FAQs

TECH FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

COMPUTERS

My computer is too slow

The first step to fixing a slow computer is to verify that your machine is the actual source of the problem. Videos that seem to buffer forever, and websites that take ages to load, may not be your computer’s fault. If the problem is your PC, check whether you have plenty of free space on the hard drive holding your operating system. Windows needs room to create files while your system is running. If your hard drive is maxed out, performance suffers. Now is the perfect time to clear some space.

My machine keeps restarting

First, confirm that you aren’t just getting the latest wave of Windows updates, which can automatically restart your computer during installation. Then work on updating all of your critical system drivers. Your graphics card, motherboard, and network card drivers are crucial. Sometimes it can be viruses, sometimes it can be adware, sometimes it can be overheating, and sometimes it can be something as simple as making sure your video card is updated. Is your computer making weird noises? If you’re lucky all you’ll need to do is give the machine a thorough cleaning. Modern computers have safeguards that shut down the system if a component is overheating, which can be the cause of frequent restarts when you’re running resource-intensive programs or video games.

A program isn’t working on my computer

Make sure that the software you’re trying to run is compatible with your operating system. Older software might not function on Windows 8, and an app created for Mac OS X definitely won’t run on your Windows PC. A 32-bit program might run on your 64-bit operating system, but it doesn’t work the other way around. If an online game balks, you might be missing the required plug-ins—Java and Flash are the usual culprits. Most browsers will alert you to install these items if necessary.

An application is frozen

Sometimes an application may become stuck, or frozen. When this happens, you won't be able to close the window or click any buttons within the application.

  • Solution 1: Force quit the application. On a PC, you can press (and hold) Ctrl+Alt+Delete (the Control, Alt, and Delete keys) on your keyboard to open the Task Manager. On a Mac, press and hold Command+Option+Esc. You can then select the unresponsive application and click End task (or Force Quit on a Mac) to close it.
  • Solution 2: Restart the computer. If you are unable to force quit an application, restarting your computer will close all open apps.

 

The computer is frozen

Sometimes your computer may become completely unresponsive, or frozen. When this happens, you won't be able to click anywhere on the screen, open or close applications, or access shut-down options.

  • Solution 1 (Windows only): Restart Windows Explorer. To do this, press and hold Ctrl+Alt+Delete on your keyboard to open the Task Manager. Next, locate and select Explorer from the Processes tab and click Restart. If you're using Windows 8, you may need to click More Details at the bottom of the window to see the Processes tab.
  • Solution 3: Press and hold the Power button. The Power button is usually located on the front or side of the computer, typically indicated by the power symbol . Press and hold the Power button for 5-10 seconds to force the computer to shut down.
  • Solution 4: If the laptop still won't shut down you may be able to remove the battery to force the computer to turn off. Note: This solution should be your last resort after trying the other suggestions above.

The sound isn't working

  • Solution 1: Check the volume level. Click the audio button in the bottom-right corner of the screen to make sure the sound is turned on and that the volume is up.
  • Solution 2: Check the audio player controls. Many audio and video players will have their own separate audio controls. Make sure the sound is turned on and that the volume is turned up in the player.
  • Solution 3: If you are using external speakers make sure they are plugged in, turned on, and connected to the correct audio port or a USB port. If your computer has color-coded ports, the audio output port will usually be green.
  • Solution 4: Connect headphones to the computer, and see if you can hear sound from the headphones.

 

My Computer boots up slow

A slow boot up can be caused by a number of different issues. Disabling startup programs can help improve the overall speed of your computer's startup. Programs that are loaded as the computer starts up remain active in memory. Consequently, they are one of the main causes of a slow boot into Windows. Disabling programs you don't often use from automatically loading up each time the computer powers on can decrease boot time.  Insufficient hard drive space can also cause slow boot,in order for your computer to run optimally, it needs at least 250MB of available hard drive space. If you have less that this amount, slowdown in both general performance and the boot time can occur.

Webcam not working

When your webcam is not working, most likely it is not a hardware problem unless the built-in camera is broken. With most laptop computers, it is a problem with the webcam device driver or configurations. The common driver used for laptop webcam is Cyberlink YouCam. Download and install the driver and you will be able to use your webcam



ANDROID

Should I always fully charge and discharge my battery?

