Phone Life, Elon Musk and Tesla, Apple, Facebook, Sea-Thru

Note: There is no audio version of this week’s newsletter.

Extend the Life of Your Phone or Tablet Without Spending a Penny

If your phone is filling up with space, or you think it’s slowing down, you may consider upgrading. And when you do, let me give you one of my biggest tips to keep your phone working at top speed and performance. Put simply - when you are logging into your Apple or Google accounts to set your phone up at the start, as tempting as it is to restore from a backup, choose “Set up as a new phone” instead. Yes, you will have to spend a good bit of time to reset everything up the way you like it - possibly a few hours - with added tweaking in the days to come. But hear me out. Any issue you were having should no longer be present. Any bloated software you had installed will no longer be an issue. While you don’t have to do this on your yearly upgrades or if you are having issues, it can still help! Consider this a way of doing your digital spring-cleaning. Many apps cache data on your phones that need to be cleaned often, and this helps! Anytime you upgrade your OS version, it may also cache old or temporary files. By starting from new rather than a backup, you ‘reset’ all of those bloated files no longer needed. With that in mind, always make sure your device is updated before resetting.

Now, here’s something to consider you may have never thought of. If you’re happy with your current phone, but are having random issues, battery life problems, or storage limitations, this same process may make your current phone feel new again. So before wasting money on a new phone that may potentially have similar issues, try to start fresh with your current phone. Again, you’ll be sacrificing some time to get everything situated to your liking, but the time spent now is time and money saved later on.

I wouldn’t be doing my job in helping if I didn’t warn you of the most important part of this process. Backup. Backup. Backup. Before resetting, make sure your photos are backed up appropriately. You can still use iCloud storage for photos and iMessage and not “restore your phone from a backup” Other third party photo storage services include Google Photos, Microsoft OneDrive, and Amazon Photos (which is included with a Prime Membership). Make sure you note the apps and settings you want to make sure you correct them on your new install, too. A simple way of doing this is just taking a screenshot of your home screen(s).

All that said, if you’re not having any major issues, but still want to start fresh, you can take a shortcut by backing up certain apps and settings to the cloud. I’ve had good luck with this way personally, but I haven’t had major issues I’ve seen others have. The way to do this is to visit your settings, and find out where your backups settings are located. On an iPhone, the path would be Settings > Apple ID (choose your name at the top) > iCloud > Show All (listed under the “Apps using iCloud” option. Here, you can toggle which apps backup to the cloud. The two biggest data hogs may give you caution - Photos and iMessage. If you absolutely want to keep them, you may need to pay for more iCloud storage. Otherwise, turning these off should have your backup under a couple of gigabytes, very likely under the free 5 GB limit, too.

If after resetting your phone you are still seeing battery life issues, consider a replacement battery. On iPhones, Apple will replace your battery for about $80-100 and keep you within warranty. If out of warranty, and you have some DIY in your blood, you can use iFixit to buy a third party battery and tools for around $30-50 for most Android and Apple phones.

If you have done some or all of the above and decide you want to buy a new phone, that’s okay! My suggestion is to buy the best model you can afford. A phone is something you use every day and it should last a few years. Penny-pinching isn’t worth it in the long run if you’ve decided to make the plunge! Just make sure to back up before resetting.

When everything is backed up, and you’re ready, follow these steps:

Settings > General > Transfer or Reset Phone > Erase All Contents and Settings

ICYMI: Elon Musk and Tesla Charging Updates

As a native to New Orleans, Walter Isacson prepares to launch his biography on Elon Musk this week. He’s teased out a few excerpts, including a piece in the Wall Street Journal, The Real Story of Musk’s Twitter Takeover, and insight into the future $25,000 Cybertruck inspired robotaxi. As Tesla continues pushing forward with their lineup and leaks of the Cybertrcks manufacturing picking up, other manufactures continue to adopt their charging infrastructure. Honda announced their choice to join Ford, GM, Volkswagen, and Mercedes, among others, and adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) for their future EVs starting in 2025. Even then, adapters will allow charging for those without starting in 2024.

ICYMI: Rumors Surrounding Apple and Facebook

This newsletter is not meant for me to share rumors or leaks. However, the goal is to share news you can use, or help you understand why something may be important moving forward. And there were two pieces of news rumored floating around the last week or so.

Firstly, it was reported Apple may release a less expensive version of their Macbook to rival Google’s Chromebook - especially in education. Over the last couple of decades, Apple has lost some of their market in the education space to Microsoft and Google. If you are planning to purchase a laptop for school for your kids or students (as a parent or teacher), consider waiting a few months if able. Apple will have a product announcement this week (presumably around phones only), and typically provide a computing announcement in the spring. However, they are also known to randomly throw out press releases at anytime announcing one single product.

Next, Facebook appears to be considering a paid, ad-free version of Facebook in Europe as they battle regulatory issues with the EU. After having issues with ads and news postings in Canada, this isn’t far-fetched - although Mark Zuckerberg has explained in the past “why an ad-free Facebook isn’t as simple as it sounds.” However, as other social media platforms begin to see growth (in users and monetarily) while offering paid subscriptions, Facebook may change their tune. Let this be a reminder that if something is free, you are the product. Your information is used to help target advertising to you. Read more about security and privacy in Weekly Wheaties #2311.

POTW: Sea-Thru

If you’ve seen the popular picture circulating on social media about what color swimsuits are the safest colors, understand the premise behind that is based on water reflecting certain light waves from the sun. As you go deeper and further underwater, some colors completely are removed. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could see all colors underwater as you can above water?

Well, Sea-Thru is an app created by engineer and oceanographer Derya Akkaynak, from Haifa, Israel that does just that. Put simply, it’s a photoshopesque algorithm that removes the water from underwater images. It’s a bit more involved than photoshop is capable of, as it does a bit more processing. It’s hard to explain what the difference is, so it’s best to check out some of the examples on her website at: https://www.deryaakkaynak.com/sea-thru

Read more about Sea-Thru at Freethink