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 If some of the information is incorrect or outdated, you can easily select the status of the account and how much you pay per month.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.

7 Top Mobile Apps: Phonetradr’s Staff Picks

top mobile apps

Over the last few years, app makers and developers around the world have truly taken a leap into the future. Not only are there millions of apps to choose from at any given time, there’s also an app – literally – for everything. In fact, so much so that it is almost impossible to go about your daily life without delighting in the ingenuity of some far away app developer. There’s even app where friends compete to see how high they can throw their phone up into the air. Yup, that’s a real app called Send Me To Heaven.

Despite some of the crazy apps out there, the Phonetradr team has come together to share their most useful ones. Take a page out of our Notes app to see which apps you should download today.

Do Instagram like a pro with Spark Post

For anyone who enjoys photography. Spark Post is an absolute must. The app allows you to create Instagram posts and stories using high res images, logos, fonts, background colours, and borders.

It also offers templates based on the category your posts will fall into, such as travel, business or food.
Many bloggers and brands with a large focus on quality social media content use Spark Post. Download it for FREE on iOS or Android!

Figure out your internet speed with Speedtest

What’s more frustrating than waiting for the robot to go green in 35 degree heat with no aircon? Waiting for your Wi-Fi to do its job, that’s what. Speedtest has the world’s largest testing server network and no matter where you’re based, you’ll can test your internet speed. You can distinguish your upload and download speed, change to a faster server and look at graphs showing connection consistency.


The app also tracks every test you’ve done with a note on which connection was tested. The app is downloadable for free on the App Store and Google Play or check out their site – their FAQ section is loaded with cool information on why knowing about connection speed and servers in your location is important, especially if you work on your phone or laptop.
Another reason is that you can do actual test to make sure your ISP is giving you the speeds you paying for.

Pocket: Collecting the day’s news into one place for later

In a world where you are constantly bombarded with news, videos, trending memes, articles and more from multiple channels, we think an app that puts your content in one pocket is extra cool. See what we did there? You can save the latest (or old favourites) news, magazine articles, videos, recipes, opinion pieces, TV discussions, how-tos and so much more in one place. If you enjoy setting time aside during lunch or after dinner to catch up on the day’s activity, simply whip out Pocket and it’s all there.


Even better, the app can read articles to you on your way to work, during a gym session or while you lie on the beach! Download it for iOS or Android for freeee!

Avoid traffic stops and more with Waze

Waze is like that badass friend you always wished you had. Why? Because the app alerts you to the whereabouts of police, traffic stops, road closures and hazards as if they’re a double agent playing those sides of the field… okay, we’re getting carried away.

What’s also unique about Waze is that it lets you listen to music while the app operates – you can have Spotify or your favourite podcast playing while you drive.

Be an office whizz with Scanner

iScanner is your new best nerd friend. iScanner accesses your camera to turn documents into PDFs which can be saved, emailed, or sent via Slack or Whatsapp.
The app comes in handy when you need to send proof of identification, your signature to documents, or physical-to-digital invoices. The app offers an ad-free version, however, that requires a small monthly fee.

Download the app for zero moolas on the App Store and Google Play.

Stream with Joox (Because we still can’t close Youtube without the music stopping!)

Joox has been downloaded to people’s smartphones across Asia since 2015, and now the app has come to South Africa! What makes Joox cool is that you can download music to your phone to jam without using up mobile data. Finally!

What’s also cool is that you can customise the design of the app for a look that suits your vibe better and you can also listen to live radio from over 50 stations! It’s available for both iPhones and Android phones, however, a monthly fee of R59,99 is needed.

Get somebody to store your stuff with LightStack

Let’s say you’re moving to a new apartment and no longer like that two-seater couch or the 75 scatter cushions on your bed… Or, your a musician and need to store your drum set somewhere. That’s where LightStack comes in! Using their app, they’ll come collect your belongings and keep them safe. When you need them again they’ll drop them back at your front door. Easy!


What’s cool about these guys is that you can even store individual items like large sporting equipment.

You have three storage options to choose from: The ‘walk-in closet’ option costs R320 per month and offers 1.5m x 1.5m in space. The second option is called ‘pantry’ and costs R650 per month and offers enough space to fit a large 3 seater couch, a TV stand, a filing cabinet, and plenty of room for some more boxes. The third option costs R1,050 per month and is the size of a small garage or 2.5m x 2.7m.
Download their app and get your extra stuff stored!

Phonetradr has partnered with FASTA to bring you instant credit

instant credit

When you think of the traditional credit application process, a few things may come to mind: Lengthy phone calls, background checks, heaps of paperwork and a lot of your precious time wasted. And even after you’ve played along, you still may not be approved for credit. We understand not everyone can afford to make a purchase in full. We want to help customers afford the smartphone they want with instant credit!

So, if you’re looking to get credit to purchase a used smartphone, we can help.

What’s cool about it?
– You apply online on the Phonetradr website and the deal is done in real-time. Simply choose a phone that has the “instant credit” badge then for a payment method, choose “instant credit”
– You’ll get an answer if your application is approved within minutes of applying
– No phone calls, no paperwork, no call centres
– It’s interest-free!
– An applicant can choose their own payment terms of up to six months

All we’ll need from you is…
– A 33 % deposit to verify that you’re serious about the deal
– Your South African ID number
– Three months of bank statements

Get instant credit, online, in minutes. A first for South Africa!
Shop now and apply during checkout.

