Mobile Phones

Can I install another operating system on my Android phone?

Episode 1763

Vincent from New Orleans, LA

Vincent has a bunch of Samsung S20 phones for his business and would like to move away from Android. Is there an operating system that he can install over it? Leo says that Samsung has taken Android and modified it greatly. There are other flavors of Android you can put on it by rooting the device, but they are still Android. But you can "De-Google" it. Leo recommends going to XDA-Developers. Search for the model number of your phone and see what ROMs are available and how to put them on your phone.

What's a good smartphone with a great camera?

Episode 1763

Glenda from Orange County, CA

Glenda needs a new smartphone with a really good camera. Leo says that all of the "flagship phones" from Apple, Samsung, and Google all have excellent cameras. The iPhone 12 Pro, S21, and Pixel 5 are the latest top models and have amazing cameras. They all use computational photography to create bokeh, have great dynamic range, and bold colors.

But even last year's mobile phones would be cheaper and have the same great cameras. The Google Pixel 4a has the same camera as the Pixel 5, and it's $349. A good option. A very natural image. 

Why can't I use my TracFone?

Episode 1762

Judith from Santa Monica, CA

Judith got a Tracfone and can't get it to activate. It says that it has no minutes, even though her brother paid for unlimited minutes that auto refills every month. what can she do? If her brother can log into his account online, he should be able to see the status of the phone and maybe even activate it directly.  That's how Tracfone saves money, by offering all support on the web, and most of it is self-help.

Can she use an old iPhone 4? Leo says maybe. You can take the SIM card out of the Tracfone and put it in the phone and try that way. ut you'd have the same problem. 

How can I stop spammers from using my number?

Episode 1762

Jimmy from Santa Barbara, CA

Jimmy woke up to dozens of text messages claiming that he's been calling and texting people non-stop. Leo says that his number has been "spoofed," and the only thing you can do is wait until the spoofers move on to a new number. It's called "Neighbor Spam," and it's being used to get people to answer a local call. Eventually, enough people will block the phone number and then they will move on to yet another number. Unfortunately, there's not much else you can do. 

Where Can I Get a Basic Flip Phone For My Parents?

Alcatel

Episode 1760

Frank from Los Angeles, CA

Frank tried to teach his parents how to use a smartphone. Both Android and iPhone. It didn't go well. So he's looking to get a flip phone for them. But their carrier Verizon is pushing smartphones.  Leo says they are pushing LTE phones because they want to decommission their old towers that flip phones rely on. Still, Verizon offers the Kazoona eTalk. As long as they are LTE compatible, they will be fine with a flip/feature phone. Look for a section on Verizon's website called BASIC PHONES.

Alcatel makes dumb phones as well. Look at the GoFlip V. Verizon sells it.

Is There an Alternative to WhatsApp?

WhatsApp

Episode 1760

Jeff from Piedmont, CA

Jeff wants to know if WhatsApp is private. He's concerned that Facebook gets his data. Leo says that WhatsApp does share user information with Facebook. But if he's concerned about that, there are other options. Leo dislikes Facebook so much, he doesn't use any of their apps.

Telegram is a really nice choice. It's free and secure. If he's looking for REAL privacy, then there's SIGNAL. They don't share any personal information. What about LINE? Leo says that Line is very popular in Japan. Then there's Discord.

Why Don't I Have Data Access on My Mobile Phone?

Cellphone Bars

Episode 1759

Mark from Los Angeles, CA

Mark has a Samsung Note X. Sometimes, he doesn't get any internet access, even though he has full bars. He's tried going into airplane mode and back, but he still doesn't get data. Is it a dead zone? Leo says that the bars aren't for data; they are for voice. So your full bars doesn't really have anything to do with data access. But since Mark lives in LA, you should get data anywhere.

What phone updates Android faster?

Motorola Moto G7

Episode 1756

Barry from Portland, OR

Barry is getting a new Motorola Moto G series mobile phone. Leo says it's the best mid-range priced mobile phone on the market today. Barry is concerned though, that updates are coming slower and slower these days. Leo says that unless Google makes the phone, that's going to happen since both the phone manufacturer and your carrier have to test the update before releasing them for their phones. Google can send updates directly. So if you're concerned about how fast updates happen, a Google-made phone like the Pixel 4a would be better. Check out the Android 1, too.