Author: Sarah Turner

The Best Ways to Protect your iPad Pro

If you want your iPad Pro to last, it is best to invest in some basic protection. You’ve already dropped a big chunk of change on it so it’s best to protect it. Accidents, drops, kids, pets, and life can take a toll on your devices, but a little foresight can go a long way in making your gadgets last you a long time. Here are the best ways to protect your iPad Pro.

The Best iPad Pro Cases

A case is the best way to protect your iPad Pro and keep it in mint condition. While you may worry a case will feel bulky or cumbersome, the right case will only enhance your iPad Pro.

The OtterBox Symmetry Series 360 Case is a great option. It fully covers the tablet’s edges and corners to keep it safe from scratches, knicks, and any screen shattering. Protection like this is absolutely essential if your iPad Pro already has any small cracks or dings, as you don’t want a fall to cause the entire screen to fall apart. You can easily use the Apple Pencil with this case, or use without, which not every case is compatible. There’s a space in the case that allows the Apple Pencil to attach so that it can easily charge and sync. The back of the case is clear plastic with a rubber border that covers the buttons and has cutouts for the speakers, microphones, and USB ports. The front flap of the Symmetry Series 360 Case features a common three-panel design that allows you to fold it and stand the tablet up at different angles. The front of the case is faux leather and lined with microsuede.

If your children use your iPad Pro, you’ll want to invest in a different kind of case. You need to kid-proof your tablet if you want to protect it from any mishaps that can occur when kids are playing with it. Speck’s Freestanding iGuy Case is the perfect pick. It’s fun design features two little arms on the sides for kids to hold onto and two little legs that allow it to stand upright. The case is durable and made of tough EVA foam that can withstand drops and roughhousing. Speck has even tested it against extreme temperatures, chemicals, cracks, and abrasions.

The Best iPad Pro Screen Protectors

To avoid scratches and microfractures, you should equip your iPad Pro with a screen protector.  Popular screen protector brand ZAGG makes an impact and scratch resistant protector called Glass +. In our uBreakiFix stores, we carry a liquid screen protector from Cell Helmet that can be installed by one of our techs and comes with a warranty. No matter what kind of screen protector you choose, make sure that it will protect your iPad from damage without compromising the clarity and responsiveness of the screen.

uBreakiFix Can Fix Your iPad Pro

Of course, if your iPad Pro happens to endure a fall or incur damage that a case cannot protect it from, that doesn’t mean that the situation is hopeless. You can still take your tablet to your nearest uBreakiFix location for repair and we will get your iPad Pro back in tip-top shape in no time

What are Micro-Fractures and How to Avoid Them?

Microfractures are hairline cracks in your phone screen. They often happen when you drop your phone. You may not see a large scratch or crack on the glass, but its durability has taken a hard hit. Your phone will now be far more susceptible to large cracks as the screen has now weakened. Microfractures add up and when too many have accumulated, even something as innocuous as your phone falling onto a plush carpet can cause the entire screen to shatter.

While the Gorilla glass that is now used for phone screens is far stronger than the glass screens of yore, they aren’t entirely impervious. Glass will only break if the impact of a drop or fall is so forceful that overcomes the surface compression. Over time, the more microfractures— even ones you may not be able to see with the naked eye— your phone’s screen has, the likelier it is to shatter with every impact.

How To Avoid Screen Microfractures

The best way to avoid hairline cracks and microfractures is to protect your phone appropriately. A phone case is one of the best ways to protect the screen’s integrity. A case with a thick, durable lip around the screen is going to protect it when you drop it. If your case has a pronounced enough lip, even a hard facedown drop won’t wreck your phone.

You will also want to consider the case’s material. Avoid plastic cases as they aren’t as strong and can break quite easily when they fall. Silicone and polycarbonate are both great choices as they are very sturdy materials.

Another great way to keep your phone safe from microfractures is to apply a screen protector. Even a simple, thin plastic one that sits atop the glass can prevent these tiny fractures from forming.

