Mobile Phones

How can I get the data off a locked smartphone?

Galaxy S8

Episode 1562

Marie from Burbank, California

Marie has a Samsung Galaxy S8 and has forgotten the password pattern to unlock it. She wants to back up her messages. Leo says that the phone store may be able to get the data off it. Even better, a third party cell phone store may be able to do it better than AT&T can. The downside is the data will be encrypted unless she can unlock the phone, and that may require resetting the phone. Check with the carrier. They may have copies of the messages.

What Smartphone Should I buy?

iPhone

Episode 1562

Gloria from North Hollywood, CA

Gloria is getting her first smartphone and she's shopping at Walmart for it. Leo says she has to decide what service she's going to use. Walmart will try and get her to do their service called Straight Talk, which is pay-as-you-go and can work with various carriers. Next, she'll want to think about how much data she needs. 2GB when first starting out is fine and Leo would also recommend getting an iPhone. It's her first smartphone, and it's just plain easier to use.

Folding Phones Are All the Rage Now

Energizer

Episode 1562

Leo says that folding phones are going to be the buzz word at this year's Mobile World Congress. Even Energizer, the battery company, is announcing one as part of their 26 model line of new phones. They are also going to do a phone with an 18000mAh battery, four times the battery life of the Note 9.

Leo also says sales of mobile phones have plateaued, and that means the "silly season" is about to start, where phone companies start adding "fins" and other silly features to lure customers back to buy.

Is there a smartphone with more than 16GB of storage for under $500?

Episode 1561

Mark from Pasadena, CA

Mark would like a smartphone that has more than 16GB without paying over $1000. What can he get? Leo says the iPhone SE has been brought back from Apple and it will run the latest version of iOS and you can get storage up to 128GB for $299. That's a steal. The Motorola Moto G5 Plus offers 32GB for under $230. Mark is a AT&T customer, and there are plenty of options there.

The Giz Wiz ... Flexing

Episode 1560

The Royole Flexpai is billed as the world’s first commercial foldable smartphone, it's a combination of mobile phone and tablet. This is Royole's 2nd generation, ultrathin, fully flexible display that can get used either folded or unfolded. Now you have the portability of a smartphone plus the 7.8” screen size of a high-definition tablet. Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform -- Water OS (Based on Android 9.0) - Aspect ratios: 4:3, 16:9 and 18:9. When folded, you have three screens available; front, back and edge.

Why do apps open up when I start up Bluetooth?

Smartphone and computer

Episode 1557

Tom from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

When Tom turns Bluetooth on after having been turned off for awhile, tons of apps start opening up on his phone. What's happening? Leo says that backgrounded apps automatically terminate after a short period. Leo recommends letting the phone manage his apps for him. He doesn't need a third party app to kill them — he should just let the phone do it.

What should I know before buying a used phone?

Smartphone and laptop

Episode 1557

Mark from Tampa, FL

Mark bought a phone on eBay and wants to know if it will work with his carrier. Leo says that it may, but it depends on the radio frequencies it supports and whether or not the phone has been locked to the carrier or not. You can get the carrier unlock it, and they should do it as long as it is in good standing. He'll also need to make sure the phone isn't carrier locked.

How can I unlock a used iPhone?

Episode 1556

Jake from Jacksonville, FL

Jake bought a new phone on eBay, but he can't activate it because it says he owes money to AT&T — but he's never used it with AT&T. Leo says it's probably the carrier that has flagged the IMEI of that phone and locked it out. Leo advises contacting eBay and getting his money back. He should give the seller a bad review as well. Of course, he could pay the bill. But who wants to do that? This is why you don't buy phones on eBay.