Lithium Ion cells do NOT suffer from the memory effect. You do not need to fully charge and discharge your battery all the time, you can charge it whenever you want by however much you want, although most people find it convenient just to plug it in overnight and let it charge up. It is, however, recommended to fully discharge then fully charge the battery about once every month. This is because the 'smart' circuit inside the battery that measures the voltage and reports how much charge you have left can drift over time, and doing this helps to reset it to give you a more accurate reading of the battery capacity.

If your phone battery gets so low the phone shuts itself down, DO NOT switch it back on again. Lithium Ion batteries don't like being fully discharged, and it will lower the life span of the unit. If the phone switches itself off due to a low battery, just wait till you can plug it in. The chances are even if you do turn it on it'll shut itself off again before fully starting up.

How do Li-Ion batteries work?

As an example, a 1400 mAh Lithium Ion battery, would have enough power available to supply 1.4 amps of current at the battery voltage (3.7 volts) for an hour, 0.7 amps for 2 hours, 0.35 amps for 4 hours etc. Hence your battery life will depend on how much current the phone draws for whatever you're doing on it, and how long you continue that activity for.

Do I need to replace my battery, and if so how often?

Lithium ion batteries have a lifespan of somewhere around 400 cycles before they start to become less effective. Basically what that means is that after a year or so, you might want to look at replacing the battery, as it will start to hold less charge.

My device's battery life is terrible. How can I improve it?

Lots of people can easily get two days of moderate use out of the phone, or one day of very heavy use. If you can't, then here are some tips for improving the battery life.

Some common ones are frequent updates for things like email clients, flikr, and weather apps. Try changing the update intervals to gather data either manually or less frequently.

The problem can be less obvious, for example an app that blinks the LED light (on phones which have an LED) on the phone as a notification will sometimes stop the phone from sleeping. If you aren't sure what the cause is, start a thread in your device's sub-forum. Someone has inevitably been there before, and will be happy to help.

Take control. It's all very well expecting the phone to do everything for you, it will if you like. But with some very fast, simple steps you can vastly improve your battery life. First and foremost, choose to manually update apps that use the internet, such as email and news feeds. Periodically updating these services eats power, and by choosing to do it yourself you can do wonders for your battery life. It only takes an extra 5 seconds. If you really don't want to do it yourself, set it to less frequent intervals, for example every hour or so.

Possibly the best way of improving battery life is to take control of your connections through homepage widgets. Downloading an app such as SwitchPro Widget or Extended Controls which are the most elegant solution, but most are paid apps from the app store Google Play. A long press on the home screen, tap Widgets, and scroll down the list until you find Settings. Tap on it, and a list of toggles comes up. The most important ones are the WiFi and Mobile Network ones, so add them both. If you frequently use GPS or Bluetooth, add them too.

Doing this gives you some small icons on your home screen. When you tap them, they toggle the appropriate service on and off. Take note that turning Mobile Network off shuts down internet access, but still allows you to receive calls and texts perfectly. The best use of these toggles is switching off both WiFi and Mobile data when you don't want to use the internet. Then when you want to update a news feed or browse around Google, you just tap either the WiFi or Data toggle, and within about 5 seconds you're hooked up and ready to go. When you're finished, just tap the toggles again.

Can I get a spare battery, and if so which should I get?

You certainly can (if the device has a removeable battery), however take note that most people aren’t overly comfortable swapping them out very often.

Opinion on extended batteries is divided. Some find them to work well, but others find that they are not much better than stock batteries available from the. If you do want to get an extended battery, pay attention to the capacity - going from 1800 mAh to 1900 mAh likely won't make much of a difference but going from 1800 mAh to 3600 mAh should.

Should I buy a case/screen protector, and if so what type?

Opinion is divided on this... some people are strong advocates of cases, some say they aren’t really needed.

Before getting in to the different case/protection options, the common sense stuff: Never put your expensive new phone in a pocket with anything else. Keys, coins, and other electrical items, such as iPods, are particularly bad ideas, but most things have a surprising ability to damage phones when jiggled around in a pocket with them. Also, keep the phone out of reach of children.
Pouches. Pouches provide good protection for your phone while in a pocket without adding much bulk, and allow you to use the phone without any added size as you take it out of the pouch to use it.

