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How to Use Family Sharing to Monitor Your Child’s iPhone

You might not realize it, but there are lots of parental control options on an iPhone or iPad. They make it easy to keep your children safe and monitor how they use their devices. Most of these controls link with Family Sharing, which means you can use your own iPhone or iPad to edit restrictions or allow purchases for your child.

Here’s a complete guide to setting up and monitoring parental controls on your child’s iPhone or iPad using Family Sharing from your own device.

Create a Family Sharing Group

Before you set up any parental controls, it’s best to create a Family Sharing group with you and your children in it. Family Sharing lets you share iTunes and App Store purchases, iCloud storage, and Apple Music or TV channel subscriptions.

But you can also use Family Sharing to approve or deny your children’s purchases, monitor their screen time, restrict adult content, or track their location. What’s particularly great about Family Sharing is that you can do all of this remotely from your own iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

To create a Family Sharing group:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and tap [Your Name] at the top of the screen. Choose to Set Up Family Sharing if you haven’t already.
  2. Follow the onscreen prompts to add a payment method, invite family members, and enable Family Sharing features.
  3. After creating the group, tap Add Family Member to invite more people to your Family Sharing group, up to a total of six people.
  4. Alternatively, ask the Family Organizer of an existing Family Sharing group to add you to their group.

Creating a Child Account

Family members can only join your Family Sharing group if they have an Apple ID. If your child is under 13 years old, you will need to create a Child account for them to use, since Apple doesn’t let them make their own.

A Child account must be linked to a Family Sharing group until the child reaches 13 years old, at which point they can choose to leave the group.

To create a Child account for Family Sharing:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and go to [Your Name] > Family Sharing.
  2. Tap Add Family Member and choose to Create a Child Account. Then follow the onscreen prompts to create an Apple ID for your child.
  3. After creating the account, use the email address and password you created to sign in to that account on your child’s iPhone or iPad.

Create a Child Account for Family Sharing on iPhone

Assigning Parents or Guardians

If there are multiple adults (over 18 years old) in your Family Sharing group, you may want to assign some of them to act as Parents/Guardians for any children in the group.

A Parent/Guardian can monitor Screen Time, adjust Content & Privacy Restrictions, and approve or deny App Store and iTunes purchases for your child’s device.

To make someone a Parent/Guardian in your Family Sharing group:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and go to [Your Name] > Family Sharing.
  2. Tap an adult family member’s name and turn on the Parent/Guardian option.

Parent:Guardian toggle in Family Sharing settings

Approve Downloads With Ask to Buy

Ask to Buy sends a notification to all your Apple devices whenever your child tries to download content from iTunes or the App Store. You can then tap Get or Decline in this notification to choose whether to let them download the media or not.

This is a good way to avoid unexpected iTunes bills—since any purchases they do make come off the Family Organizer’s payment method. It’s also an easy way to avoid letting your children download apps, songs, movies, TV shows, or books you don’t want them to have, since they need to request permission first.

Ask to Buy applies to free downloads as well as paid purchases. So your child always needs your permission before grabbing a new app.

Apple enables Ask to Buy automatically when you create a Child account. But you can also turn it on or off for anyone under 18 in your Family Sharing settings:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to [Your Name] > Family Sharing.
  2. Tap a family member’s name and toggle the Ask to Buy option.
  3. When you receive a request notification, tap it to view the app or media your child wants to download.

Add Gift Card Balance to Your Child’s Account

When you approve purchases for your child, Apple takes payment from the Family Organizer’s primary payment method. If you don’t want this to be the case, you should buy an iTunes or App Store gift card and add that balance to your child’s account.

Any future purchases you approve will come off your child’s Apple ID balance. When it’s all used up, payment reverts to the Family Organizer’s payment method again.

Monitor Your Child’s Screen Time

Screen Time collects a range of data to show how much someone has used their Apple device, along with which apps they spend their time on. With Family Sharing, you can remotely monitor your children’s Screen Time and impose limits to keep them from spending too long on their iPhone or iPad.

To enable Screen Time for your child’s device:

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad and go to [Your Name] > Family Sharing.
  2. Tap Screen Time, then tap your child’s name and choose to Turn On Screen Time.

When you turn on Screen Time for your child, it prompts you to set Downtime, App Limits, and a Screen Time passcode straight away. You can edit these settings at any time using the Screen Time passcode you create; keep this passcode secret from your child so they can’t edit the settings themselves.

To view your child’s Screen Time usage or edit their settings, open the Settings and go to Screen Time. Then tap your child’s name beneath the Family heading.

You should see a usage report at the top of the screen. Tap See All Activity for a breakdown of how long your child spent on each app or each category of apps. If you enable Include Website Data, you can also see how long they spent on particular websites in Safari.

Take a look at our breakdown of all Screen Time features to see how you can limit your child’s device usage. Your child can also send requests to you for more time when they reach their limits, which you can approve or deny from your own device.

Enable Content & Privacy Restrictions

The best parental controls on an iPhone or iPad are in the Content & Privacy Restrictions, which you can find within the Screen Time settings. Thanks to Family Sharing, you can edit the restrictions on your child’s device remotely.

  1. Go to Settings > Screen Time on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Beneath the Family section, tap your child’s name to view their Screen Time settings.
  3. Then go to Content & Privacy Restrictions and turn them on using the toggle at the top of the screen.

Most of the Content & Privacy Restrictions are fairly self-explanatory, but we’ve detailed each of the sections below for full clarity.

iTunes & App Store Purchases

Choose whether you want to allow your child to install or delete apps on their device, and if you want to allow them to make in-app purchases. If Ask to Buy is turned on, your child still needs your permission before they can install or purchase anything.

If you allow your child to install apps without using Ask to Buy, you should make sure iTunes and App Store purchases Always Require an Apple ID password. Otherwise, your child can download media themselves for a short period after you enter the password.

iTunes & App Store purchases snippet

Allowed Apps

With this setting, you can choose to make iPhone or iPad apps disappear from your child’s device entirely. To do so, turn off the button next to the app you don’t want to allow. This is a great way to avoid all temptation and protect your child from potentially harmful apps.

Allowed apps snippet in Content & Privacy Restrictions

Content Restrictions

Regardless of your child’s actual age, you can choose the age ratings and content restrictions for iTunes, the App Store, web content, Siri, and Game Center. It might take a while to work through each of these options, but you can configure them however you feel comfortable.

Content Restrictions snippet

Privacy

This option can be misleading. Choosing to allow Share My Location lets your child make changes to their location settings. If you choose not to allow Share My Location, then your child can’t make changes to their location settings.

Keep in mind that choosing not to allow Share My Location doesn’t turn off Location Sharing on your child’s device. It only stops your child from being able to change those settings on their own.

Privacy Share My Location option in Content & Privacy Restrictions

Allow Changes

The Allow Changes section lets you lock particular settings on your child’s device, such as the passcode, accounts, and mobile data settings. You might want to set these options to Don’t Allow to keep your child from logging out of their Child account and creating an adult’s account to use instead.

Allow Changes settings in Content & Privacy Restrictions

Track Your Child’s Location

Keep tabs on your children’s whereabouts with the Location Sharing option in Family Sharing. If your child’s device is set up to share its location with you, then you can always find out where they are using the Find My app.

This time, it’s easiest to set up Location Sharing directly on your child’s device:

  1. Open the Find My app on your child’s iPhone or iPad and go to the People tab.
  2. Tap Share My Location and enter your Apple ID account to send an invitation to yourself. Choose to Share Indefinitely.
  3. You should now be able to see your child’s location in the Find My app on your own device. You can choose to share your location with them if you wish to.

To keep your child from hiding their location in the future, return to the Content & Privacy Restrictions above and choose Don’t Allow for the Share My Location option. This stops your child from editing the Location Sharing settings on their device.

Set Up Parental Controls on All Your Children’s Devices

Apple makes it particularly easy to edit your child’s parental controls using Family Sharing from your own device. But every company offers its own way of managing these settings, and they aren’t always easy to find.

Take a look at our complete guide to parental controls to find out how to enforce necessary restrictions across all your children’s devices.