Pixel v. Pixel: Comparing Specs On The New Pixel Phones

The new Google Pixel phones have arrived just in time for the holidays. If you are debating between the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL, take a look at our breakdown of the specs below.

Google Pixel 3

The new Google Pixel 3 phone features a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,280×1,080 pixels and a pixel density of 443 pixels per inch. It measures out to 5.7×2.7×0.3 inches and weighs only 5.2 ounces. The Pixel 3 uses the Android 9 Pie operating software. It can capture 4K videos and has a 12.2-megapixel regular camera with a dual 8-megapixel front-facing camera. It is built with a qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB of RAM, and can be purchased with either 64GB or 128GB of storage. While there’s no headphone jack, there is a USB-C connector, a fingerprint sensor on the back cover, and wireless charging support. The Google Pixel 3 comes with their own Pixel Buds USB-C headphones. Without a phone contract, this phone will run you $799 for the 64GB version and $899 for the 128GB version.

 

Google Pixel 3 XL

The new Google Pixel 3 XL phone features a 6.3-inch P-OLED display with a resolution of 2,960×1,440 pixels and a pixel density of 523 pixels per inch. It measures out to 6.2×3.0x0.3 inches and weighs only 6.49 ounces. The Pixel 3 uses the Android 9 Pie operating software. It can capture 4K videos and has a 12-megapixel rear camera with a dual 8-megapixel front-facing camera. It is built with a qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB of RAM, and can be purchased with either 64GB or 128GB of storage. While there’s no headphone jack, there is a USB-C connector, a fingerprint sensor on the back cover, and wireless charging support. The Google Pixel 3 XL comes with their own Pixel Buds USB-C headphones. Without a phone contract, this phone will run you $899 for the 64GB version and $999 for the 128GB version.

Best Cases For Your Google Pixel 3 XL

If you’ve picked yourself up a brand new Google Pixel 3 XL, you might want to invest in a case to keep your phone protected. Here are the best cases for your Google Pixel 3 XL:

  • Google sells their own cases for their smartphones, including a fabric case and a customizable case. The fabric case has a knit exterior and soft feel with an inner microfiber lining to support your device. It is perfectly compatible with Google Assistant, so you only need to gently squeeze the sides of your phone to activate it. It comes in four colors: pink moon, carbon, indigo, and fog. Google’s custom case features a dual layer design to protect your phone. You can upload any photo of yours to adorn the matte outer layer, while the inner layer comes in three colors (black, white, and pink).
  • Otterbox is known for their durable cases, and their Symmetry Series Case for Google Pixel 3 XL is no exception. Their design will protect your phone while remaining a slim and sleek appearance. It can withstand accidental drops and features a raised bumper to protect the touchscreen. The Symmetry Series Case also works with Google’s Active Edge feature. It comes in three colors: Black, Tonic Violet, and Gradient Energy.
  • Spigen’s Neo Hybrid is a great case that provides good protection at an affordable price. Its dual-layer design uses a flexible inner layer of absorbent TPU and a hard outer layer made of PC. The Neo Hybrid also has a raised edge to protect your phone’s display in a drop. The case features a two-tone look and herringbone pattern with a matte finish to keep it smudge and fingerprint free. It comes in three colors: Gunmetal, Burgundy, and Mint.
  • If you’re looking for a stylish phone case, consider Nomad’s Rugged Leather Case. Leather may be a surprising material for a phone case, but it’s actually quite durable. The case is made of USA Horween leather that has been fit to a polycarbonate body and raised TPE bumper edge. The case is also lined in a soft microfiber. Its sleek look will develop a lovely patina over time while still protecting your phone from drops up to 6 feet. The Rugged Leather Case by Nomad is also compatible with Active Edge and wireless charging.

New Apple Products (From Oct. 30 Keynote)

Apple held its second keynote in the past two months on October 30th. They made a few announcements and unveiled a few new products, just in time for holiday shopping madness. Here are the exciting and new Apple products you can get your hands on by the end of the year.