Plastic/Silicone cases. These offer always-on protection for your phone, and come in a huge range of designs. They are best used in conjunction with a screen protector as described below.

Screen Protectors. These are thin bits of plastic that adhere to your screen and protect it from getting scratched. If you are throwing the phone in your pocket without a pouch they are recommended, though opinion is divided. Any screen protector you find will have both good and bad reviews, but a reasonably safe bet are the official screen protectors for your device.

 

Am I stuck with the standard launcher/look and feel of my phone?

The answer is a simple "No". There are alternative homescreens available, and you don’t have to root your phone to get them. There are several options, some free and some paid versions . A launcher allows you to have multiple homescreens, have extra customization options and a slightly different interface.

If you decide that you want to go back to your stock launcher, you can revert by using a Home Screen manager type of app (for example Home Manager).

It is worth noting that, should you use a 3rd party launcher, the widgets that come with your stock launcher may not work

Are there any apps to secure my phone if it’s lost or stolen?

There are now several apps available that are for protecting you:

Wavesecure is the definitive security solution for android. It isn’t free, but if your phone is stolen and someone changes the SIM card, the app automatically sends a text to your friend, locks the phone, and activates the phones GPS allowing you to track its location online. It also allows you to remotely wipe your data both on the phone and the SD card.

Another app is Avast! Mobile Security - this app offers full-featured Anti-Theft, Antivirus security for your Android Phone (it also offers further options for rooted users) - this is a free app.

Alternatively, there is Lookout Mobile, which offers similar protection to Avast and is also a free app

How do I remove pre-installed apps?

If you want to remove pre-installed carrier bloatware / apps that came with the phone which were installed by the carrier, such as game demos, sound hound and the like, then you would need to root your phone. Please bear in mind that rooting your phone voids your warrantee, however there are also positives to doing so (like the removal of pre-installed apps).

Once you have rooted, it is then possible to install apps, such as Titanium Backup. TB allows you to remove any apps (including pre-installed carrier apps). It is worth noting that some apps, even if you don’t use/want them, could be used by your system, so it is important not to just start removing apps. Please also note that if it is safe to remove apps for one device, it doesn't necessarily mean that the app is safe to remove for ALL devices. It really depends on the services provided by the app as specified by the particular rom/build. More importantly, system apps are not easily restorable like simply installing an .apk file. And once deleted, even a factory reset will not recover them. You will have to locate and flash a stock rom image to get them back. 

One option in TB allows you to freeze apps – I would suggest that you do this initially, as you can always unfreeze the app if you notice that you are experiencing any issues. If, once apps are frozen, your phone is behaving normally, then you can look to removing them. It would be a good idea to freeze apps individually, so that you will notice if each one affects your phone adversely.

Should I use antivirus on my phone?

Because of the way that Android works, you will not suffer from a virus (in the same way a windows machine can), it is possible to still be infected by malware. By being careful when installing apps, you can avoid problems.

There are several possible antivirus apps that you might like to try Lookout Mobile and Avast, for example. These scan your device for any existing threats and also scan each app you download before installing and can give warnings. They both also have security features in case you were to lose your device or it is stolen. Avast actually has more features than Lookout and has extra anti-theft functionality for root users, which make it quite useful. Both Apps can be scheduled to run to check the device for malware and other threats.

The buttons/trackpad are not aligned correctly.

Bear in mind the hole for the trackpad is not in the centre of the phone by design. This refers to when the buttons or trackpad do not fit in the holes correctly. This can be evidenced by uneven gaps around the buttons, or backlight spilling out around the edges. It’s worth gently trying to move the buttons yourself, or use a small amount of force.

There is a rattle near the top of my phone if I shake it near my ear.

The simple solution is not to shake it. The rattle is the autofocus mechanism for the camera moving, and is perfectly normal.

My screen doesn’t turn back on properly after a call. Is this a hardware problem?

Possibly, but it isn’t likely. During a call, a small proximity sensor on the phone turns the screen off to stop you pressing buttons on the phone with your cheek or ear. Once you have finished with a call, move the phone away from your face until the screen comes back on. It will probably take about a second. Then you can hang up and continue using the phone. It can cause problems if you try to use the screen before it has fully reactivated.