Read the full article: How to Use Family Sharing to Monitor Your Child’s iPhone

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How to Use NFC: 7 NFC Uses That’ll Impress Your Friends

Near Field Communication, known as NFC, may sound like a dry, technical specification. In many ways, it is. However, the applications of NFC are worth considering.

Android smartphones have had access to NFC for many years, while Apple’s iPhones previously had a feature-limited version. However, both platforms use the wireless technology for contactless payments, headphone pairing, and some level of automation.

If you want to make the most of NFC applications, we’ll show you how.

What Is NFC?

ways to use nfc

Near Field Communication (NFC) allows wireless communication between two electronic devices that are close to each other. Officially, NFC can support distances of up to 1.5 inches apart, but in practice, it can be up to 4 inches.

Generally, this comes in two forms; device to device communication or readable tags. While it is possible to make two devices interact via NFC, there are generally better methods of achieving this either through physical cables or other wireless technologies like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

That said, contactless payments are facilitated via NFC. So, when you walk into your local store and pay with your phone using Google Pay or Apple Pay, the transaction is initiated via NFC.

The primary interaction method, then, is between a device like a smartphone and a readable NFC tag. These tags are small, cheap, and unpowered. This is made possible because the reading device, often your smartphone, can generate a Radio Frequency (RF) field that will power the tag.

NFC Compatibility

Google Pay press demo

Android devices have supported NFC since the early days of the smartphone, but Apple chose to withhold support on the iPhone. However, when the company unveiled Apple Pay, a contactless payment system enabled by NFC, they began including these wireless chips on iPhones.

Before iOS 11, the company limited its use just to Apple Pay. However, iPhone models from the iPhone 7 and newer running iOS 13 and above now support contactless payments, the ability to read NFC tags, and the capability to write them, too.

This brings both mobile platforms into step with one another, allowing you to use NFC on your Android smartphone or iPhone. However, the specifications of Android phones vary considerably, so NFC support isn’t guaranteed. This is especially true of the affordable end of the market, where other features are given priority.

What You’ll Need

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If you own an NFC-compatible smartphone, then you’ll need to purchase some NFC tags before you get going. There are many types of NFC tags available, ranging from the affordable through to expensive industrial use varieties.

To make the most of the following NFC applications, you’ll want to invest in a set of rewritable NFC tags. Although there is a wide range of available tags, the Timeskey NFC Stickers (10 Pack) are great value, can be rewritten, and are easy to place wherever you need them.

You’ll also need to download an NFC tag writer app to your smartphone. NFC-enabled iPhones can read tags without additional software, but your experience may vary on Android.

There are many apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store that can write tags, one of the best options is the NFC TagWriter by NXP. The app is available for both mobile platforms and is easy to use.

Download: NFC TagWriter by NXP for Android | iOS (Free)

The Best Ways to Use NFC

Once you’ve got a compatible smartphone, rewritable NFC tags, and downloaded a tag writing app, you can then begin to make the most of what NFC can offer. As the tags can be rewritten, you can experiment with your own automated setup. That said, there are plenty of NFC uses that you can get started with right away.

1. Instantly Connect to a Wi-Fi Network

Wi-Fi passwords are lengthy and complicated. This makes connecting to your network a pain. If you’d rather replace that cumbersome process with a single tap, you can write your Wi-Fi password to an NFC tag. Android and iOS support this feature, so a tap on the tag will pre-populate Wi-Fi connection details and get you online without any fuss.

If you like this idea, but would rather have something a bit more formal, consider a product like the Wifi Porter. The device is a well-designed, easy-to-use NFC device that does the same thing. Still not sure? Take a look at our review of the Wifi Porter before investing.

2. Get Yourself Out of Bed

Waking up in the morning can be a considerable challenge. For some people, even the most relentless alarm clock doesn’t help. In that case, consider using an NFC tag to motivate you out of bed instead. Apps like Sleep As Android integrate alarms with NFC tags, through the use of in-app captchas.

These aim to verify that you have acted by making you interact with a physical item. Use the app to write an NFC-based captcha, then the only way to disable the alarm is to venture out of bed, find the NFC sticker, and tap your phone against it.

3. Launch a Website

There might be times when you want to direct someone to a specific website. This can be a bit tricky, especially if it’s not a simple website address. Instead of having them type out a long random URL, you can write the URL to an NFC tag. When tapped, it loads the user’s mobile browser and directs them straight to the site you wanted.

4. Automatically Enter Driving Mode

iPhone users know that when they get into the vehicle and connect to their in-car entertainment system, their phone will automatically enter Driving Mode. This silences notifications and optimizes your setup for your journey. Although some Android smartphones can do this, the majority don’t.

If you’d prefer to automate this process, you can write the tasks to an NFC tag. When placed inside the car, a tap of your phone can perform actions like enable Do Not Disturb, turn on or off data, and open your navigation app.

Some NFC tag writing apps, like Trigger on Android, let you set up a toggle switch to reverse the actions. So, the first tap will enable Driving Mode, while a second can disable it and return your phone to normal operations.

5. Make Payments

As we mentioned earlier, NFC enables contactless payments when using services like Google Pay or Apple Pay. In many places around the world, contactless payments have become commonplace. Indeed, in many food and convenience stores in the US, contactless is the preferred method of payment.

Both Apple Pay and Google Pay allow you to keep track of your spending, analyze your habits, and store coupons. Additionally, opting for NFC payments means you no longer need to carry other payment methods alongside your phone.

6. Automate Common Phone Tasks

Android and iOS now have methods of automating regular tasks, but they don’t always offer the kind of flexibility you’re after. Using NFC, you can set up shortcuts for actions like calling a specific friend or family member, opening your camera, or running your favorite streaming service as you leave the house.

If you want a more efficient way to automate these shortcuts, consider investing in a set of DIMPLE Smart Buttons. These physical buttons stick to the rear of your smartphone near the NFC chip. When pressed, they activate a custom NFC task, which you can set via the DIMPLE app.

7. Share Media

If you create videos for YouTube, stream on Twitch, or release music on Spotify, one of the biggest challenges is getting people to see your content in the first place. You can overcome this hurdle with NFC.

It’s possible to embed a link to your work on the NFC tag and then strategically stick it somewhere that’ll get people interested. Just be sure to explain what is on the tag, as people may be wary of the notable NFC security issues.

The Best Uses for NFC

NFC chips have changed the way we interact with the world around us. These cheap electronic components have enabled contactless payment systems like Google Pay and Apple Pay, made some physical tickets redundant, and made home automation an affordable reality.

However, although NFC is undoubtedly useful, like all technology, it is vulnerable to security issues, too. Before you delve into the wireless technology, you might want to read up on how a drive-by NFC hack works.

Read the full article: How to Use NFC: 7 NFC Uses That’ll Impress Your Friends

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How to Clean Your Dirty iPhone: A Step-by-Step Guide

When your iPhone goes everywhere with you, it’s likely to pick up some dirt along the way. There’s only so much wiping the screen with your sleeve will achieve. Your phone is potentially a health hazard and needs cleaning.

However, you need to take care when cleaning your iPhone. You can’t just use anything you find in the cupboard, else you risk damaging it. Let’s walk through the steps of how to clean your dirty iPhone.

Cleaning Your iPhone? Do This First

Before you rush headfirst into the steps below, take a few moments to plan how to clean your iPhone. Make sure you have the following ready to use:

  • A table or desk
  • Small towel
  • A bowl of warm soapy water
  • Bowl of cool tap water
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Lint-free cloth (usually included with glasses)
  • SIM slot key, paper clip, or similar
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Toothpick
  • Cotton swap
  • Handheld vacuum cleaner
  • Plenty of time

On that last point: it’s important to set enough time aside to clean your phone. You’ll need to prepare the device, grab the cleaning tools you’ll need, and be patient. Don’t rush through this.

Follow the steps below to clean your iPhone.

1. Clean Your iPhone Case

Clean your iPhone case

You can clean the case separately, since it’s far more resistant to damage than your iPhone is. It’s also relatively cheap to replace the case if something happens to it.

With the case removed, clean per the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, if there are any. If not, use warm soapy water to dislodge dirt and grime from the case. Pay attention to the various openings including charging ports, mute toggle, volume rockers, and camera lens opening.

