Posted on

3 Ways To Extend Your iPhone Battery Life

I replaced the battery in my iPhone 6 at the start of marching band season in August. Long days on the road at competitions meant not being near an electrical outlet to charge my phone.

And usually my phone needed charged by noon each day, even with minimal use.

By early-October, though, I noticed my iPhone’s battery life and overall performance seemed sluggish. Even with the new battery.

Letters were slow to appear on the display when typing text messages. Snapchat took forever to open. The camera took 10 seconds or more to process the photo I just took, leaving me to wonder if I’d captured the moment.

As my frustration and impatience grew with my obsolete iPhone, I become more and more tempted to fork out the money for the new iPhone 8 or iPhone X.

But I didn’t (and still haven’t).

Then, just five days before Christmas, Apple finally admitted to intentionally slowing down the older iPhones – to prolong the life of the devices, they said.

Basically, Apple says that as the lithium-ion batteries in the phones age, they’re unable to provide the necessary power for the iPhone to function properly. This could cause unexpected shutdowns or random freezes.

Through software updates, they throttle performance on the iPhone 6, 6s, SE, and 7.

Besides being a disgruntled iPhone user who doesn’t want to shell out $1,000 for the newest model, what can you do?

Here are three easy ways to improve and prolong your older iPhone’s battery life:

Use Low-Power Mode

Low-power mode forces your iPhone to conserve as much power as possible by shutting off all non-essential features.

According to Apple, it could offer you up to three extra hours of time before needing to charge your phone.

To enable this setting:
1. Tap Settings.
2. Tap Battery.
3. Move the Low Power Mode slider to on (green).

NOTE: Be aware that this feature turns off many useful features, including push email notifications, the ability to use Siri by voice command, and some visual effects.

Lower screen brightness

Lighting your display drains the battery the most. Keeping it at a reduced level will help prolong time between charges.

To manually adjust the screen brightness:
1. Tap Settings.
2. Tap Display & Brightness.
3. Move the Brightness slider as far to the left as your eyes will allow you to clearly see content on your screen.

Alternatively, you can enable Auto-Brightness. This setting lets your iPhone automatically determine the appropriate level of brightness based upon the ambient light conditions at the time.

To turn on Auto-Brightness:
1. Tap Settings.
2. Tap General.
3. Tap Accessibility.
4. Tap Display Accommodations.
5. Move the Auto-Brightness slider to on (green).

Limit background app refresh

Some apps are set to update their content even when you’re not using them. The benefit is you’ll have new content immediately when you open the app. The drawback is less battery life.

To turn off background app refresh:
1. Tap Settings.
2. Tap General.
3. Tap Background App Refresh.

From here you have several options.

You can manually turn off individual apps from refreshing automatically by moving the slider to the left (off/gray).

Or you can turn off all apps from refreshing by tapping the Background App Refresh at the top and selecting Off.

If these suggestions don’t help extend your battery life, you can either have your battery replaced or, if you’re excited to upgrade to the newest iPhone, you can purchase the iPhone 8 or iPhone X. – and then do this all again in two more years!

Posted on

3 iPhone Apps That Will Make Your Summer Vacation More Enjoyable

Venturing out on a summer getaway? Summer is a great time to pack your bags and escape your mundane everyday life for something more adventurous.

Planning your excursion can sometimes be a stressful experience. These three mobile apps can help you find fun and interesting things to do, stay within your budget, and even include pets in the excitement.


LocalScope is an iPhone app that scours the web for information and presents it all to you in a neat, convenient fashion. For just $2.99, you can easily search for local food, museums, hotels, gas stations, coffee shops, shopping centers, and anything else that may pique your interest.

After searching, you’ll be presented with nearly every bit of information you need – pictures and reviews to restaurant menus, contact information, and even maps.

What makes LocalScope unique is that it pulls information from all your favorite websites, and some you may not have even heard of, including Google Maps, Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, Foursquare, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Garmin.

