Extending your Wi-Fi range
Q. I have a big house and my Wi-Fi doesn't reach all corners. What can I do to increase its range?
A. There are several tricks you can use to do this. For the best signal, make sure your Wi-Fi router is out in the open. They work best in high places. The fewer walls and obstructions (think microwaves, washers, dryers, cordless phones) you have in the way of you and your gadget, the better. If you have a combination modem and router in a back room, you might have your provider move the connecting line of your cable modem to a more central location. Have them upgrade it while they're at it. Finally, if your Wi-Fi router is old - sorry to get geeky here, but if it's an 802.11b or 802.11g - consider upgrading to the 802.11n or 802.11ac standard.
Deleting apps in iCloud to free up space
Q. I noticed that I have apps on my iPhone that I don't use, but they are taking up a lot of space in the cloud. How do I get rid of them?
A. If you delete the app on your gadget, it's no longer in the cloud. iCloud only backs up photos and videos in your camera roll, the device settings, ringtones, visual voicemail, and app data. If you see a deleted app, it is probably just there because it's a part of your purchase history, which is also backed up in the cloud. To get rid of that app backup data, go to Settings>>iCloud>>Storage and Backup>>Manage Storage. Then select which apps you no longer wish to back up and select Turn Off & Delete.
An easier way to text for fat fingers
Q. My grandchildren never talk on the phone; they only text. I want to keep in touch with them, but my fingers are just too big and the type is too small on my Android. There has to be a better way.
A. You're in luck. There are plenty of programs that can make the keyboard on your phone big enough so you can type without frustration. You can make the text on your phone bigger by going to Settings>>Accessibility. Then check the box for Large text. Then you could try out an app like Big Buttons Keyboard, which makes your phone's keyboard bigger. And if you want to ditch the keyboard and typing altogether, you could also try a type-to-text app like Text to Speech.
The best way to get rid of old gadgets
Q. My family and I are getting ready for a big move across country. To lighten our load, we decided to sell some of our old gadgets. What's the best way to go about it?
A. Before you sell anything, you want to make sure you have wiped all the devices of any personal data or files. For Apple gadgets, go to Settings>>General>>Reset. Select "Erase All Content and Settings" and then tap the red button that pops up. For Androids, go to Settings>>Personal>>Backup & Reset. Select the Factory data reset button. For laptops and PCs, you will want to erase everything on the hard drive. Once your gadgets are clean and ready to go, you can see what they are worth, or even sell them to a site like Gazelle, Nextworth, YouRenew and BuyMyTronics. Test all the sites to see which one will give you the best price.
Getting more data usage from your phone
Q. I have a 6GB monthly data plan, but my teenage daughter has used 4GB in just two weeks on her iPhone 5c. What do I do?
A. The best place to start is to make sure she is using Wi-Fi whenever possible. The iPhone 5c has gotten several complaints that it's guzzling data. That's because the phone doesn't automatically prioritize Wi-Fi over other connections. You will need to set this manually.
You also want to make sure your daughter has her phone in airplane mode when she's not using it, or when she is at school. This will stop any open apps in the background from using any data. Finally, you could try an app like Onavo Extend which compresses your data and will show you where your data is being used, and how much it has saved you.
Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. Hear it locally at 94.3 WSC News Radio noon-3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go to www.komando.com.
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