Mobile Phones

Why can't I put my phone to sleep?

Pixel 3

Episode 1589

Sam from Costa Mesa, CA

Sam has a Pixel 3 mobile phone that constantly keeps the screen on when he puts it in its holster. How can he stop that? Leo says that you can configure the Pixel in the settings to mitigate. You can create a lock gesture, for instance, or press the on/off button briefly to put it to sleep. Scooter X in the chatroom points to this forum post - https://forum.xda-developers.com/pixel-xl/help/fingerprint-to-sleep-android-9-t3838160

Is 5G Safe?

5G

Episode 1588

Mike from Los Angeles, CA

Mike has heard that 5G is going to be bad for our health, as it "assaults" our internal organs. Is 5G safe? Leo says that you would have to have a lot of exposure to that energy and be very close for a long time to do damage. As the energy dissipates, it does very rapidly when the distance expands to just a few feet. Waves coming off a 5G tower just aren't that risky.  It was the same hysteria that came with cell phones in the first place.  Also, most people don't have 5G capable phones and won't for at least a year. 

How can I move data to my phone's SD card?

Moto e5

Episode 1587

Mark from Los Angeles, CA

Mark is trying to move hid download folder to his SD card on his Moto e5 mobile device. Leo says that SD cards on Android are a challenge. Generally, the app has to support storing the data to your SD card. Some apps are smart enough, some aren't. Downloaded apps are the same way. If the app doesn't know to check, you're stuck where it puts it. You can move media into the SD card through the storage settings in your phone though. 

Why doesn't my new Phone work with Straight Talk?

Straight Talk Carrier

Episode 1587

Douglas from Twodot, Montana

Doug has a mobile device through Straight Talk. But his internet access is terrible with his iPhone 5. He was told by Straight Talk that the iPhone 5 is being phased out and he'll have to get a new phone. Leo says that Apple has stopped supporting the iPhone 5 and it's likely Straight Talk is doing the same thing. So you should be able to take the SIM out and put it in the new one. If it doesn't work, then you can just get a new SIM card from Straight Talk.

What's a good first smartphone?

Smartphones

Episode 1587

Irwin from The Bronx, NY

Irwin has been using a flip phone for most of his life, but now he is starting to text and texting is a royal hassle on a flip phone. Leo says yes it is! What is the simplest option for him? He doesn't need the latest and greatest. A few apps. Maybe the occasional photo. Leo says that the iPhone is a great first smartphone. Android phones tend to be cheaper, but you want to get a phone that is constantly updated, so you want to be sure your carrier will update regularly. For Android, the Motorola Moto G6 or G7 is a great affordable option. $200-400.

Why is my phone getting bright and then dim?

Samsung Note 8

Episode 1586

Jason from Indianapolis, IN

Jason updated his Samsung Note 8 recently and now his display is reacting strangely as it gets super bright, then super dim, and then bright again. Leo suspects the proximity sensor may be out of wack, or Jason is holding the phone wrong and covering it up. Try turning off auto brightness as this will prevent it from constantly adjusting the brightness on your phone. But it could be a failing proximity sensor as well, which if that is the case, see if Samsung is able to fix it.

Can my phone get a virus from a Robocall?

RoboCalls

Episode 1586

Warren from Lakewood, CA

Warren answered a phone call that ended up being a robocall. Can answering robocalls deliver viruses to his phone? Leo says no. You can get your phone hacked by clicking on a link or reading a text message, but answering a phone call won't do it. It's likely just coincidental. Leo says that this is an ongoing problem now and people just can't use their phones anymore

Samsung's Folding Phone Screen Failures

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Episode 1585

This week, several reviewers who got the Samsung Galaxy Fold folding phone experienced catastrophic screen failures after just a day or two of use. Leo feels bad for Samsung since many reviewers who were sceptical of the design had begun to praise it. But then four different reviewers experienced screen failures: One from a piece of debris that caught in the hinge broke the screen, two others who inadvertently removed the protective film of the screen itself, and several others just plain died. It's like battery-gate all over again. 

Should I Buy a Used or Refurbished Phone?

Moto G6

Episode 1584

Ernest from Los Angeles, CA

Ernest needs a new phone but can't afford $1,000 to buy a brand new one. Should he buy a refurbished or used one? Leo says he can, but only from the manufacturer or a trusted reseller like Gazelle. But there are plenty of affordable Android phones out there, like the Motorola Moto G6 that are only a few hundred dollars. One Plus is another and the benefit is that they come unlocked. It's about $500 but for the price, the Moto G6 is an excellent choice.