How?


Now you can make a choice on how you can stop or minimise how much you’re giving to Google.

Turning off your location history will only stop Google from adding your location to its Google Maps Timeline. However, as we mentioned above, it still collects, stores and uses your geolocations. In order to stop this, you’ll need to access a well-hidden, vaguely-worded setting on your device: Web & App Activity. After going into the setting and selecting ‘off’, a warning message will pop up asking you to confirm that you are pausing your web and app activity. Click pause. Think you’re done? Nope. Then you need to access the Activity Controls Dashboard in your actual Google account. Here, you will need to toggle off Location History yet again. Now you’re finally freeeee!

So, why doesn’t turning off the Location History settings work in the first instance?


Well, unfortunately, it’s in the fine print that even when you turn off Location History, Google’s other apps, settings and services automatically collect location data. For example, any time you enter a word into your Google browser, it automatically picks up where the query is coming from, right down to the name of your road. Any time you use Wi-Fi (in public or not), Bluetooth, GPS or cell phone signal towers, Google gets your location.

iOS users are not immune. If you use the Google Maps app, a gmail account or have set Google as your default browser on your iPhone, then guess what? Google’s got you like a rabbit in a hat. Also, if you go into your settings, click into your Google Maps app – you will see that it asks you to provide your location “always”, “never” or “whilst using the app”. If you don’t manually change this, it stays on “always”.

Following the above steps will stop Google from accessing and using your location to their advantage, however, if you’re an Android user, you will find just how less useful your smartphone suddenly becomes. Since Android is Google’s exclusive operating system, limiting your location history settings will inadvertently limit the capabilities of your phone. At the end of the day, whether you’re an Android user or an iOS lover, it’s your choice.

If you’d like to learn more about which sites track, check out vpnMentor’s “Who’s Watching You?” tool. Share with is your thoughts on the matter by commenting below!

 

Where did your mobile data go? Six reasons for and solutions to your dwindling data

how to save mobile data

Where oh where hath our data gone wonder? That is the question we ask ourselves at the end of every month. No need to ponder – we know not everyone has access to free or uncapped WiFi. We’ve listed the most common ways your data says farewell, as well as our solutions to each one.

Apps that use background data


Background, what? Some apps that you’re not even using need data to remain updated, even if you aren’t using the app. If you go into your Settings, you’ll see every app you have and that it’s set to use data. When you’re in a WiFi zone, it won’t be a bother, but letting your data be used for this will be costly.

Solution: Manually turn off data usage for apps you don’t use often
To adjust your background data on an iPhone, go to Settings > Cellular > Apps using WLAN & Cellular. If you’re with Android, visit Settings > Wireless & Networks > Data usage. You will be able to manually deactivate data usage for every and any app you want on your phone.

Using Google Maps when traveling


Looking for a friend’s new apartment? Going on a road trip? Or even just lost in a new area? Using Google Maps uses a lot of data to be able to access your location and navigate as you travel. The app constantly sends and receive information to keep updated as you drive.

Solution: Download area maps before your travel
Google Maps on Android and iPhone lets you download area maps to your phone to use offline. Download the map to your phone before you leave so that you can find your way without chowing your data. Also, the Google Maps cache on an iPhone doesn’t need a data connection to function – simply enter the location into your Apple Maps in a WiFi zone and you’re good to go!

Just one more video won’t hurt!


We’ve all been there – bored out of my minds, scrolling through Facebook or YouTube to kill time, thinking that watching these short videos couldn’t possibly do damage to your data consumption. Little do you know that videos are one of the biggest eaters of the data pie!

Solution: Use streaming channels that allow offline usage
Long gone are the days where you have to play YouTube videos in full HD to play your favourite songs. Apple Music, Spotify and Google Play Music all allow you to create playlists offline and if you have storage space on your phone, you can download songs and movies to your phone to enjoy without using data.

You could also: Turn off autoplay on Facebook
This feature may only be applicable to iOS users, but nonetheless, it is helpful. When you’re scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, videos are automatically set to start playing – even if you have no intention of watching them. On the iPhone, go to Settings > Facebook > Settings, scroll down to ‘Video’ and select ‘Autoplay on WiFi only’.

Browsing the internet on desktop version


This may sound a little obscure and obvious, but using a website’s mobile version instead of the desktop version on your smartphone actually uses less data – great for those who don’t have daily access to WiFi. Mobile versions also make it easier for you read and scroll through the information.

Luckily, mobile versions of websites are common and automatic as it can pick up that you’re accessing the site from a mobile device. For Facebook lovers, a data-friendly version of the app, called Facebook Lite, is available for Android users. It’s perfect for low-end phones and poor data connections, meaning less of your data will be used.

