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Divide and Conquer Black Friday Shopping with your Smartphone [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Andrea Drag on Nov 25, 2015 1:21:47 PM


With 300 million other shoppers to compete with this Black Friday, drafting a strategy for the year’s biggest shopping event is essential. Tactical shopping will help you and your family save big on this year’s most popular holiday gift items, and your smartphone can be a huge asset in this November endeavor.


Remember these helpful tips and apps:

Get your smartphone ready for Black Friday by loading strategic shopping apps onto your device:

  • RedLaser, available for Apple and Android devices, can be used to find which stores offer the lowest prices on your wishlist favorites.
  • Your favorite retailer's shopping app may have coupons and exclusive black friday sale ads. See the shopping category on Google Play and iTunes for your go-to stores.
  • Route4me can help you plan out your driving routes for an entire weekend of sales more effiencitely. Get it for Apple or Android

Clear communication will make your mission a success

The most basic functions of a smartphone - the ability to effectively communicate -  can be a lifesaver when it comes to shopping smart. It's no secret you’ll be able to cover more ground and take advantage of better deals by assigning your family to different stores. Keeping in touch, whether by phone, messenger, text or face chat is a cinch if every member of your family has a smartphone. Syncing up over your phones is also a great way to change up the plan on the fly when family members stumble onto deals that are too good to pass up.

Best of luck on your Black Friday shopping spree!

Be sure to visit your local Wireless Zone for exclusive Black Friday deals on your favorite devices and tech this holiday season! 

Click Here To Find Your Local Wireless Zone

Topics: Android Apps, black friday, iPhone apps, Smartphone Tips, smartphone apps, infographic, Black Friday Apps, Plan your black friday shopping trip, Shopping apps, black friday shopping

6 strategies for extending your smartphone battery life before the holidays

Posted by Andrea Drag on Nov 20, 2015 5:27:08 PM


Your smartphone is a lifesaver during the hustle-bustle holiday season. The ability to coordinate travel with your loved ones, look up traffic-free routes between shopping destinations, make Black Friday purchases and collect family favorite recipes on the same device makes the holidays easier to handle than ever before. However, having all this functionality at your fingertips won't be terribly convenient if your smartphone battery goes into the red a few hours into your errand runs.

Battery life is an often overlooked feature that has an enormous impact on smartphone and tablet functionality. During the holidays, when your smartphone's apps become extra vital to managing your life, battery life becomes even more important. Applying a few of the following tips can help you get the most out of your smartphone battery over the busy days that are fast approaching.

1. Stop your screen from eating up the phone's charge


The first place to start looking for battery waste is actually staring right back at you whenever you use your smartphone. Making a few adjustment to how your phone's screen performs on a day-to-day basis can have a big impact on how long your device's battery can last.

PC Advisor noted that as displays have become brighter and more colorful, they have also begun to draw a larger share of the phone's battery power. Dimming your phone's brightness and shortening the device's timeout length in the screen settings will help you start to extend the life of your smartphone.

2. Make a habit of quitting apps that run in the background


A smartphone's ability to effectively multi-task and run multiple apps at once is essential. However, this functionality can quickly backfire if users develop bad habits about letting apps run in the background for hours at a time.

Part of the problem for many users is that they have so many apps that it becomes difficult to manage which programs are sending and receiving data behind the scenes. The best first step is to delete all the apps you haven't used in weeks, according to Time. You can always download them again in the future, so don't be shy about eliminating everything but your must-haves.

After you've deleted the fluff, take close look at which of your apps are updating automatically and decide if some of them can't stand to reload whenever you open the app. Limiting the amount of apps running in the background in this way can also go a long way toward extending your phone's battery life.

3. Minimize dependence on map services and other GPS apps


While maps and other locator apps that take advantage of your phone's GPS are extremely convenient for getting around during the holidays, running these apps constantly will put a large strain on your battery and could, ironically, leave you lost or stranded with a dead phone. Consider planning out trips and save the directions to your smartphone's notepad app, then using the phone's GPS as a frame of reference when you lose your way. This approach will minimize the extra drain on your battery that comes with continuous map navigation.

