Why It’s Important to Backup Your Data: 5 Ways to Safeguard Your Information

Most of us store sensitive data like passwords and bank card information on our phones. If our phones fall in the wrong hands, so will our personal and important information. Data can be lost and corrupted, or worse, stolen. To protect yourself from such errors and attacks, backing up your data regularly should be a habit. Creating backups will let you seamlessly access your files and information stored in the cloud using secondary or backup devices.

Why is it important to backup your data?

We rely on our electronic devices to store our data. We use devices like mobile phones, laptops, external hard drives, flash drives, and many more. But what do you do when they run into problems that lead to losing your data? If you don’t keep your data backups up-to-date, you risk being left with outdated data for work, school, or personal purposes.

But if you don’t back up your data at all, you’ll end up losing all the data you’ve collected since the day you started using your storage device. On the bright side, having a good backup of your data will ensure that, whatever happens to your devices, your files will remain intact for you to use and view in the future.

Where should you store your backups?

These days, we have a lot of options when it comes to backing up information. The old and trusted way is to use external storage drives such as flash drives and external hard drives that can store up to 4 terabytes of data, such as Western Digital’s WD MyBook Duo 4TB.

But there are digital options like the numerous cloud services available for all types of users. You might be a mobile phone person or a computer person, but these cloud providers don’t discriminate. You’ve probably heard of DropBox, Google Drive, and similar providers giving users free cloud storage capacities with a simple sign-up. We highly advise you to grab these free storage spaces!

How can you protect your data?

Got unlucky and lost your data without backup? Then your best bet is to seek help from professionals! If you are handing your phone over for repair, take these extra measures first to protect your data:

1. Backup your data

Whether it is a simple screen replacement or a more complex device repair, many things can go awry during repairs that may further damage your device. In the unlikely event that this happens, you can prevent loss of data by ensuring your information is always backed up. Most smartphones can be set on automatic backup, so you do not have to manually do it yourself. 

There are two ways you can back up your data. You can go to your device settings and manually perform a backup. Or, as previously mentioned, you may also set it on automatic backups so that your data will be backed up regularly. 

Another method is to plug your device into a computer. For iOS users, backups are seamless as long as you have iTunes installed. For Android users, there are several ways to backup your information. You can do this by transferring files via USB, using third-party software, or syncing your Google account to either Google Drive or Google Backup and Sync. 

If you backup your device by using the USB cable that came with your device, you will need to enable USB debugging and manually select files to backup. When using third-party software, you can back up your entire device and restore data, similar to how iOS backup works. Most of these applications are not free though. 

If your Google account is synced to Google Drive, your data may be backed up on the cloud. If it syncs to Google Backup and Sync, your data will be stored locally on your computer.

Backing up an Android to your computer may be a little confusing. If you are having any difficulties backing up your Android device, you should seek assistance from our technicians.

Even if you are not getting your phone repaired, backing up your data should be done regularly so you can retrieve and access your data anytime, even if you do not have your primary device with you.

2. Log out from your accounts and disable passcodes

Some phone repairs may take longer and if you do not want to wait for your device, you will have to drop it off and pick it up at a later time. You should disable passwords and other locks so technicians will be able to easily lock and unlock your device during the repair.

To protect your privacy, log out from all applications, especially your social media and cloud accounts. Alternatively, you may also download and use an application that will let you create passwords and secure your files without necessarily logging out from your accounts.

3. Remove SIM and external storage cards

Most smartphones have huge storage capacities. But if you are still using external storage cards, do not forget to remove them along with your SIM card before handing it over for repair. These cards are small and may easily be lost during a repair. If your device is queued for a repair, you will be unable to receive and make calls and texts for a period of time, so it is advisable to temporarily insert your SIM card to a secondary or backup phone.

4. Wipe out your data

Don’t want to go through the hassle of logging out of your accounts or downloading privacy applications? After backing up your device and all its data, you may skip logging out of your accounts by performing a factory reset on your device to wipe everything out. This will ensure no one can access or steal your data. 

For iOS users, simply go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Data. 

For Android users, go to Settings > Backup & reset > Factory Data Reset. Tap Reset phone once the prompt appears.

You can easily retrieve and restore backed-up data after your phone is repaired by either connecting your phone to your PC or downloading your backup directly to your device when you log in to your associated email.

5. Make sure you’re working with reputable repair stores

Technology has become so essential that millions of tech repair stores have popped up around the world. Even densely populated areas have their own tech repair shops these days! With tons of choices out there, it might be difficult for you to find technicians you can trust with your devices and data.

To make sure you’re working with repair shops you can trust, read reviews, view websites, and observe how they handle your queries! It’s also a good idea to ask people you know where they get their device repairs done.

