smart phones

How can I update my Motorola Moto X to Android Oreo?

Motorola Moto X

Episode 1458

Sherry from Oklahoma City, OK

Sherry still uses an old Nokia flip phone. She bought an older Motorola Moto X, but she's concerned that it won't be updated. Leo says that they are probably not being updated since it's several years old, but it's probably safe to use. She'll want to install any patches that are available for it, but Android Nougat is the end of the line for that phone, which is fine. She just shouldn't download any strange applications for it, and only get apps from Google Play.

Do I need to buy a smartphone?

Episode 1369

Veronica from Palmer, Alaska

Veronica says that being in Alaska, mobile service is limited to Verizon or AT&T. Her contract is up and she's trying to decide if she should get a smartphone. Leo says it depends on LTE coverage where she is. Ask your friends and neighbors what they use and if they like it. Paying for data would be an additional monthly cost. There's no need to succumb to the pressure of getting a smart phone if she doesn't need it.

How can I back up my text messages?

Episode 1184

Marti from San Juan Capistrano, CA

Marti has an old mobile phone from 2010 and is looking to get a new phone, but she wants to be able to get her text messages backed up. How can she do that? Leo says Marti's biggest problem is the age of her phone. There are apps that could possibly do it, like BitPim, but they're buggy. She could forward the texts to herself, or email them to herself.

She could also check to see if she can save texts to her SIM card. If she has that, she could save a few at a time and then move them over. But without a USB connector, Marti's stuck with forwarding her texts and paying for it.

How can I test how long my charger takes to charge my phone?

P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor

Episode 1150

Amy from Maryland

Amy has several chargers and they all charge at different speeds. Can she run a speed test to see how long it takes to charge them? Leo says she can monitor power usage with the P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor. This plugs into the wall, then she can plug a charger into that. There's also this USB in-line voltage and current meter from ADAFruit.

Will Verizon unlock my cell phone?

International

Episode 1147

Jerry from Alta Dena, CA

Jerry has a cell phone and he's traveling out of the country. He's out of his contract. Can he get it unlocked? Leo says yes, he can just go to Verizon and ask them politely. They are supposed to do it, and AT&T does this for its customers too. Verizon is under a consent decree not to lock their phones, so they should unlock it. Then he can put a local SIM card in when he gets to his destination.