Put your iPhone case to one side to dry. Then turn your attention to the phone itself.

2. Clean the iPhone Screen

Clean your iPhone's screen

Take extra care with the screen, which is the most delicate part of your device. Apple applies an oleophobic coating to your iPhone screen, which helps repel finger grease and oil. This also applies to the back of devices from the iPhone 8 series onwards.

In order to preserve the oleophobic coating, you should only use water to clean your iPhone screen.

Do not use abrasive cleaners, glass cleaner, surface sprays, rubbing alcohol, or anything that promises to cut through grease. These substances will damage the coating on your screen.

Instead grab a soft, lint-free cloth and moisten it with the tap water. You should have a lint-free cloth already, but if not, you can buy them for a low price online. They’re the same ones you use to clean glasses, camera lenses, and other coated scratch-prone surfaces.

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While cleaning, wipe in the same direction so that you push the grease and dirt off the screen. This may take several wipes and a few more dips in the tap water. You can add a glass screen protector with fresh oleophobic coating if the situation is really bad.

3. How to Clean the iPhone Charging Port

Learn how to clean the iPhone charging port

If your iPhone isn’t charging as well as it was, the charging port might be to blame. Pocket lint, fluff, bits of paper, and other debris can prevent the pins inside from connecting with your charger.

Apple advises against using compressed air for cleaning any part of your iPhone, and the charging port is no exception. One of the first parts of your device an Apple Genius will check is the charging port, so take the time to clean it.

One of the best tools for cleaning the iPhone’s charging port is the SIM slot key bundled with your device. If you can’t find it, a safety pin or similar thin object with a good point is a smart alternative. Put the pin in the hole and scrape out what you can. Wipe off what you find and repeat till it’s clean.

Apple does this with a surprising amount of force at the Genius bar, but we advise against going too hard. Shine a light in the port to check for residual grime.

4. Clean the Lightning Cable Contacts

Improve connections with a clean Lightning cable

Another reason your iPhone might not charge properly is the state of your Lightning cable. In particular, the contacts can press against the gunk that makes its way into the charging port. This results in grime build-up on the cable contacts that can prevent proper charging.

Unplug your Lightning cable at both ends before attempting to clean it. Wipe the contacts clean with a damp cloth until you can see them gleaming—they should be gold. Be sure to let the connector dry before using it again. This is also a good time to examine the cable for further signs of damage or wear.

5. How to Clean the iPhone Speaker and Microphone Holes

Clean your iPhone's microphone

The speaker and microphone are at the bottom of your iPhone, on either side of the charging port. This is one of the most difficult areas to clean, and the most likely area to become filled with dirt.

Do not use compressed air, since the pressure could damage your iPhone or compromise the water resistance. Instead, take a fine, super-soft toothbrush and lightly scrub the area to loosen stuck-on dirt. Take care not to apply too much force.

Some users online recommend using fine-point toothpicks when a toothbrush is not enough. If you do that, be careful you don’t push too hard and cause damage. Cleaning this area may improve audio quality and make your voice clearer in calls.

For further help with audio, learn how to fix your iPhone’s speaker when it doesn’t work.

6. Clean the Mute Toggle Switch

Get gunk out of the mute switch

Every iPhone has a mute toggle switch along the left edge of your device. Certain cases can really worsen the build-up of gunk, making the switch hard to clean. Eventually it can become hard to toggle the switch.

And if you never touch this switch (if your iPhone is always on vibrate mode, for instance), it’s likely full of dirt.

Take a fine toothpick and scrape the grime out. Flip the switch a few times so you can clean both sides.

If this isn’t enough, a fine-point cotton swab with a dab of isopropyl alcohol should do the trick. It’s very important not to get any alcohol on the screen or other sensitive parts of your iPhone. This chemical can remove protective coatings, impacting the user experience.

A sticky mute toggle can cause problems with your iPhone’s volume control, so it’s worth checking during this process.

7. Clean the Home Button

If you have an older iPhone, another important area to keep clean is the Home button. In fact, it’s so important to keep this clean that you might consider carrying a soft, lint-free cloth with you.

You should clean the button often, perhaps weekly. Since the button handles Touch ID with its built-in fingerprint reader, clean it as regularly as you would your screen. Even a thin layer of grease can prevent your fingerprint from registering.

8. Clean Your iPhone’s Sensor Array

On newer iPhone models with Face ID (iPhone X and later), the cutout at the top of the screen is full of sensors. Their performance is negated when there’s a layer of grease on the screen.

So if you find Face ID is failing to unlock your iPhone, cleaning the sensor array will help. Wipe it with the same cloth you’ve been using elsewhere.

9. Remove Grease from the iPhone’s Camera Lens

Keep your iPhone camera clean

Like the Home button and sensor array, both the front and rear cameras are susceptible to grease buildup.

Learn to recognize the signs of a dirty lens cover in the viewfinder of your chosen camera app. Look for:

  • Light streaks
  • Blown-out highlights
  • A foggy image
  • Difficulty focusing

Cleaning will deal with each of these problems. Simply wipe the glass covering the lens regularly with a soft, damp, lint-free cloth.

A Final Note on iPhone Water Resistance

If you have an iPhone 7 or later, your phone is certified water resistant. The iPhone 7, 8, X, and XR carry the IP67 rating, meaning they can survive being under water for 30 minutes at a depth of around 3.3 feet. Meanwhile, the iPhone XS and later boast IP68 resistance, so they can survive at least double that depth for the same amount of time.

Apple achieves this rating with a rubber seal that protects the internals from moisture and dust. Over time this rubber seal can diminish, particularly if your iPhone sustains physical damage. A cracked screen, dent in the chassis, or accidental pocket-bending (from sitting) can damage the seal.

While this might make you want to clean your iPhone with water, you should not expose it to anything other than cold tap water. Forget pressurized water, salt water, or any other liquids. And if you do drop your iPhone in the sea or pool, rinse it off with tap water immediately.

Despite the water resistance rating, don’t consider iPhones waterproof. Never clean your iPhone simply by running it under a tap. Hot water is also a bad idea, since heat can kill iPhones (as can sudden temperature changes). Frequent exposure to running water may also accelerate the rate at which the oleophobic coating wears away.

Congratulations: Your iPhone Is Now Clean

Following these steps to clean your iPhone will result in a device that looks and performs better. It should be almost as good as new—certainly the best you’ve seen your iPhone since unboxing it.

Remember to keep your iPhone clean by following these steps every couple of months. And don’t forget to carry a lint-free cloth for keeping the device free of grease.

Once you’ve physically cleaned your iPhone, you should also clean up the software side to free up some iOS storage space.

Read the full article: How to Clean Your Dirty iPhone: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How to Find Your FaceTime Live Photos

Snapping a Live Photo during a FaceTime call is a great way to remember your favorite conversations. A Live Photo captures the moments just before and after you hit the shutter button in FaceTime.

If you aren’t sure how to take FaceTime Live Photos—or you don’t know where they go after you snap them—here is a detailed tutorial for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

How to Take Live Photos in FaceTime

FaceTime Live Photo shutter button on a Mac

You can take a Live Photo during a FaceTime call using the shutter button. This appears when you tap the screen on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch or when you hover your mouse over the FaceTime window on a Mac. It looks like two white circles, one inside the other.

In a Group chat on FaceTime for iOS, select the person’s tile you want to take a photo of, then tap the Fullscreen button to reveal the Live Photo shutter button. In a Group chat on a Mac, double-click the person you want to photograph, then click the Shutter button.

A Live Photo is better than taking a screenshot because it doesn’t capture the FaceTime user interface. It also saves a couple of seconds of video and audio from right before and after you take the photo.

How to Take a FaceTime Photo Without Telling the Other Person

When you take a Live Photo of someone using FaceTime, it sends a notification to their device to let them know that you took a picture. There’s no way to avoid sending this notification when you take a photo, but you can get around it by taking a screenshot instead.

To do so, press Volume Up along with the Side button on your iPhone or iPad (or press the Home button with the Side button on iPhone 8 and earlier). On a Mac, press Cmd + Shift + 3.