4. Download an app that will assist you in battery management


Though limiting app usage is a big part of saving your smartphone's battery life during the holidays, you can also use apps to make sure you are using your device as efficiently as possible. For example, Battery Doctor, available for iPhone and Android devices, can be used to identify which apps use the most battery life and provides free tips for battery maintenance. Battery saver apps are also useful for providing more accurate estimates of how long your battery will last depending on which apps you need to use. This level of detail information can be extremely useful if you find yourself in a tight spot while checking off the to-do list.

5. Invest in a battery extender or portable charger. 


Even the most battery-conscious consumers have experienced the frustration of their smartphone hitting the zero percent mark and shutting down in the middle of a busy day out and about. Having a contingency plan in these unforunate scenerios can save you the greif of being off-the-grid when trying to coordinate plans with friends and family, getting lost without a working smartphone GPS and lacking access to information in your handy apps, email, and memos. 

6. Shop around for a device with superior battery life


Sometimes no matter how hard you try to extend your phone's battery life, the device may still come up short. There are a few scenarios that could be responsible for this dwindling performance, including the age of the device and the device's design. Do a little digging online to determine if other users have found consistent battery life issues using the same model as your own device. A visit to your local Wireless Zone will provide insights into battery performance as well. 

If it turns out that your smartphone battery life worries aren't solvable, it may be time to purchase yourself an early holiday gift in the form of a new device with a more reliable full charge. The latest devices on the market, like the new iPhone 6s, boast battery lives upwards of 15 to 30 hours of use, depending on how frequently high-intensity apps are used on a daily basis, according to Trusted Reviews.

 Visit your local Wireless Zone for more great battery extending tips and all the latest devices.

Click Here To Find Your Local Wireless Zone

Topics: Device Features, Wireless Technology

5 tips to help you avoid losing your phone this fall

Posted by Andrea Drag on Nov 4, 2015 4:28:03 PM

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the craziness of the holiday season is fast approaching. During these busy weeks your smartphone can come in handy on a regular basis, acting as a digital personal assistant and a means of coordinating your family's schedule. Just think of how inconvenient managing the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be without your smartphone. Unfortunately, this overbearing busyness creates extra opportunities for smartphone mishaps. Whether the device gets left behind or lifted from your pocket, your risk for losing track of your device are at an all-time high this time of year. Getting a better grasp of the situation and a better grip on your phone could save you hours of frustration and hundreds of dollars.

Break in some new handling habits

Ultimately, keeping your phone out of harm's way comes down to turning phone management into a routine. At home, consider picking a permanent spot to place and charge your phone. Losing your phone at home will become considerably easier after training yourself to keep your phone on your person or in the device's charging area. At work, pick a drawer or another out of site place to hide your phone while you are away from your desk. Better to be safe than sorry, especially if you work in an expansive office with a large number of employees that often gets visitors. You may want to impose some personal rules about using your device at places like bars, the movies or on public transportation - leaving your device out on seats, counters or tables in public places puts your smartphone at high risk for theft.

Get in touch with your provider immediately

You'll have to act fast if you suspect your smartphone has been stolen. According to USA Today, your first move should be to contact your service provider. They may be able to lock or blacklist the phone. If all else fails, looping them into the situation will ensure you won't be charged for purchases made on the device. Once the provider has been updated, consider filing a police report and provide the authorities with the phone's serial number. Taking these steps right away could prevent your smartphone from being lost for good.

Leave helpful hints for good Samaritans

Another way to prevent your phone from being lost for good is to leave a bit of contact information on your smartphone. Consumer Reports recommended taping a small note to the back of the body of your smartphone beneath the case, including contact information like your email or social media info. This preparation makes it easy for any good-intentioned person who finds your phone to reach out to you and return the device.

