Proactive Computing | Optimizing IT for usability, performance and reliability since 1997

Category: #Mobile (Page 1 of 2)

Auto Added by WPeMatico

The FCC releases its first mobile broadband map


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released its first-ever mobile broadband coverage map. The tool allows you to compare the LTE and voice coverage areas of the country’s four largest carriers, showing where you can expect to see wireless download and upload speeds of at least 5 Mbps and 1 Mbps, respectively.

The data you see on the map is accurate as of May 15th, 2021, and you can use the tool to compare what coverage looks like in your area away from the often misleading and confusing maps offered by AT&T, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon (Engadget’s parent company). The tool is the result of last year’s Broadband DATA Act, which requires the FCC to collect and release robust data comparing different wired, fixed-wireless, satellite and mobile broadband service providers. To compile the map, the FCC collected standardized propagation information from the carriers. It also asked the public to help.

For too long the FCC has not had truly accurate broadband maps. But we’re changing that. Starting right here and now. This is the first-of-its-kind wireless coverage map the agency has produced. And we’re just getting started. More to come.

— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) August 6, 2021

“This map provides a preview of how the mobile data the FCC will collect under the standards set by the Broadband DATA Act will look when mapped,” the agency said. “Never before have maps been created using these new, standardized mobile data specifications, which will improve the uniformity and consistency of broadband availability data collected by the FCC.”

The map isn’t perfect. For example, you can’t see the extent of each carrier’s current 5G buildouts. But it’s hard to overstate just how much of an improvement this new tool is over what the FCC offered previously. To put things into context. In 2019, Microsoft estimated that 163 million Americans couldn’t access the internet at or above broadband speeds. Meanwhile, the FCC put that number closer to 25 million. 

That discrepancy was the direct result of how the FCC compiled its data at the time. It relied on Form 477 filings from the service providers, which could include errors and exaggerations. FCC acting chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel says the new mobile broadband map is just the start of what the agency has planned on that front.

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Igor Bonifacic

T-Mobile to shut Sprint’s LTE network by June 30, 2022


T-Mobile has finally confirmed when it will shut down Sprint’s LTE network as part of its assimilation of the carrier it acquired in April of last year. It told Light Reading that it will shutter the service by June 30, 2022. Since completing the $26 billion merger, T-Mobile has been busy using Sprint’s spectrum to expand the rollout of its 5G network

But, the transition hasn’t been completely smooth. With the deal raising competition concerns, antitrust regulators set out a number of conditions to get it across the line. The goal was to make Dish Network the nation’s new fourth carrier. To get it there, T-mobile was ordered to hand over spectrum, the Boost prepaid mobile brand — and the 9 million customers signed up to it — and to act as Dish’s network provider for up to seven years. 

However, the partnership turned sour when T-Mobile announced that it would shut down Sprint’s CDMA network by January 2022, which a majority of those 9 million customers use. Dish put T-Mobile on blast over the decision in a letter to the FCC earlier this year, accusing it of anti-competitive behavior. Just weeks ago, Dish decided to hop from T-Mobile’s network onto AT&T’s as part of a new 10-year agreement.

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Saqib Shah

What Is a Burner Phone, and When Should You Use One?

A “burner phone” is a cheap, prepaid mobile phone that you can destroy or discard when you no longer need it. In popular media, criminals often use burner phones to evade detection by authorities. You might use a burner phone for privacy reasons, as a last resort, or during an emergency.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Tim Brookes

Why SMS Text Messages Aren’t Private or Secure

You might think that switching from Facebook Messenger to old-fashioned text messages would help protect your privacy. But standard SMS text messages aren’t very private or secure. SMS is like fax—an old, outdated standard that refuses to go away.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Chris Hoffman

Why You Don’t Need an Expensive Smartphone Anymore

The $500 Pixel 4a 5G.The $500 Pixel 4a 5G sets the benchmark for mid-range phones, but you can still go a lot cheaper. Google

As flagship devices from Samsung, Apple, Google, and OnePlus get more and more expensive, you might feel forced to keep up with the increased prices. But times have changed, and most phones under $500 offer the performance, battery life, and camera quality that used to be reserved for high-end handsets. In other words, you don’t need an expensive phone anymore.

