Mobile Phones

How can I update my phone if there's not enough room?

Episode 1466

Kevin from Mizzoula, MT
Smartphone and coffee

Kevin's mobile phone needs to be updated, but he can't because there's not enough room. Leo says that Kevin's phone probably has too little storage. He may need to wipe the phone and restore it to factory default settings, and then try updating it. Kevin should backup his data first and then give that a try. If that doesn't work, there's simply not enough room for the latest update and he's out of luck. The extra benefit of wiping and reinstalling is that it will clear out any bad popups or kruft left behind by old apps.

Why can't I unlock my iPhone?

Episode 1466

Nick from Marina Del Rey, CA
iPhone 6S

Nick has an iPhone 6S that he uses as a backup phone. He wants to unlock it for a trip to Europe, but neither T-Mobile nor Apple can unlock it. What can he do? Leo says that T-Mobile should be able to unlock it. It's their carrier lock. Leo recommends tweeting John Legere of T-Mobile (@JohnLegere). He pays attention to his Twitter feed and Leo bets he'll get back to him with someone to talk to.

Leo says he could also go to an independent cell phone store. They have great talent to unlock phones and could solve it.

Mobile World Congress Opens with Samsung's Galaxy S9

Episode 1466

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus

Samsung announced the Galaxy S9 at Mobile World Congress this morning. Leo originally thought that Apple's $1,000 price tag on the iPhone X would influence mobile phone prices moving forward, but Samsung chose to only raise the price a bit, by comparison, starting at $720 for the 64GB version. You can trade in your older models to get a better price. You can also get $100 off if you buy from Best Buy. Leo says, however, that you don't get any benefit by paying more for larger storage considering the Android phones have a microSD slot for additional storage.

Why am I getting different keyboards when launching apps on my Google Pixel phone?

Episode 1465

Mark from Grand Rapids, MI
Android keyboards

Mark wants to know why he gets a different keyboard whenever he launches an app on his Google Pixel smartphone. Leo says this is a feature that developers can take advantage of so that the keyboard can be more contextual. For instance, when a number needs to be entered, the keyboard that comes up can be just a number pad. But there is a bug that causes keyboards to change randomly, so maybe that's the problem. More likely, it's something the app developer has done. Mark can try installing Swiftkey and see if that helps.

Why is my credit card information popping up on the iPhone?

Jan from Washington

Episode 1464

Jan has an iPhone 6 and she's worried that someone is hacking into her digital wallet and getting her credit card. Leo says it's probably not the case. More likely, she inadvertently activated Apple Pay, which she can do if she presses the home button twice. Pressing the home button again makes it go away. It's designed that way to make it easy to pay with Apple Pay quickly when the screen is locked.

Can she use more than one thumbprint on Touch ID? Leo says no. She can use fingers on both hands. But if it doesn't open, it may need to be retrained.

Why can't I port my number to a new cell phone carrier?

Episode 1462

Michael from Arkansas
Person using smartphone

Michael has an old unlocked phone that he's trying to port to a new carrier, but it's not working. The company says it won't port an inactive number. Leo says the law requires porting numbers to his new service, but they could have found a loophole with an inactive phone. Leo also suggests doing a factory reset. That should clear out the carrier data. There's also something called APN settings which need to be cleared out so that the carrier can't reject it.

Do I need to replace my iPhone SE?

Episode 1461

Kevin from Spokane, WA
Apple iPhone 5S

Kevin has an iPhone SE and it's not updating anymore, so he needs to buy a new smartphone. Leo says that there's a life cycle for mobile devices, and even though it works just fine, technology will pass it up, and it will seem slower than it used to be. Apple will support a phone for three years before it starts dropping them off the update cycle. The iPhone's battery also has limited charging cycles of about 500 full cycles, or 2-3 years. And as the phone gets older, Apple starts slowing the phone down to keep it from overtaxing the processor and overheating it.

How can I get my phone unlocked?

Episode 1460

Rob from Los Angeles, CA
Person using smartphone

Rob has an old Android phone and he doesn't like his carrier. Can he unlock it and go with another carrier? Leo says he should as long as his account is in good standing. Even if he's no longer a customer, they should still do it for him. He should just call and ask them politely. He should not pay to unlock a phone, though. If he has to, Rob should go to XDA-Developers.org and look in there for instructions.

Is my cell phone safe from an internet attack on my router?

Episode 1460

Bonnie from Riverside, CA
Hacker

Bonnie uses Eset's Smart Security, But she recently saw that an external intruder was blocked. She's worried that while her PC was safe, her other devices may have been compromised. Leo says that Bonnie's router probably blocked the bad traffic that comes lurking. There are bots that are looking for security holes, though. Getting attacked is normal, but the router will handle 90% of the attacks. The rest is covered by antivirus. Her cell phone IP address changes constantly, so it's mostly pretty safe.