Things to remember

Information is gold these days. People can sell, trade, and use data to earn money. As you sign up for more items or services, the amount of data you need to protect grows. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that your data is private and important — no matter what it is or what you intend to do with it. When your data falls into the wrong hands, it will lead to problems. Remember, protect your data by backing it up, using trusted services, and working with reputable technicians that will help you attain your goal — data protection!


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Is Your Laptop On The Fritz? Now Is The Time To Repair It Before School Starts

Using a laptop for school? It’s time to check and see if you need to get something fixed before school work flows in. Read below to know what you should look out for, and what you should do when you spot an issue.

In today’s world, having a computer you can take anywhere and pop open with a single button is extremely convenient. Top that with useful features such as video calling, watching movies, playing music, and other heavy tasks such as developing applications and editing media — you already know you have a powerful electronic device the size of your backpack. It can be smaller or way bigger — and you know you can’t live without one especially if you’re a student or a professional. That’s your handy laptop for you, but what are you gonna do once it stops serving you the way it used to?

What are the most common laptop issues?

Electronics have been with us for so long that we forget that they don’t last forever. Their performance levels decrease over time, their parts deteriorate with use, and they encounter problems — some fixable, and some impossible to solve. Luckily, we have a big array of choices when it comes to portable computers — or laptops. There are consumer-favorite Apple MacBooks and there are high-performance and gaming laptops from Acer, Asus, Alienware, Dell, and many other manufacturers that are no strangers to the modern and digital world.

But no matter how expensive, powerful, and sturdy a laptop is, it’ll always get hiccups. It can even be rendered useless one day. To the average user, the sound of their reliable go-to laptop dying in the middle of schoolwork due in less than 24 hours sounds like a chilling nightmare. That’s why it’s always a good measure to observe your laptop’s health — see if it’ll live through another semester — to make sure it won’t die on you during your most grueling days as a student.

To help you see things through with your laptop, we’ve compiled a list of the most common issues laptops get. Some are due to the nature of how you use your laptop, some due to age, and some due to other factors such as the environment. Take a look:

Overheating

While basking in the comforting heat of summer is always a good thing, such is never the case for electronics. Most especially for laptops because they’re not equipped with high-performance cooling systems like desktop computers are. Owning a laptop means you can’t do much to help it cool down and maintain ideal temperatures.

Laptops are compact. Components are squeezed in to fit and work the same way desktop computers do, and that comes with sacrificing space for adequate airflow to cool down these components, which makes overheating a big problem. Overheating is always possible when:

  • You use your laptop in hot and dusty places
  • You use your laptop for prolonged periods
  • You use your laptop for heavy tasks such as photo and video editing and gaming

Other factors contribute to bad component airflow, but those three are the most common culprits. That’s why there are small solutions such as laptop stands with fans installed to help remove the hot air from the components. But if your laptop experiences high temperatures for prolonged periods, its components will degrade much faster and you’ll need to visit laptop repair shops more often for professional laptop repair services.

Short battery life

Remember when you got your laptop out of the box and it can last you more than a day’s worth of work? That’s because your laptop’s battery is at its peak health, and over years of use, bad charging habits, and overall maintenance, deterioration is unavoidable. 

Even if you don’t use your laptop for a month, its battery life still shortens. They’re engineered to not last forever, hence the existence of replacement laptop batteries from manufacturers and laptop battery replacement services from computer repair shops.

When you notice that you can’t stay away from the wall socket while you’re doing school work, it’s best to get a new battery installed by a professional. Doing this prevents your laptop from shutting down in the middle of intense work and losing all the work you put in. A fresh battery also allows you time away from the wall socket — something very important when you’re in university and constantly switching spots.

Broken Keyboard

Imagine writing a term paper with some keys of your laptop’s keyboard not working. Just thinking about it stresses you out, right? While there are band-aid solutions such as your operating system’s native on-screen keyboard, it’s not a productive option. It slows you down and makes typing a hassle, especially when you’re at your peak and ideas are pouring out of your brain.

Sadly, laptop keyboards are prone to damage. It can be from spilled water, coffee, crumbs of your favorite snack while working, and dust. Even if you’re very careful about snacking and drinking close to your laptop, you can’t avoid it from getting worn out or dislodged from years of usage — even worse when you’re a heavy user and have sweaty hands. Your laptop’s keyboard legends will turn invisible in no time!

Luckily, manufacturers are very aware of this laptop keyboard phenomenon. Some of them produce replacements and include them in warranty policies for their laptops! If your laptop isn’t covered anymore, your best bet would be to drop by your go-to laptop repair shop and get their expert help.

Bad loading times

Almost every laptop that came out during the previous years came with hard disk drives (HDDs), which are thick, mechanical storage drives for computers. Although they come cheap compared to solid-state drives (SSDs), they’re not as reliable because:

  • They have a short lifespan
  • They’re much slower than slightly expensive SSDs

The number one cause of bad laptop loading times is an old HDD. If not, it’s your inadequate memory capacity doing its thing. Laptops today still come with HDDs, but there are always computer repair shops ready to help you upgrade to an SSD and a bigger memory capacity.