How to Enable Live Photos in Your FaceTime Settings

Before you can take a Live Photo in FaceTime, both you and the person you’re taking a photo of need to enable Live Photos in your FaceTime Settings. If you don’t want to let other people take photos of you in FaceTime, you should disable this option.

On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > FaceTime. Scroll down and turn on FaceTime Live Photos.

FaceTime Live Photos toggle in iPhone settings

On a Mac, open FaceTime and to go FaceTime > Preferences from the menu bar. In the Settings tab, turn on the option to Allow Live Photos to be captured during video calls.

Where Do FaceTime Live Photos Go?

It’s all well and good snapping Live Photos while you’re using FaceTime, but you need to know where those photos go to enjoy them after the call. The answer is pretty simple: FaceTime photos save directly to the Photos app on your device.

To view your FaceTime Live Photos, open the Photos app and go to the Photos tab, then select the All Photos view to make sure your device doesn’t filter them out. Scroll to the date and time you took the photo to find it.

Photos app with All Photos view

You can simplify matters by viewing only your Live Photos. To do this, go to the Albums tab and look for the Live Photos album. Your iPhone, iPad, or Mac creates this album automatically as soon as you add a Live Photo to your library.

Create a Smart Album for All Your FaceTime Live Photos

If you want to keep all your FaceTime Live Photos in the same place, create a Smart Album to automatically capture them all. To create a Smart Album, you need to use the Photos app on a Mac. Unfortunately, you can’t create Smart Albums from the Photos app on an iPhone or iPad.

Click Add (+) next to My Albums in the sidebar and choose Smart Album from the popup. Name your Smart Album, then configure the following filter using the dropdown menus: Lens includes FaceTime.

FaceTime Live Photos Smart Album filters

You’ll need to type “FaceTime” into the third box, since it isn’t an option in the dropdown menu.

Click OK to create your Smart Album. Photos should fill the album with all the Live Photos you’ve captured during FaceTime calls. Any new FaceTime photos you take should also appear in the album automatically.

If you sync Photos over iCloud, this Smart Album will become available from the Albums tab on your other devices as well.

Troubleshooting FaceTime Photo Problems

There are lots of problems that might stop you from being able to snap a Live Photo during your FaceTime calls. If you can’t find the shutter button, FaceTime isn’t saving your photos, or you don’t know where the FaceTime photos go after you take them, try these troubleshooting tips to fix it.

1. Enable FaceTime Live Photos on Both Devices

To take a photo of someone during a FaceTime call, both of you need to turn on FaceTime Live Photos from your device settings. Go to Settings > FaceTime to do this. Make sure the person you’re taking a photo of checks their settings as well.

2. Open the Photos App on Your Device

When you take Live Photos in FaceTime, it automatically saves those pictures to the Photos app on your device. If you haven’t used Photos before, open it on your device to initialize the app before FaceTime can save photos.

Rows of apps on iPhone Home screen with Photos app

3. Update to the Latest Operating System

With the release of iOS 12, Apple temporarily removed the ability to take Live Photos in FaceTime. This was presumably due to a FaceTime security bug. Live Photos are back now, but you need to update your device to the latest software to use them. The person you’re taking a photo of needs to update their device to the latest software as well.

On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > General > Software Update. On a Mac, go to System Preferences > Software Update.

Software Update System Preferences page in macOS

4. Restart Your Device

No matter what problem you’re encountering, you should always try to fix it by restarting your device. This is a remarkably effective troubleshooting step that only takes a moment to try out. Power off your iPhone, iPad, or Mac as you usually would, then wait 30 seconds before restarting it again.

5. Restart FaceTime on Your Device

Finally, try turning FaceTime off and on in your device settings. You may need to sign in to your Apple ID account again when you do this.

On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > FaceTime and toggle the FaceTime button at the top of the screen.

FaceTime settings on iPhone

On a Mac, open the FaceTime app and go to FaceTime > Preferences from the menu bar. In the Settings tab, uncheck the box to Enable this account, then check the box again to re-enable FaceTime.

Multitask While Using FaceTime

You can check out your Live Photos without ending the FaceTime chat by swiping up (or pressing the Home button) and opening the Photos app. When you do this, FaceTime pauses your video feed until you return.

This multitasking feature still lets you talk to people and hear what they say, even though it freezes your video feed. It’s just like using another app while talking on your iPhone, making it easy to complete important tasks while speaking with other people.

Read the full article: How to Find Your FaceTime Live Photos

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How to Tether Any Smartphone to Linux for Mobile Internet

Laptops are invariably limited to Wi-Fi only connections; desktop computers never have built-in mobile internet. But what if you need to get your Linux computer online but have no wireless or Ethernet network?

The answer is tethering. With a smartphone you can share your mobile internet with your computer.

As long as your carrier doesn’t limit how you use your data, internet connection sharing (also known as netshare) with a Linux computer is a good option. Wi-Fi tethering is one option—here’s how to use USB tethering on Linux with Android and iPhone.

What Is Tethering?

Tethering is the name given to connecting a mobile device to a computer such in order to share mobile internet.

While some carriers might restrict this activity, these days that is rare. Most smartphones have a data plan which allows tethering, making tethering an attractive way to get online.

Strictly speaking, tethering refers to using a USB cable to share mobile internet. This means that you will need to carry your phone’s USB data cable around if you plan to use tethering.

Wireless tethering is also possible, using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth; this is also known as “wireless hotspot”. In most cases wireless tethering is easier but there are good reasons to use USB tethering:

  • For a reliable network connection
  • To keep your phone charged
  • Avoid wireless interference
  • Prevent wireless sniffers intercepting data

If you don’t have a suitable USB cable, here’s how to use your phone as a wireless hotspot. Simply connect your Linux computer to your phone’s hotspot to get online.

Use the Right USB Cable for Tethering

Before proceeding, you need to be sure that you’re using a USB cable that is suitable for tethering. Not all cables will work for this, as some are designed purely for power. The best way to check that your USB cable is suitable for tethering is to plug it into your computer. Connect your phone and wait for either device to detect the other. If some sort of data transfer or file browsing is available, it is suitable for tethering.

If there is a problem with the cable, you should be able to buy a suitable data-ready alternative online.

The following methods all require you to connect the mobile device to your PC via USB cable before activating tethering.

How to Tether Android Phones to Linux

If you have an Android device, tethering is straightforward, thanks in part to both phone and PC being Linux-based.

If you want to tether Android to Linux via a USB cable:

  1. Connect the USB cable to your phone and Linux PC.
  2. Android will detect the connection—when prompted to Allow access, select Allow.
  3. In the Notifications find the USB message, and tap it.
  4. Under Use USB for, select USB tethering.

In most cases, the connection will be automatically established. Check the IP address for your device to confirm it has worked using ifconfig or ip address. Look for an option labeled usb0.

Set up internet connection tethering with Android and Linux

With some distros, you may need to select the USB connection.

  1. On Linux system, find the network tray applet
  2. Click to find the network option with a name like “auto usb0”.
  3. Select this to connect Linux to your phone via the USB cable.

Don’t have a data plan which allows tethering? Installing a custom Android ROM can help circumvent restrictions.

Want to Tether a BlackBerry Phone?

Depending on how old your BlackBerry is, there are several options for tethering it to a Linux system. If you have a BlackBerry, it is either running:

  • Android (since 2015)
  • BlackBerry 10 (2013-2018)
  • Blackberry OS 7.0 (2011-2013)

For BlackBerry devices running Android, refer to the section above. For BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS 7.0, check below.

To tether phones over USB running BlackBerry 10, start by connecting the phone to your computer. Then:

  1. Open Settings > Network Connections > Internet Tethering.
  2. Tap Connect.
  3. Select USB.
  4. Enable Internet Tethering.

Want to tether a BlackBerry OS phone to Linux?

  1. Tap Manage Connections > Network and Connections.
  2. Find Mobile Hotspot Connections then
  3. Set up the network credentials.

Whichever method you use, select the usb0 network in your Linux panel if it doesn’t automatically connect.

How to Tether iPhones to Linux

If you have an iPhone with a data plan which allows tethering, you can set up USB tethering.

Unlike Android, however, this doesn’t connect automatically. Instead, you will need libimobiledevice, described as a “cross-platform software protocol library and tools to communicate with iOS devices natively.” Head to www.libimobiledevice.org to confirm current compatibility.

