Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products, and all things digital.
Sometimes, choosing the most interesting questions to highlight is the best part of my job. This week, I received questions about the new iPhone, keeping gadgets clean, detecting viruses, and more.
Do you have a question you’d like to ask me? Tap or click here to email me directly. I personally read every note.
Q: I read on Facebook that 5G antennas spread the coronavirus. This is frightening!
A: This would be terrifying — if there were an ounce of truth to it. The good news is that 5G antennas do not cause coronavirus. Scientists have found no connection between the two phenomena so you can breathe a sigh of relief. The bad news is that this conspiracy theory spread to millions of people, including several celebrities with large social media followings, resulting in the arson of several 5G antennas.
I don’t blame people for jumping to conclusions; after all, these are very unusual times, and conspiracy theorists can be very persuasive. But I am deeply troubled to hear that this idea, which has no scientific basis whatsoever, has led to real-world arson. If you notice someone spreading this rumor, please encourage them to stop. It will only make things worse.
Sanitize your phone
Q: What is the safest best way to clean a smartphone? I read it has more germs than a toilet seat! Gross!
A: Smartphones are magnets for bacteria, even under the best circumstances. Regular cleaning can radically reduce your chances of getting sick. You can use a range of antiseptic wipes, but a more high-tech approach is an ultraviolet phone cleaner. This device is specifically designed to disinfect your phone and depending on the model you buy, it may be able to charge your battery as well.
UV rays may sound a little theoretical, but they are some of the most effective weapons against accumulated germs on the surface of your device. The CDC has approved this method, and many users have turned to UV technology since the pandemic took hold.
iPhone SE details
Q: Is Apple’s new $399 iPhone worth the money? How can this one be so cheap compared to the $1,000+ models?
A: Millions of people rushed to buy the iPhone X, but millions of others balked at its astronomical price tag. The Apple SE caters to those budget-conscious customers who want exceptional technology but aren’t willing to shell out the big bucks. So, is it worth it?
The SE is a pretty great deal. It has a fantastic processor, a professional camera with portrait mode, and a Retina display. The phone is smaller than its predecessors, and you don’t get certain features, such as face recognition or night mode for the camera. But if you have been thinking of upgrading anyway, it’s a steal compared to other Apple products, which can often cost as much as a new MacBook.
WFH job market
Q: I need to find a job. I searched online, and all I found were scams.
A: There’s a special place in hell for scammers who take advantage of a pandemic to trick people out of their money. But they’re still out there, using all the confusion and unemployment to rope you into pyramid schemes and shifty get-rich-quick schemes. At the same time, there are real, legitimate companies that are actively searching for workers — specifically people who can work from home.
If you read this column regularly, you may be excited to know that many of these employers are tech companies. You’ll find educational and healthcare opportunities as well. You may be seeking a temporary position to help you weather a lay-off, but many of these roles could lead to a whole new career path.
Free virus scans
Q: My computer is running slowly. How can I check to see if it has malware or a virus?
A: The worst malware is the kind you don’t even realize is infecting your computer. Unfortunately, malware is often designed to evade notice, and the only symptoms are — as you say — slower operations or other unusual behavior. How can you be sure that there’s an infection, and how much will it cost to find out?
You can still purchase exceptional software, such as Norton AntiVirus, which has led the market for decades. But you can also find highly effective virus scans for free. Meanwhile, don’t assume that a Mac is immune to viruses. Apple does do a great job of protecting its software, but there’s plenty of malware designed to worm its way into your hard drive. A free virus scan is worth a few extra minutes.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.