Slow laptops are annoying. But there are technicians out there who can solve your problem with a few hours of tinkering.

Malware

The bane of operating systems and storage devices is malware. They’re malicious software that works in different ways — all you and your computer wouldn’t like. Every laptop is prone to malware, which makes it important for you to be highly aware of the stuff you download from the internet or the devices you plug into your computer.

Each malware is made to do something malicious. Let’s say you downloaded a free Microsoft Office package from a website. Chances are high that the file came with malware, or is malware. It can be something created by someone’s brain to steal personal information, spy on you, and many others.

Your best protection against malware attacks is to refrain from downloading files from websites that aren’t reputable. Your anti-virus can’t always protect you, which further cements that prevention is better than cure. If it’s too late to prevent it, there’s always the option to install your operating system fresh — taking you back all the way to when you first booted up your laptop.

When is the time for a laptop repair?

Now that you know the most common laptop issues, or already encountered one or two, you’re now asking if it’s time to seek professional help. While this is always the case for people who aren’t or don’t have the time to tinker with laptops, some of us want to try and solve things on our own.

The time for a laptop repair depends on how bad the problem is. Is it causing your productivity to decrease? Are you failing to submit your work on time because of it? Or did your laptop stop booting up? If your answers to those questions are all yes, then it’s time to drop by a repair shop and ask them for assistance.

If you went “no” on one or two of those questions, then maybe you can push a visit to the repair shop a little later. If your laptop is slow but still gets the job done with you having to work much longer and earlier than usual, it’s fine to push a diagnostic check back.

But it’s important to keep in mind that problems, even the ones with your laptop, are always better off solved the moment you take notice they exist. If you wait longer and it starts getting more problems, you might end up losing your laptop totally and end up spending on a new one unprepared.

You can always call up laptop repair shops and bring your laptop in for a check-up, and they’ll gladly help you determine what’s wrong and if you can wait out on a laptop repair. If they tell you an issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible to prevent further damage, it’s best that you go with their advice. Since they’re the ones who work around laptops a lot and have experience with fixing them, they know when a problem is serious enough to warrant service or replacement as soon as possible or not.

3 laptop care tips to follow

If you’re lucky enough to have a fully functioning laptop that gets the job done when it should, we’re happy for you. But we won’t miss the chance to tell you how to take care of it and make sure it stays strong until it can’t anymore.

We’ve created a quick list of laptop care tips you should follow to ensure that your laptop stays with you during your studies’ sunny and rainy days. Read below:

1. Avoid drinking and eating while using it

If you like to drink and snack while working on your laptop, we highly advise that you lessen these occasions. While it’s good to sip on your morning latte while working on a research paper, there’s always the possibility of it spilling on your laptop! Cold or hot, it’ll do the same thing — damage your laptop and cost you money on repairs. Or worse, a replacement unit.

2. Stop downloading from untrusted websites

You know what it is — free movies, games, software, and many others. While some things you might need from school or work are expensive when you get them paid for the full features, they’re always worth the investment. Getting a paid version means you’re getting the real deal, which makes it impossible for it to be malware.

Aside from destroying your laptop and potentially getting your privacy invaded, there are piracy laws that will punish you for downloading and using pirated versions of movies, games, and other paid stuff you can find online for free.

3. Let it cool down

Because most of us use our laptops with our palms resting on their surface, it’s impossible to ignore that it gets hot that you can’t touch it for longer than a second. Whenever this happens, we highly advise that you shut it down properly and let it cool down! Just like you, your laptop needs a break. If it doesn’t get those breaks, it might end up leaving you for good, or costing you money.

Takeaways

When using a laptop, it’s important to keep in mind that while these electronics are made to mimic most of what a desktop computer does, it’s still not the same. It can’t work for prolonged periods and rely on good custom cooling systems for dear life, and it gets its power from batteries that don’t last forever. 

Laptops are extremely convenient, especially for students who are constantly on the go and work in different spaces. Since school is just around the corner, why not check your laptop for issues or have a professional do it for you before you start using it every day? Some computer repair shops offer free diagnostic tests, which help you find out what’s wrong with your laptop and what can be done to fix the problem.

If your laptop is on the fritz, don’t wait until school starts to get it looked at. Now is the time for a free diagnostic run by one of our tech experts. We’ll fix anything wrong with it and ensure you are able to make it through this semester without a technical malfunction. Give us a call, come visit us, or fill out our online quote tool and we will reach out to you.


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Is It Worth Repairing a Broken MacBook, or Should You Sell It?

Whether we’re talking about the MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, one thing’s for sure — anyone who’s used any of them long enough has experienced a problem or two, such as a cracked LCD, a bad battery, or some other hardware issue. 