Automatic updates – and they’re daily


In order for you to enjoy your phone at its most, your Settings are configured to have automatic updates, meaning every single time one of your apps like Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp or your banking app has a new release, your smartphone automatically installs the new release. Don’t think this takes up data? Think twice. Automatic updates can take place daily if you have more than four or five apps on on your phone, and that doesn’t include the ones that already come with your phone.

Solution: Manually select your updates
We’ve gotta shut this down to manual, sister. For iPhone users, head to your Settings > Mobile Data and then as your scroll down, you’ll see all of the apps using data. Manually turn off each one you want. Then for Android, you’ll find the settings in the Google Play Store: Settings > Auto-Update Apps. Here you may choose to disable auto-updates completely or only allow auto-updates on WiFi connectivity.

Addicted to social media?


It’s not uncommon these days to spend just as much time on social media during your day than you would on work. In fact, a 2018 study said 40% of social media users say it would be difficult to give it up. An additional 14 percent saying it would be extremely hard. The average person will also spent five years and four months just chilling on social media. If you think you’re heading in this direction, it’s time for an intervention.

Solution: Set yourself daily limits


Yes, there are apps to help you limit your data usage and therefore your time on social media, but come on – let’s be adults about this. Give yourself 15 minutes in the morning to scroll through your social media apps and then another 15 minutes in the evening after dinner. Another tip: Don’t look through your phone while you’re lying in bed waiting to get tired watching videos of how cats are better than dogs.

A general tip we’d like to share with you is to, once a week, enter a free WiFi area where you can do all of your app updates and social media meandering. This way, you’ll still be able to enjoy your smartphone without killing your data.

Stay posted to our blog for more cool posts or check out our website to buy or sell a used smartphone!

How to smarten up so that your phone doesn’t get hacked

anti-hacking smartphone tips

So you’re the guy with the nicest smartphone in your group of friends, but you may also be the guy who opens an email supposedly from your bank that asks you to enter your full password. (Sweet tip: Your bank will never email you to ask you to enter or change your password via an email. The safest way to access your account is through your banking app or the saved link in your browser). Before that happens, we’re here to save the day with our anti-hacking smartphone tips. After all, you can never be too smart!

Beware of free WiFi – it’s awesome, but not always trustworthy


You know that coffee shop you love so much because it offers free, uncapped WiFi? Well, just because it’s an establishment you trust, doesn’t mean the network can be trusted. Public WiFi literally means anyone can access it – including hackers who can see everything you’re doing, accessing any personal information as you enter it into your phone.

So how do they do it?
One way hijackers access your phone through public WiFi is through a process called “Man-In-The-Middle” (MITM), which is when a third party interrupts communications between two participants, your smartphone and a server. Instead of data being shared directly between you two, that link is broken by another element – the hacker. The uninvited hijacker then displays their own version of a site, adding in their own messages. Anyone using public WiFi is especially vulnerable to an MITM attack because the information being transmitted is often unencrypted, leaving your passwords, addresses and private messages exposed.

What to do: Use public WiFi, but safely
For the most part, accessing websites that start with “https” means that the data exchange between you and this website is encrypted. You can also use public WiFi in a safer way, such as turning off your file sharing and AirDrop options for iPhones, turning your WiFi off completely when you leave the connected area, only using public WiFi to check social media or blog updates (instead of doing your online banking), and if you already have anti-virus malware installed on your device, keep it updated to ensure any baddies who want to access it can’t.

Don’t let a stranger use your phone for a call


Believe it or not, it’s that quick. Someone can corrupt your smartphone or access your personal data within a few seconds of having it – all they need to do is copy-paste a link into your browser and your data is toast. We know it’s difficult to decipher who is a hacker or not because bad people come in all shapes and sizes, however, you’re going to have to trust your instinct when a stranger asks you to use your phone for a call.

Traveling Paris? So, you’re standing in front of the Eiffel Tower with a friend and at, some point, you’re going to want a full-length photo of your trip for your Insta page. What do you do? You ask a total stranger to stand a good 5 metres away from you to capture the moment. You don’t know it but you’ve potentially handed your phone to a hacker – so how can you avoid it and still get your photo?  Luckily, you can still take a shot with your screen locked, so make sure you hand your phone over on lock screen mode. (Another cool tip: Taking a pic on lock screen mode also means the photographer can’t see the last photo you took that’s often displayed in the bottom left corner.

See above: The left photo shows access  to your camera if your lock screen is not activated. The right photo shows that no access is given.

