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Tech Check: Make the Most of Your Mobile Device

by Jeremy Lesniak
A few weeks ago I gave a class with the Small Business Development Center on mobile technology and how to use it more effectively. The response was quite positive, so I thought I’d share some of those tips with you here. I don’t have the space to give you the whole course, but here are some important considerations that may be of help to you.
When choosing devices, consider screen size as the most important feature. Bigger devices are more versatile but also tend to cost more. What’s more, they won’t fit in your pockets as easily. However, the majority of people I know with large phones love them.
While Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms are the clear leaders, a growing number of people are choosing Windows Phones. The fact I find most interesting is that everyone I know who has a Windows Phone is very happy with it. For the record, I do not own any Windows Phone devices, nor have I ever.
Consider a variety of accessories for your devices. Screen protectors should be mandatory, as well as a good impact-absorbing case. I love the screen protectors from Zagg and the cases from OtterBox. External batteries and spare chargers can save lots of stress when travelling. There are numerous brands to consider for these.
Backup is just as important with your devices as with computers. Utilize the built-in features that come with your phones and tablets, but learn about the limitations. Specific programs and functions may need additional backup programs. Don’t forget to test your backups! Major point—Apple’s iCloud will only backup when the device is connected over WiFi, charging AND the device is locked (screen off).
Avoid device exposure to extreme heat and cold, as well as water. If you’re not comfortable in an environment, your gadgets aren’t either. Extreme cold can decrease battery life.
Protect your device from people by putting a password or other security measure on it. Smartphones and tablets have easy ways to track them if lost and even to wipe the data on them if stolen. Learn how to do this with your device before tragedy strikes. If you do lose a phone or tablet, report it to the police, your cellular carrier and any local shops that may buy used devices. Of course, you’ll have to have your serial number somewhere handy, so write it down now.
Don’t be afraid of online banking. Whether you choose to participate or not, your bank and your financial information are connected to the Internet. You might as well reap the benefits of online banking. Nearly every bank has a handy app.
Some of the best apps on the planet are free. Check out Mint for tracking your finances, Dropbox for accessing files on the go, Waze for navigation, Yelp for locating a restaurant or business you haven’t tried and Pandora or Spotify for some good tunes on the go.
That’s the super-short version of the three-hour seminar. Don’t be afraid to discuss this subject with your friends and colleagues—you’ll learn a lot.