“Downgrading” from a flagship to a mid-range or budget phone can be a little anxiety-inducing, especially if you’re a geek who loves cutting-edge features. But cheap phones can still feel like a solid upgrade thanks to improved camera tech, faster charging speeds, and other neat perks. Sure, you won’t get the groundbreaking features that come with $1,000 devices, but you may be surprised to see just how unimportant most of those exclusive features actually are.

Mid-Range Phones Rock

The OnePlus Nord N10 5G, a $300 phone that punches far above its weight.The OnePlus Nord N10 5G, a $300 phone that punches far above its weight. Andrew Heinzman

In our recent buying guide What’s the Least You Should Spend on a Smartphone, the standout devices all lay within the $300 to $500 range. That’s where “flagship” performance meets killer camera tech, flashy OLED displays, and the occasional 5G modem. Some devices, like the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, even throw 30-watt Warp Charging charging into the mix—but what does the average mid-range phone look like?

Let’s take a look at the Pixel 4a 5G. Released at the tail-end of 2020, the 4a 5G sets the benchmark for today’s mid-range phones. It sports a large 6.2-inch OLED HDR display, an unbeatable dual-camera array, a headphone jack, NFC for contactless payments, and an impressively snappy 5G-capable Snapdragon 765G processor. What more do you need?

Other mid-range phones dance around the Pixel 4a 5G’s specs, usually swapping camera quality or processing power for a larger display, a two-day battery life, wireless charging, flexible quad-camera arrays, ultra-fast wired charging, a 90hz refresh rate, and other perks.

And while you might assume that $300 phones offer slower performance than the $500 Pixel 4a 5G, that isn’t necessarily the case. The 4a 5G’s price tag is mainly a consequence of its 5G capabilities, which aren’t all that useful today. Cheaper 4G LTE devices like the standard Pixel 4a, the BLU G90 Pro, and the iPhone SE (2020) offer comparable performance at a much lower price. In fact, the iPhone SE (2020) contains the second-fastest mobile phone processor of all time, Apple’s A13 Bionic chip (bested only by the iPhone 12’s A14 chip).

This isn’t to say that mid-range phones are perfect. Manufacturers often skip wireless charging and IPX water-resistance ratings in mid-range phones to cut costs. (The iPhone SE is a notable exception.) Mid-range phones also tend to use older, less durable Gorilla Glass than their flagship alternatives. The Pixel 4a 5G, for example, uses Gorilla Glass 3, while the more expensive Pixel 5 has a Gorilla Glass 6 panel. These shortcomings won’t impact the average user’s experience, but they may be a turn off if you’re upgrading from a flagship device.

Today’s Cheap Phones Offer Years of Usability

The Pixel 4a 5G, a benchmark for mid-range phones.The Pixel 4a 5G, a benchmark for mid-range phones. Michael Crider

One of the big selling points for flagship phones is that they last for a long time. Why buy a cheap phone every year when you can enjoy a flagship device for three or four years? In the not-so-distant past, I would agree with that argument. But today’s mid-range phones are here for the long haul thanks to their advanced performance and, depending on the manufacturer, guaranteed update cycles.

The big thing here is power and performance. So long as your phone has a decent processor (and most mid-range phones do), you shouldn’t have any trouble running your usual apps and games for the next few years. You’ll only run into problems with demanding applications, like 3D games, which grow more resource-hungry with every release.

But you don’t just want your phone to be usable, you also want it to keep up with new features and security patches. That’s why, if you plan to use a mid-range phone for more than 2 years, you may want to stick with Google, Samsung, or Apple. These companies guarantee 3 years of security updates and 2 years of OS updates (iPhones go a bit longer, with around 5 years of security and OS updates). While your phone doesn’t need the latest version of an OS to run your most-used apps, the regular OS updates can keep your phone feeling fresh, and extended security updates make you less vulnerable to hackers, bugs, and unsafe applications.

Budget phones in the $100 to $200 range still lack the lifespan of their mid-range and flagship counterparts, which is why I suggest a year-old mid-range device if you’re on a tight budget. It’s also worth pointing out that, while brands like OnePlus, LG, ASUS, Motorola, and Sony don’t commit to 3-year update cycles, their phones are usually more cost-effective than products from The Big Three, which may be a decent trade-off if you don’t care about OS updates or security patches.

Do You Really Need High-End Features?