Activate your phone's ringtone via email

Android and Apple users have an extra resource for finding their phones in case their devices are displaced. Android phones running version 2.2 or later can set up the Android Device Manager under the phone's Google Settings. This feature makes it a breeze to locate your phone through its built-in GPS via any computer with an Internet connection. Likewise, Apple iPhone owners can use Find My Phone and their iTunes account to find a missing phone in case of an emergency.

Lighten your load with a sleeker case

One issue that can hamper your ability to keep track of your smartphone is a case that adds too much size and density. A hard plastic exterior may keep your smartphone safe from falls, but the utility of the case suffers if you can no longer fit the device in your pocket. Thankfully, firmer, thinner cases are available on the market that find the sweet spot between durability and finesse. A quick visit to your local Wireless Zone provides a chance to inspect the type of case materials on the market and find the accessory that's a perfect fit for your phone. You'll be less likely to leave your device out in the open once slipping your smartphone into your pocket becomes a seamless move.

Click Here To Find Your Local Wireless Zone

Topics: Wireless Technology

Parents can enjoy a scare-free Halloween with these helpful smartphone apps

Posted by Andrea Drag on Oct 28, 2015 5:38:44 PM

It won't be long before the tapping of tiny footsteps is heard in neighborhoods across the country as trick-or-treaters descend into the night for a bounty of sugary treats. For parents, Halloween is a great time for bonding. There's nothing like crafts, costumes and the promise of candy to bring together the entire family. Despite the fun, there are multiple safety concerns for parents to consider when planning out the end of October.

There are plenty of ways to reduce the workload and enjoy the season thanks to the latest smartphone apps. Taking advantage of these innovative programs can turn time-consuming efforts like planning travel routes for Halloween night into child's play. The following apps, available for Apple and Android devices, are a sugary taste of what a smartphone-powered Halloween has to offer.

NextDoor's Treat Map takes the guesswork out of house selection

Making blind guesses at which neighbors are handing out candy on Halloween based on their outdoor decorations will only get a parent so far. Likewise, canvassing the neighborhood with phone calls is a time consuming and intrusive exercise. Thankfully, smartphone apps have stepped up to solve this problem in a big way. For example, downloading the NextDoor neighborhood networking app, available for iPhone and Android, makes it a cinch to look up which streets near your home are decked with eager candy dispensers. Planning out routes early along these guidelines ensure that kids fill their buckets without straying too far or staying out too late.

Track N Treat helps parents keep an eye on their kids

As children grow older and begin to exert their independence, it's only a matter of time before they yearn to go trick-or-treating with their friends and without a chaperone. There's no hard and fast rule for how old kids need to be before they are mature enough to go out on Halloween by themselves, and parents who are leaning on the fence can take advantage of smartphone technology to make the decision a little easier.

iPhone and Android users can utilize apps like Track n Treat to keep a close eye on the location of their children walking from house to house. By taking advantage of the GPS technology already built into their child's smartphones, ensuring that kids stay along their designated routes has never been simpler. The app even allows parents to notify neighbors about the location of their little ones and perform courtesy checks.

Ease fears with the American Red Cross first-aid app 

Scraped legs. Bloodied elbows. Swollen ankles. These sort of minor injuries happen to some kids more than others, but the hustle and bustle of Halloween makes every trick-or-treater more likely to get hurt. Have a bit of extra injury expertise on standby with the American Red Cross first-aid app, free for download on iPhone and Android smartphones. Bilingual functionality and helpful instructional videos make this app a versatile lifesaver on Halloween night.

Zombies, Run! provides extra motivation to work off the candy calories

The only downside of Halloween fun is the ample temptation to pig out on candy. For parents who do plan on treating themselves this October, a simple way to offset the extra calorie intake is to take up a new physical activity.

Zombies, Run! is a creative app for Android and iPhone that allows users to simulate the chills of a zombie apocalypse in the form of motivating fitness goals. The app turns every jog into a flee for survival, and this extra motivation can help users burn off the extra candy-laden pounds while dodging the zombifying boredom of the average run.