So how do they do it?
So, you’ve handed over your phone to a stranger, possibly without the lock screen activated. Renowned hacker and author of “The Art of Invisibility” Kevin Mitnick says that if a hacker has physical access to your phone like the aforementioned scenario, all they need to do is open your browser, type in ‘FlexiSPY.com’, down the software, and they will have access to your messages, photos, they can overhear your phone calls, and be notified of your location at any given time. Mitnick suggests always having the latest version of iOS and GoogleOS and a strong digitized password.

Speaking of cameras, how they can they be used to spy on you?


It says a lot when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former FBI Director James Comey uses tape over their laptop cameras to stop hackers from spying on them. Think they’re being paranoid? They’re not. Digital Spy reports that the most common way hackers gain access to your microphone or FaceTime camera is through the use of Trojan horse malware that can be downloaded to your phone through something as simple you downloading a song, clicking a link, opening an email or any “innocent-seeming” activity. The malware lets hackers take control of your device, and can give them access to your camera – a very scary thought.

How to avoid this: Use a 6-digit password instead of four
From the good old ‘1,2,3,4’ to birth dates and anniversaries, 4-digit passwords just aren’t bringing it hard enough anymore. You’ve got to up your game with a 6-digit password! A longer, more complex password makes it harder for strangers and hackers alike to access your phone – just don’t complicate it so much that you constantly forget. You can also use a fingerprint or facial recognition login process, however, a digitized password is safer as your face or finger could be used against your will. Those hackers will need the tools of a Russian election meddler to get into your phone!

You could also: Use two-factor authentication for logins
Going through two steps to log into your banking app may sound unnecessary, but with such important personal information stored there, we can’t stress how necessary it actually is. Android phones have a fantastic feature that allows you to lock individual apps – so if anyone does get passed your lockscreen, they will have to encounter a second line of defense by entering another password. For iPhones, you can lock certain notes in your ‘notes’ app, such as passwords, card information and more, allowing only someone with the password to access it.

Don’t be the person who clicks a link from dodgy emails and SMSes


If receive an inbox message from your LinkedIn profile from a profile proposing a business venture, or, if you receive an SMS offering to increase your credit card limit by simply giving a few of your personal details, trust the voice inside of your that tells you opening it is not trustworthy.
Hackers and scammers are able to steal your identity, credit card information and even your home address just by you clicking on that link. A July 2018 report on Independent Online has warned Absa bank users of a new email scam doing the rounds that’s taking advantage of the company’s new logo design to catch customers. The email says it’s from Absa CEO Mario Ramos, however, it uses a “geien0080smtp@nokwi.co.za” address. The email invites you to check out the bank’s new PDF email statements, which is actually a link to a phishing scam website. “Once they have won your trust, they will then request sensitive information such as your card PIN, card CVV or online banking password. It is important to note that Absa will never contact customers and request sensitive information,” said the real Absa in a statement.
Android phones can sometimes be more susceptible to dodgy messages that come through apps, however, the App Store for iOS users offers total protection in this regard.

So how do they do it?
There’s a new text message scam called “smishing” that let’s thieves access your smartphone just by sending you a text message or email that sounds perfectly legit. For example, an SMS might pose as your bank letting you know that money has come out of your account, followed by a link or number to call if it wasn’t you. If you click the link or call the number, hackers will be able to access more of your person info. Unfortunately, you can’t stop smishing messages from being sent to your phone – but you can stop yourself from falling for them.

Haven’t updated your operating system?


We know those constant messages asking you to update your software are annoying, however, they serve a larger purpose. Software developers often upgrade the security measurements on a phone which each new update, even if it’s just a small change. Not keeping up to date leaves your phone open to hackers who are advanced enough to access your phone through flaws in the system thanks to a lack of updating.
If you’re an Apple user, connect your phone to WiFi, go to Settings, then General, then Software Update. However, if you’re an Android user, it’s a little more complicated as not all Android manufacturers release their monthly updates. Security software then becomes more important for Androids.

So how do they do it?
A July 2018 report in The Guardian spoke about a fault in the Bluetooth encryption process that smartphone makers didn’t fix or notice until recently. Apple, Google and Intel’s hardware are among those at risk if not updated immediately, according to the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) in the US. The flaw arises from a missing check on keys while data is encrypting. These are the “keys” that your device and the one you’re pairing with exchange to lock down communications so that outsiders can’t understand or steal the data you’re transmitting. Apple and Google are aware of the mistake and have corrected it in iOS 11.4 and ChromeOS and Android, so ensure your phone is updated!