Mobile Phones

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

Is 2-Factor Authentication by SMS Safe?

Authentication

Episode 1626

Ben from Auburn, AL

Ben has an issue with 2-factor authentication. Leo says that text message 2-factor authentication isn't safe anymore because "sim jacking" can occur, by bad guys figuring out what your cellphone number is, and then using social engineering to get them to reassign that number to a new SIM. Once they do that, they have control of the mobile device and can control even 2-factor authentication. That's why Leo supports using an authenticator. He uses a hardware-based model called Authy.

What Happened to My Contacts in My iPhone?

Contacts

Episode 1626

Steven from San Antonio, TX

Steven logged into the hospital internet on his iPhone, and he lost all his numbers. It reverted back to an old phone backup. Leo says that's an odd thing. Sync is notoriously troublesome because it doesn't usually know what version is the current, official version. Look at all the accounts the phone is logged into and see what account syncs to the contacts. That is usually what happens. Users wind up logging into a different account, and it wipes out the existing contacts. 

Why Can't Our Phones Receive Calls When Traveling to DC?

S8

Episode 1626

Lex from Richmond, VA

Lex and his wife have identical Samsung international phones. But when they travel to Richmond, VA, his wife's phone stops taking and receiving calls. What gives? Leo says it's because he bought an international phone. Each carrier supports different radios. So he can travel to somewhere in the US and those phones won't be supported. Leo recommends going to GSMArena, enter the model number, and it will tell what radios it supports. But his works while her phone doesn't. Leo says it's possible he doesn't have the exact same model, but very close. It could also be a configuration issue.

Apple Announces the iPhone 11

 iPhone 11

Episode 1626

Apple announced the next-generation iPhone 11 this week, in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. There's also the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, with the Max going up to 512GB. And Leo says that Apple is offering up to $400 off on a trade-in of an old iPhone X.  The iPhone 11 has two lenses, like the iPhone X, while the Pro models have three lenses. Leo says that the one thing that the iPhone can do, through FiLMiC Pro, is to record separate streams from at least two cameras at the same time. And Apple has also invented the "Slowfie!" A slow-motion selfie.

Why won't my phone play music after an update?

Samsung Note 8

Episode 1627

Alex from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Alex has an Samsung Note 8 mobile device, and after an operating system update, he's lost the abilty to stream music. Leo says that some updates will cause some apps to stop working, and if you used an app that is no longer supported, like the Milk streaming service, then you will lose the ability to use that app. Leo also says that Verizon often doesn't give updates in a timely manner. So it's not surprising. But you may also want to check to be sure that your app is still supported or updated. Or try another app.

What low cost service should I get my new phone with?

Mint Mobile

Episode 1627

Jeff from San Diego, CA

Jeff wants to get a new iPhone (he's using an iPhone 4) but he doesn't wait to pay a lot for data. Leo says to go with Mint Mobile (who is a sponsor on the TWiT Network). It's an MNVO (mobile virtual network operator) and you can pay $300 a year and get 12GB annually. That's a pretty good deal.  Another option is Google Fi. It requires one of their phones, but you can pay as you go and it's very affordable. Plus you get access to multiple networks: it's great for international travel. 

Chris Marquardt ... Not buying on the iPhone 11

Chris Marquardt

Episode 1627

Chris joins us and says he's not buying the iPhone 11 because he believes that the phone is in the "tock" cycle, and there's going to be a much better phone next year. So he's going to wait. Having said that, he thinks that the three lens camera on the iPhone is a two stage upgrade. The three cameras are matched, so they have the same colors and calibrated to make it a seemless shot. And the night shot mode is interesting as an answer to Google's Night Sight. It takes up to nine photos at various aperture and shutters speeds and then uses computational photography to fuse them together.

How do I download podcasts?

Podcast

Episode 1627

Noland from Los Angeles, CA

Noland has an iPhone 7 and he can't download podcasts. How does he do that? Leo says that you use a podcast app like Apple Podcast and then subscribe to a podcast. Then check "automatically download new episodes." But these days, most stream, rather than download, so it's not on by default. Another option is an app called PocketCast. If it's still not downloading, try unsubscribing, delete the feed, then re-add the feed. 

How do I transfer an old iPhone to a friend?

iPhone 2018

Episode 1627

Neil from Phoenix, Arizona

Neil bought a new iPhone and wants to give his old iPhone X to a family member. How can he transfer the phone and number to them? Leo says that since Neil has Verizon, he has to have the phone unlocked, and they will do it with a request. But it's as simple as taking the SIM out: you'll want it with your new phone anyway. Then, you'll also want to erase the phone and restore it back to the factory settings.