For more great app suggestions from wireless professionals, visit your local Wireless Zone location.

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Topics: Halloween, trick or treat, halloween candy, halloween safety tips, halloween safety apps, halloween apps, safety tips, smartphone safety, apps for parents, trick or treat apps

Should you get the 6s or 6s Plus? Tips for navigating a win-win decision

Posted by Andrea Drag on Oct 21, 2015 5:55:24 PM


Due to the popularity of Apple's smartphones, the release of the new iPhone is consistently one of the largest consumer events of the year. This year's debut of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus was no slouch in this regard. According to BGR, Apple was able to ship 13 million smartphones over its first weekend, and sales are expected to keep rising as the phone debuts in additional countries and new markets. As a result, smartphone owners around the world are now asking themselves the same question: "Should I get an iPhone 6s or opt for the 6s Plus?"

Thankfully, it's rather difficult to walk away from this ultimatum without feeling like a winner. Both the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus represent the cutting edge of smartphone technology and won't leave the user behind in terms of technology. The final decision will come down to the unique needs of each smartphone user.

The iPhone 6s is ideal when portability is a priority

Both the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus are slightly larger and heavier than their predecessors, but this small change can make a big difference depending on how smartphone owners use their device on a daily basis. The subtle strength improvements may have made the 6s Plus just a bit too large to live in a user's pocket. Likewise, the 6s is a bit more manageable in the palm of the hand, especially if a case hasn't been purchased for the device.

For smartphone users who typically operate their device with two hands and from a seated position, the Plus is likely the better option. Similarly, those used to multitasking and one-handed operations on their smartphone may get more for their investment by purchasing the 6s.

App lovers may prefer the iPhone Plus-sized screen

Smartphone owners who prioritize the convenience of a high-tech personal assistant will certainly prefer the iPhone 6s 4.7-inch display. On the flip side, users who prize their smartphone for its capabilities as a portable media player will favor the crisp 5.5-inch display available on the iPhone 6s Plus. The beefed up resolution is further enhanced with iOS 9, which equips the 6S plus with even more tools that owners can use to harness the device's full potential.

Two tiers of camera technology will divide Apple customers

One important issue that smartphone shoppers should be made aware of before taking a trip to their nearest Wireless Zone retailer is the discrepancy between the cameras loaded on each device. Both the 6s and 6s Plus are equipped with a 12 megapixel sensor and capable of HD video recording. Only the 6s Plus, however, will come equipped with Optical Image Stabilization, which will deliver considerably improved performance over the iPhone 6s camera and its Digital Image Stabilization feature.

Plenty of shared features make a winner out of both devices

Regardless of where a consumer ends up landing on their preference, the shared features on Apple's latest versions of the iPhone make both devices well worth the purchase. Features like 3D Touch, available on both devices, take smartphone operation to new places while delivering greater levels of convenience. Furthermore, neither device is a slouch when it comes to power and performance. Users truly have a win-win decision ahead if they are planning to upgrade their smartphone with the latest Apple device.

Check out the latest iPhones at your local Wireless Zone to see which model fits your needs:

Click Here To Find Your Local Wireless Zone


Topics: Device Features, Wireless Technology

How Everyday Gadgets Have Gone Mobile [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Andrea Drag on Sep 22, 2015 9:00:00 AM

It wasn’t long ago that the most exciting feature your mobile phone had was a calculator. These days the average smartphone can match the functionality of a laptop computer. If you don’t own a smartphone yet, it’s worth learning more about everything these versatile devices can do.



Swiss army knife technology
The list of features that users have access to when using a smartphone is extensive. Modern mobile devices can act as radios, alarm clocks, flashlights, electronic readers, GPS, gaming consoles, news resources, music players and portable storage devices. Smartphones can even be used as personal planners that sync seamlessly with the user’s personal and work email accounts.