You’ll also be able to navigate to your destination of choice from within the app. Once you’ve enjoyed your local attraction, you can easily post reviews and pictures and share your experience with your friends from within LocalScope.

Trail Wallet

When you’re relaxing on vacation, it’s easy to spend more money than you planned. That’s why Trail Wallet is here to help.

Once you set your daily budget for either your trip or the whole month, Trail Wallet lets you enter in all your purchases and define tags and categories to help you organize them. You’re allowed 25 items per trip in the free version; after that you must pay $4.99 to unlock unlimited items.

You can create your own tags and categories, and then use them to narrow your search results to make finding what you’re looking for easier.

Trail Wallet boasts a very intuitive interface, making it easy for you to navigate your purchases and get an overview of your trip expenses. It is a joy to use, with several themes and interactive avatars to choose from. You can view very detailed charts of your spending data, with plenty of filtering options so you only see what you want to see.

If you happen to be visiting another country, Trail Wallet will even automatically convert your money to the local exchange rate of over 200 countries.

Power users can also export trip data from the app into their favorite accounting software.


If you’re like most pet owners, you want to take your furry friend everywhere you go. With BringFido, you can easily find pet-friendly hotels, outdoor restaurants, parks, and beaches near you. Most entries contain detailed photos and reviews, which you can also submit yourself.

BringFido includes a built-in map, displaying nearby pet-friendly attractions and how to get to them. You can then contact the destination you’re interested in with the information provided in the app.

Booking pet-friendly hotel rooms through BringFido is incredibly convenient. You can enter the size of your pets and how many you have, then be given detailed pricing and booking for your desired destination. However, it is worth noting that some users have complained about the reliability of booking within the app, but regardless, it is a great start to your hotel search.

If you don’t have an iPhone, BringFido also offers a website with all the convenience of the free app.

I’d love to see and hear about your summer excursions. Email me your stories and photos at

Posted on

These Two Apps Made Getting Around D.C. A Breeze

The painfully sore blisters on my pinky toes remind me I need to buy a good pair of walking shoes before my next excursion.

Many of you know I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure tickets to attend the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. No matter your political stance, the privilege of watching American history in the making live, in-person, and up-close is something I’ll never forget.

Although my friend and I rented an apartment only a mile from the White House, we walked thousands of steps as we explored our nation’s capital for the first time.

Two apps on my iPhone quickly became our best friend for our five-day adventure: Uber and Google Maps.

We flew into Washington-Dulles International Airport on Thursday. Since Washington doesn’t have mass transit fully finished to that airport, Uber provided the fastest and most direct way to get to our apartment.

As a new Uber user, I secured a $15 off coupon for my first ride.

We used Uber several times throughout our stay, including once when my poor feet hurt so bad that I absolutely couldn’t walk another block.

The Uber app is super-easy to use. It automatically detects your current location and asks where you would like to go. You’re then given several Uber vehicle options, depending on what’s available in your area.

Alec and I often used UberPOOL. You’re given a guaranteed, low-cost fare because you’re sharing the ride with one or two other people going the same way you are. Our average was about $3.50 for the both of us each time we used UberPOOL.

Within moments, an available Uber driver accepts your request and heads to pick you up. The app shows your driver’s first name, a description of their vehicle and the license plate number. Often times, the driver calls your cell phone as they near your location so they can watch for you.

Because of the massive crowds using public transit, Uber made navigating long distances throughout the capital convenient.

When Alec and I chose to explore the sights and landmarks of D.C. on foot, the Google Maps app gave us the turn-by-turn directions needed to make sure we didn’t get lost. It also told us how long it would take to reach our destinations.

I used Google Maps as we explored the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, and the Washington Monument on the cool, misty, foggy Saturday night.

On Sunday, the Google Maps app helped us time our rides on the Washington Metro trains to visit Arlington National Cemetry, the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, the Pentagon, and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

I encourage you to make these two apps an important part of your next road trip or vacation. They’ll make life a lot easier!

Oh – be sure to take a portable battery charger. These apps run in the background on your phone and can quickly drain the battery.

