by Colin

Getting Your Devices Ready for the Holidays

When the holidays arrive, many of us are on the move and flying or driving to various places to be with family. With so much activity going on, it’s a time when your odds of losing your phone or breaking your computer increase greatly. Here are some things that you should do right now before the holidays to ensure that the only headache you have on January 1st is from the champagne.

Write down and store important numbers: It may seem crazy, but how many of us don’t even know our parent’s or sibling’s cell phone number by memory? In this mobile device age, it’s easy to rely too heavily on our gadgets to provide us with information we need. However, when your battery dies or you lose your device, it can be a nightmare to figure out how to get in touch with someone while you’re on the go. Store important contact info and keep it in your wallet, purse or carry-on so that if the worst case scenario happens, you’re covered.

Back that device up!
: Learning this lesson too late is a serious buzz kill. Friends don’t let friends forget to backup their computers and devices. We store so much data on our machines and yet so many of us don’t have a regular backup plan in place. If you’re using an iPhone, iCloud is built-in and can do the job just fine. For Android users, Holo Backup, Helium and G Cloud Backup are all good options.

There are plenty of backup solutions for your personal and work computers and you should always consider both offline and online backups. Here’s a good article about backing up your PC.

Set secure passwords : You never know when your device will fall into unwanted hands, whether it’s a mischievous 5 year old nephew, or a prankster sibling that waits for you to fall asleep on the couch and decides to have an Instagram photoshoot with your account. A strong password will keep everyone out no matter where you leave your phone or computer.  A strong password typically contains special characters like !, @, _ etc, and should never be something a stranger can guess. (And definitely not 1234 or qwerty!)

Traveling out of the country? :
Check your wireless data plan for roaming information. Leaving your mobile data setting on while you’re on vacation can lead to hundreds of dollars in roaming charges on your next bill, so it is vital that you know when you’re being charged for roaming. Understanding your device’s connectivity to wireless signals can help you to manage your needs while away.

Enable Find my Phone : Misplace your Apple device? When “Find My Phone” is enabled, you can simply log into your iCloud account or the Find My iPhone app from another device and you’ll instantly be able to locate your device’s location on a map. You can even lock the device remotely. Android users can also enjoy this feature by downloading any of the find my phone apps by searching the Google Play store.

Don’t do anything important on public wifi networks : When you’re on the move, you probably connect to unsecured, public wifi networks often. These hotspots can be great, but it is important to never visit or log into personal accounts when using an open network. Try to stay clear of your online banking, social media, etc until you’re back on a secured network.