If this still doesn’t work, it’s possible that something is blocking the proximity sensor, make sure your case isn’t covering it, and if you are using a screen protector make sure it has a hole in that region or it could interfere with the sensor.



iPhone

How do I remove / replace the iPhone SIM card?

The SIM card or Subscriber Identity Module is a removable memory card inside your iPhone that stores information identifying the device on a cellular network. Only GSM (AT&T Mobility among others) iPhones have SIM cards. CDMA models (Verizon Wireless) do not require a SIM card. Follow these steps to remove or replace the SIM card on your iPhone:
1. Locate the SIM tray. On the original iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS the SIM tray is at the top of the device. On the iPhone 4 a Micro SIM tray is located in the center of the right side.
2. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS come with a SIM removal tool. This can be used or an unfolded paper clip works just as well. All of the iPhones listed have a small hole on one side of the SIM tray. Push a paper clip end or SIM removal tool into the hole.
3. The SIM tray will pop out. Remove the tray from the iPhone then remove the SIM card from the tray. When finished the SIM card and SIM tray can be reassembled and reinserted into the iPhone.

Do I need a credit card to create an Apple ID?

The short answer is no. Apple does not require credit card information to create an Apple ID. Free content can be downloaded without a billing method.

How can I turn off cellular data for an iOS app?

iPhone and iPad users who are watching their data usage might notice that some apps are data hogs. While the data allotment might be limited on a monthly basis, this doesn't mean that iOS apps will always wait for a Wi-Fi connection to transfer information.
There is a fix, which will limit which apps are allowed to connect using cellular data, and which apps are limited to Wi-Fi only. Here's how to configure apps to stop using up your mobile data plan:
1. Navigate to Settings -> Cellular
2. Scroll down to USE CELLULAR DATA FOR
3. Switch OFF (grey) apps to limit their bandwidth usage to Wi-Fi only
4. Apps with a green switch (ON) will continue to use cellular data and consume MB on your monthly data plan
Of course, to limit all apps from using cellular data you can set Settings -> Cellular -> Cellular Data OFF (grey switch). This will prevent the iPhone or iPad from using any cellular data, limiting all connections to Wi-Fi only.

Is my right / left iPhone speaker broken? One speaker doesn't work.

Sound will normally only come out of one opening on the bottom of the iPhone. One "speaker" is actually a microphone and the other is a speaker.
The original iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS feature a speaker on the left side of the iPhone (with the iPhone screen facing up). The right side is a microphone and produces no sound.
The iPhone 4 has a microphone on the left (with the iPhone screen facing up). The right side is the speaker and produces all of the sound.

Does iPhone iOS multitasking drain my battery life?

The official line from Apple is that iOS 4 can be trusted to properly manage background functions and minimize or eliminate battery drain. Most apps on the app switching dock are not using system resources even though they have been recently used. Some are in a suspended state and can be quickly restarted from the app switching dock.
Users have reported a different story, depending on which version of iOS they are running on what Apple device. Recent reports have included accusations that Apple doesn't police developers when it comes to their apps properly turning off background functions during sleep. The contention is that apps could increase battery drain even when the iPhone is sleeping due to programming or bugs.
There's only one way to be sure what's going on with your iPhone battery. Test the device without apps running in the background by removing apps from the multitasking dock on your iPhone. You'll get a better idea if your apps are causing a reduction in battery life.

How to extend and maximize my iPhone battery life?

There are several things you can do to improve your iPhone's battery life. Considering the recent issues many 3GS owners are experiencing with firmware updates 3.1 and later, these tips are important to those who don't want to charge their iPhone twice a day.
1. Turn off 3G when you don't need it for data. This actually has the added benefit of improving voice call quality for some users. Settings -> General -> Network -> Enable 3G -> OFF
2. Turn off Wi-Fi when you don't need it. Settings -> General -> Network -> Wi-Fi -> OFF
3. Reduce the brightness of your iPhone screen. Keep auto-brightness ON. Settings -> Brightness -> Use the slider to reduce the brightness as low as you can. I find the slider centered under the "i" in the word Brightness as a good compromise.
4. Turn off the GPS when you don't need it. Settings -> General -> Location Services -> OFF
5. Turn off push notifications. They don't always work, anyway. Settings -> Notifications -> OFF
6. Turn off push Mail. Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars ->Fetch New Data -> Push -> OFF
7. Adjust your Mail fetch frequency. Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Fetch New Data -> Either choose Manually or reduce your Fetch frequency to Hourly (unless you need more frequent mail action), then touch Advanced. Under Advanced you can decide for each mail account if you'd like to fetch or update manually. Manual saves battery!
7. Make sure the Auto-Lock is set to one minute. Settings -> General -> Auto-Lock -> 1 Minute
8. Turn off vibrate. Settings -> Sounds -> Vibrate -> OFF
9. Turn off the iPod equalizer. Settings -> iPod -> EQ -> OFF
10. Turn off Bluetooth when not in use. Settings -> General -> Bluetooth -> OFF

