EASY ON THE EYES

“Dark Mode” is all the rage on smartphones. It gives you a black background with white text and is easier on the eyes. You can get it on your Windows or Apple computer too, with these tricks. On Windows, hold down the Windows key, (looks like a flag), and tap the plus sign to bring up the Magnifier. Now hold down the “Ctrl” key and the “Alt” key at the same time and tap  the letter “i” for invert. Now every bit of text you see anywhere – in Microsoft Word, other programs or on the web – will have a black background. Unfortunately, pictures will have inverted colors too, looking like negatives. To see them normally,  toggle back by […]

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5G PROMISES GREATER SPEEDS, BUT HARDWARE IS CRITICAL

“What is 5G?” The question reminds us of one of Joy’s favorite novels, “Atlas Shrugged.” The characters go around saying “Who is John Galt?” but never get a good answer until the end. Some say that 5G is ten times faster than the previous generation, others say it’s 100 times faster. An article in the New Yorker claims you’ll download a two-hour movie in four seconds. There will be no lag times for online games. But is this hype or reality? Several factors come into play, such as the hardware you’re using, where you’re located, what your network can handle, how many users are sharing it, what kind of interference you’re getting, and whether you’re at home or zipping around […]

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GETTING A SMART PHONE

Hard to believe but there are still people out there thinking about getting their first smart phone. That’s a cell phone that can search the web and take selfies. About 80 people a year die while taking selfies. Sometimes they step back too far at the edge of the Grand Canyon, sometimes the flagpole on the tenth floor is slippery. Well, this has happened to us twice now. Not getting killed taking a selfie, but talking to older people who have decided they want one of those smart phone things. In one of the great marketing coups of all time, Apple has somehow made people believe that a smart phone is an iPhone. This is despite the reality that Android […]

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DEFEND YOUR PHONE

Users and Apple say the iPhone is the safest smartphone out there, but you can make it safer still. Start with the log-on. Do you use a fingerprint? You should. Joy initially had difficulties getting her Android phone to recognize her index finger. The solution was to use more fingers. Now she uses her middle finger to get into the phone, and this one rarely misses. (No comments, please.) If you have an iPhone X, you can use your face instead of a fingerprint. It’s rumored that all iPhones coming out this fall will have “Face ID.” It’s inevitable. What about a hacker breaking into your iCloud account on the web? It’s a good idea to set up “two-factor identification.” […]

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LET YOUR PHONE READ TO YOU

If you’re too busy to read the Web, or find the fine print too fine, let your iPhone read the Web to you. To make the iPhone’s “Siri” voice start talking, tap “Settings,” then “General,” then “Accessibility.” Now tap “Speak Screen.” When you’re on the web, tap the uppermost left icon for “Reader View,” to skip the ads.  Then swipe down with two fingers to get playback and pause controls. Tap the turtle picture to speed up or slow down the reading. We couldn’t find anything comparable for the Android phone. The apps we tried all used a dull, robotic voice and Google Voice just wasn’t in the mood to read to us.

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SECURE IPHONE

A reader asked us how to protect his iPhone from the bad guys; iPhones are pretty well protected, but there are a few things you can do to be even safer. Here are several iPhone security apps: “1Password” protects credit card info and passwords with military-grade encryption. “Private Photo Vault Pro,” $4, keeps whole albums or individual photos and videos private. “Hotspot Shield,” for $5 a month protects your identity and blocks hackers when you’re using Wi-Fi in coffee shops, at the airport, library or wherever you find a free public Internet connection. (There have been 400 million downloads on this one.)

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UPGRADING YOUR IPHONE

You don’t need a new iPhone 6 to get the latest Apple operating system for free. The new “iOS 9” works on the Apple 4 and 5 as well. To upgrade, tap “Settings,” then “General,” then “Software Update.” Here are a few new features that impressed us.

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ORGANIZING MAIL ON THE IPAD

Joy’s friend Frieda asked her how to put mail into folders on the iPad. We find computers more practical for email, so we scratched our heads for a minute before coming up with these simple steps.

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BATTERY LIFE ON THE IPHONE

After we reviewed some battery basics in a recent column, readers who own iPhones and iPads wanted more. There’s much you can do beyond looking at “Usage” in the “Settings” area to find where the battery hogs are.

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TIPS AND TRICKS FOR YOUR NEW IPHONE 6

The new Phone 6 makes text messaging a lot easier. Send a text message to a group, add your map location and your voice, pictures and video. It’s all in the “details.”

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