The $1,000 iPhone 12 Pro---a pretty expensive phone!The $1,000 iPhone 12 Pro—a pretty expensive phone! Justin Duino

Mid-range phones offer great performance and years of usability, and they often support features that were exclusive to flagships just two or three years ago. But what about all the cool cutting-edge features that come with a $1,000 phone? Isn’t that stuff worth the extra money?

Yeah, some flagship features are absolutely worth the money, but they probably aren’t the cutting-edge features that you’re thinking of. Like I mentioned earlier, flagships usually have tougher glass than their mid-range cousins, along with IPX water-resistance ratings and wireless charging. These perks are accompanied by brighter display technology, premium “clickly” buttons, high-quality speakers, better night photography, extra RAM for multitasking, and glass backs (although some flagships are pivoting to plastic, which is fine).

These are modest features make your phone more reliable, durable, and usable. They aren’t flashy or superfluous, and they give you a real reason to spend the money on a flagship device (or a flagship that’s a year or two old, if you don’t mind the limited manufacturer support). Cutting-edge flagship features, on the other hand, are rarely worth spending your money on. Foldable display tech is in its infancy, MagSafe charging is cool but unnecessary, and LiDAR is … well, it has a lot of potential, but app developers need to get serious about it first.

The two most compelling cutting-edge features are 120hz displays and 5G support, although both technologies eat up battery life and aren’t nearly as useful as they may seem. It’s true, 5G is faster than 4G LTE and will revolutionize the internet, but 5G networks (and especially the ultra-fast mmWave5G networks) won’t be available to the average person for another couple years. And while a 120hz display might make the animations on your phone look buttery-smooth, 60hz and 90hz displays look fine as it is.

While expensive flagships still have a place in the world, the benefits of buying a high-end device are questionable. Mid-range phones kick ass at half the price of their flagship counterparts, and often offer years of usability and guaranteed OS updates. Plus, flagship features aren’t as groundbreaking as they used to be, and may never impact the average person’s experience.

Tip: Shopping for a new phone? Be sure to check out the companion piece to this article, What’s the Least You Should Spend on a Smartphone. It provides an overview of the best phones at each at each price point so you can buy a killer device without breaking your budget.

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

How Does “Night Mode” Work on Smartphone Cameras?

From Apple’s iPhone to high-end Android phones from manufacturers like Samsung, every flagship phone has a camera with a night mode now. Here’s how these phones manage to take such detailed shots, even in poor lighting conditions.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Vann Vicente

What Is 6G and How Does It Work?

6g-phone.jpg Although it hasn’t been long after the emergence of 5G, technology companies are already preemptively preparing themselves for the following generation of wireless technology, namely 6G. What exactly does this entail? How will it work? A Clarification Before we get to the juicy bit, we have to clarify something: at the time of writing, 6G is nowhere close to being properly tested or implemented. Reports that China launched the “first 6G satellite” in November 2020 are not false but have a tendency to sensationalize the whole ordeal slightly. Yes, China launched a terahertz-capable testbed satellite… Read more14186907.gif

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Miguel Leiva-Gomez

How to Block Mobile Phone Spam

Just when you think you’ve got junk mail and e-mail spam under control, you might start getting unsolicited text messages on your mobile phone. This can be especially irritating because you normally can’t delete a text message without opening it. Depending on your wireless plan, you may get charged for text messages. In some cases, they may contain malware and viruses. This wikiHow teaches you how to block spam text messages on your email.