Posted on

Listen Up, Trump. You’re Wrong!

Apple vs. FBI

You’re a smart guy, Donald, but you’re wrong. 

Apple should NOT be forced into creating a backdoor hack to unlock an iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.  It is also utterly ridiculous to encourage a boycott of all Apple products until they do so.

It would be an interesting exchange between myself and Trump regarding this particular issue – both of us being strong, determined type-A personalities.

I normally try to avoid political discussions except with very close friends, but this issue strikes at the heart of the IT industry.

For those unfamiliar, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and seriously injured 22 others on December 2 when they carried out a homegrown terrorist attack at a holiday party of San Bernardino employees. 

The FBI recovered an iPhone used by the shooters, but could not access its contents due to the phone’s advanced security features and encryption.

The FBI then reached out to Apple, asking them to create a new version of the phone’s operating system that could bypass the security features.  Apple refused.
Unhappy at being told no, the FBI convinced a judge to order Apple to create the requested software.  Apple has chosen to fight back.

Apple CEO Tim Cook explained the company’s rationale in a very clear, well-written letter.  (The letter can be read in its entirety at

While the terroristic murders were dastardly and while our government should do everything in its legal power to protect us from such attacks, much more is at stake than simply cracking open one person’s iPhone.

Not only is it an overreach of our government’s authority, but it would open the door for foreign governments and regimes to demand access to private, personal information you and I store on our electronic devices.

It’s one thing to require a company to legally hand over information they already have.  Such as a subpoena to a cell phone carrier for call logs and chat transcripts.

It’s something quite different to force a company to make an entirely new product.  At the company’s expense.  With questionable long-term ramifications. 

The government’s demand could open the door to all sorts of secret monitoring.  As Tim Cook wrote, “The government could … demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”

Building such a backdoor also opens a huge security hole that hackers, virus writers, and even terrorists could use to obtain the same information – again, without your knowledge or consent.

Our online security is already exceedingly difficult to maintain.  We don’t to increase the risk.

So back to Trump.  How do you think he would respond to this scenario? 

In 2008, the Industrial and Commerce Bank of China signed a deal to occupy the 20th floor of his iconic tower at 725 Fifth Avenue in New York.

The Chinese, according to our government, masterminded a cyber-attack in early 2015, compromising personal information of millions of US government employees.

While the bank had no involvement in the cyber-attack, it could be theoretically possible some of the hackers maintain financial accounts there or funneled money through the bank.

Shouldn’t the government force Trump, at his own cost, to develop and install custom, not-currently-available surveillance equipment to monitor phone calls, computer transmissions, and financial transactions conducted within the bank’s leased area and give the Feds access to collected information?  After all, our national security could be at risk. 

I dare say the Donald would vehemently refuse to comply.  In which case, should we boycott all of Trump’s hotels, resorts, and clothing lines?

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

Now to sit back and wait for the Donald to thrash me on social media!

Posted on

Two Programs That Make Your Life Easier


Over the past two months, I’ve been working with a client to help him better understand and utilize his tech gadgets – namely his desktop computer and iPhone. 

Life circumstances have forced him to set aside time to learn ways they will make his life more effective and enhance his productivity.  Mainly by installing and using two software programs that sync his information between his PC and his iPhone.

He’s an extremely busy person.  So these tools need to be easy to implement and even easier to use. 

He’s very detailed.  So these tools need to be able to help him organize and retrieve the wealth of information he will be putting into his electronic devices.

He’s also very security conscious.  So these tools must put his mind at ease that his personal information is secure no matter where it resides or how he accesses it.

The first program I introduced him to was Evernote (

This client takes detailed notes about many things.  It makes sense.  He’s busy and it would be easy to forget critical information – especially the small stuff.

His iPhone’s Notes app contained dozens, if not hundreds, of individual notes:

  • To-do lists
  • Things to remember
  • Passwords

But he had no way to easily search for information he’d entered in 6 months ago.  There was no organization to it.

And it was only available on his iPhone.  Couldn’t be accessed on his computer.