 

A new MacBook Air will be released that they are calling the “greenest Mac ever,” as its enclosure is made entirely of recycled aluminum. It has a 13.3-inch Retina display with 4 million pixels, meaning the resolution will be sharper and the colors better. Like the recent MacBook Pro models, the new MacBook Air features Touch ID so you can unlock your computer with just a fingertip. It also has Apple’s T2 security chip for extra protection. Weighing only 2.75 pounds, the new MacBook Air takes up 17% less volume and is 10% thinner than its predecessor. As for colors, it is available in silver, space gray, and rose gold.

Two new iPad Pro models will be released as a part of the new Apple products. They come in two sizes, with 11-inch and 12.9-inch “liquid retina” displays. They lack a Home button, so the screens take up almost the entirety of the device. These tablets will be faster— up to 90% faster workloads than its predecessors— and the graphics performance is 1,000 times faster than its predecessors. The new iPad Pros sport a USB-C charging port, making them compatible with most phones and laptops, unlike the Lightning connector. This port can also charge your other Apple devices, so your iPad can be used to charge your iPhone. Apple also announced a new Apple Pencil to accompany the release of the new iPad Pros. Their new stylus will pair automatically, charge wirelessly, and connect to the side of the iPad Pro magnetically, making it a no-brainer accessory.

 

 

 

Apple announced that they would be releasing new Mac Minis for the first time since 2014. This model is their smallest desktop computer. The Mac Minis are available with a four-core or six-core processor, and Apple fans can choose between 8GB and 64GB RAM. They are also available with up to 2 TB of storage space. The Mac Minis use the Apple T2 Security Chip as well, so data is better encrypted and video transcoding is faster. Like the new MacBook Air, the new Mini features an enclosure made of recycled aluminum.

The Evolution of External Storage

Most people have used external storage, whether they realize it or not. External storage doesn’t have to come in the form of a heavy, clunky external drive that lives next to your desktop computer. It can come in all shapes and sizes from the floppy discs of the 90’s to thumb drives that are kept on keychains. Here’s a look back at the evolution of external storage.

 

The First External Storage

The first external hard drive was invented by Reynold B. Johnson, an IBM engineer. It was called the IBM 350 Disk File and was an external hard drive that supported the IBM 305 RAMAC computer system. Introduced in 1956, the IBM 350 Disk File was massive and had to be stored in air-controlled rooms.

 

The 1970s

In the early 1970s, the IBM 3340 featured removable data modules that could store up to 70 MB of data. More widely known as a Winchester, the IBM 3340 were popular across America, as it was easy to add data modules to increase storage as needed.

 

The 1980s

Apple first introduced the personal computer in the 1980s, with Microsoft releasing their own model soon after. In 1983, Apple released their ProFile external hard drive that could be plugged into the back of an Apple computer for extra storage. This idea did not take off, though, as internal hard drives were being made with increasing storage capabilities. Users would simply replace their current hard drives with ones that had more space when necessary.

 

The 1990s

If you were a child of the 90s, you probably remember putting school projects on floppy discs. They were slim, lightweight, and portable. They couldn’t hold large amounts of data, but they were perfect for schools and transporting or storing small amounts of data. By the late 90s, it became possible to write data onto compact discs. In September of 1999, though, IBM introduced a cable-free USB Flash Drive, also known as a thumb drive, which became an easy and portable way to store external data.

 

2000s – Today

External hard drives are much smaller now. They come in all sizes for a variety of data needs. Plus, they are affordable and transportable. It’s easy to plug them in via USB port, move data onto them, and take it with you. Gone are the days of sharing CDs or Floppy Discs with data written onto them. Flash drives are still used for smaller projects and data (although you can find drives that have much larger storage capabilities), but personal external hard drives are pretty ubiquitous in the digital age.

What’s the difference between a computer virus and malware?

While computer viruses and malware are both unwelcome plagues on your computer, there are some distinctions between the two. A virus is actually a type of malware that is designed to replicate itself and then spread, just like a flu virus in the human body. Malware encompasses all kinds of malicious code that can infect your computer. It is a software created to harm and infect the host system— in this case, your computer.

