Apps

How can I have privacy on the Internet while out of the country?

Dennis from Costa Rica, CA

Episode 1137

Dennis is vacationing at a hotel and he's concerned about privacy on the public WiFi. Leo says that's what a Virtual Private Network, or VPN come in handy. It's like a tunnel through the internet that is encrypted and nobody can see your traffic. But the down side is, that it's a bit slower. He uses TalkaTone and wants an encrypted phone line. Leo says it's a good option, but he also recommends RedPhone. End to end encryption. It requires that both parties are using the same technology but it's very private and secure.

Why do apps require so much access to my phone?

Episode 1136

Brian from New Hampshire
Apps

Brian doesn't understand why apps ask permission for so much access to his smartphone in order to run. Leo says that while being able to have denied permissions would be nice, it could break the app since most aren't written that way. But Leo believes we'll eventually get there.

In iOS 8, users get the ability to refuse the permission for apps to ask for contacts. But sometimes those permissions need to be given even for basic functions of the app.

Does Windows Phone have the apps that iPhone and Android have?

Nan from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1133

Nan has a Droid Incredible but she's looking to change to a Windows phone. She's worried about apps not being available. Leo says that Microsoft has done a great job with Windows Phone 8, and the hardware is great with the Nokia Lumia (it has a great camera). But the issue is that Microsoft is late to the app game and developers have been slow coming to the Windows platform, especially Google.

Back to Android, the Motorola Moto X is really good, but the battery life can be a challenge if she's a heavy user. The Motorola Droid Turbo has a much larger battery.

Find Out if Your Apps Will Run on OS X Yosemite or iOS 8

Apple released OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 earlier this month. While the new operating systems bring a lot of new features, it's always a wise idea to wait so that bugs can be fixed and apps can be updated for it. But how will you know if the apps you use have been updated for OS X Yosemite or iOS 8? Fortunately, there's a website that keeps track of it all -- RoaringApps.com.

How can I help my mother read books with technology?

Episode 1122

Roy from Orange County, CA
iPad Air

Roy's old mother has been looking at an electronic magnifying device to look at documents and photos. She won't use a tablet, though. Leo says that's a shame because they're very useful and she could reset the type to any size she wants. Plus she just wants to read the books she has. Leo says that's understandable. Leo says there's a program called Big Magnify for the iPad and iPhone will allow her to read a book by magnifying the image with the photo app.

Does Facebook really have full access to my smartphone?

Mark from Anaheim, CA

Episode 1120

Leo says yes, this is true, but it isn't something to worry about. Both Apple and Android require that developers request permission to do things on the smartphone. Apps can request to have access to the phone dialer, texting, microphone and more. It does cause concerns among users primarily because they don't know why these apps are requesting such permissions. For example, in order to use Facebook Messenger to make a phone call or send out a text, the app needs access to the phone's operating system to do it. Otherwise the app won't have that functionality.

Are the apps the same on Android as on iPhone?

Episode 1119

Lou from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Android

Lou is looking to get an Android phone, but he's concerned that it won't have the same apps as the iPhone. Leo says most apps are developed for both these days and Leo says that Lou should get his apps from the Google Play Store.

Will the transition from iPhone to Android be difficult? Leo says no, not at all. Most apps are identical in their experience.