MacBooks are expensive and generally perform better than other computers. It’s this reason that MacBooks are generally used more than PCs. In a recent study, a tech firm gathered information on the preference of 2,200 college students that year. They made these correspondents choose between Macs and PCs. The study revealed that 40% of the students prefer the MacBook, as they use them as daily drivers. 31% use PCs but actually prefer Macs, and 29% use PCs and prefer them as well.

Macs are indeed popular, but just like PCs, they are prone to wear and tear. This brings us down to the most common MacBook problems these users face. If you are a MacBook user, you’re probably all too familiar with the following list.

The most common MacBook problems

RAM – RAM becomes a problem for MacBook users today because of the increasing RAM power demand to run software. This is especially true for users who use their Macs for hardware-intensive software such as ones for video and photo editing. 

Remember that RAM stores the information it needs to access and run things quickly. So if you don’t have enough, you’re probably in for extra hours on top of the work.

Charging Ports – As a MacBook user, it’s easy to accidentally misplug. Sometimes, it’s easy to unintentionally snag it out of the plug because you forgot that you’re still charging. These small mishaps always lead to faulty charging ports. 

Dead Battery – The eventual result of a faulty charging port and an aging Mac is a dead battery. A dead MacBook battery means you’d have to constantly search for a place to plug in, which is not ideal for the busy on-the-go student or business professional. 

Backlight – Backlight helps illuminate the screen, allowing you to see items in the Mac’s display better. A broken backlight means you won’t be able to distinguish things like text and icons from the background.

There are hundreds of MacBook issues experienced by everyone, but the big question is, are MacBooks worth getting repairs for?

Should I get my MacBook repaired or buy a replacement?

Now that you know the most common issues you’ll face, or have faced with MacBooks, you’re wondering how much you should expect to pay for getting a MacBook repaired. You’re probably even asking yourself if getting a repair is even worth it. We’re going to help you decide.

When considering a MacBook repair for any problem, one of the first few things to consider is the price. The price depends on the damage and the model of the MacBook. We do offer free repair quotes, so if you’re in trouble, please bring your MacBook in directly to us and we’ll give you a free quote.

Repair prices are always based on the service, labor prices, the area where you’re getting repairs from, and the model of your MacBook. But with AppleCare+, your repair may cost a little less — it’s like a discount you have to pay for.

We Have Both Options!

Fortunately, we have you covered no matter what you do. We do offer used and refurbished MacBooks, but before you browse our selection, bring in your old MacBook and we’ll give you a free repair quote. If it makes more sense to repair it, we can do that. 

Before coming into our store, click here for an instant quote on MacBook repairs!


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Top 5 Phone Accessories You Should Seriously Consider Purchasing

High megapixel cameras, big touchscreens, thumping loudspeakers, and the likes aren’t just enough to satisfy the needs of today’s phone users. Some want more battery juice without the need for a wall socket, some need extra protection for their phones, while some love the convenience of wireless earphones and headphones. 

There are so many phone accessories available in the market that it’s getting harder to pick the ones that we want and the ones that are of high quality. Feel the same? You can use our list of hand-picked phone accessories you should get:

1. Phone Cases

More often than not, when we get a new phone, the store selling it to us offers us a selection of phone cases. Some are fancy and over the top, while some are humble and do what they’re supposed to without being loud. If you’re prone to accidentally losing your grip on your phone, you know the necessity of having a sturdy phone case.

When in the market for a phone case or two, make sure to pick according to how you handle your phone. Is it always in your hand? Get a thick one that’ll protect its housing from falls. Always in your bag? Get a phone case that also covers the screen. The number of choices can be overwhelming, so make sure to gather a quick list of what you want your phone case to do for you.

2. Apple AirTags

In addition to the benefits of a phone case to protect your smartphone’s body, you have Apple’s new AirTags that help you keep track of your other personal property. Just like an iPhone, the tracking is done in the Find My app, but in the case of AirTags, they’re attached to things that aren’t iPhones. Those things can be your wallet, your car keys, and other items that are prone to be misplaced. Simply add an AirTag to your personal item, and let Apple keep track of its location for you.

AirTags lets you know about the last location of your AirTagged items through the Find My app. Misplaced the keys to your house? With the AirTag as a keychain, you won’t have to scramble through every place you’ve been in the last 24 hours to find your keys.

3. Wireless Earphones and Headphones

In the era of wireless tech, tangle-free earphones and headphones are seen as basics. Having them handy means you get more freedom when it comes to movement, especially when you listen to music, podcasts, or talk to people while on the move.

Fortunately, most smartphone manufacturers produce wireless earphones and headphones dedicated to maximize Bluetooth technology and make our lives more convenient. Depending on your phone, you can choose between Apple’s AirPods, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds, and other brands. You can use each with any phone, which is a good thing considering the price tag of some of the best wireless earphones and headphones in the market today.