Evernote comes to the rescue.  This free program allows you to create notes on any device on which you have it installed.  They are then synced to all your other devices – where you can read them, edit them, or delete them.

You can organize your notes into notebooks.  You can search your notes.

In the ridiculously affordable paid version of Evernote, you can do even more – like save clips from the Internet, save emails into the program, turn notes into presentations, and share notes with others.

The second program I introduced him to was LastPass (

Described as “the last password you’ll have to remember,” this program completely eliminates the hassle of remembering oft-forgotten information.

Obviously LastPass can store passwords for all your websites – Facebook, Gmail, Home Shopping Network, and more.  It can even automatically log you in to websites for which you have passwords saved.

But LastPass doesn’t just store your passwords – it can store ALL of your hard-to-remember information.  It keeps important information handy, even when you don’t have the actual card or document in front of you.

You can create secure notes to save bank account numbers, credit card numbers, email logins, insurance information, passports, social security numbers, driver’s license information, wireless network passwords, and even generic notes.

The best part is for just $12 a year, you can sync and access your passwords on all your devices – desktop computer, laptop computer, smartphone, and tablet.

If you’re looking to simplify your life, I encourage you to begin with your passwords and important notes.  Let these two programs take the stress of remembering stuff away.

Just like my client I introduced these to, you’ll be more effective and productive.

Posted on

Your iPhone Could Save Your Life

Medical ID


It’s a bright, sunny, crisp fall day. 

You roll your car windows down as you back out of your driveway, allowing the fresh air to fill your car.

Your radio blares your favorite song from a local radio station.

It’s a great day for a short road trip, you think to yourself as you pull onto the highway.

About twenty miles into your excursion, suddenly a wrong-way driver slams head-on into your car.  You had no time to react, no time for defensive driving techniques.

Your airbag deploys while your car spins non-stop in the middle of the busy highway, striking another vehicle.  Your head slams against the driver’s side door.

Pain radiates through your body.  You feel woozy.  Then you black out.

Emergency responders quickly arrive, extricate you from your vehicle, and rush you to the nearest emergency room.  You have no awareness of the events around you because you’re unconscious.

Effective treatment of life-threatening injuries requires emergency professionals to know as much vital information about you as possible – your past medical history, medications you’re taking, allergies and more.

If you’re alone, they also need to know how to contact a close friend or relative to inform them of the situation.

In days gone by, medical ID bracelets and keychains worn or carried by individuals used to provide critical information to emergency personnel.  Not so much anymore.

But what if this vital, life-saving information were available on a device that you most likely carry with you everywhere?  Your cell phone.

Apple introduced the new Health app in iOS8 for iPhones.  This app allows to you store critical medical information, such as:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Medical conditions
  • Medical notes
  • Allergies & reactions
  • Medications
  • Emergency contacts
  • Blood type
  • Organ donor status
  • Height and weight
  • Photo

First responders and medical providers can easily access this information, regardless if your phone requires a passcode or fingerprint. 

Here’s how to quickly set it up on your iPhone:

  1. From the iPhone home screen, choose the “Health” app. It’s the app with a white box with a pink heart in the right corner.
  2. You will notice a “Medical ID” option in the tool bar along the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap “Create Medical ID” in the middle of the screen. A screen will appear with field for you to enter your information into.
  4. If you have a passcode on your iPhone, ensure that the “Show When Locked” feature is enabled to guarantee this information can be accessed from your lock screen. (A green dot should appear next to this line when enabled.)
  5. Click Done in the top right corner to save your information.
  6. Once complete, test the feature by swiping the lock screen, tapping “Emergency” at the bottom left, and then tapping “Medical ID” on the next screen.

“Unfortunately, many people who come into the emergency department don’t have medical ID set up on their phone or don’t have an iPhone, but I always look,” says Colyn Barry, BSN, RN, CEN, an emergency nurse at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

Life-threatening emergencies can happen anytime.  Why not take a few minutes now to set up your medical ID on your cell phone?  It could save your life!