 

Malware includes viruses, spyware, adware, trojans, worms, and others. Spyware spies on you by tracking your internet activity and helps hackers steal your information unbeknownst to you. Adware presents advertisements that reflect your browsing history. While it is not necessarily malicious, it can affect computer performance. Trojans are actually a type of virus that is designed to trick the user into thinking they are safe so they download the program and run it. Once running it will take over the computer’s files and steal valuable information. Worms are malware that destroys information and files stored on computers.

How To Protect Your Computer From Viruses and Malware

One of the most important steps to protecting your computer from viruses and malware is always keeping your computer up to date. If there are updates to your software, operating systems, apps, or plugins available, download and install them. They are often released to patch any holes in security defenses, so it’s important to update them so your computer isn’t vulnerable.

 

Another great thing to do to protect your computer is to install a scanner to detect malware and viruses. To be extra careful, use more than one type of scanner because different scanners could catch different malware and miss others. There are plenty of free options you can try out while you figure out what’s best for your computer and needs. Run your scanners regularly but be sure to do them one at a time. You don’t want to overwhelm and inadvertently crash your computer. Some scanners will automatically delete malware they detect, but you should always make sure that any infected files are completely removed from your computer.

All the New 2018 Alexa Gadgets

The Alexa Gadgets Toolkit beta launched in September. This release allows developers to design their own Alexa gadgets and accessories. Manufacturers outside of Amazon can now build devices that interact with Amazon Echo speakers and be able to pair, connect, and update software. These new Alexa gadgets won’t always feature Alexa directly, but they will be able to pair with Amazon’s Alexa devices. Amazon is launching plenty of new Alexa gadgets, though, so you can turn your household into a truly smart home.

Smart Plugs

Many people have jumped on board with smart plugs. These electric plugs are Alexa-enabled so that on command, Alexa can turn electronics on and off or dim the lights. Amazon’s Smart Plug will be released October 11th and is available for $25. It works with Alexa so that you can have voice control on any outlet. You can schedule lights, fans, appliances, etc. to turn on and off, and you can even control them with your smartphone remotely through the Alexa app.

Smart Microwave

Amazon will release their Alexa-enabled microwave in November for $60. They will be wi-fi connected and respond to voice commands. You’ll even be able to reorder pantry staples, like popcorn, from Amazon by simply telling your microwave to do so. To use the Amazon microwave, though, you will need an Alexa speaker nearby for it to work. The interface will also feature an “Ask Alexa” button on the control panel that will allow you to tell it what you want to cook or how long you want to cook something without having to say Alexa beforehand.

New Speakers

In order to compete with Sonos, Amazon is launching a suite of new speakers. Their subwoofer, Echo Sub, is $130 and can be connected to multiple speakers throughout the house. There will be two other Alexa speakers called the Link and Link Amp debuting later this year.

Security Camera

Amazon’s Cloud Cam is a security camera that is Alex-enabled. It allows you to stay connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in 1080p full HD. Using the Cloud Cam smartphone app, you can get notifications of any unusual activity and check in on your home remotely at any time. It even features night vision to let you see what happens once the lights are off. The Cloud Cam also has two-way audio so you can talk to your family or pets while you’re away.

How To Customize And Clean Airpods

AirPods have been growing in popularity, but did you know that you can customize them? There are some simple tweaks you can make to these wireless earbuds’ settings to make your usage even easier.

Automatic Ear Detection

Apple’s AirPods feature automatic ear detection, which means that when you remove one or both of your earbuds from your ear, the music or podcast you’re listening to will pause. When you put the earbuds back in, your music or podcast will begin playing again automatically. While this is a cool feature, it might be more annoying to some users than helpful. You can disable it, though, in Settings. Simply tap the Bluetooth menu in your Settings app and find the AirPods menu. Select the “i” next to your AirPods name and move the “Automatic Ear Detection” slide to disable it.

