Mobile Phones

Why am I using so much cellular data?

Casey from Orange County, CA

Episode 1397

Casey changed her Apple ID password because she thought she was getting hacked and people were using her data to watch YouTube. Apple said that she wasn't, though she says she hasn't been using her data and it's almost entirely used up for the month. Jason says that her Apple ID shouldn't have an impact on YouTube, so he's skeptical about whether it's connected to her Apple ID. More likely it's preferences for YouTube.

Should I update my iPhone?

Episode 1395

Barry from San Diego, CA
iPhone

Barry wants to know if he has to update his iPhone's OS. He's worried the update could brick his phone. Leo says that's always possible with updates, but the benefit of having the latest OS outweighs the slight risk that it could hurt the phone. He should always update because there are security patches and critical updates that are a must. Sometimes there's a bad update, but it's really rare, especially in the iPhone. There's new features in iOS 10 that make the phone run smoother as well.

Is a glass screen protector a good investment?

Episode 1394

Matthew from Panama City, FL
Invisible First Defense Liquid Glass Screen Protector

Matthew got a new phone and they put a liquid glass screen protector on it. Leo has his doubts that a layer will really protect it. He's tried Liquipel on his iPhone once and it didn't protect it from submersion. It could be there for scratch protection, but then if that extra layer scratches, he'll be left with the same issue.

The spray is Silicon Oxide, which the chatroom says is quartz. So it may be fine. But why wouldn't Apple, Samsung, and others do it if it worked? Only time will tell.

Should I go with T-Mobile Unlimited or Google Fi?

Episode 1394

Kyle from Columbus, OH
Google Pixel

Kyle is interested in Google Fi and wants to know how they calculate the data charges. Leo says that Fi is a better deal than T-Mobile if he uses less than 5GB of data a month since they charge $10 per GB. If he uses more than that, then T-Mobile is a better deal. Google Fi would give him T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Sprint service all merged together.

Phones Can Legally be Seized at the Border

Episode 1394

TSA

When a story came out recently that a JPL Engineer was detained and his work phone seized, it caused Leo to do some research about your legal rights coming back into the country. Turns out that the 4th amendment's protection against unlawful search and seizure has been suspended when you're in "international waters," and that's what an airport technically is. So the Border Patrol and the TSA have the legal right to take your phone, computer and tablets and demand the password to access all your data.

Can I replace the battery in an iPhone?

Episode 1393

Ed from Upland, CA
Apple iPhone 4s

Ed gave a friend his old iPhone and it's stopped working. He suspects it may be the battery. Can he get a replacement? Leo says yes! Apple can replace the battery, and it's about $99. Third party shops could also do it. It requires a good toolset and it will void any warranty the phone has left, though.

Image By Kzar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Can I move my phone apps to the phone's SD card?

Episode 1392

Richard from Los Angeles, CA
SD Card

Richard wants to know if moving apps to the SD card will save space. Leo says it can, if he knows how to do it. It's not really easy. Google does have a workaround, through adopted memory, but Leo says it doesn't work very well, depending on what phone he uses. Even if he can do it to save space, he's not saving that much space. The biggest storage hog is data. So why not move the data to the SD card and then keep the app on the phone's internal memory? It's one of the reasons why Apple and Google don't use SD cards.

Why do I have trouble connecting to Wi-Fi on my phone?

Episode 1392

Barney from New York City, NY
Wi-Fi

Barney travels a lot. When he gets to a hotel, he has trouble connecting to the local Wi-Fi network. It doesn't always work. Leo says that mobile devices use a system called "captive portal," where it goes to a middle man (usually the hardware company) and then connects in order to agree to the terms and conditions. It can take up to a few minutes for that to happen too, depending on the traffic. Most are impatient and give up. It really comes down to sitting and waiting. Barney can also try going to the Safari app and typing in "captive.apple.com," which may trigger it.