4. External Storage

Most of today’s phones come with at least 32 gigabytes of storage. But to most people, that amount of storage isn’t enough. With high-quality media in their phones, it’s hard to contain one’s files in 32 gigabytes. That’s why external storage devices and cards are necessary.

Most Android phones allow users to purchase additional storage through memory cards, but this isn’t the case for iPhones. iPhone fans will need to purchase the storage they want right off the bat because they won’t have the chance to expand unless they buy another unit. However, you generally can purchase more iCloud storage, so consider this option.

5. Fast Charging Cables

Some cables that come with our phones upon purchase usually don’t last long and don’t cover enough distance. Thankfully, we’ve got a lot of choices when it comes to third-party charging cables that span up to at least 3 meters. That should be enough to let you comfortably use your phone away from the wall.

Finding cables with varying lengths isn’t a difficult search, but make sure you search different brands and test the cable on your unit before making the purchase. Some cheap ones heat up easily, or break, and some don’t even work as they should. As with most purchases, shop around on the reviews page to see how others rate the product.

While we hope this is helpful for your next device shopping trip, we understand it’s not an exhaustive list. If you’ve got a tech question or need help searching for the next best gear for your device, stop by our shop today and get some expert advice! We’re happy to talk through some good options for you and point you in the right direction. And as always, don’t hesitate to call Cellular Zone if that device is in need of a repair!


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Everything You Should Know About the Latest iOS Update

From unlocking your iPhone with a face mask on to having more control in terms of app tracking, here’s everything you should know about the iOS 14.5 .

The 3rd of May 2021 saw Apple iPhone users scrambling to update their iOS versions to the tech giant’s newest firmware release. Regarded as the manufacturer’s most controversial iPhone operating system update yet, 14.5 packs new updates in user privacy, Face ID unlocking, the beloved emojis, Music app, and other security enhancements.

Why is it “controversial”?

Even before iOS 14.5 arrived on our iPhones, tabloids and news outlets left and right were already rushing to release pieces on how the new iOS firmware update will affect Facebook and other applications that rely on ads for revenue.

The part of the feature-packed update that made it controversial was the app tracking transparency (ATT) feature that gives iOS device users the option to allow or disallow applications from tracking their activities in exchange for more relevant advertisements.

Before the new Apple update, users weren’t explicitly informed about app tracking and how applications such as Facebook use their data. Most were unaware that applications can track their movements in other, non-relevant ways on their iPhone or smartphone.

The controversial part of this was Facebook and others using these divergent methods as a way to jack up their revenue. They don’t earn on subscriptions, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had already expressed (when he appeared before Congress in 2018) that Facebook relies on ads to make money.

For other applications that make money the same way, iOS 14.5 can cost these companies a vast amount of money. The update even led to a publicized fallout between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Users disabling apps from tracking means these applications won’t be able to get their usage data from the date on other applications, such as shopping apps. Advertisers, frustrated, know they wouldn’t pay the same price for less, or no data. Before the new iOS 14 update, users would generally notice that products they’d been eyeing on other applications show up on Facebook Ads – this is a specific product of app tracking.

More on the big features

Unlocking iPhone With Face Mask On

Another iOS 14.5 feature that made headlines was that users can now unlock their iPhones even with a face mask. This feature came to the rescue, albeit a bit late, of iPhone users struggling to put their masks down to unlock their iPhone using Face ID.

Some headlines, however, can be a tad misleading. What Apple might not tell you from the start is that this feature requires one to have an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch will let you bypass Face ID and unlock your phone. This requires both the iPhone and Watch to be close to each other, or else you’d have to put your mask down for a Face ID unlock or type your PIN.

Apple Maps crowdsourcing

iOS 14.5’s new Apple Maps adapts a key feature from Waze. The latter is the most popular one of its kind to allow real drivers to crowdsource accidents, speed traps, and other hazards on the road. The new iOS update saw Apple’s native map app allowing users to do the same.

You can now report accidents, hazards, and speed traps you encounter yourself with your voice and Siri, allowing you to report these things without having to take your eyes off the road.

Other feature updates

A lot came with the new iPhone update. Aside from the ATT updates and face mask unlocks, none of the updates were landscape-changing. But iPhone users did receive 200 new emojis, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, new Siri voices, battery health calibration, PS5 and Xbox controller support, dual-sim 5G support, and many others.

What do these features mean for consumers like me?

The ATT update would change your experience on the internet by a lot, and you probably won’t even notice it. You’ll see fewer ads that seem all too familiar, and if you’re one of those users who are heavily aware and conscious about their data, you’re probably happy about this ATT update.

Another thing, the face mask unlock feature would only benefit you if you own an Apple Watch and have it paired with your iPhone, which isn’t the case for every iPhone user enjoying the new update.