  1. Do not reply to spam messages. If you receive a spam text messages that you did not ask for, it’s important that you do not reply to it. Both legitimate and illegitimate Robo-text messages will often contain the option to text “STOP” to be removed from the distribution list. If the text message comes from a scammer, this will only confirm that your number is valid. Then they will likely sell your number to other scammers, which can result in more spam. Do not reply to any unwanted text message unless you know where it originates from.[1]
    Apologize For Cheating on Your Partner Step 16 Version 2.jpg
    • Legitimate marketing messages will generally contain a name, contact info, and the name of the organization they are from.[2]
    • If you’re not sure if a call or text message is from a legitimate business, hang up and call the business directly on their official phone number.
  2. Do not open any links or attachments. If you receive a spam text message or email with an attachment or a link to a website, do not open it. It may contain malware or spyware that can infect your phone.
    Block Mobile Phone Spam Step 2 Version 4.jpg
  3. Block repeat numbers on your phone. If you are repeatedly receiving spam from the same number, you can try to block the spam directly on your phone. The problem is that many scammers use spoof numbers that frequently change. So even if you block one spam number, you may continue to receive spam from other numbers. Still, it doesn’t hurt to try. Use the following steps to block spam numbers:
    Block Mobile Phone Spam Step 3 Version 4.jpg
    • iPhone:[3]
      • Tap a message from the spammer you want to block.
      • Tap the profile image above the spammer’s number.
      • Tap the Info tab.
      • Tap Block this caller.
    • Android:
      • Tap a message from the spammer you want to block.
      • Tap the icon with three dots () in the upper-right corner.
      • Tap Block [number].
      • Tap Block.
  4. Forward spam messages to (SPAM) to report them. You can easily report spam text messages to your mobile service provider by forwarding or sending a copy of the spam message to 7726 (SPAM). Make sure the text message includes the sender’s number. This works with Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. You will not receive any charges for reporting spam messages.
    Block Mobile Phone Spam Step 4 Version 4.jpg
  5. Enable Spam Protection (Android Only). Some Android phones allow you to enable spam protection to block spam text messages or calls. This feature is not available on all Android phones. Use the following steps to enable Spam Protection on an Android phone:
    Block Mobile Phone Spam Step 5 Version 5.jpg
    • Open the Messages app.
    • Tap the icon with three dots () in the upper-right corner.
    • Tap Settings.
    • Tap Advanced or More Settings.
    • Tap the toggle switch to enable or disable Spam Protection.
  6. See if your mobile carrier offers a call-blocking service. Many service providers offer call-blocking services where they can use a database of known spam numbers to block you from receiving calls. These can also be useful at blocking text messages. Dial “611” on your phone to contact your mobile carrier and inquire about call and message blocking services. In some cases, these services may cost extra.
    Block Mobile Phone Spam Step 6 Version 4.jpg
  7. Use a third-party app to block spam messages. If neither your phone nor carrier has robust spam protection, you can use third-party apps to block spam calls and text messages, but they generally have a subscription fee. Nomorobo ($1.99 per month or $19.99 per year) can block spam calls on Android and spam calls and text messages on iPhone. Robokiller ($3.99 per month or $29.99 per year) can block spam calls and text messages on both Android and iPhone. Hiya is a free call-blocker app that can block spam calls, but not text messages. These apps are available from the Google Play Store on Android or App Store on iPhone.
    Block Mobile Phone Spam Step 7 Version 4.jpg
    • Android users will need to install Robokiller and use it as their default caller ID and spam app. Open Robokiller and tap the Settings tab. Then tap the toggle switch next to “SMS Spam Recognition” to be notified about unwanted text messages.
    • iPhone users will need to install Robokiller or Nomorobo. Open the Settings app on your phone and tap Messages. Tap Unknown & Spam. Then tap the toggle switch next to Nomorobo or Robokiller. This will enable those apps to block spam on your iPhone.
  8. Register your phone number on the Do Not Call list. Once your number is registered with the Do Not Call registry, telemarketers are required to remove your phone number from their call list and stop calling within 31 days. Regardless of whether or not you are on the Do Not Call list, it is illegal to send text messages to a mobile phone using an auto dialer without consent.[4] You can register for the Do Not Call list at
    Block Mobile Phone Spam Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • You may still receive calls and text from charities, political groups, debt collectors, and surveys.
  9. Report unwanted calls and texts to the FCC. If you continue receiving spam calls and text, especially after you are registered on the Do Not Call list, you can file a consumer complaint with the FCC. You can file a complaint with the FCC at
    Block Mobile Phone Spam Step 9 Version 2.jpg


[Edit]Related wikiHows


Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By:

FCC launches a $9 billion fund to expand 5G in rural areas

4b54e4a0-e178-11e8-bbdd-c17611049de1The Federal Communications Commission today launched the 5G Fund for Rural America, a 10-year, $9 billion program designed to help close the nation’s digital divide. The money will be used to expand 5G wireless broadband connectivity to areas of the…

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By:

AirDrop for Android: How to Use Android Nearby Share

Nearby Share is the answer to Apple’s AirDrop that Android users have been waiting for: a universal method for sharing links, photos, and files between devices. Here’s how to set it up and start sharing.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Joe Fedewa

« Older posts