Should You Upgrade to iOS 15?

iOS 15 photo

Well… yes! We do recommend you upgrade to iOS 15, once it has been released on September 20, 2021. Usually with a major upgrade to iOS software we recommend waiting a few weeks or months until someone else(s) has worked out all of the bugs before taking the plunge to upgrade your devices. But Apple has really done their homework on this one. The beta testing process has been unusually gotcha-free. I’d have to say, this is the smoothest iOS upgrade in years.

Steps to upgrading to iOS 15

As usual, the first thing you should do is to make sure that your iPhone or iPad is fully backed up. You can do this either to your computer or to the cloud. You can check that under Settings:(Your Name):iCloud:iCloud Backup and choose “Backup now.” Alternatively, you can connect your iOS device to your computer and let it back up there.

Which iOS devices can get the upgrade?

Apple has a handy article that show exactly which devices can be upgraded.

How to Download and Install iOS 15

On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings:General:Software Update. From September 20th on, you will see an option to upgrade to iOS 15.

What’s New and Notable?

  • Notifications have been redesigned in iOS 15, adding contact photos for people and larger icons for apps
  • Focus is a new feature that can filter notifications and apps based on what a user wishes to focus on at a certain time
  • Safari features a completely new design
  • The Maps app now offers a new 3D view in cities with significantly enhanced details, showing buildings, pedestrian crosswalks, bike lanes, and more. There is a new city-driving experience with added road details and improved Transit features, such as pinned favorite lines, notifications to disembark, and AR walking directions
  • iOS 15 brings voice isolation and Spatial Audio to FaceTime calls so that voices sound as if they are coming from where the person is located on the screen. FaceTime also supports Portrait mode and offers a new grid view to see more faces at the same time. SharePlay is a new feature that allows users to share media together in sync during a FaceTime call.
  • iOS 15 also introduces new privacy measures, such as processing Siri requests directly on the iPhone, and Mail Privacy Protection to stop senders knowing if an email has been opened and detecting a recipient’s IP address.

Where can I learn more:

MacRumors has a great article that outlines in-depth all the new features contained in this upgrade.

What if I’m unsure and want some help to do this upgrade?

Excellent! Contact Us and we’ll get you taken care of!

How to Stop Robocalls for Good

For many years, junk and robocalls were relatively few and far between for most people. The National Do Not Call Registry worked well for a while. Legitimate companies were generally very compliant, and the violations were rare.

But over the last few years, the number of junk calls started climbing. Nearly 46 billion robocalls went out in 2020 in the US alone.

Thankfully, the FCC in the United States has issued a mandate for all voice service providers to have the robocall-fighting “STIR/SHAKEN” technology in place by no later than June 30, 2021, according to a news release. More about that later.

All the major US carriers offer some kind of basic free protection, along with paid upgrades. Here’s a summary of what’s available.

AT&T – Call Protect

AT&T recently expanded the scope of Call Protect to include automatic fraud blocking and suspected spam-call alerts.

According to a recent news release, all new AT&T mobility customers will automatically get the expanded anti-robocall capabilities when they activate a voice line. Existing customers will find the new features up and running shortly.

As an “analytics-based blocking program,” Call Protect allows the company to determine whether an incoming call is legitimate or part of a scam or other robocall scheme.

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T-Mobile (and Deutsche Telekom) – Scam Shield

T-Mobile has a relatively new initiative called Scam Shield to protect customers from unwanted robocalls. Among its features:

  • Free scam ID and blocking will flag suspicious calls and let you block them.
  • Free enhanced caller ID will show verification if it’s a real person or business.
  • A free second number is available so you can keep your personal number personal.
  • You can get a free number change if scammers do become problematic.

Scam Shield is available for T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile and Sprint customers.

While Scam Shield is free, an upgraded service called Scam Shield Premium is available for $4/month (free for customers with Magenta Plus).

Scam Shield Premium will let you send telemarketing calls to voicemail, set up “always block” lists and get voicemail-to-text services.

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Verizon – Call Filter

Verizon offers both free and paid options. On the free side, the Call Filter service helps to identify and block robocalls. Verizon customers get alerts when a spam call is suspected and they can report unsolicited numbers. In addition, the service will automatically block robocalls based on your preferred level of risk.