There’s plenty of room for smartphone technology to advance as well. It won’t be long before smartphones are capable of acting as wireless Wi-Fi ports that rival the speeds of home connections or can act as the user’s digital wallet. Innovative, free apps are also available for iOS and Android devices that further expand the capabilities of mobile devices.

Smartphones are here to stay
This myriad of uses is a big part of why smartphones have quickly become ingrained into the daily lives of average Americans from coast to coast. Nearly half of smartphone owners use their device to listen to their favorite tunes and thousands use their iPhones or Androids to keep up to date with the daily news or latest boxscore. After all, the convenience of a computer’s worth of processing power is a valuable resource.

Senior citizens and college students alike are constantly discovering new ways to expand the functionality of their smartphones. With a bit of research, users can find a unique use for a smartphone that makes their lives just a little easier. Visit your local Wireless Zone to ask our technology experts all the cool features your phone can do and test out the advances of the latest smartphone devices.

Click Here To Find Your Local Wireless Zone




Topics: Smartphone, technology

5 Ways College Students Can Protect Their Tech From Thieves and Hackers

Posted by Andrea Drag on Sep 9, 2015 12:02:06 PM


While college and university campuses are great places to learn and grow, they can sometimes host a variety of hazardous scenarios for your smartphone. The risk of theft (both digital information and tangible devices), by fellow students and non-students alike, is a serious one. In fact, Farmers Insurance reported that cell phones ranked among the most commonly burglarized items on college campuses across the country. Take these 5 steps to secure your smartphone before the semester gets too far underway:

1. Always keep your smartphone within eye's reach

Eyey_iconAlthough campus may be a safe place, never assume your device won't get lifted by a student hanging out in a residence hall common area or a stranger lurking in the dining hall. Smartphones are extremely valuable and they also often store data that is worth more than the device. Financial information could be recovered by a thief if personal data like credit cards and passwords are stored within applications.

Be diligent in keeping an eye on your phone and avoid leaving your device out in the open or in the care of strangers. Even a seemingly friendly acquaintance may not think twice about scoping out another student's credit card information. It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to securing a smartphone on campus. 

2. Phone locator apps are essential to a theft recovery plan

Phone_LocatorThe only way to be truly ready to deal with smartphone device theft is to have organized contingency plans set in place. Thinking ahead and planning for the worst will serve your time as a college student well. Thankfully, advances in app technology make it easier to respond to a smartphone theft than ever before.

Both Android and Apple smartphones come equipped with applications - Android Device Manager and Find My Phone, respectively - that allow users to locate their phone remotely, erase saved credit card data and lock the device from being opened, according to CNET. These actions can all be performed remotely. Familiarize yourself with these services depending on your smartphone and register your devices before heading back to school.

3. Lock screen passwords keep your identity safe 

passwordSmartphone security isn't just for device theft prevention. Encrypting your phone and protecting it with a complex password can help keep curious eyes out of your personal information. About a third of the entire U.S. population has absolutely no smartphone protections whatsoever to defend their device. This lack of security makes it a simple task for would-be identity thieves to access your most secure data. CNBC warned that criminals are more focused on mobile devices than ever before, so it's more important than ever before to be more proactive about smartphone security. Basic encryption or a longer, complex password can make a smart device a bit more difficult to hack and less attractive to thieves.

4. Backup data in case your device meets its end

data_redRisk factors beyond smartphone thieves threaten your device, so be sure to prepare for multiple types of worst-case scenarios. Accidents like spills, drops and other forms of collegiate collateral damage can bring down a high-end smartphone in seconds. In addition to ruining a valuable device, these types of incidents can also put students in hot water if important school data, documents and contacts are being stored on their smartphone.

iPhone owners are in luck. Most apps are optimized to store information in the iCloud , so data loss for these users is not so big of a setback. Android users will have to do a bit of research and compare a few options to find a premium backup and syncing app like Helium that meets their phone security needs.