As for maintaining your iPhone’s performance, you can rely on this iOS update to patch a few things up for you software-wise, but if you have problems with your hardware, you’re better off reaching out to repair stores that specialize in iPhone repair. If this is where you’re at, call or visit us at Cellular Zone today!


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Play It Safe: Top 5 Family-Friendly Apps for Kids

Thanks to COVID-19, kids are spending a lot more time on their devices. Whether it’s a MacBook Air for school, the iPad for music lessons, or just an iPhone 8 for regular screen time, kids are in front of screens more than ever before. Let’s use that time wisely! We’ve done our research and have found some of the top education apps for children. Check out a few of the options we’ve come up with:

Goodness Shapes

Age Range. 3-6 

If you’re a parent of a 3-6 year old, you know that they can be handful sometimes (did we sometimes? We meant always). You always have to keep your eyes peeled, waiting for them to run towards your freshly painted wall with an uncapped Sharpie. And let’s not get started with entertaining them on road trips or doctors visits. The simple solution is to give your toddler a phone or tablet, enjoy a little peace and quiet, and try not to think about how much screen time they’ve already had. Take away some of that guilt and try out the Goodness Shapes app! They are never too young to learn their shapes, so take that screen time and let the learning begin. 

Take some time to sit with them as they play – several studies have shown that co-playing with your children leads to faster development and better engagement.

ABCmouse.com 

Age Range. 2-8 

Want to take learning to the next level? Try ABCmouse. Covering topics like math and reading while also including music and art, this app really has it all. Depending on your child’s age, you can purchase different bundles that increase with difficulty. Get started with a 30-day trial and see how your kids like it. With ABCmouse, you can ensure your child’s time spent on the iPad or Galaxy tablet is enjoyable, but still educational.

Quick Math Jr.

Age Range. 4-8 

Time for some honesty – who still counts with their fingers? Well, you’re not alone. We all know we should have taken our math classes more seriously in school, but sometimes it was just plain boring. Luckily for your children, they live in an age booming with exciting – and helpful! – math apps. Quick Math Jr. is a great outlet for some of that loose energy, keeping kids engaged with math problems and puzzles. This simple app makes math an enjoyable experience with challenges and games designed for kids ages 4-8.

Duolingo

Age Range. 10+

The younger you start learning a language the better. To reach a high language proficiency, it’s best to start learning at around 10 years old, according to a Scientific American article. While Duolinguo can’t necessarily ensure total language proficiency, the app will help them build the foundation that will serve them well in future language courses. Another great part of Duolingo is that your child can complete English grammar lessons as well! Get your kids started early with the Duolingo app so they can take their language learning to the next level.

Swift Playgrounds

Age Range. 9+ 

We all know that learning how to code is a great advantage, but like math, learning to code sounds incredibly dull. That’s where Swift Playground comes in! This genius app allows your kid to start learning to code in a fun and engaging environment. While you child may not become the next big tech giant, giving them that extra coding skill will be a great help. From website building to video game creation, coding is a vital tool that your kid can use for years to come.


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Sorting Through Old Photos and Contacts – Do You Need Them All?

We’ve all been there before — taking multiple photos from different angles just to make sure you get the best shot possible (even though most of them aren’t worth sharing). Or taking a hundred selfies with a hundred different faces only to just post one on Instagram. And if you’ve really gotten into phone photography after reading our iPhone 12 camera blog, you probably have a camera roll full of test shots that you’ll never edit or upload. And remember adding that one “friend” into your contacts but then never messaging them? So what should you do with all of those photos and contacts you no longer need?

In this blog, we’ll cover a couple of reasons why you should consider sorting through your old photos and contacts. After all, 2021 could be your year of productivity and efficiency (check out our 2 cents on that topic)!

How Should You Clean Out Your Photos and Contacts?

1. Organization

If you’re anything like us, your phone’s camera roll is probably anything but organized. And you probably don’t want to waste a ton of space on photos and videos you will never use or upload to social media. But with our tips in hand, you’ll have an organized camera roll before you know it!

For your first step in the organization process, we recommend creating albums for your photos and categorizing them that way. You can organize by timeline, by people, by events, or any category you want! That way, the next time you’re looking for a specific photo, it will be at the tip of your fingers.

And if you’re overwhelmed by the mass of photos in your camera roll, you can select photos in bulk and transfer them to a specific album as well. It’s quick and organized!

2. Save on the Cloud

Not quite sure if you’re ready to part with all of those photos just yet? Upload them to the Cloud! This option is for iPhone users only, of course, but it allows you to store your images elsewhere and free up some space on your phone in the process. As long as you have internet access, you’ll be able to transfer your photos from your phone to the Cloud.

3. Delete, Delete!

This is the not-so-fun part — we know. But just remember that the best part of a moment captured in a photo is the moment itself. Just think about how many duplicate, blurry, and screenshotted images are just sitting on your phone! Delete any photos that just don’t stand out to you, because that probably means you’ll never use them for anything. And in the end, decluttering will feel good — trust us.

