Mobile Phones

Can I get a Qi wireless charger for my phone?

Clarence from Palm Springs, CA

Episode 1215

Clarence just let go of his Samsung Galaxy S3 because the microUSB port was loose and it wouldn't charge. So it's time to get a new phone. He can pick up a Samsung Galaxy S 5 or a Note 4. Leo says that the Note 4 is a great phone and that's the one to get. He can get a charger cover that supports Qi. It's a great charger. Should he "Frankenstein" a system together and DIY it? Leo says he could. He did that on the Note 3, but the negative is that it makes it harder to remove and replace the battery.

Is call quality better with Verizon now?

Tina from Wisconsin

Episode 1215

Tina wants to know if Verizon has improved their call quality. She left because it was so bad. Leo says that thanks to VoLTE, (Voice over LTE), the call quality has improved remarkably. Additionally, some carriers also support Wi-Fi calling, which has fantastic call audio quality. Most carriers offer two week trials where if you don't like the service, you can return the phone and cancel. So give Verizon another try. The quality has improved.

Why does my smartphone battery die so quickly?

Chris from Virginia

Episode 1214

Chris' mobile phone battery is draining really fast. Leo says that if he has the latest OS for both iOS and Android, it gives him a lot more data on what's taking up his battery life. But there's also third party apps like GSAM Battery Monitor for Android. Often though, poor cell signal coverage can cause depleted battery life as the phone works harder to find a signal. A higher resolution screen can drain the battery more as well.

Why is video always buffering on my iPhone 4?

Joe from Florida

Episode 1214

Joe is frustrated because video is constantly buffering on his phone. Leo says it could be the phone. Older hardware has to work harder to play hi-res video. But more likely, it's Joe's carrier, which can have limited bandwidth. Since Joe is using Sprint, they've been late in coming to the LTE party, and it may be that LTE isn't available in Joe's area. An older phone, like an iPhone 4, won't even support LTE. A new phone will help, but Joe should make sure LTE is supported in his area.

Does a larger mobile phone screen use more data?

Jeffrey (Captain J) from Port Charles, Florida

Episode 1213

Jeffrey wants to know if a larger screen phone uses up more data than a smaller screen phone. Leo says that it could the case when streaming video. Sites like Netflix and YouTube will notice that you're using a high resolution screen and automatically stream higher resolution video, and that definitely uses more data.

How can I unlock my cellphone?

Episode 1212

Peter from Detroit, MI
Motorola Moto G

Peter wants to know how he can unlock his phone and use it with another carrier. Leo says that according to the Library of Congress, you could legally unlock your phone and swap carriers. Carriers are starting to unlock phones if you've been a member in good standing and your contract is up. But they also will unlock it if you're traveling out of the country. This is largely due to the subsidizing of your phone by your carrier, which is why you pay so little for it.

How can I get the password field on my phone to show letters instead of dots?

Laxman from Ft. Defiance, AZ

Episode 1212

Laxman is annoyed that when he logs into his phone, he gets "dots" instead of the password itself. How can he change that so he can see the password? Leo says the idea is to stop people from looking over his shoulder and seeing his password as he types it. But Leo says that he should have the option of not having that. The security merits of it are dubious. The dots also show the first letter briefly, and people could easily record the password as its typed on the keyboard. Sadly, unless his app gives him the ability to see it, he's stuck with the dots.

How can I recover images and videos from a broken Droid Turbo?

Episode 1211

Victor from Camarillo, CA
Droid Turbo

Victor bought a Droid Turbo and took a lot of pictures and videos of a graduation ceremony. But after a couple days, Victor wasn't able to get the phone to turn on. Only half of his photos and videos got up to the cloud. How can he get the rest off the phone?

Leo says that DriveSavers can do it, but it won't be cheap. It also depends on the failure. If the OS failed, then the data should still be there.

How can I keep contacts from being added to my phone?

Rock On from Riverside, CA

Episode 1211

Rock On recently had a contact mysteriously show up in her contacts list on her new Android phone. Leo suspects that it's through Google Contacts. If she deletes them from Google contacts, it'll be synced and deleted from her phone as well. It could also be Facebook that's populating her contacts as well. Once that's deleted, it shouldn't come back. She also may want to check with her carrier to see if they're syncing her contacts as well.