 

Is there a way to charge my iPhone while it is turned off?

You may have tried to charge your iPhone while it was powered off only to have it turn itself on as soon as you plug it in to the USB cable or place it on the dock. As a result, it may have seemed that the iPhone insists on being turned on in order to charge.
As it turns out, this is not the case. Simply plug your iPhone in to charge while turned on (or off for that matter) and once it begins charging, power it down. If you power down after charging begins, the iPhone will remain turned off while still charging.

How do I use maps offline on my iPhone?

Many times you will want to look at maps, but you're out in the middle of nowhere and don't have service. Although this feature isn't available for Apple Maps yet, you can save maps on Google Maps and look at them offline. To do this, look up your map in Google Maps, then type "ok map" in the search bar and hit search. This will give you an option to save the map to your places.

Where are voice memos saved on the iPhone?

The stock iOS Voice Memos app provides a simple way to record audio directly to an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Recordings are saved with the file extension .m4a. While voice memo recordings are typically synced and accessed using iTunes, they can be copied directly from a jailbroken iOS device using iFile or SSH.
Voice memo files are stored in the following iOS directory:
/private/var/mobile/Media/Recordings/

How can I pair my iPhone with a Bluetooth device?

Bluetooth devices must be paired with the iPhone before use. Follow these steps to pair your Bluetooth device with the iPhone.
1. Make sure the Bluetooth device is set up to be discoverable or to search for other Bluetooth devices.
2. On the iPhone, choose Settings -> General -> Bluetooth -> ON
3. Choose the device on the iPhone and enter the passkey or PIN number for the device.
4. The Bluetooth device is now paired with the iPhone.
To use the Bluetooth device for calling, you must connect the headset or car kit with the iPhone. See the instructions that came with your headset or car kit to connect to the iPhone.
When connected to a Bluetooth device, the iPhone will route outgoing calls through the device. If you answer an incoming call with the iPhone, the call will be routed through the iPhone. When using the Bluetooth device to answer an incoming call the call will be routed through the Bluetooth device.

How can I force quit an iPhone application?

Sometimes an iPhone app will become unresponsive, and no matter what buttons you press or where you touch on the screen nothing happens. In this event, sometimes it helps to force quit the application.
Apple has made some changes with the iPhone OS 3.0 firmware and the iPhone 3GS release. Those with older iPhones will remember that to force quit an application you could just hold down the home button until the app exited.
This is still the case on the original iPhone and iPhone 3G, no matter which iPhone OS version you are running:
Just hold down the home button until the application quits.
For those with the iPhone 3GS, the procedure to force quit an app is slightly different:
First hold down the Sleep/Wake button on the top of the iPhone until the Slide to power off message appears. Then press and hold the home button until the application quits.
With the unresponsive application exited you can now go about your business.



WINDOWS PHONES

How do I change Windows Phone Update settings for my phone?

To configure the phone update options, go to Settings and tap phone update.
Go to Settings go to phone update.
To disable notification of new updates, clear the Notify me when new updates are found checkbox.

I can’t connect to a Wi-Fi network.

Open Settings and then tap Wi-Fi.
From here, enter the information for the network you want to connect to. The phone will search for available  networks. If it recognizes a network, it will automatically populate the fields in these screens.

Do I need to install Zune PC Software to use my Windows® Phone 7 phone?

Although Zune PC Software is not required to use your Windows® Phone 7 phone, it is required to take advantage of certain features of Windows® Phone 7, such as syncing content and performing updates to your Windows ® Phone 7 phone.