4. Establish a “Cleaning Out Routine”

Get into the habit of cleaning out your photos by setting a weekly or monthly reminder to do so. Or you could even set a weekly reminder to organize them and a monthly reminder to delete the ones you no longer need/want!

Don’t put it off any longer; now that you have the tips and tricks to sort through your phone’s photos and contacts, go ahead and go for it! And if you need any assistance along the way, don’t hesitate to give Cellular Zone a call.


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These iPhone 12 Camera Tips Will Make You a Phone Photographer Pro

Do you enjoy dabbling in photography? Are you thinking about upgrading to a photographer-friendly iPhone? Then this blog is just for you! The iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max have advanced camera features that excite both amateur and professional photographers alike. Keep reading to learn more about iPhone 12 camera tips and more.

iPhone 12 Camera Tips and Features

Three Cameras

Yes—you read that correctly! The iPhone 12 has a camera for telephoto, wide, and ultrawide photos. The dual-lens cameras are arranged similarly to previous models (on the back of the iPhone). The primary camera has the largest aperture in iPhone history—ƒ/1.6—which significantly improves low-light shots.

Tip: The three cameras really come in handy when you are trying to perfectly frame your photograph. First, put your phone in portrait or landscape mode and zoom past 0.7x. As you zoom, the screen will continue to show you the area that is outside of the frame. Can’t fit everything in? Then that’s your sign to switch to a different camera mode!

Night Mode

Night Mode is a feature that is on several other iPhone models; however, on the iPhone 12, you can use it on all lenses (even the selfie lens!). Even better—Night Mode is automatic, meaning it turns on anytime it detects low light. Whenever Night Mode automatically activates, a moon icon will pop up to let you know.

Tip: To get the perfect low light photo, select the number next to the moon icon. This number shows how many seconds to keep your phone still before it snaps the photo. It also allows you to choose the exposure level yourself, giving you more creative freedom and control over your photos.

QuickTake

QuickTake is essentially a quick way to take a photo, video, or series of photos. On the iPhone 12, if you press on the white shutter button, it will take a photo. But if you hold the button for an extended period of time, it will switch to Video Mode and begin recording. If you press the white shutter button and swipe to the left, it will begin to take burst mode photos.

Tip: Trying to shoot a lengthy video? Hold down the white shutter button and swipe to the right. This will lock your phone into video mode, allowing you to remove your finger from the button and giving you more freedom.

Dolby Vision

Don’t worry videographers—we haven’t forgotten about you! Perhaps the coolest feature of the iPhone 12 is its ability to shoot and edit HDR videos with Dolby Vision. As you may know, HDR videos are more colorful, detailed, and visually advanced. Dolby Vision is simply a HDR video format. The iPhone 12 implements Dolby Vision HDR recording capabilities, which significantly improves video content. You can also edit your Dolby Vision videos on your iPhone 12, which makes the iPhone 12 the first phone to shoot and edit Dolby Vision videos.

Tip: To quickly turn on Dolby Vision video, go to Settings > Camera > Record Video > HRD Video.

Feeling ready to take on the world as an iPhone 12 photographer? We hope this blog taught you some iPhone 12 camera tips and tricks you didn’t know before! For any questions, concerns, or assistance with the iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Max, feel free to give Cellular Zone a call.


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Productivity in 2021: Apps That Work on Mobile and PC

Need to boost your productivity this year, but you’re not sure what tools to start with? We understand! There are seemingly endless productivity apps available, with almost all of them offering you the latest and greatest tools. If you’re already struggling with getting all of your work done, you definitely don’t have time to sift through each and every productivity app and find one that suits you.

Luckily, in this blog, we will cover what we consider to be some of the best workplace productivity apps out there! We’ll discuss the benefits of each app so you can quickly and efficiently decide which app(s) will assist you the most.

1. Slack

Function: Slack is a communication and messaging tool that allows both in-office teams and global, remote teams to communicate, collaborate, share files, and more all in one place. Slack is a wonderful alternative to emails because it allows real-time responses and conversations. If you’re looking for a productivity app that will bring your team together and produce successful outcomes more efficiently, then Slack is the way to go!

Benefits: Perhaps the largest benefit Slack offers is streamlined, simplified lines of communication. It offers three basic communication features: open channels (visible to everyone), private channels (visible to select team members), and direct messages (visible to one coworker). Another benefit is Slack’s ability to easily integrate with other apps (Google Drive, MailChimp, the list goes on). When you keep everything in sync with Slack, it becomes a one-stop platform for all of your productivity, communication, and sharing needs. You can also drop and share all kinds of files within your Slack conversations (images, PDFs, Word Docs, Google Docs, etc.).

