In our rush to get new technology up and running quickly, it’s easy to overlook the settings that make a difference to our privacy. Don’t make that mistake. Here’s a list of seven settings that tech companies would rather you leave alone.
There are ordinary things we do on a daily basis that take months, even years, off the life of our technology. Tap or click to see five ways you’re ruining your expensive phone, laptop, tablet, and TV.
Some devices are also safety and security risks. Please scan this list to make sure you and your family are safe.
1. Old phones in a drawer can start a fire
YouTuber Arun Maini, who runs a popular channel called Mrwhosetheboss, has collected all of Samsung’s flagship phones since 2010. He noticed a scary pattern. Phone batteries are swelling enough to break glass and split covers.
It’s not just Samsung phones. Any device with a lithium ion battery is susceptible to damage over time. A swollen battery is a serious problem that can lead to fire, injury, and property damage.
Rummage through your drawers for your old phones and look for signs of battery swelling. If you see it, here’s what to do:
Don’t try to charge a swollen phone. Charging a swollen battery can cause a fire or explosion.
If you have an older phone with an easily removable battery, carefully separate the battery from the casing. If you have a newer phone, don’t try to remove the battery yourself.
Put the swollen phone in a fireproof bag and contact the manufacturer. You may not be able to trade in an old model or get anything for it. However, at least arrange for it to be recycled or disposed of properly.
When it comes to storing old phones, follow these general rules:
Turn off the phone and place it in a cool, moisture-free place.
Charge the battery to 50% if you plan to store it for a long time. Check the battery every six months or so and charge it halfway.
Maintenance can go a long way toward making your current phone last for years to come. Tap or click my simple guide to properly clean your iPhone or Android inside and out.
2. Outdated routers let hackers in
Your router has one big job: connecting all your devices to the Internet. If you’re using an older model, you may not be doing that task safely.
The latest security standard is WPA-3, released in 2018. If your router doesn’t support WPA3, WPA2-PSK AES is the next most secure option. It is a sign that you need to get a new router.
When it comes to buying a new router, there are three essential factors. Consider the square footage and layout of your home, the number of Internet-connected devices you have, and your Internet speed. But with so many options, it can be difficult to choose the right router.
Save of time and money: Whether you need to cover an apartment or mansion with a mesh system, we’ve got your back. Answer a few questions and we’ll pick the best router for you. Take the 60-second quiz here to learn about our handpicked recommendations.
3. No more updates
Where there is an internet connection, there is the potential for hackers to wreak havoc. Security updates keep you safe from the latest cybercriminal tricks, so keeping your smartphone, computer, and everything else up to date is vital.
What happens when your computer no longer receives updates? It’s time to upgrade. That is obvious with your phone and computerbut the same goes for smart speakers, security cameras, and anything else that uses your home network.
Here are some more ways to stay protected:
Regularly check your network to see which devices are online and connected. If you see something you don’t recognize, take action. Tap or click here to see how to check all devices on your Wi-Fi network.
Consider set up a separate Wi-Fi network for your devices.
Always use strong and complex passwords that are not easy to guess. Tap or click here to create stronger passwords.
4. You are on a retirement list
You don’t just have to worry about old devices. Some products come into our homes with problems that can cause fires, injuries, and worse.
the US Consumer Product Safety Commission regularly warns about dangerous products and gives you steps to take if you have a recalled item in your home.
It pays to scan your list periodically to see if you have anything that could endanger your family. Sometimes you can get a replacement or refund for the recalled product. There you will also find instructions on how to contact the manufacturer.
We also write about major tech product recalls on Komando.com. Receive our warnings delivered directly to your inbox by subscribing to my free Fraud & Security Alerts newsletter. You’ll be glad you did!
5. Old power strips showing wear
Outlet extenders and extension cords perform a multitude of tasks in our homes. Sometimes a power strip shorts out and shuts down your devices. When this happens, even for a few seconds, inspect the power strip for signs of damage. Look for signs of scorching around exits. They will appear as rust-colored marks that you may be able to clean with your fingers.
Even without obvious signs of damage, old power strips can be dangerous to use. If you have no idea when you last replaced yours, add it to your shopping list.
There are many things you must never connect to an extender. Tap or click here to see 10 Dangerous Mistakes You Might Be Making.
Try my new daily podcast for more tech savvy
My popular podcast is called “kim komando today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and tech callers like you from across the country. Find it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, click the link below to watch a recent episode.
If you can solve this riddle, you belong to the FBI. Well maybe. Plus smart speaker hacks for the holidays, Amazon now lets you pay With Venmo, Chrome goes with Windows and browser extensions that take over your searches.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just look up my last name, “Komando.”
What questions about the digital lifestyle do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, TV or computer. Or tap or click here to watch Kim’s free podcasts.
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Get to know all the latest technology in The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.