Mobile Phones

iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, or feature phones.

Should I use Verizon VPN?

Episode 1576

David from Los Angeles, CA

David wants to know if he should back up his mobile device to Verizon Cloud. Leo says no. Don't. They'll give you a little bit for free, but they really want to charge you extra for it. And you can backup to Google Drive for free. What about Verizon's VPN? Is that worth $3.99 a month? Leo says that most pay VPNs are that much, and the question is, do you trust Verizon? Verizon is using McAfee's VPN services, and have in writing that they aren't logging your activity. So that's probably fine, especially at that price.

Why does my mobile device mute on its own?

Episode 1576

John from Redondo Beach, CA

John recently got a pair of hearing aids. But he can't take phone calls with them. Leo says that's a limitation of the hearing aids, which may not be A2DP compatible. But the problem is, his new Samsung Galaxy S10 mutes intermittently. What gives? Leo says to try un-pairing, and then re-pairing. Leo also says this has been a known issue with Samsung phones over time. There's a feature called "Easy Mute", that will need to be disabled. It's in the settings.

Is it OK to Keep my Smartphone Plugged in and Charging?

Lithium-ion battery

Episode 1575

Richard from West LA, CA

Richard wants to know if keeping his laptop and smartphone plugged in all the time will damage it. Leo says that there is great debate about it. It's not really bad to keep them plugged in at all. What's worse would be completely discharging or overheating them. Lithium-ion batteries also have circuitry designed to keep from overcharging. Check out Battery University for details on the life of batteries. 

Can I Use a Prepaid Cellphone as an MP3 Player?

doubleTwist

Episode 1574

David from Brooklyn, NY

David hears that he can turn an old cell phone into an MP3 player. Can he use a cheap prepaid cellular smartphone? Leo says that will work, but he wants to be sure it has enough storage. Most cheap smartphones don't' have more than 16GB. Getting one that has a microSD card slot would also work because he can put one in with all his music and use it that way. Leo also recommends using doubleTwist to play music. From the chatroom - ZTE phones are $8 at Best Buy!

FIIO is one of the last "iPod-ish" companies, and they make great mp3 players.

How Can I Block Unwanted Calls on My Phone?

Google Voice

Episode 1573

Stu from Santa Ana, California

Stu got a new phone number for his iPhone and he keeps getting calls about paying a student loan. How can he prevent the phone from ringing on unwanted calls? Leo says that he can get a Google Voice number and then use it to filter out the phone calls that aren't in the contact list. He can also use an app called Nomorobo. or True Caller to filter them out. Lastly, he can block it from the carrier itself, but these calls often change the caller ID to thwart it.

Why Do My Text Messages Get Chopped Up?

Sprint

Episode 1573

Dale from Palmdale, California

Dale has problems with his text messages: He doesn't get the entire long message, and it's all chopped up out of order. Leo says it's the carrier that is limiting, or "truncating" his SMS text message to 160 characters, chopping it up, and sending it out in multiple bursts. It's an issue with Sprint, unfortunately. If he can start using a messaging app and convince everyone in the family to do the same, he won't have this issue.