A paid upgrade, called Call Filter Plus, is $2.99/month for one line or $7.99/month for three or more lines. In addition to just spam detection, blocking and reporting, the paid version lets you create a personal robocall block list and gives you access to a robocall risk meter and spam number lookup feature, among other things.

You can learn more about both the free and paid options here.

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O2 & Vodafone

You can register your number on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). This is a free service and should reduce calls from companies, unless you have requested them to call or text you. This is the only service of this type.

Register your mobile number for free by texting TPS and your email address to 85095.
You should get less unsolicited calls after a few days, although it can take up to 28 days to be fully effective.

Free Third-Party Apps: Hiya, Nomorobo, and YouMail

hiya
YouMail
nomorobo

If you don’t want to pay for a service, you can limit robocalls on your smartphone for free with YouMail or Hiya.

Hiya uses an algorithm that determines if there is a phone number making thousands of brief phone calls. Additionally, app users can report fraudulent phone numbers.

YouMail uses a robust Robocall Index to identify “bad” numbers and block them from your phone. Other free features include accurate caller ID and custom voicemail greetings.

Nomorobo is a free service for voice over Internet protocol (VoiP) landlines that boasts of having stopped nearly 1 billion robocalls. There are also mobile versions for iOS and Android, but they cost $1.99/month.

(geek section) SHAKEN and STIR-red (US only)

The FCC in the United States has issued a mandate for all voice service providers to have the robocall-fighting “STIR/SHAKEN” technology in place by no later than June 30, 2021. How does this robocall-blocking technology work? Two technologies, in particular, will be at play going forward:

  • Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs (SHAKEN)
  • Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR)

They’re dual tech efforts that aim to verify a given call originates from the number that it says it does. The key is the use of “token technology” creating a digital signature as a stamp of approval when a call originates.

Unfortunately, the two technologies won’t out-and-out block robocalls when used together. What they will do is show some mark of verification on your phone to indicate that a call is legitimately coming from the number you see displayed.

It’s all too much – I need some help!

That’s what we’re here for – to help. Contact Us and we can help you get set up!

Article excerpted from Clark.com.

7 Tips to Keep Your iPhone Safe

Safe iPhone

As a technical support specialist, I am sharing my top tips to keep your iPhone and your personal information safe.

1. Set Up a Secure Passcode

If your iPhone is lost or stolen, it’s important to make sure it’s locked so only you can easily access your information. iPhones have options to set up a unique 4- or 6-digit passcode that you enter before you can use your phone. You can also set up your iPhone so you can unlock it with your fingerprint, or with Apple’s latest high-end phones, just by showing your full face.

2. Buy a Protective Case

Smartphones can be expensive. If you drop your phone, it could cost hundreds of dollars to fix or even more if you have to replace it. A case for your phone can protect your device and help prevent damage. But make sure you comparison-shop to find a great deal on a case. Try shopping on Amazon to find an affordable option, and read reviews to make sure you’re getting a quality case at a good price.

3. Turn On the “Find My iPhone” Option

Using Find My iPhone will allow you to find your phone if it is ever lost or stolen. You can also enable a feature to erase your phone remotely or have it automatically erased after a number of failed login attempts. Additionally, you can instruct it to play a very loud sound on your iPhone so that you can locate it nearby.

4. Choose Apps Carefully

Not all apps are legitimate and many request access to personal data. Always get your apps directly from the App Store. Research each app, check reviews and read the privacy policy before deciding if you should install it.

5. Keep Your Phone Up-to-Date

Apple releases system updates and other security updates often to keep you safe. Be sure to install these when they become available. You can check what’s current for your iPhone under Settings:About:Software Update.

6. Watch Out for Phishing Email and Text Messages

Do not respond to email or text messages that request personal information or that you don’t recognize. Think about the types of data on your phone: passwords, financial information, health information and other personal information. Once a hacker gains access to your device they can steal all of that data. There’s a full article about that here.

7. Backup Your Phone on a Regular Basis

Phones can crash just like computers, and if you don’t have a backup, you may lose any information that you’ve saved locally on your device. You can use iCloud, or back up your iPhone’s information to your computer. Apple wrote a dandy article all about that.

Help Mr. Wizard?

Yes, we’re all about helping. Contact Us to set up and appointment and we’ll gladly help you with all of this and more.

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