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Modern technology makes it possible to communicate with people worldwide, access almost every classic TV show or movie in HD or better quality, and order everything from groceries to a big screen TV with one day delivery
That’s why it’s frustrating when problems creep up and make your technology work worse, or not at all. We’ve come up with solutions that will fix the most common tech problems for good.
Our recommendations work regardless of what type of device you use (Mac or PC, iPhone or Android) because they address the underlying issues you’re dealing with. If a particular feature on a specific device isn’t working, we suggest checking to see if there’s a software update available, especially if the issue has popped up recently. If your problems are more general, we’ve got you covered.
We have an entire guide on how to fix your slow internet, but the blame likely lays with your Wi-Fi router. Old routers, especially the ones that come from your ISP (internet service provider), are typically slow, and have poor range. Most of them weren’t equipped to handle having lots of devices connected at once, either.
If you’re upgrading to a new Wi-Fi router, we recommend getting one that supports Wi-Fi 6, which is the most up to date version of the wireless standard. You’ll get ultra-fast speeds (provided your internet plan supports them), excellent range, and won’t get bogged down if everyone in your home is trying to use the internet at the same time.
Our go-to pick is Linksys’s MX5 router, which supports Wi-Fi 6, and can create a network that covers 3,000 square feet (a modern two-story house). If you’re dealing with internet troubles in a smaller space, Eero’s latest Wi-Fi 6 router will offer many of the same benefits, but only cover 1,500 square feet (a one floor home).
Running Out of Space On Your Computer
Using a computer that’s low on storage will slow it down significantly. If you can’t delete any files (check for photos and videos you no longer need), we recommend getting an external SSD.
External SSDs are a lot faster than external hard drives, which is essential if you need to quickly access 4K videos or other large files. Our go-to recommendation in this category is Samsung’s T7 Touch. The 1TB (terabyte) model can hold thousands of songs, documents, or photos, and dozens of hours of 4K video.
If you’re storing really important files (think legal documents or tax forms), you can encrypt the drive and unlock it using the T7’s fingerprint reader. All of these features come on a device that’s smaller than a credit card.
Note: If you’re running out of space on your phone or tablet, we recommend upgrading your cloud storage plan (iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox), and storing more files on there.
Losing An Important File
Data loss can be incredibly painful, especially if you’ve lost a one-of-a-kind photo or video. It may not be possible to retrieve that file, but you can set up a backup to ensure that never happens again.
You can make a local backup of your entire computer using the Samsung T7 Touch drive we recommended earlier by using software built into your computer’s operating system. This backup method is useful because you can instantly restore your data after a crash.
If you don’t want to deal with keeping an SSD plugged into your computer all the time, you could sign up for a subscription to Carbonite. The service costs $80 per year, but will keep a complete backup of your computer on the cloud. You’ll need a fast internet connection to restore your computer from a cloud-based backup, but using this backup method is a lot more convenient. Whichever method you choose, having a backup of your computer will prevent you from losing important data ever again.
Forgetting Your Password
Having strong passwords — especially for your e-mail addresses and bank accounts — is essential if you want to avoid getting hacked, but remembering them can get annoying.
The best solution we’ve found is 1Password, a password management app that’ll securely store them for you. The app requires you to create one very strong “master” password, which will allow you to log into the app.
Once you’re in, you can create new passwords for all of your online accounts, and access them in seconds. Any data you store in 1Password is strongly encrypted, which means hackers won’t be able to access your account without knowing your master password. It also means 1Password won’t be able to get you in, though, so make sure your master key is something you’ll remember.
1Password is the first app we install on our devices, and an incredibly powerful tool that can help you improve your online privacy.
My Computer Has No Webcam (Or A Bad One)
The only solution to either of these problems, which became far more common last year, is to get a better webcam.
Our recommendation is Aukey’s Full HD webcam, which can stream video in 1080, and automatically optimizes its video quality based on the amount of light in your room. It also has a pair of stereo microphones that make you sound better than your computer’s built-in mics.
Keeping a webcam plugged into your computer at all times is a little frustrating, but the improvement in video quality is absolutely worth it.
Running Out Of Battery
If your phone is constantly running out of battery, and it’s still relatively new, you need a power bank.
Anker’s PowerCore Slim holds enough juice to fully recharge an iPhone XS twice, and supports fast charging if you use its USB-C PD (power delivery) port. The PowerCore Slim is about the size of the average smartphone, which means it’s small enough to keep in a backpack or purse all the time.
If you have a laptop that supports charging over USB-C (all MacBooks since 2016, and many PC laptops released in the past couple of years), Anker has a solution. Its PowerHouse 100 battery pack can fully recharge a 2020 MacBook Air 1.5 times, and charge multiple devices at once.
There are a lot of power banks out there, but we’re recommending Anker’s based on our personal experience. Their battery packs have solved our battery issues for several years, and last a long, long time.
A Broken Phone Screen
If your phone’s screen has already shattered, you’ll need to bring it into a store to get replaced. But, there are steps you can take to prevent this problem from happening in the first place.
The first is to get a durable case with a raised lip, which will keep your phone’s screen from making direct contact with the found. We like this one from Smartish, which has a raised lip and grooved sides that make it easier to grip. This case will also protect the back, sides, and corners of your phone if it hits the ground at any angle.
If you prefer not to use a case, or want an extra layer of protection, InvisibleShield’s screen protector will put a physical barrier between your phone’s screen and the hard ground. We’ve been testing this glass screen protector for months, and it’s prevented serious damage. Dropping the phone multiple times on different surfaces from around three feet has caused some cracks on the screen protector, but not our phone’s display.
Using both of these accessories will put the biggest buffer between your phone and the floor, but you should use at least one.