benpatt

Tech for the rest of us! Get jargon-free tips and how-tos for iPhone, Android, iPad, Mac, Windows, Facebook, and more.

Android tip: 3 gotta-try gestures for Google’s Chrome browser

Switching tabs and fiddling with menus just got a bit easier thanks to a trio of new gestures in Google’s Chrome browser for Android. Version 30 of Chrome (or version 30.0.1599.82, if you want to get specific about it) is live in Google’s Play store, and if you have Chrome installed on your handset, it’s probably already updated itself. The new Chrome adds a slew of updates and bug fixes, but it’s most notable for three new gestures that’ll come in handy when you’re trying to view your open browser tabs, cycle between tabs, or dip into the main Chrome menu ....more

Mobile hotspot tip: Keep your laptop from auto-downloading big system updates

Wondering how your mobile hotspot-connected laptop ate half of your monthly cellular data allowance in a single gulp? Well, both Mac and Windows PCs come with a handy feature that may unwittingly gobble up a big chunk of your monthly mobile data: the ability to automatically download needed updates for your system. Now, don’t get me wrong; automatic downloads for critical system and security updates (particularly on the Windows side) are a smart idea when you’re using your Mac or PC on your home Wi-Fi network ....more

iOS 7 tip: How to delete all the text messages in a conversation

Lew writes: In iOS 6 on iPhone you could clear all messages from a conversation. Can’t find a way of doing that short of deleting the person in the first screen of messaging. I like to keep my wife there since she is the one I need to text most often and quickly ....more

iOS 7 tip: 4 ways to lock down your iPhone or iPad

Sure, it’s pretty convenient that you can swipe down on your locked iPhone’s screen to check out your notifications or swipe up to toggle Bluetooth on and off, but what if a perfect stranger managed to get their hands on your precious handset? If you’re at all worried about the email, text messages, photos, and other personal data sitting on your iPhone or iPad, you should probably take a little time perusing the security features—some new, some older but still worthwhile—in Apple’s big iOS 7 update, from buttoning up the lock screen to enabling the new “Activation Lock” feature, which prevents thieves from reactivating a stolen iDevice without your iCloud password. Read on for four ways to lock down your iPhone or iPad with iOS 7, starting with… 1 ....more

Facebook tip: How to edit your updates (finally!)

Up until now, the only way to make any charges changes in a Facebook update was to delete the whole post and start over. (Where’s the “unlike” button when you really need it?) Keep in mind that anyone who can read your post will be able to view any and all of your edits. Well, good news: you can now edit any of your previous Facebook updates or comments, perfect for fixing typos, adding new thoughts or clarifying old ones ....more

iOS 7 tip: How to make on-screen text a bit more bold

Sue writes: I just enabled Find My Phone on my iPad mini, iOS 7, and the look became very different. I like it, but the text or printing is very pale. I’d like a way to make it more bold, but the brightness setting didn’t help ....more

iOS 7 tip: The new way to forward text messages (reader mail)

Nann writes: With the new iOS 7 for iPhones I am unable to forward texts. I was able to do this in the previous version of iOS. Do you have any tips for this? ...more

Android tip: Track your lost phone with Android Device Manager

Wish there were a “Find my iPhone”-type feature for Android phones? Well, there are actually several third-party apps that’ll track down your lost or stolen handset (Lookout Security comes to mind), but Google has just stepped in with its own phone-tracking service. You’ll need to grand Android Device Manager permission to remotely lock your device’s screen and/or wipe its data ....more

iOS 7 tip: 5 gotta-know Safari tricks and tips

The all-new Safari web browser in Apple’s big iOS 7 update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch boasts a series of nifty tricks up its sleeves, from a “private” browsing mode to an easy-to-access panel of your favorite bookmarks. Read on for 5 tricks in the new Safari you need to try, starting with… Tap the little “Reader” button to the left of the address bar for an eye-friendly version of a web article. 1. Turn on “reader” mode One of my favorite features in Safari for iOS is “reader” mode, which strips away all the extraneous ads, navigation links, and other online clutter from a web-based article, leaving you with nothing but jumbo-sized text, headlines and images ....more

iOS 7 tip: Block data-hogging apps from using cellular data

Surprised that your iPhone or iPad is burning through your monthly data allowance so quickly? Streaming too many videos or songs via, say, Netflix or Pandora could be the culprit, but maybe there’s another iOS app that’s siphoning off your precious (and expensive) cellular data. Well, good news: one of the handiest features in Apple’s just-released iOS 7 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch is a detailed list of which apps are using the most 3G or 4G mobile data ....more