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!

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!

Stay informed via our blog or get social with us on Facebook!

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!

Choosing a second-hand smartphone IS going green

going green

With the increased use of electronics, smartphones, laptops and tablets are contributing to the globe’s next pollution epidemic: electronic waste. Not everybody tosses their laptop or smartphone, but enough people do it to make e-waste a global phenomenon. The World Economic Forum has surmised that the US alone throws away 9.4 million tons of e-waste each year, including 152 million phones per annum.

So, how can people help eradicate the e-waste problem without knowing it? A sub-industry of the smartphone world is developing. Refurbished smartphones are taking on a second life instead of being thrown into the pile of e-waste that’s growing five times faster than the human population.

More smartphones, less raw materials

Let’s first talk about the materials that go into manufacturing a smartphone – some of them being non-renewable and toxic.

Each smartphone is made of plastic, metal and glass components: Plastic is derived from oil from drilling into the ground, which ends up at a manufacturer that creates parts for smartphones. Metals are extracted from mines, which are eventually transported using fuels to cellphone plants. Glass is made from silica that’s extracted from a quarry and eventually transported, in the same way, to manufacturers. All of these processes require water, a non-renewable resource, and also require transportation methods that aren’t exactly solar powered. Creating a smartphone also uses critical raw materials and precious earth metals like gold, silver, copper, palladium, tungsten and molybdenum – all non-renewable and all going to e-waste when a smartphone user dumps their phone. In addition to smartphones, it takes 530 pounds of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals and 1.5 tons of water to create one computer and monitor.

In the US alone, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded that if one million cell phones are recycled, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, 33 pounds of palladium and 35,274 pounds of copper can be recovered. Each time a smartphone brand releases a new model, the earth’s raw materials take a knock, and the human desire to have the latest smartphone means that e-waste grows larger. In the face of all of this, Greenpeace’s electronics expert Manfred Santen suggested at the 2017 World Mobile Congress conference that it is time people start considering if they need a contract that gives them a brand new phone every 12 to 24 months.

Going used is going green


The used smartphone market is no longer just young adults trying to sell their old phones so that they have extra cash for the month. In 2018, it’s now a $17 billion industry that has a 50 percent year-on-year growth rate in units and a number of startups around the world that are taking the sale and purchase of second-hand smartphones into a professional space.

Aside of the industry’s massive potential and exponential growth rate, the second-hand trend is also becoming one of the most environmentally friendly ways to tackle e-waste. Deloitte has predicted that new smartphones purchased in 2016 will go on to have three or more owners, with units still being actively used in 2020 and beyond. So, according to the International Data Corporation, approximately 222.6 million second-hand devices will be actively used in 2020, instead of being added to the e-waste epidemic.

Although having a refurbished model instead of a new one may only prolong the life of a smartphone, e-waste expert Elizabeth Jardim from Greenpeace’s branch in the US says that having a second-hand phone is “the first step to responsibly handling phones as it reduces the amount of energy and raw materials used to make a new one. We advise to keep the phones in use for longer,” she told News24. Further experts  who spoke to The Star Online in the US believe that if a smartphone’s life was extended to five years instead of 12 to 24 months, the smartphone industry’s impact on global warming could be reduced by 30 percent, thanks to a saving in carbon dioxide expenditure.

So – regardless of the environmental factor, what’s the benefit of choosing second-hand?


The most immediate benefit is how much less it will cost you in both the short and the long term. According to the going price as of September 2018, you’ll be paying R7,999 upfront if you’re buying a new iPhone 6S. If you choose to sign a contract over 24 months, it’s a total of R619 per month (an eventual cost of R14,856).
When buying second-hand, you’ll be able to get the same phone for R3,000 – R4,000, depending on its condition. Furthermore, a contract will only cost you between R300-400 per month.

An inadvertent advantage of choosing a cheaper second-hand phone is that you’ll be paying less for more storage. Cellphone companies like Vodacom, Telkom and Cell C add an extra R100 or more every month to your contract just to upgrade you from a 32G to a 64G. Thanks to how Apple and Samsung are advancing the technology, smartphones are made to last and can run for years allowing second-hand resellers to offer up to 12-month warranties on used phones.
In all honestly, unless you’re getting paid to be an Apple or Samsung ambassador who advertises a lifestyle with the latest model, you don’t really need the smartest smartphone. Most of their models offer all of the features one would like in a smartphone – internet access, a good camera, a fair amount of storage, and the ability to download social media apps.

Swimming against the current


In 1954, long before smartphones were even a thought, American industrial designer Brooke Stevens pushed manufacturers to create products that would deliberately become obsolete or undesirable long before it breaks by releasing upgraded versions of the product every year. “A little newer, a little better, and a little sooner than necessary,” he said.

Fast forward to 2018, and it’s this philosophy, adopted by smartphone companies around the world, that’s fueling the addiction to have the smartest smartphone at any given time. As the title suggests, it is up to us to swim against this current by choosing a refurbished, second-hand smartphone or simply keeping our current phone for a longer period of time.