Siri and the Double Tap Function

When you double tap the sides of your AirPods, you will be accessing Siri by default. This can be helpful in some cases, but not in others, like when you don’t have WiFi or an internet connection. There is an alternative, though, for this double tap function. You can change the Siri functionality to a simple play/pause function. To do this, open your Settings and go to the Bluetooth menu. Tap the “i” next to your AirpOds name, and underneath the “Double-Tap On AirPods” heading, you can choose “Play/Pause” or “Off”. If you choose “Play/Pause,” you will be able to play your music or pause it by double-tapping. If you choose “Off,” you will disable the double-tap function altogether.

How To Clean Your AirPods

When cleaning your AirPods and charging case, you should avoid using any liquids. It may be tempting to use some kind of sanitizing solution or wipe, but they can ruin the polish on the plastic and even damage the electronics themselves. Using a soft cotton swab or q-tip can be a great tool for removing any debris or buildup on the black speaker grilles. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the exteriors of both the Airpods and the charging case. If there is any detritus or gunk lingering in the charging contacts of your case, you could try to blow some air manually or with canned air to remove it. Resist the urge to stick anything down towards the charging contacts, though, as that could inflict permanent damage. You should wipe down and clean your AirPods and their charging case regularly to prevent build-up, though. Consistency is key to keeping them in mint condition.  

Apple’s September Keynote Roundup

Apple made its September keynote announcement on September 12. If you aren’t up to date on the latest Apple news, read our recap below. Here are the biggest announcements from Apple this month.

There Are Three New iPhone Models

Apple will be introducing three new iPhones: the XS, XS Max, and XR. The XS features a 5.8 inch Super Retina OLED display, whereas the XS Max has a larger display at 6.5 inches. Both will feature a new chip that drives them to perform faster and more efficient when doing things like sharing photos, streaming videos, and using Face ID to unlock your phone. They can also store up to 200,000 photos, and those photos will be improved thanks to a new feature called Smart HDR, which will merge multiple photos taken simultaneously to yield the highest quality photo possible. You’ll also get 30 more minutes of battery life on the XS and 90 more minutes on the XS Max. Pre-orders begin September 14th and will ship on September 21st. The XS model starts at $999, with the XS Max starting at $1,099.

 

The XR is the third new iPhone model and it will be available in a variety of colors: blue, coral, red, yellow, black, and white. It will also feature an edge-to-edge LCD display that spans 6.1 inches, meaning there won’t be a home button. It will use Face ID like on the X models. The XR will also give you an hour and a half more battery life than the iPhone 8 Plus. Pre-orders begin October 19th and will ship the following week. The XR will start at $749.

The New Series 4 Apple Watch

The next generation of Apple Watch will feature a sleek new design with an edge-to-edge display and curved corners. The screens are 30% larger, yet thinner than the previous Series 3 model. Apple Watches will have new interactive faces and louder speakers. Its motion detection has improved so that it can now recognize when its wearer has fallen. Your watch will then alert you with an option to contact emergency services. The new watch will also detect abnormal heart rates and rhythms, which is great news for people concerned about heart health. It will even be able to take electrocardiograms or EKG. You will be able to hold your fingertips to the digital crown on the screen for 30 seconds to measure your EKG. The Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $399 for models with GPS, $499 for models with cellular, and both are available for pre-order September 14th.

 

Is My iPad Battery Dead Or Is The Charge Port Broken?

Is your iPad not charging when you plug it in? Or perhaps it is charging at a glacial pace? It can be hard to determine if your iPad’s battery is actually dead or if its charge port is broken. While it is certainly a frustrating problem, there are some troubleshooting tips to help you figure it out.

Before doing anything, make sure you have covered your bases. Is the cable plugged in all the way? Make sure it’s a snug fit. The USB end should be firmly attached to the plug, and the plug should be securely plugged into the wall outlet. Double check that the power outlet is turned on. Yes, these seem like extremely basic steps, but it’s important to make sure you’re not accidentally overlooking anything.

