Mobile Phones

What smartphone should I buy?

Episode 1493

Rick from Phelan, CA
Motorola Moto G6

Rick's wife wants a new phone with a larger screen. What should she get? It doesn't have to be the latest model. Leo says that the best budget Android phone is the Motorola Moto G5 Plus. The screens are better and the cameras are really good. She should make sure he gets a US GSM model that is compatible with her carrier (Verizon in this case). She shouldn't have to pay more than $200, especially on Amazon.

What should I do if my phone battery bulges?

Episode 1492

Ryan from Anaheim, CA
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Ryan sent his mobile phone to Samsung to have a swollen battery replaced. They had the phone for a month. Ryan is a super Samsung customer and the company wants to keep people like him happy. But more than that, if a bulging battery gets compromised, it could catch fire and explode. So there's a definite safety issue, and Samsung learned that the hard way with the Note 7.

What's the best way to bring my mobile phone to Europe?

Episode 1490

Lori from Santa Monica, CA
Skyroam Solis

Lori is traveling to Europe soon with her family and they all have iPhones, but they have separate carriers and plans. What's the best solution for them as they travel? Leo says first thing is to find out what their international roaming plans are. They're better than they used to be, but it's still pretty expensive for what they would get. International data roaming can cost thousands if they're not careful. Leo recommends using Wi-Fi as much as possible, and they should pre-cache maps in Google Maps. They can get a local SIM in the country they're visiting.

Have I lost all my images on my old phone?

Episode 1484

Chester from Bellflower, CA
Samsung Galaxy S8+

Chester had to return a phone, and he wants to know how he can get the old photos off it? He's told he has to get them off the cloud, because the phones were returned. Rich says that if his phone didn't have a miniSD card that the images were saved on, they're probably gone. If he turned on cloud backup, however, he may find them there. Samsung has a service called Samsung Cloud. He should log in and see if he can find them there. This is why he should have more than one backup solution.

Is my smartphone spying on me?

Episode 1484

Ellen from Orange County, CA
Spying

Ellen is concerned that with a camera, microphone and GPS, that her phone could be spying on her. Rich says that one company, ZTE, was banned in the US because its phone was collecting user information and phoning home with it. But Rich says that was probably a software issue. Phones aren't really spying on people, per se. But when she signs up for free services like Facebook, they are aggregating a lot of user behavior that is used to push ads to her. It seems like spying, but it's more that it provides information for her based on her interests and online behavior.

Can I make Google calendar the default in my iPhone?

Episode 1484

Christine from Santa Barbara, CA
Google Calendar on iPhone

Christine hates the iPhone Calendar. She wants her Google Calendar to be the default. Rich says that iOS is sandboxed and there's no way to set a default app that would send her information where she wants. Rich recommends going into the iPhone's calendar settings and setting Google Calendar as her main calendar. Then all she will see is the Google Calendar. It's still using the iPhone calendar app, but it's all her Google Calendar information. That's about as good as she can get it.

As for invites, Rich hates invites. He prefers to delete them.

How can I lock down my daughter's iPhone?

Episode 1482

Scott from Maine
OurPact block internet and apps

Scott got his daughter an iPhone 7 and he wants to know the best way to lock it down to protect her online activity. Leo says that there are parental controls built into the iPhone, but there are apps that really take it to a new level. He can block apps and features as well. He can even white list numbers that would allow calls while disallowing others. He should also look at what restrictions the carrier offers. There are kid friendly browsers. iBlacklist will filter calls and SMS.

How can I use my phone if I'm losing my hearing?

Episode 1482

Jan from Bakersfield, CA
Earbuds

Jan is starting to lose her hearing, and wants to know what she can do to still hear people when she's talking on the phone. Leo says he has smart hearing aids that connect to his phone via Bluetooth and he can hear his phone great. If she can't afford those, then she can get headphones or earbuds that will use the phone's headphone jack. Jan has been using Google Fi, so in getting a new phone, she'll need to either get a Motorola Moto phone or a Google Pixel. Those are the only two phones that will work on Google Fi.