Mobile vs. PC: Slack has released updated versions of both its desktop and mobile apps this year, and the apps complement each other quite well. The mobile app is simple, organized, and easy to navigate. It can also be downloaded on both iPhones and Androids. Like the desktop app, it offers a “Mentions & reactions” screen, where users can quickly find Slack messages that mention them and/or reactions to their messages.

2. Airtable

Function: Airtable is a platform that allows you and your team to create and share databases. You don’t have to be a database expert to use it, either! Other than creating databases, the platform also lets you store, organize, and collaborate/communicate on tasks within the database. 

Benefits: Airtable is a lot like a spreadsheet, except simpler and more user-friendly. With Airtable, you can organize a large amount of information as well as the relationships between that information, which means you can better categorize your information as well. Additionally, Airtable has an Import feature, which allows you to upload existing data from other apps. The true beauty of Airtable lies in its flexibility—it will adapt to whatever organizational tasks you need it to.

Mobile vs. PC: Airtable’s mobile app has a few functionality limits. For example, you cannot create new fields in mobile; you can only view existing fields. You also can’t create or view Forms or Apps in mobile. That being said, navigating Airtable is equally as simple in mobile as it is in desktop.

3. Microsoft Teams

Function: Microsoft Teams is another collaboration platform that offers chat channels, document storage and sharing, online meetings and video calling, and more. These features make it quite similar to Slack, except Microsoft Teams is free with Microsoft365 and Office365.

Benefits: Because of its integration with Office365, Microsoft Teams makes it incredibly easy to collaborate on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. You can create the document in Microsoft Teams rather than having to open up a separate app. Another excellent feature is the user’s ability to follow channels that they are interested in/a participant in and hide whatever channels they do not what to see. This makes Microsoft Teams more customizable than other collaboration platforms.

Mobile vs. PC: With Microsoft Teams, you can stay connected anytime and anywhere by using the mobile smartphone app. With the app, you not only have access to all of your conversations and documents, but you can also respond to channels and join meetings as you would via desktop, PC, or laptop web browser.

There are many other productivity apps out there, of course. But we believe our top three choices will improve your overall workflow, help you get more done, and keep you self-motivated to accomplish more!


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Benefits of a Battery Replacement

You’ve probably noticed that your phone battery begins to drain more quickly as your phone ages. When you first purchase the phone, you hardly ever have to hook it up to its charger. But the more you use it and the older it gets, the shorter its battery lifespan becomes. As soon as this happens, many people choose to purchase a new phone without considering other options like phone battery replacement. At the right local cell phone repair shop, replacing the phone’s battery is a much cheaper solution than dumping your old phone and buying a new one. Stay tuned to learn why!

Fortunately, if you’re noticing any issues with your phone battery, we can quickly and affordably replace it for you here at Cellular Zone. Our technicians will have your phone running optimally again in no time!

Here are a few reasons you should consider phone battery replacement:

1. Cost Efficiency

Smartphones are more expensive than ever, and as tempting as it is to simply purchase a new phone when your old phone’s battery is giving out, it will likely be a far more expensive purchase than a basic battery replacement. Plus, your phone’s battery life may start to give out before the performance of the phone itself slows down. This means everything except your battery is functioning perfectly, and it would be a bit of a waste to throw out a phone that is only experiencing one particular problem.

2. Time Efficiency

Another benefit to getting your phone battery replaced (especially at a local repair shop like ours) is the fact that it will save you a significant amount of time. Most local cell phone repair shops can replace your phone battery the same day you bring it in, or they can even replace the battery within the hour. So getting your phone battery replaced is both cheaper and faster than buying a new phone!

3. Security

Most cell phone repair shops offer some kind of warranty on their work as well. This means that if they replace your battery and it fails only weeks or months later, you’ll be covered. No time or money wasted!

4. Safety

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Hey, I can replace my battery myself and save even more money!” Although you might be a smartphone expert and capable of replacing the battery on your own, we highly recommend taking it to a professional. It’s the safest, easiest, and most reliable way to replace your phone’s battery. Here are a few things that could go wrong with DIY phone battery replacement:

  • There’s a strong possibility that you will break your phone. Opening your phone requires specific tools and specific skills like knowing how much pressure to use when opening up the phone.
  • You will have to purchase expensive tools and know how to use them. Most modern smartphones have embedded batteries, which means replacing them isn’t as simple as opening your phone and pulling out the battery. Removing the battery can entail heating, prying, and removing screws so you can access the internal components of the phone, all of which are time consuming and difficult tasks.
  • An exposed battery can release dangerous chemicals into the air if it’s broken or ruptured, meaning it could also start to swell and explode.

Your smartphone will be in good hands with the help of a local cell phone repair shop technician.


Perhaps the largest benefit of having your phone battery replaced by a professional repair shop is the comforting knowledge that it will be replaced with a battery of the highest quality, and it will be installed efficiently and correctly. So count on us for all of your smartphone or iPhone battery repair and replacement needs!


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Posted in Blog