If you’re using Ubuntu, libimobiledevice should already installed. If not, before hooking up your iPhone to Linux, open a terminal and enter:

sudo apt install libimobiledevice6

To connect to the internet through your iPhone:

  1. Open Settings > Personal Hotspot.
  2. Enable Allow Others to Join.

All you need to do now is select the connection in Linux. Unlike Android, iPhone devices display as a new Ethernet device, rather than USB. So, look for eth0 or eth1—usually the latter, as eth0 should be assigned to your Ethernet port.

How to set up Linux USB tethering on iPhone

Tethering Linux Phones to Linux

Several Linux mobile operating systems are available. These include a mobile version of Pure OS on the Librem 5, PostmarketOS on the PinePhone, and UBPorts, the continuation of Ubuntu Touch.

Perhaps surprisingly, not all of these have reliable options for USB or wireless tethering. For specifics, check the documentation of whichever Linux mobile project you’re using.

Tethering Your Phone to Linux: Success!

While smartphones can be used as wireless hotspots for laptops and computers, USB tethering remains useful. Your computer may have a damaged network card, for example, or you may have equipment susceptible to wireless interference.

Ultimately, sharing your phone’s mobile internet is a great way to get your Linux PC or any other device online. And if you’re concerned about the phone losing charge, the USB cable will ensure it draws power from your PC. It’s win-win!

Want to share your phone’s internet connection with a different operating system? You can connect mobile internet from an Android phone to your PC or laptop, as well as use the hotspot feature on an iPhone.

Read the full article: How to Tether Any Smartphone to Linux for Mobile Internet

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3 Ways to Block Your Number and Hide Your Caller ID on iPhone or Android

Sometimes you don’t want to risk letting your phone number fall into the wrong hands. You could be making work-related calls, reaching out to someone on Craigslist, or calling a company you aren’t sure whether to trust or not. In these situations, you should block your phone number to hide your caller ID and protect your privacy.

We’ll show you all the ways to block your number on an iPhone or Android device below. Just remember that a lot of people automatically decline calls from private numbers, so people might not answer the phone if they don’t know it’s you calling.

1. Dial *67 Before the Number You Want to Call

*67 from iPhone Phone keypad

The simplest way to block your number is to dial *67 at the beginning of the phone number you want to call. If you use this method to hide your caller ID from someone saved in your contacts, you’ll need to make a note their number (or copy it to the clipboard) first. Then type (or paste) it into the phone app manually, with *67 at the beginning of it.

As an example, if you wanted to block your phone number when calling 555-555-5555, you’d need to dial *67-555-555-5555.

When you use *67 to call someone, you will show up as No Caller ID, Private, Blocked, or something similar on their device. It’s completely free to use *67, and you can use it as often as you like.

Of course, you need to dial *67 before any blocked phone call you want to make. So if you want to block your number for every single call, you might be better off using one of the following options instead.

2. Change the Caller ID Settings on Your Phone

You can block your phone number and hide your caller ID for every call you make by changing the settings on your device. Both Android and iOS devices let you hide your caller ID, making you show up as No Caller ID, Private, or Blocked to everyone you call.

If you want to temporarily unblock your number after changing these settings, dial *82 before the number you want to call. This overrides your settings and shows your caller ID again.

Unfortunately, some cell carriers don’t allow you to block your caller ID from your device. If you can’t find the settings below, move onto the next step to find out how to block your number directly with your carrier.

How to Block Your Caller ID on an iPhone

  1. Open the Settings app and scroll down to tap on the Phone option.
  2. Tap Show My Caller ID, then turn the toggle off to hide your number.

Show My Caller ID option from iPhone Settings

How to Block Your Caller ID on an Android Device

Depending on your Android phone and dialer app, this process could differ. Below are two common places for the option to block your caller ID:

  1. Launch the Phone app and open the three-dot Menu () in the top-right corner.
  2. Go into Settings, then scroll down to Supplementary Services. Depending on your particular device, you may need to go to Call > Additional.
  3. Tap Show my caller ID and choose to Hide number from the popup menu.

If this doesn’t work, try a different location:

  1. Open the Phone app again and tap Menu > Settings.
  2. Select Calling accounts, then tap your carrier name under Settings.
  3. Choose Additional settings.
  4. Tap Caller ID and choose to Hide number to block it every time.

[hide android]

3. Block Your Caller ID Directly With Your Cell Carrier

Verizon home page banner

If you can’t find an option to block your number or hide your caller ID in your phone’s settings, you need to block it directly with your cell carrier instead.

Most carriers who don’t let you block your number in the device settings let you do so using their own app instead. If that isn’t the case, you’ll need to call your carrier to ask them to block your number.

Much like the previous method, blocking your number this way hides your caller ID for every call you make. If you want to override this and show your phone number for a particular call, you need to add *82 to the beginning of the number.

How to Block Your Caller ID With AT&T or T-Mobile

AT&T and T-Mobile usually let you block your caller ID using the settings on your device. Return to the section above to find out where this option is on your particular phone.

If you can’t block your number from the device settings, you need to call the customer support line for AT&T or T-Mobile instead. Dial 611 from your smartphone to do so.

Explain to the customer service operator that you want to hide your caller ID. They should be able to make the necessary changes to your account.

How to Block Your Caller ID With Verizon

Although Verizon doesn’t let you block your caller ID from your iPhone or Android settings, you can do so using the Verizon website or the My Verizon app instead.

To use the Verizon website, go to the Blocks page and sign in to your account, then select Block Services. If you’re on a smartphone, tap the Add button. Find Caller ID under the Additional Services section and turn it On to block your number.

To use the My Verizon app, download it for free from the App Store or Google Play Store on your device, then sign in to your Verizon account. Tap Devices and select your smartphone, then go to Manage > Controls > Adjust Block Services. Turn on the option for Caller ID Blocking.

Download: My Verizon for Android | iOS (Free)

How to Block Your Caller ID With Sprint

Sprint lets you hide your caller ID through your My Sprint account. To do so, sign in to the My Sprint website and select your smartphone from the list of devices. Choose to Change my service, then find the Setup your phone section and select the Block Caller ID option.

If that doesn’t work, dial *2 from your Sprint smartphone to speak to Sprint’s customer service team. They should be able to hide your caller ID for you if you couldn’t do it through the website.

You Can’t Block Your Number for Everyone

Unfortunately, even if you follow the steps above to hide your caller ID, you can’t block your phone number from everyone. Certain people can always see who’s calling, including 911 and toll-free numbers.

There are also third-party apps available that let you find out who’s behind a blocked number. If someone you call uses one of these apps, they might know it’s you calling even if you hide your caller ID first.

So be wary of who you start making prank phone calls to!

Use a Burner Number Instead of Hiding Your Caller ID

Blocking your number and hiding your caller ID isn’t the only way to maintain privacy when making phone calls. You can also use a burner number instead. Traditionally, this is a separate phone that you only use for certain calls. But these days you can use a burner number app to get a second number on the same phone instead.

Read the full article: 3 Ways to Block Your Number and Hide Your Caller ID on iPhone or Android

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How to Group FaceTime on Your Mac, iPhone, or iPad

FaceTime offers one of the most secure ways to video call your friends, family, and coworkers. If everyone has an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, you can have group FaceTime chats with up to 32 people for free.

Below we explain everything you need to know about how to use group FaceTime calls. That includes starting a new call, managing your mic or camera settings, and troubleshooting common problems.

How to Start a Group FaceTime Call

FaceTime app on iPad App Store

FaceTime is one of several stock iOS apps that comes installed on your device by default. Its icon looks like a green video camera. If you deleted FaceTime from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can download it again for free from the App Store.

Download: FaceTime for iOS (Free)

To start a new call with FaceTime, open the app, tap the Add (+) button, and type the contact you want to call. On a Mac, use the search bar that appears to find your contacts. Add as many contacts to the call as you want; FaceTime supports up to a maximum of 32 people, including yourself.

FaceTime adding contacts

Then tap or click the Audio or Video buttons to start the group FaceTime call. The Audio button starts a call without turning your camera on, but you can turn it on at a later time if you want to. If you definitely don’t want to use video, find out how to run an iPhone conference call using the Phone app instead.