5. Unsecured Campus WiFi may pose a digital security threat

WifiLast but not least, students should keep their eyes open for traditional hackers as well. Now that smartphones are operating more like tiny computers, many of the same security problems that once created issues on the PC are now turning into pain points for smartphone owners. Misclicks on pop-ups can now lead to malware infecting a smartphone, slowing its performance and populating its hard drive with unwanted programs. Without a smartphone virus protection app, your device remains exposed.

Refrain from using credit cards or otherwise making online purchases in public places with shared, unsecured wireless Internet. While easy to access, these networks are also very easy to monitor by hackers searching for smartphones to hack into and data to steal.

For more tips on protecting your device during college, check out our 6-step guide and visit your local Wireless Zone to discuss protection options with our knowledgeable staff of mobile technology experts.  


Click Here To Find Your Local Wireless Zone

Topics: Device Features, Wireless Technology, college students, hackers, Mobile Apps, smartphone hackers, theft protection, smartphone theft

A Green Guide to Recycling Your Old Smartphone

Posted by Andrea Drag on Sep 1, 2015 6:19:08 PM

Reduce_reuseElectronic waste like old cell phones only makes up a small part of our nation’s trash cycle. However, discarded electronics are responsible for over 70 percent of environmental pollution and the problem is escalating quickly. One way that you and your family can help limit the growth of this waste is by recycling your phone at your local Wireless Zone before upgrading to a new device. Recycling your old smartphone helps to lessen the overall burden on the environment and put thousands of pounds of valuable materials back into production. Learn more about the process to find out how giving up your old device will benefit our planet.



Old mobile phones are a growing resource

One of the best parts about recycling mobile phones is that there won’t be a short supply any time soon. There are billions of devices in use around the world, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Over a hundred million of those phones are retired annually as people decide to upgrade their model or their device stops working.

Considering that mobile phone sales continue to climb in the U.S. and worldwide, there’s no fear of the 
population running out of smartphones anytime soon. On the other hand, this flood of phones also contributes to a quickly increasing pollution problem, making it imperative to take advantage of this renewable resource.

Phones go in and precious metals come out

When phones are too old or damaged to be used by another consumer, entire batches of devices are smelted into a liquid form, making it possible to extract the precious metals like platinum, gold, silver, copper, nickel, zinc and iron. Mother Jones Magazine reported that over 300 pounds of copper and other precious metals can be recycled from batches of just under 9,000 phones. While this ratio may seem a bit less than ideal, the return of investment compared to traditional mining is sizable. After all, a ton of gold ore contains a small fraction of pure gold. A ton of smartphones, however, contains roughly 40 times that amount.

Materials are becoming easier to breakdown and reuse

Smartphone recycling is becoming more manageable every year due to smart phone manufacturers being more sustainable about how they build their products, using less overall materials that cannot be recycled for future use. In addition, the rate of people who are aware of smartphone recycling and willing to donate their phones has significantly increased in the past decade. This means it’s even easier to organize a phone drive at your workplace or gather your families’ old devices for donation.

Reminders for phone recyclers

CBS News warned that there are a few important precautions that phone owners should take before recycling their device. First and foremost, take care to delete any and all personal data on the phone. It may take time to do so but the personal security is well worth the effort. If your phone has a SIM card inside, be sure to physically remove the tiny storage device as well. If possible, take your battery out as well, as those go through a completely separate recycling process. You may also want to backup all of your photos and contacts before going through this process to ensure you carry everything from your old smartphone to your new one.


Upon visiting your local Wireless Zone, our wireless professionals can assist you with these preparatory tasks and even offer trade-in value for certain devices you recycle. Reducing environmental pollution through our mobile phone recycling program is not only the right thing to do for our planet but can benefit your pocket as well.


Click Here To Find Your Local Wireless Zone



Topics: go green, recycle, reduce reuse recycle, mobile phone pollution, how to recycle your old phone

Is Your Child or Teen Ready for the Responsibility of a Smartphone?