I don’t have a Windows Live ID account. How do I get one?

If you have an email account you already own that isn’t already a Windows Live ID you can create a new Windows Live ID with that email address by going tohttps://account.live.com and clicking “Sign Up.”
If you would like to create a new live.com email address for use as a new Windows Live ID, you can tap the create one option on the Windows Phone 7 sign in screen. 

How can I select different ringtones so I know who’s calling me?

First, this caller must be listed in your contacts.
1. Move to People hub and tap the person’s name that you want to attach a ringtone to.
2. Tap the edit icon at the bottom of the screen.
3. Tap the ringtone entry.
4. Tap and choose the ringtone to use.
5. Be sure to tap the checkmark icon at the bottom of the screen to save your changes.

When I download and app or game I get the message “Attention required. Tap here”.

This can happen when you're trying to download a large app or game—typically 20 megabytes (MB) or larger—to your phone, and either you don't have a Wi-Fi connection or you've temporarily lost your Wi-Fi connection. 

 

How do I remove an application?

Tap and Hold app.
Select Uninstall.

My phone can’t find my Bluetooth enabled device.

1. Make sure that the Bluetooth device is turned on.
Tap Settings, then Bluetooth, and flick the toggle switch to On.
2. Tap the name of your Bluetooth device to pair it with the your Windows® Phone 7.
3.   If several devices show in the list, try selecting another from the list. Tap the new device to connect.  You can use Settings to disconnect from the first device.
A. If you do not have the PIN for your device:
A. The Bluetooth PIN is always four numbers. 
1. Advise the customer to try 0000.
2. If that does not work, try the last four digits of the product serial number. 
3. If that does not work, refer the customer to their product documentation or ask them to call the Customer Support for the device.



WHATSAPP

Download & Install WhatsApp for Android

Open the Google Play Store app on your Android device.
Click on the “Search” icon within Play Store, and type “WhatsApp.”
Select “WhatsApp Messenger” from the listing of applications in the search results.
Tap on “Install” from the details screen for WhatsApp Messenger.
Click on “Accept” when prompted to from the App Permissions screen. In order to function, WhatsApp Messenger will require access to your Android’s storage, network communication, location information and more.
Wait for WhatsApp Messenger to finish downloading to your Android. When WhatsApp has been fully downloaded, the status bar of your Android will notify you that the download is complete

Download & Install WhatsApp for iPhone

Launch the iTunes App Store on your iPhone
Tap on the “Search” icon within the App Store.
Type “WhatsApp” into the search field to locate the WhatsApp Messenger application.
Click directly on “WhatsApp Messenger” when it displays in the search results. The details and description of the application will then display on your screen.
Click on the blue pricing button in the upper right corner of the WhatsApp details screen. The WhatsApp Messenger application is free for the first year of use, and costs 99 cents per year following the first year
Enter your iTunes App Store account information if prompted to do so.WhatsApp Messenger will begin downloading to your iPhone, and will display a faded WhatsApp icon on the home screen of your iPhone.

Wait for the WhatsApp Messenger application to finish downloading. The app will be ready for use when the blue progress bar disappears and the WhatsApp icon is no longer faded in appearance.

Download & Install WhatsApp for Windows Phones

Launch the Marketplace application on your Windows phone.
Tap on “Apps.”
Type “WhatsApp” into the search field.
Select “WhatsApp Messenger” from the search results provided. A details and description page for WhatsApp Messenger will display on your screen.
Tap on “Install” at the top of the WhatsApp details screen. WhatsApp will begin downloading to your Windows phone and may take up to several minutes to finish.
earch for WhatsApp Messenger by flicking left from your phone’s “Start” screen. WhatsApp will appear on the App screen when it is finished downloading and ready for use.

Download & Install WhatsApp from the WhatsApp site

Launch the Internet browser on your mobile device.
Go to the official WhatsApp Messenger website at https://www.whatsapp.com/download/
Click on “Download Now.” The WhatsApp website will arrange for your phone to download WhatsApp Messenger based on the device you’re using. For example, if you’re using a Blackberry, WhatsApp Messenger will walk you through downloading the version of WhatsApp compatible with your Blackberry device.
Wait for WhatsApp Messenger to download to your device. Your phone will notify you when WhatsApp has completed the installation.