When adding people in the FaceTime app, you can search for their name, phone number, or email address. If someone isn’t saved to your contacts, type out their full phone number or email address instead.

FaceTime only lets you add contacts who show up in blue. This happens when their Apple ID is linked to the contact details you entered and their Apple device is currently online.

Unfortunately, FaceTime isn’t available for Android devices.

Start a Group FaceTime Call From Messages

You can also start a group FaceTime call from the Messages app. This is a much more convenient method if you already have a group chat with everyone you want to call. That’s because it’s quicker to get started and lets people join at a later stage without you needing to add them.

To do so, open the group chat in Messages, then reveal the Details for that chat by tapping the profile pictures at the top of the screen. Tap or click the FaceTime icon to call everyone in the group chat over FaceTime.

FaceTime button from Messages app

If some people decline the call at first, they can join again later by returning to the group chat in Messages. This shows an icon letting you know how many people are currently in the call, with a green button to Join the call as well.

FaceTime active call in Messages app

How to Use Group FaceTime on iPhone, iPad, or Mac

After starting a group FaceTime call, you’ll find yourself greeted with a selection of square video feeds from each of your contacts. If someone turns their camera off, their initials appear in a box instead of their video feed.

FaceTime group call on Mac

FaceTime automatically arranges the video feeds on your screen to let you see everyone at once. When that isn’t possible without making each feed too small, FaceTime dynamically changes the size of each feed depending on who’s talking. The aim is to enlarge the feed when people start talking so you can see them better, but it doesn’t work perfectly.

You can always take control of this manually by tapping or clicking on someone to make their video larger. Doing so also reveals a fullscreen button, which enlarges the feed and moves it to the center of your screen.

Control the Camera, Microphone, and Speaker in FaceTime

On a Mac, hover your mouse over the FaceTime window to show basic FaceTime controls, then click the Sidebar icon to reveal more controls. On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, tapping in a blank space reveals controls at the bottom of your screen; swipe up to expand these controls for more options.

iPhone FaceTime controls

Tap the Mute button (shown by a microphone with a line through it) to mute yourself. This turns off your microphone so other people can’t hear what you’re saying.

Similarly, tap the Camera Off button (shown by a camera with a line through it) to turn off your camera. Unless you also muted yourself, people should still be able to hear you.

On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch you also get a Flip and a Speaker option. The Flip button switches from the front-facing to the rear-facing camera on your device. And the Speaker button lets you send the audio to other speakers on your network, like Apple’s HomePod.

Add More People to Your Group FaceTime Call

You can keep adding new people to an existing FaceTime call until you reach 32 participants. To do so on an iOS device, tap in a blank space and swipe up on the control panel that appears. On a Mac, open the sidebar in the FaceTime app.

FaceTime controls sidebar on Mac

This panel shows everyone in the call, including people you called who didn’t pick up. Use the Ring button next to these contacts to try calling them again.

Alternatively, use the Add Person option to search for new contacts to add to the call. Search for their name, phone number, or email address, just like when you started the FaceTime call. Then tap the Add Person to FaceTime button to bring them in.

Add person to FaceTime button from iPad

Add Effects to Your FaceTime Call

If you’re using an iPhone 7 or later, you can add camera effects to your FaceTime calls. These include Animoji, filters, text, shapes, and various stickers. All you need to do is tap in a blank space, then hit the Effects button.

Select the type of effect you want to add from the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Certain effects, like text or stickers, let you choose where to place them on your video feed using drag-and-drop.

You can add as many effects as you want, even combining your Animoji with a filter and some stickers if you wish. To go back to normal, tap the Effects button again to remove all the effects at once.

What to Do If Group FaceTime Isn’t Working

FaceTime is one of the best ways to start a group video call, but it still isn’t perfect. It’s not uncommon for FaceTime to refuse to call particular contacts or struggle with weak connection issues.

Here’s how to fix some of the most common problems with group FaceTime calls.

Check Your Internet Connection

FaceTime works best over Wi-Fi. Open the Settings app and tap on Wi-Fi to make sure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, then try loading a video on YouTube to check that connection is working properly. If you can’t get online, restart your router, run through our network troubleshooting steps, then contact your internet service provider if you need more help.

Wi-Fi network settings on iPhone

To use FaceTime over mobile data on your iPhone or iPad, you need to allow this in the settings. Go to Settings > Cellular, then scroll down to see a list of apps. Turn on the FaceTime toggle to let it use your cellular data.

Turn FaceTime Off and On Again

On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch go to Settings > FaceTime, then use the FaceTime toggle to turn the service off. On a Mac, open the FaceTime app and go to FaceTime > Preferences from the menu bar, then uncheck the Enable this account box.

Wait 30 seconds before turning FaceTime on again from the same settings page, then try to call again.

FaceTime settings on iPhone

Update Your Operating System

Outdated software causes all kinds of FaceTime problems. You might find that you can’t call particular contacts, use camera effects, or open FaceTime at all. You can usually fix these issues by applying the latest free software update.

On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch go to Settings > General > Software Update. Then download and install any available software updates for your device. On a Mac, open the Apple menu and go to System Preferences > Software Update to check for new updates.

Checking for iOS Software Updates in iPhone Settings

Use a Third-Party App to Call Non-Apple Devices

FaceTime’s biggest problem is that it’s not available on anything aside from Apple devices. You can’t download FaceTime for Android or Windows, which means there are likely lots of people in your life who you can’t add to a FaceTime group call.

Luckily, there are plenty of third-party apps you can use instead. Here’s a list of the best apps for group conference calls. All of them are free, and there are plenty that work across multiple platforms.

Read the full article: How to Group FaceTime on Your Mac, iPhone, or iPad

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How to Connect Any Phone or Tablet to Your TV Using USB

Connecting a phone to your TV isn’t as simple as you might think. Whether you want to enjoy Netflix, share photos, or use it for home working, hooking up a cable between your phone and TV can be tricky.

But it’s not impossible—it’s all a matter of selecting the right cable.

Here’s what you need to know about how to connect an Android or iOS phone or tablet to a TV using a USB cable.

Why Use USB to Connect Phones, Tablets, and TVs?

With the ease and prevalence of casting to mirror a phone screen wirelessly, you might be curious why you should use a USB to TV connection for your phone.

If you hook a phone to your TV with a hardwired connection, you benefit from a low-latency signal. For instance, if you plan to mirror your phone to a television for gaming, you’ll want a USB connection rather than a wireless configuration. This vastly reduces lag.

Plus, for situations where you lack Wi-Fi or have a weak wireless signal, you’ll need a wired connection instead.

To connect your phone or tablet to a TV, you can use one of the following methods:

  • Android:
    • USB-C cable with DisplayPort
    • USB cable with MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link)
    • USB cable with SlimPort
  • iPhone/iPad
    • Lightning cable (iPhone and iPad)

Which option you use depends on your specific device and operating system. Although all methods are similar, the process differs for connecting an iPhone versus an Android device.

Similarly, your connection method varies depending on your needs. Simply viewing photos on a compatible television requires your charging cable and mobile device. But for screen mirroring, you’ll need a USB adapter.

How to Connect Android Phones and Tablets to TVs With USB

You have two options for connecting Android phones and tablets to your TV:

  1. USB-C cable with DisplayPort support
  2. USB cable with MHL
  3. USB cable with Slimport

We’ll look at each below.

1. Connect Your Phone to a HDMI TV Using USB Type-C

The most recent Android smartphones feature a USB Type-C port. Also known as USB-C, this is a cylinder-shaped input that replaces micro-USB and is used for charging and data transfer.

Including support for the DisplayPort standard, USB-C can be used to mirror your phone or tablet’s display to a TV.

Simply connect the USB-C cable to Android, then connect this to a suitable docking station or USB-C to HDMI adaptor.

USB C HUB Adapter USB C HUB Adapter Buy Now On Amazon $23.99

2. Connecting Phone to TV Using USB With MHL

MHL is one of the most common solutions for connecting a phone to a HDMI TV with a micro-USB cable. This technology allows MHL-compatible devices such as smartphones and tablets to connect to televisions and projectors.