Posted by Andrea Drag on Aug 25, 2015 1:44:00 PM



Smartphones are powerful and versatile, but they are also expensive and don't take kindly to being dropped. That's why some parents are left guessing when is right time to introduce such high-maintenance technology to their children. The wonders of mobile technology have plenty to offer your family when your kids are ready, and there are plenty of factors to consider when each child seems ready for a smartphone of their own. Evaluating how your kids have handled a number of other challenges and responsibilities is a good start. You can also weigh-in the following criteria to ask yourself: Is my child ready for the responsibility of a smartphone? 

1. What's your child's maturity level?


First and foremost, the main factor to consider when deciding on whether or not to purchase your child or teen a smartphone is your current communication patterns. Is your kid upfront with you when he or she makes a mistake? Is he or she willing to be held accountable for their behavior? Do you feel like you can trust them to take care of an expensive electronic device?

Trust your gut.  If your response to these inquiries is a resounding "No!", then you may want to reconsider the purchase until you feel confident and comfortable trusting your child or teen with the device. Purchasing them a smartphone will feel more like a safe bet if he or she is responsible and has safely handled less costly electronics in the past.

2. Do the circumstances create a necessity?


There's a big difference between purchasing a smartphone for your child as a reward and equipping them with a smart device to improve communication. Likewise, children and teens alike are predisposed to treat a family phone "on loan" differently than a smartphone that was purchased intentionally as their personal device. According to the Child Mind Institute, establishing these types of boundaries is important.

Worried that the adolescent in your home isn't ready to manage a device? Purchase one for the family instead and let your kids know that how they handle the loaner phone will impact how quickly they get a device of their own. This strategy allows you to test your child's ability to follow strict instructions regarding smartphone usage without risking your pocket book to get the job done. After all, there's no rule book requiring their starter phone to come with all the bells and whistles. A more economically priced device may better serve your purposes.

3. Do the benefits outweigh the risks for your family?


At a certain point, it may seem that it's more trouble than it's worth to not provide your child with a smartphone. After all, there are numerous practical perks to hooking your child up with advanced technology.

Putting a phone in the hands of your kids means better family communication:

  • Getting your child's attention is a bit easier when you can text, phone or video chat your kids at your leisure. When they are constantly busy with extracurriculars, transporting the family turns into a logistical nightmare and a simple means of getting touch becomes priceless.

Smartphones provide your kids with a calendar/organizer that's always on hand: 

  • Kids that struggle with scheduling often need a little extra help to get organized, and the impact of this skill deficiency becomes more apparent - and more counter-intuitive to their success - as children grow older. The convenient and streamlined nature of a smartphone's apps might be the extra tool your kid needs to add some extra structure to their lives.

Sometimes it makes the most financial sense to consider family phone plans:

  • Wireless Zone stores often sell multiple smartphones of the same make and model as part of family packages. In scenarios like these, including your kids on the plan makes more financial sense than purchasing new phones for each family member a la carte. These plans often come with discounts on large monthly data limits, a must when one or more kids in the family is using a smartphone.

4. Is college is just around the corner in your child's life?


All the organizational and educational advantages of owning a smartphone are even more relevant for college students. Likewise, a reliable means of communication is essential once your kids are out of the house and living closer to campus. If your child is still without a smartphone after high school graduation, it can serve as a highly practical graduation present.

Be sure to send them off to school with important accessories like a protective case, extra chargers and products designed to keep the device clean. Be sure to program emergency contact numbers into the phone before sending kids off to school. College life can be trying and unpredictable, so taking these precautions helps to educate your kids about the rigors of adult life will make it easier for them to care for their newly purchased smartphone.

Click Here To Find Your Local Wireless Zone

Topics: family technology, smartphones for kids, tips for parents, when to buy my child their first smartphone, smartphones for teens, when to buy your child a smartphone

6 Ways to Protect a Smartphone From Your First Semester of College

Posted by Andrea Drag on Aug 18, 2015 6:06:00 PM

The fast-approaching fall semester promises hundreds of new adventures and opportunities, especially for incoming freshmen. Among these new experiences are also additional chances to break your phone. A totaled or stolen smartphone can put a big damper in your social, professional and academic lives - year one of college revolves around seamless communication more than ever before. From finding the right case to installing security apps, there are plenty of ways to keep your phone in your pocket and out of harm's way if you follow our 6 simple suggestions to protect your tech.

