Mobile Phones

iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, or feature phones.

Why does my mobile phone screen turn black when I get a call?

Episode 1381

Marty from Los Angeles, CA
Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Marty has a Samsung Note 4 that goes to a blank screen when he's on calls. Then he has to touch the power button to turn it back on. Leo says that there is a proximity sensor that turns off the screen when you put it up to your ear. That way your cheek doesn't hit any buttons on the screen. So it sounds like that sensor is a bit out of wack.

Marty could try resetting his phone, but if that doesn't fix it, it would be a hardware issue and that means either getting a new phone, repairing it, or living with it.

Why doesn't GPS work on my phone?

Episode 1381

Milian from Seattle, WA
Samsung Galaxy S8

Milian wants to know why he can't use his maps app on his Samsung Galaxy S5. Leo says that Milian may have not given the app permission to use his location and as such, it won't access the GPS. But if it used to work, then there may be a hardware issue, like a flakey antenna. It may have a lose connection. He may want to go to the store and ask them to check it. If it's out of warranty, then it may be time to get a new phone and the timing is perfect since the Samsung Galaxy S8 is coming out this week. That will drop the price of the S7 as well.

Why doesn't my phone work in the US?

Episode 1380

Mike from Santa Monica, CA
Huawei G8

Mike bought a Huawei G8 mobile phone in Hong Kong that is a dual SIM model, but it only runs on the G2 band in the US, even though it's on G4 in Hong Kong. Leo says that it wasn't designed for the US market and as such, it only supports certain bands here. He may not have much of a choice. One thing he can try is going over to the XDA Developer Forums. He may be able to root the device and gain access to those bands. He should enter the exact model of the phone to find out how to do it.

T-Mobile a Big Winner in Spectrum Auction

Episode 1380

T-Mobile

T-Mobile may be #4 in the cellular game, but they walked away a big winner in the recent FCC Spectrum 600MHz auction, paying nearly 8 billion dollars for the nationwide rights to that band. Although phones don't operate in the spectrum yet, they will be rolled out by year's end. Then T-Mobile will offer 4G LTE services in that market. Comcast also bought some, signaling they are planning to get into the mobile business. The rest were split between AT&T and US Cellular.

Can I get my data off my broken iPhone?

Episode 1377

Lisa from Bellflower, CA
Broken iPhone

Lisa's phone is dead and she wants to know if she can get the data off of it and transfer it to her new phone. Leo says if the phone is bricked, then unfortunately that data is unreachable. But her phone is probably backed up to the cloud by default, or her computer. So she should look into her iCloud account or on her computer to see if that data is there. Chances are, a lot of that data will automatically sync to the new phone once she logs into her iCloud account. This is why cloud backup is so important.

What's the best carrier in LA?

Episode 1377

Rob from Santa Monica, CA
Cell Phone Tower

Rob wants to know who best provider is for the iPhone in Los Angeles? Leo says that in a huge metropolitan area like LA, he'll have his pick of the litter. He shouldn't trust the carrier coverage maps, as they are too optimistic. There are third party sites like OpenSignal.com that will give an independent assessment. T-Mobile and Sprint are also good, but they have dead pockets in the suburbs. AT&T and Verizon are best in LA.

How can I add pages to my Android phone?

Episode 1377

William from Costa Mesa, CA
Motorola G5 Plus

William bought a Motorola G5 Plus and all his windows have vanished. Leo says that in the new version of Android, they got rid of the app drawer button. If he looks in the app dock at the bottom, he'll see a series of ellipses. If he touches that, it'll bring up his app drawer with all of his installed apps in it. The launcher also has pages and he can have as many pages as he wants. He should go into the launcher settings. Or he can squeeze the screen and add pages to the right there.

Can I use my Google Fi phone on Verizon?

Episode 1377

Robert from Laguna Hills, CA
Google Pixel

Robert signed up for Google Fi and bought a new Google Pixel phone, but Google is having issues activating his account. Leo says that's disappointing, especially when they don't know what the problem is. Leo says it's a good system and Robert shouldn't give up on it yet.

Can he use it on Verizon until it does? Leo says yes. He should just ask them for a SIM and he'll be able to use it. It shouldn't add any software overlays, but it may download some apps. He'll be able to uninstall them, though.