You can browse a list of MHL-enabled devices on the official MHL website.

To use Mobile High-Definition Link, you will need

  • MHL-enabled phone
  • USB to HDMI MHL adapter or cable
  • HDMI cable
  • Power cable

Although this is the general setup, the specific cable you’ll need varies. Google MHL cable [your device name] to find a list of compatible cables.

For a USB to TV connection using MHL, first hook up your phone via an MHL adapter. The adapter will require power either from a USB port on the cable or an external source.

Although MHL initially required a power connection, MHL 2.0 makes this non-essential. Still, since MHL does draw power from the mobile device, it’s wise to connect a power cable.

Next, connect your phone to your television with the MHL cable. After that, you should see your phone screen on your TV; it’s plug-and-play.

Overall, Mobile High-Definition Link is one of the best solutions for connecting an Android phone to a TV using a USB cable.

3. Connecting Phone to TV Using USB SlimPort

If you have an older phone, you might connect your phone to a TV with a SlimPort cable. While similar to MHL, SlimPort offers different outputs, but uses the micro-USB connection.

Whereas MHL is limited to HDMI, SlimPort outputs to HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, and VGA. This makes it better suited to a variety of displays, including older monitors and TVs with no digital inputs.

Unlike MHL, SlimPort does not draw power from mobile devices.

You’ll need the following to connect a phone to your TV using a SlimPort adapter:

Begin by plugging the SlimPort adapter into your phone. Then, attach the SlimPort adapter to your display using the proper cable. You should then be able to view your phone’s screen on a TV. Like MHL, it’s plug-and-play.

Can You Connect an iPhone or iPad to TV With USB?

As iPhones and iPads don’t have USB, you can’t use this as a connection method. But you can connect them to a TV using a cable.

If you own an iPhone 5 or newer, it will have a Lightning connector. To connect your iPhone to a TV you’ll need the Lightning digital AV adapter for HDMI outputs, or the Lightning to VGA adapter if you have a VGA display. Buy the cable that fits your TV.

Older iOS devices with the old 30-pin port instead use the 30-pin VGA adapter.

You can connect an iPad to your TV through the same means. Again, you’ll most likely need a Lightning cable for this. Only the iPad 3 and earlier use a 30-pin cable. All other iPads, including every iPad Mini and iPad Pro, use a Lightning cable.

Once you’ve plugged in your adapter, simply hook up the video output to your display. Then, your phone screen will mirror to the TV. Apple’s official Lightning adapters contain an additional Lightning port for charging while viewing content on a second screen.

USB to TV: Connecting as a Storage Device

While the most common use case for connecting a phone to a TV using USB is for screen mirroring, there’s another option. Instead of screen mirroring, you can also simply view files like pictures on a TV.

However, this will require a compatible monitor, TV, or projector. Most modern displays should accept USB storage.

Of the various USB to TV connection options, this is the easiest. Since it only requires a phone, USB cable, and TV with a USB input, it’s simple to set up. Which specific cable you need depends on your phone.

On an iPhone or iPad, use a Lightning cable (or 30-pin for older devices). Alternately, Android users need a micro-USB or USB-C cable. The USB cable that came with your phone or tablet should work fine.

USB to TV: Connecting to View Photos

Modern Android devices don’t support USB Mass Storage, so your TV won’t view your device as a true external drive.

This assumes that your TV or monitor features a USB input capable of displaying files from a connected storage device.

Simply connect your cable to your phone, then to the TV. With the standard USB end of the cable connected to your display, change the input on your TV to USB.

On Android, it’s likely you’ll need to change your USB settings to Transfer files or Transfer photos (PTP). To do this, drag down your notifications from the top of the screen when connected. In the menu, tap the USB is charging this device notification to change it.

Note that this doesn’t work with all TVs. In some cases, the USB ports are purely for firmware updates.

Use Samsung DeX to Connect Your Samsung Phone to a TV

Among the most popular Android devices available, you’ll find Samsung flagship handsets. These feature connectivity with televisions and monitors. For pure screen mirroring, you’ll need a USB-C to HDMI cable.

To connect a Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+/Note 8 and later to your TV, merely hook up a USB-C to HDMI adapter. Plug the USB-C male into the USB-C charging port on your Samsung Galaxy device. Then run the HDMI cable into your TV.

QGeeM USB C to HDMI Adapter QGeeM USB C to HDMI Adapter Buy Now On Amazon $15.99

However, Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, and Note 8/9 devices also include DeX. Bridging the gap between mobile and desktop, DeX offers a desktop experience run from your handset. You can run all the same Android apps, however, access your phone’s gallery, and basically get everything on the big screen

Use Samsung DeX to get Android apps on a big display

Since this is proprietary technology, the method for connecting a DeX-enabled Samsung phone to a TV differs from standard hookups.

For the entire Galaxy S8 and Note 8 line up, as well as S9 and S9+, you’ll need a dock to use DeX.

However, the Note 9 doesn’t require a dock. Instead, the Note 9 enters DeX mode with merely a USB-C to HDMI cable. That’s far more useful than a dedicated dock.

If using a dock, you will also need a power cable for powering the dock and charging your device. To find out more, see our guide to using DeX to turn your phone or tablet into a computer.

Connect Phones, Tablets, and TVs With USB: Success!

While a USB to TV connection varies by device, connection type, and display inputs, it’s thankfully simple to set up. However, don’t forget that wireless casting is usually more convenient.

Regardless of whether you’re using an Android, iPhone, or a Samsung device running DeX, there’s a way to connect your phone or tablet to a TV for viewing on a larger screen.

For more, check out our master list of ways to cast your screen.

Read the full article: How to Connect Any Phone or Tablet to Your TV Using USB

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Do More With Your iPhone: 70+ Tips and Tricks You Should Know

Whether you’re a new convert or a veteran user, whether you have the latest iPhone or one that’s much older, you’ll want to check out our tips and tricks for iPhone users!

iPhones are super straightforward to use. That is, after all, one of the main selling points of an iPhone over Android alternatives—at least that’s what iPhone fans like to say.

But we bet there’s a lot more your iPhone could be doing that you may not be aware of. And when you run into iPhone issues, troubleshooting a problem isn’t always as clear-cut as using the device itself. Well, we can help!

Before we dive in: don’t have an iPhone but looking to get one? Read these first:

Understanding Your iPhone

useful-iphone-control-center-widgets

Confused about a certain iPhone feature? You aren’t alone! Here are our explanations of the various iPhone features and how you can make the best use of them:

Basic iPhone Tips and Tricks

Apple EarPods plugged into Lightning port on iPhone

If you want to do more than just check emails, take photos, and send messages, you may want to check out these foundational tips and tricks for iPhone users:

For settings and maintenance tweaks:

For learning how to do useful things:

Advanced iPhone Tips and Tricks

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Want to distinguish yourself from other iPhone users? Learn how to take the best care of your device and do all kinds of cool stuff that many people aren’t even aware are possible:

More useful maintenance tips you should know:

More cool stuff you can do with an iPhone:

Useful Apps for iPhone Users

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We’ve scoured the iOS App Store and found all the coolest and most useful apps—because who has the time to do that? Here are our favorites and recommendations for whatever you want to do:

Practical Apps

Entertainment Apps

Troubleshooting iPhone Issues

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Is your iPhone acting up? Something broke and you don’t know why? Or how to fix it? Here are our most useful articles on how to resolve errors and issues on a faulty iPhone:

Check here first, in case your issue is a common one:

If the problem is with the actual iPhone device:

If the problem is related to operating the iPhone:

Read the full article: Do More With Your iPhone: 70+ Tips and Tricks You Should Know

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News

So Your iPhone Was Lost or Stolen? Here’s What to Do

If you lose your iPhone—or if some dastardly thief steals it—the ensuing panic makes it difficult to know what you need to do next. Where should you start your search? Do you need to alert the police? How can you use your IMEI number to block your iPhone?

Don’t worry: we’ll explain everything you need to know about reporting and retrieving your stolen iPhone. We’ll even show you how to lock your lost iPhone so no one else can use it.

Without further ado, here’s what to do when the unthinkable happens.

