Aug 202018

I’ve followed this topic for years: When and how often to charge your smartphone’s battery. What to do and not — in order to prolong the usable life of that battery (and so not worry about replacing the battery before you’re ready to get a new smartphone, eh).

For many of us, charging the battery on our smartphones is a daily ritual. Sometimes more than once a day, as we do more and more on our smartphones that we used to do on desktop/notebook computers. One basic question is whether to use your smartphone until the battery charge level is so low that your device shuts off automatically (or at least until you get a warning).

While there remains some debate about charging practices (versus battery chemistry per se), I found this recent article a good summary: “Stop Letting Your Smartphone’s Battery Die Before You Charge It” (August 17, 2018).

You can charge your smartphone whenever you want. Your device’s lithium-ion battery doesn’t care if it’s at 10% or 80% capacity; it will charge just fine without destroying your device’s longevity.

It’s true that a lithium-ion battery will diminish over time, … the capacity of a lithium-ion battery “diminishes slightly with each complete charge cycle.”So, if you’ve overusing your smartphone because you think you’re better-maintaining its battery by doing so, you’re actually doing yourself a disservice. Stop adding unnecessary charge cycles by draining the battery. Just charge it.

In particular, the article references a YouTube video from the American Chemical Society with tips on making your smartphone battery last longer.

As for all the other battery myths out there, everyone seems to have a different take on what you should do with your device—when to charge it, when not to charge it, what battery level to charge to, et cetera. … the general recommendation is that you keep your smartphone’s battery around 50 percent if you aren’t using it for a long time (as in, months) …

How Can You Make Your Smartphone Battery Last Longer?

  • Avoid heat
  • Avoid fully discharging the battery — to the point that your device shuts off
  • Store at 50% charge

There appears to be one area of some contention:

But what about the dreaded “trickle-charging” issue you’ve probably heard of? That’s the one where you’re not supposed to keep your smartphone plugged in at night because it will constantly “charge” whenever it drops to 99 percent. That’s not exactly a myth, according to multiple sources, but there’s still a lot of contention over what you should actually do …

Personally, whenever I can (and it’s convenient), if I notice that my smartphone is 100% charged, I disconnect the charger.

Be more conscious about when your smartphone is plugged in, and you’ll likely reap what little benefits you can—assuming your efforts aren’t overshadowed by the fact that your smartphone’s battery will simply get worse with age, period.

Note that because many other devices use lithium-ion batteries, these tips may apply to them as well. And remember to follow your device manufacturer’s guidelines and use their provided chargers in most cases, since quality matters regarding the interplay of device and charger.

Printing from a mobile device

 Computer  Comments Off on Printing from a mobile device
Apr 052016

One of the most common requests from my clients is how to print from their smartphone. First I check if their printer is compatible; then configure any settings on their mobile device.

Most of the printers are from HP. But other manufacturers’ printers work as well. This HP Technology at Work (April 2016) article “Tap, tap, print” discusses mobile printing.

Wireless printing is the single most requested feature in new mobile devices.1 But while many of today’s smartphones are capable of wireless printing, the initial setup isn’t always intuitive. We’ve put together an easy guide to print from the most common smartphones. Even if you’re working out of the office and IT support is nowhere in sight, it can be surprisingly simple and fast to start printing from your smartphone. Here’s how.

Note: These instructions are specifically for enabling wireless printing on your smartphone. Wireless printing may also need to be enabled on the printer itself, depending on the model. See the printer’s manual for additional information.

Here’s an excerpt from the article for iPhones – printing to AirPrint compatible printers.

Apple’s AirPrint™ service is simple, but only works with select printers that directly support it. Here’s how:

If the printer is compatible, make sure your iPhone® and printer are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, and then open a document on your iOS device.

To print, open the app you want to print from. Find the print option by tapping the app’s Share icon or Settings icon. Not all apps support AirPrint. For additional information, visit the Apple support page.

When printing to other wireless-enabled printers (not AirPrint compatible)

If the printer is not AirPrint compatible, download the HP ePrint App. This app allows you to print from your phone over Wi-Fi, via the internet to an HP ePrint printer, or directly to HP Wireless Direct supported printers.

For additional information, visit HP Customer Support.

Smartphones and privacy — tuning app permissions

 Computer, Phone  Comments Off on Smartphones and privacy — tuning app permissions
Jan 152016

When you install or update apps on your smartphone, do you get prompts for permissions? Access to your camera, contacts, photos, network, etc. Clear or confusing? Is there a choice — all or none or just some?

CNET’s article “Your Android phone is too damn nosy” discussed this issue.

On Android phones, people have faced an all-or-nothing approach. They could accept all permissions when they download the app or nix downloading it at all. Google is addressing the concerns of Egelman and others with its Android Marshmallow [6.0] operating system, which lets people sign off on more specific permissions before installing an app.

Egelman said that up to now people have been used to and resigned to just tapping “yes” on permissions so they can use an app. But the study, conducted by the University of British Columbia and the University of California at Berkeley, showed that 80 percent of people would have said “no” to at least one permission request if they’d been given the opportunity. What’s more, the average participant wanted to say “no” to nearly a third of all the permissions their phone has demanded in order to run apps.

The referenced article for Android Marshmallow noted:

Instead of giving any app carte-blanche permission to look at your contacts, photos, or use your Wi-Fi signal, just by simply downloading it, you now have the power to rein in your apps.

If you use an iPhone, do you know how to tune your app permissions (settings)?