1. Waiting to replace your case is a dangerous game


Whether you've got a new phone without a case or simply haven't found the right style for your current device, make sure to find a protective phone case before the first day of class. You'll be happy you did if your smartphone takes a tumble to the concrete on the steps outside your dorm or gets knocked from your hand in the chaos of the food court.

Cases do more than just prevent your phone's exterior from getting scraped and scuffed. They also protect your device's delicate screen from impacts and accidents. You'll find the entire gamut of styles at your local Wireless Zone. Make sure to do your case shopping in person so you can get a feel for your newest smartphone accessory.

2. Battery life can be extended by charging smarter


You smartphone is powered by a lithium-ion battery, and the long-term performance of the battery is largely based on how often and to what percent you charge your phone. According to Gizmodo, you can help maximize the performance life of the lithium-ion cell by keeping the device charged above 50 percent as consistently as possible. It's helpful to let the smartphone discharge completely once a month to allow the chemical process within the phone to calibrate. On most days, however, keeping the charge somewhere between 40 and 80 percent is ideal.

You'll have to avoid a few behaviors that degrade your phone's battery if you want it to last you until sophomore year. Stop leaving your smartphone plugged into the wall after it reaches 100 percent. Doing so will contribute to more rapid battery degradation. It's also important to remember that your smartphone is rather sensitive to heat. Leaving your device in the car on a hot summer day could lead to reduced battery performance.

3. Let your device leave your sight and face the consequences


At the end of the day, losing your phone often comes to leaving the device in the wrong spot at the wrong time. If you find yourself at a party, for example, remember that countertops are the worst place to leave your phone. Not only are they easy to swipe, but are also vulnerable to spills and other late night shenanigans that could leave you with a broken screen and an awkward conversation to have with mom and dad.

On the bright side, keeping a closer eye on your phone isn't too difficult. Start by picking a pants or purse pocket where your smartphone will always reside, and teach yourself to double-check that your phone is where it should be on a routine basis. You can also increase phone safely by investing in a unique, brightly colored case - the visual will make it easier to spot your phone from a distance if you accidentally leave it behind.

4. You can develop theft response plans with the right apps


Are you a careful planner willing to go above and beyond in the name of phone security? Then you should put some time into researching applications that aid in this effort. The Wireless Association explained that programs are available that track the location of your phone, lock the device from unauthorized entry and, in some cases, delete personal information before it can be accessed by an intruder. Some apps even trigger alarms to other phones or to the police if they detect attempts of unauthorized entry.

5. Recognize that smartphone malware now poses a serious threat


Unscrupulous fellow students aren't the only threat you'll have to prepare your smartphone for before college. As smartphones have become more like little computers they have also been targeted more frequently by hackers and their malware, warned TechRepublic. You'll need to download removal software to delete malware and get your phone back to full operation. Failure to do so will create opportunities for hackers to access your device and make off with any sensitive or valuable information. A proactive defense is the best way to keep your smartphone safe, from digital and physical threats alike.

6. Make an educated choice insuring your phone


College can be a crazy time of late night library treks to rowdy adventures off campus. The best way to insure your phone does not fall prey to a study sesssion coffee spill or get damaged on a night out on the town, it's best to protect your tech with smartphone insurance. Aside from saving you hundreds of dollars should an accident occur, protection plans often come with a lot of great side benefits (plan dependent) including: on-demand tech support, wipe/lock/locate features, cloud back up, and even a guaranteed buyback value. Don’t end up disconnected from the rest during your college days – protect your phone. Learn what options your phone has for protection at your local Wireless Zone.

Click Here To Find Your Local Wireless Zone

Topics: Back to school, tips for college freshmen, smartphone protection

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