How to Locate Your Lost iPhone

Find My app on Mac showing lost iPhone location

The first step you need to take when your iPhone goes missing is to look for it. That might include searching the house or tracking it on a map. If you think someone stole your iPhone, it can be useful to find out where it is, but you shouldn’t try to retrieve it yourself.

Here are all the ways to track and locate a missing iPhone.

Try Calling It

Most of the time, a missing iPhone is simply lost around the house. It may be stuffed behind the couch, locked in the car, or buried beneath a pile of laundry. After giving your home or office a thorough search, try calling your iPhone next.

While it’s ringing, retrace your steps, keeping an ear out for your ringtone. If your iPhone is on vibrate, you might hear the telltale sound of it buzzing against the floor somewhere.

Don’t worry if your iPhone is on silent; you can still make it ring using the Find My app.

Use Apple’s Find My Service

Apple’s Find My app makes it easy to track your iPhone on a map, provided it has a cell signal or a Wi-Fi connection. This doesn’t work if Find My iPhone is turned off in your settings, but since the option is on by default when you sign into iCloud, you should be fine.

Open the Find My app on a different Apple device or head over to iCloud.com and log in with your Apple ID, then click the Find iPhone button. To use the Find My app on someone else’s Apple device, go to the Me tab and tap the option to Help a Friend.

iCloud home page with app buttons

After signing in, Find My shows the location of all your connected Apple devices. Select your lost iPhone to get directions to its location. If your iPhone is offline, ask Find My to Notify When Found instead.

If you believe someone stole your iPhone, for your safety you shouldn’t attempt to retrieve it yourself.

Play a Sound From Your Lost iPhone

Find My only gives an approximate location on the map. This means you might still struggle to find your lost iPhone, even if you know it’s somewhere in the house. Luckily, you can use the Play Sound option in the Find My app or on iCloud to make your iPhone play a pinging sound.

This works even if your iPhone is on silent mode with the volume turned all the way down.

Play Sound button in Find My app on Mac

Enable Lost Mode to Lock Your iPhone

In Find My or iCloud you can choose to Mark as Lost or turn on Lost Mode for your missing iPhone. When you do this, it locks your iPhone—giving you the option to create a passcode if you didn’t already use one—and lets you write a message on the screen for whoever finds your lost device.

iPhone lost mode message text box

To protect your data, you should mark your iPhone as lost to lock it whether you believe someone stole it or not. Doing so makes it difficult for anyone to resell your iPhone and makes it impossible for them to access sensitive services like Apple Pay.

You may notice another option to erase your lost iPhone. Don’t use this yet.

Use Google Timeline to Track Your Lost iPhone

It’s a well-known fact that Google tracks our every move. While privacy advocates bemoan this invasion of privacy, it might save your bacon if you lose your iPhone. As it turns out, you can track your device using Google Timeline instead of Find My or iCloud.

Sign in to your Google account on the Google Timeline website. You should be able to see all the recent locations where Google spotted your iPhone.

Google Timeline showing locations and dates

Like the Find My app, this only works if you had already installed Google Maps on your iPhone and enabled location history in the account settings. Google turns this option on by default, so it’s only off if you chose to disable it.

Again, if you believe someone stole your iPhone, don’t try to get it back yourself.

Ask Around the People and Places Near You

It often pays to ask your friends and family on social media to keep an eye out for your missing iPhone. It’s quite possible you left your iPhone at a friend’s house the last time you visited. All you need to do is ask them to look for it.

Similarly, take a look in the lost and found boxes at any public places you recently visited. That includes cafés, theaters, gyms, and more. You could even call the public transportation company if you recently used a bus or train.

It’s also worth asking the police if anybody has handed in a lost iPhone. You might need to find your iPhone’s IMEI number before doing so to prove that it’s your iPhone. You can find this on the original packaging or on your purchase receipt.

How to Recover a Stolen iPhone

It’s one worry to locate your iPhone, but another matter entirely to get it back. Of course, if you simply lost your iPhone in the house or left it at the office, it’s perfectly fine to go and retrieve it yourself.

But if you think someone stole your iPhone, you need to be far more cautious.

Report Your Stolen iPhone to the Police

Despite the fact that the Find My app offers to give you directions, don’t be tempted to recover a stolen iPhone yourself. There are reported cases of people getting attacked, shot, or even killed when attempting to do so.

While some people successfully retrieve their stolen goods through direct confrontation, these are the lucky minority. Instead, you should report your stolen iPhone to the police.

Police Car NYPD

Give them as much supporting documentation as you can. This include your IMEI number—which you can find on the original packaging or the purchase receipt—to prove the iPhone belongs to you. You should also provide the last known address of the iPhone, if you were able to track it.

Unfortunately, you may find that the police treat this as a low-priority case, depending on the crime rate in your area. Even if that’s the case, you can use the official police report as part of an insurance claim for a replacement device.

Report Your Stolen iPhone to Your Insurance Company

If you insured your iPhone against loss or theft, now is the time to speak to your insurance company about a claim for a replacement device. Be sure to provide them as much information as you can, including a copy of the police report and a list of all the steps you’ve tried to take to recover your iPhone.

Even if you don’t have specific gadget insurance, you may be able to claim for your iPhone with your home insurance or even with your credit card company.

How to Block a Lost or Stolen iPhone

If you can’t recover your phone, there are a few precautions you should take to ensure your data remains secure. If you haven’t already, use the Find My app or iCloud website to enable Lost Mode and create a secure passcode to lock your iPhone.

You may also want to take additional steps to erase the device entirely or revoke access from certain accounts.

Activation Lock Still Protects an Erased iPhone

If you already have a backup of your iPhone and you’re convinced you’ll never get it back, you might want to erase it remotely using Find My or the iCloud website. You can’t track your iPhone after erasing it, so only use this option if you’ve given up all hope of getting it back again.

To do so, select your iPhone in Find My or on iCloud and use the option to Erase This Device.

Erase iPhone confirmation window from Find My app on Mac

Thanks to Activation Lock, even if you erase your iPhone, no one can set it up without your Apple ID and password. Thus, there’s still a chance your iPhone might get handed in and make its way back to you even after you erase it.

Change Your Email and Account Passwords

In the unlikely event that someone else does manage to unlock your iPhone—perhaps if they found out your passcode—you can still protect most of your data by changing your account passwords.

Make a list of each app and service you use with your iPhone, including:

  • iCloud
  • Email accounts
  • Online shopping
  • Social media services
  • Cloud storage services

Then sign into the website for each of those services and create a new password for your account. Also, look for an option in the account settings to revoke access to existing devices.

When you do this, it blocks anyone from being able to log in as you on your lost iPhone without entering the new password. It’s particularly important to change your email password, because this is where your other password reset links get sent to.

Block the SIM Card in Your Lost iPhone

Next, you’ll want to move on to contacting your carrier to block your SIM card. A thief could use your mobile number in a different device to make phone calls and rack up expensive data bills.

SIM card with pirate logo next to iPhone

You shouldn’t need your IMEI number to block the SIM card for a stolen iPhone. But if your cell carrier asks for it, you can find the IMEI number on the original packaging or on your iPhone purchase receipt.

How to Avoid Losing Your iPhone in the Future

Whether you recover your iPhone or replace it with a new one, you’ll likely want to know how to protect yourself against losing it in the future. While it’s difficult to actually avoid losing it again, you can ensure your data is secure if you do so.

The best step to take is to create a six-digit passcode that is difficult for other people to guess. Enable this from Settings, where you may also be able to turn on Face ID or Touch ID to make it more convenient to securely unlock your iPhone.

Also, make sure you enable Find My iPhone by going to Settings > [Your Name] > Find My. Turn on Send Last Location for an increased chance of finding your iPhone when the battery dies.

Find My iPhone settings on iPhone

Finally, consider getting insurance that covers you against loss or theft. That way, you don’t need to pay for a replacement device yourself if it ever does go missing.

Don’t forget that even if you think it’s gone forever, a good Samaritan still might hand your iPhone in to the police. Make sure you know what to do if you find someone else’s missing iPhone so you can return the favor as well.

Read the full article: So Your iPhone Was Lost or Stolen? Here’s What to Do