Sometimes it feels like technology advances faster than most of us can keep up with. That’s how outdated tech advice can become gospel. That’s why it’s good to stop and reevaluate your assumptions every now and then. It’s also why we strive to keep you informed with the truth, so you won’t waste time or money on things that don’t work.
We’ve rounded up common tech myths about battery charging and overall computer maintenance (click here if you missed our article “7 tech myths you believe that you shouldn’t”), but in this article we’re taking a broader look at the digital age, including cellular service, robocalls, malware, browsing and even what to look for in a tablet. Check out these five big myths that don’t hold true.
1. More bars = better service
You’re having trouble keeping a cellphone call connected. You check your phone and you see plenty of bars. What is going on here? Why are you still having trouble? It’s because those little signal-strength bars don’t necessarily mean what you think they do.
Signal bars are meant to indicate how strong the connection is between your phone and the cell tower, but there’s no industry standard that dictates how those bars are calculated. It’s up to the phone manufacturer to decide how to handle it. That means two different phones connected from the same spot to the same tower might show different numbers of bars. There can also be variations in the signal based on which carrier you use and its choice of network technology.
Let’s go back to that original problem. Your phone has plenty of bars, but you’re still not able to keep a connection. This underlying issue might be network congestion, which can happen in urban areas and during big events when a lot of people are all trying to use the network at the same time. While the number of bars is usually a good indicator of the signal, it’s not foolproof.
If you’d really like to get clearer calls and boost your phone’s signal, click here for a simple trick that’s been proven to work.
2. You should block robocalls
Robocalls are a modern plague on our phone lines. These unsolicited sales and scam calls seem to be getting more frequent and bolder. When you receive one, your first instinct is probably to block the caller. That might make you feel better in the moment, but it won’t really stem the tide of robocalls.
Some robocalls “spoof” numbers, which makes it seem like a call is coming from your area code. It may even share the first three digits of your own phone number as well. Blocking those fake numbers won’t get you anywhere.
Your best options are still to sign up on the Do Not Call Registry, report unwanted calls to the FTC or FCC, or try out an anti-robocall app, like Nomorobo, that will help weed out scams and telemarketers.
3. Macs don’t get malware
It’s a common thought: If you use a Windows computer, you need to have an antivirus program, but if you use a Mac, then you don’t have to worry about it. But Macs aren’t immune from malware. Computer security company McAfee reported in mid-2017: “During the past three quarters, new Mac OS malware has been boosted by a glut of adware.”
McAfee has been tracking an overall rise in malicious Mac attacks since early 2015. While Apple’s reputation for offering a secure operating system is still largely intact, Mac users should still consider using security software or running a virus scanner on their computers.
Just this summer we told you about a nasty Mac malware that can control your webcam and record everything you type. To help protect your Mac, you need to have an antivirus software just like everyone else, watch out for phishing scams and avoid these five mistakes when downloading files.
4. Incognito browsing is always private
Incognito browsing, where your browser doesn’t retain your history or a cache of your internet activities, may feel like a cloak of privacy, but it’s not going to completely hide your online adventures.
For example, choosing incognito mode in Chrome generates a message saying your activity might still be visible to websites you visit, your employer or school, and your internet service provider. Downloads and bookmarks are still saved, as well. Incognito does not mean you are entirely invisible, so browse accordingly.
To truly keep your browsing private, you’re going to need what’s called a Virtual Private Network service, or VPN. VPNs encrypt the data that’s being passed from your computer through the internet and also hide your IP address. That way, nothing can be traced back to you. There are plenty of VPN services available that work well, but we know you don’t have time to research all of them. That’s why we’ve done the work for you! Click here to find the best VPN services out there.reen keyboard, but that issue can be bypassed with a device that does both, like the Komando 2-in-1 Entertainment and Productivity System.