In our rush to set up and quickly use new technologies, it’s easy to skip settings that affect our privacy. Don’t make that mistake. Here’s a list of seven settings tech companies would rather you leave alone.
Some of the mundane things we do every day take months or even years to shorten the lifespan of our technology. Click or click to learn five ways you can destroy your expensive phone, laptop, tablet and TV.
Some gadgets also present security risks. Scan this list to keep you and your family safe.
1. An old phone in a drawer catches fire
YouTuber Arun Maini runs a popular channel called Mrwhosetheboss, where he collects every Samsung flagship phone since 2010. He noticed a scary pattern. The phone’s battery swelled enough to crack glass and split the case.
And not just Samsung phones. Any gadget with a lithium-ion battery is prone to damage over time. A swollen battery is a serious problem that can cause fire, personal injury, and property damage.
Dig through your drawers for your old phone for signs of a swollen battery. If you see it, do the following:
Don’t try to charge a swollen phone. Charging a swollen battery can cause a fire or explosion.
If your old phone battery is easily removable, carefully separate the battery from the case. If your phone is newer, don’t try to remove the battery yourself.
Put the swollen phone in a fireproof bag and contact the manufacturer. You probably won’t be able to replace the old model or get anything. But, at least, arrange for it to be recycled or disposed of properly.
When storing your old phone, follow these rules of thumb:
Turn off the phone and put it in a cool, moisture-free place.
If you plan to store the battery for a long time, please charge the battery to 50%. Check the battery every six months or so and charge it in half.
Maintenance can greatly extend the life of your current phone. Tap or click on my simple guide to properly clean your iPhone or Android inside and out.
2. Outdated routers let hackers in
Your router has one important job: connecting all your devices to the internet. If you are using a model that is many years old, it may not be safe for that task.
The latest security standard is WPA-3, released in 2018. If your router is not WPA3 compatible, WPA2-PSK AES is the next most secure option. This is a sign that you need to buy a new router.
When shopping for a new router, there are three basic factors. Consider the size and layout of your home, the number of internet-connected devices you have, and your internet speed. But with so many options, choosing the right router can be tricky.
Save time and money: Whether you need to cover an apartment or a mansion with a mesh system, we have your back. Answer a few questions, and we’ll pick the best router for you. Take the 60-second quiz here and get our handpicked advice.
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3. No update
As long as there is an internet connection, hackers have the potential to wreak havoc. Security updates keep you safe from the latest tricks of cybercriminals, which is why it’s crucial to keep your smartphones, computers, and all other devices up-to-date.
What happens when your device no longer receives updates? It’s time to upgrade. This is obvious from your phone and computer, but equally applies to smart speakers, security cameras, and anything else that uses your home network.
Here are some ways to protect yourself:
Check your network regularly 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 setting up a separate Wi-Fi network for your devices.
Always use strong, complex passwords that are not easy to guess. Tap or click here to create a stronger password.
4. It’s on the recall list
It’s not just your old equipment that you need to worry about. Some products enter our homes with problems that can lead to fires, injuries, or worse.
This 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 go through their list regularly to see if you own anything that endangers your family. Sometimes, you can get a replacement or a refund for a recalled product. There you will also find instructions on how to contact the manufacturer.
We also write about major technology product recalls on Komando.com. Sign up for my free Fraud & Security Alerts newsletter to get our warnings delivered straight to your inbox. You’ll be glad you did!
5. Old power strip showing wear and tear
Outlet extenders and extension cords carry a lot of responsibility in our homes. Sometimes the power strip will short out and shut down your equipment. When this happens, even if only for a few seconds, check the power strip for signs of damage. Look for signs of burnt around the socket. These will show up as rust marks that you can rub off with your finger.
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Even without obvious signs of damage, an old power strip can be dangerous to use. If you don’t know when it was last replaced, add it to your shopping list.
there are many things you should no way Plug in the extender. Tap or click here to see 10 dangerous mistakes you could be making.
Try my new daily podcast for more tech smarts
My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today. “It’s a full 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and tech questions for callers like you from around the country. Search it wherever you get the podcast. For your convenience, click the link below to Get the most recent episode.
If you can solve this mystery, you belong to the FBI. Maybe. Plus, holiday smart speaker tricks, Amazon now lets you pay with Venmo, and Chrome is going away with Windows and the browser extensions that take over your searches.
Listen to the podcast here Or wherever you get podcasts. Just search for my last name “Komando”.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show, Tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch Kim Komando Show On your phone, tablet, TV or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcast.
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Learn about all the latest tech on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim answers the phone and offers advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For her daily tips, free newsletter, and more, visit her website: Comando.net.