Are you charging your iPad via computer?

If you are plugging your iPad into your Mac or computer, it will take longer to charge. This method of charging will always be slower than using a power outlet because a computer cannot give the same wattage. It’s not uncommon for an iPad to barely garner any juice at all from charging via your computer. If you’re charging via a MacBook or laptop, you’ll need to also make sure that the laptop itself is plugged into an outlet and charging. If it’s not you will zap its battery power and it won’t have any power to give to your iPad.

Best Practices

Are you trying to use your iPad while it’s charging? Stop it. Put down the tablet and walk away. Using your iPad when it’s plugged in will only result in a slow charge or a standstill. All of that power will be going straight to whatever app you’re using, as the processor and screen need the juice. This is especially true of apps like games, as the graphics put more of a strain on the battery. Turn your iPad off, plug it in, and let it be.

 

Be sure your lightning port is clean and free of any crumbs or debris. It is a commonplace for detritus to accumulate, which can affect the iPad’s charging capability and speed. Give it a little blow or use a compressed air blower for more power.

 

Double check that you’re using the proper charger. Different apple devices come with different chargers. Apple Watches and iPhones use 5W chargers, but iPads use 12W chargers. Using the wrong model result in a slower charging speed. The wattage is often labeled on the adaptor, but if you can’t find it, reference Apple’s website to see what they look like.

 

Another simple troubleshooting tip is to restart your device. Turn your iPad off, let it sit for a little bit, then turn it back on. Plug it in again and see if will charge now. If that doesn’t help, you can try resetting your device.

 

If nothing has worked, you’ll need to determine which component is at fault. Try different cables, power adaptors, and outlets. Try a different USB port— perhaps it’s just that one USB port is no longer functioning. If none of these swaps work, though, you will need to seek professional help. Make an appointment with Apple, and they will be able to repair your iPad for you.

How To Replace The Battery On A Macbook

Common MacBook Battery Issues

It’s easier than you think to drain your Macbook’s battery. If you find that your battery suddenly isn’t holding a charge for as long as it has been, the culprit could be as simple as overuse. The more time you spend on your computer, the faster your battery will begin to drain.

There are some settings that can help you preserve the battery life. Make sure your Bluetooth is turned off when it’s not in use. When this setting is turned on, it’s using unnecessary power in the background. Dim your screen brightness some if you can. The brighter the screen, the more power your MacBook is using. Turn off the keyboard backlighting feature. Unless you’re using your computer in the dark, you don’t need this turned on.

If you store your computer when the battery is at less than 50%, you could inadvertently be affecting the battery’s longevity. When you know you won’t be using your computer for a while, be sure to charge it to at least 50% before putting it away. And if for some reason you plan to store your computer longterm, be sure to charge it to 50% every six months to avoid losing battery capacity. Even if you’re not using your Macbook for a couple of days, be sure it’s charged. Apple states that when the Macbook’s lithium-ion battery is left for more than two days at less than 20%, the battery capacity will begin to deteriorate. So, if you go days without touching your computer, be sure to keep it juiced up. These are all little changes you can make that can end up having a big impact on your MacBook’s battery.

Replacing a MacBook Battery

Batteries lose their ability to hold a charge over time, and you don’t want to be left with a permanently dead laptop. Luckily, you can easily replace the battery on a MacBook by following our steps below.

  1. Check the condition of your MacBook’s battery. It’s really easy to do. Simply click on the battery icon in the menu bar and see what condition it is in. It will say one of four things:
  • Normal: everything is running smoothly.
  • Replace Soon: the battery is functioning normally but holds less charge than it did in its original condition.
  • Replace Now: the battery is still functioning normally but that it holds significantly less of a charge.
  • Service Battery: the battery is not functioning normally and needs to be taken in for service by a professional.

 

  1. If you discover that your battery does indeed need to be replaced, Apple recommends that you contact them or an authorized service provider. They will be able to safely replace your MacBook’s battery.

 

 

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