How to setup your new iPhone 5 like a pro

You got a new iPhone 5. You’ve done the celebratory dance and ripped open the packaging, but now what?

From the looks of things, the bulk of this year’s iPhone buyers are converts who have switched over from Android or BlackBerry. So we have put together this guide to get the newbies started, and give a few tips and tricks to the Apple veterans out there:

1. Email setup

This couldn’t be easier. Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. From there, you can add several accounts. The process is automated for each different email provider, you just have to enter your username, password, and a label for that mailbox that only you can see (personal, work etc).

If you want to save battery power, select Fetch. This means that your iPhone will scan for new emails at regular intervals. If you choose Manually, your new email will only load when you touch the Mail app. If you’re an email junkie and need to stay in touch every minute, select Push. This means that new emails will automatically load on your iPhone as soon as they arrive.

2. If you only install one app…

…make it Find My Phone. We have all been known to drop our phone down the sofa cushions, leave it in a cab or worry that someone has nicked it. When you set up your phone make sure you create an iCloud account. Once you have that ready, the Find My Phone app can track your phone to a cross street at all times. You just go online at icloud.com to locate and retrieve it.

3. Safeguard your privacy

First things first, you should set a password. Go to Settings > General and select Passcode Lock. Second, if you don’t want advertisers spying on your iPhone activity go into Settings > About > Advertising and switch Limit Ad Tracking to the On position. This way advertisers will no longer be able to bombard you with targeted ads and you won’t sending advertisers information about your movements and smartphone usage.

4. Back up, reset and wipe your old iPhone

If you are selling your old phone, you will want to back up everything you have and then wipe all your personal data (rest assured every phone sent to ExchangeMyPhone is double-checked and wiped of all personal data during the inspection process).

Backup: Connect your iPhone to your computer via Apple’s USB sync cable. Launch iTunes and right click your iPhone in the left panel. Select “Back Up” from the right-click menu.

Reset and wipe: Remove your SIM card, if you have one. If you’ve got a Verizon or Sprint iPhone, call them up or go to their website to deactivate the phone. Go to Settings > Messages > iMessage and turn off iMessage. This will stop your messages from going to your old phone even after you have erased and started using a new phone. Finally, go to Settings > General > Reset and select Erase All Content and Settings. This erases all of your content so you can safely sell your device, or give away as a gift.

This guide is by no means exhaustive (for a full rundown go to Apple’s website) but we hope you found it helpful in getting accustomed to your new iPhone.

Don’t forget, if you just upgraded to the new iPhone 5 you can sell your old iPhone at ExchangeMyPhone and make your week even better.

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How does the iPhone 5 shape up against the competition?

The iPhone 5 is finally here. The reviews are in and Apple is looking as popular as ever. But the iPhone is not the only smartphone on the block. In the past couple of years, Apple’s competitors have been busy creating phones to rival the iPhone. So how does the latest Apple product stack up against the best and brightest in the smartphone industry?

Mashable has a pretty amazing chart that stacks the iPhone 5 against its three strongest competitors. We have weighed in on four of the iPhone’s strongest features, and explored how they measure up:

Screen shots

The iPhone 5 boasts a 4 inch screen, the largest iPhone screen yet, and maintains the crisp retina display of the 4 and 4S. However, if size is what you’re after, most Android and Windows phones now come with the same high-resolution displays at 4.3 inches. For the best in the market, the Samsung Galaxy SIII, Droid RAZR HD and recently announced Nokia Lumia 920 measure up at 4.8”, 4.7” and 4.5” respectively.

Lights, camera, action

The iPhone 5 has an 8-megapixel camera, similar to the one in the iPhone 4S, but with a new sensor and lens. The iPhone 5 is faster, it is better at taking photos in low-light environments and the new Panorama feature enables you to take pretty incredible images of up to 28 megapixels with a simple on-screen prompt. The iPhone 5 camera holds its own against the Windows and Android models. The only area that the competition stands out is in photo tweaking capabilities.

iOS lowdown

iOS 6 is simple and works incredibly well, it is ideal for non-technical users. More over, there are more apps currently available on iOS than on Android or Windows Phone and most of the hottest apps come to iOS first (before being ported to other operating systems). Apple’s platform is arguably the best of the bunch, but the gap between the iPhone and its competitors is getting smaller by the minute. When Apple announced the iPhone OS back in 2007 it was ground-breaking. Today, the iOS 6 looks very similar to 5 years ago. Apple has added new features and services, such as iCloud and Siri, but there are some big things that iOS is missing, things that Apple’s competitors gained a long time ago. Android and Windows offer much more room for customization and flexibility, and they excel in everything from widgets to maps and quick setting toggles.

Battery power

Apple has claimed that the iPhone 5 can run on LTE for eight hours without having to be recharged. With the phone’s ultra-thin model and light feel, that level of battery power is impressive. However, if you are willing to opt for a slightly larger phone, the new generation of Android phones (most notably Motorola’s Droid Razr Maxx and Razr HD) offer close to 21 hours of battery life, with Motorola claiming that its Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD can go for over a day while on LTE. You just have to decide if you would rather have a small phone with above-average battery life or a large phone with spectacular battery life.

So what do you think about the iPhone 5? Are you a Windows, Android or Apple fan? Whatever your preference, there is no doubt that this will be an interesting year for smartphones users, as the competition does their best to improve upon the high benchmark that the iPhone 5 has set.

Inspired to buy one of the latest and greatest smartphones on the market? Take away the sting of the upgrade cost by selling your old phone at ExchangeMyPhone.

Battery Life Savers: How to keep your smartphone out of the red

Posted on August 08, 2012 | Android, Apps, cell phone, iPhone, mobile, Phone stats, smartphone, Tech tips

If you’re anything like the team at ExchangeMyPhone, you use your smartphone constantly for everything from email checking to text messaging, YouTube watching and news reading. There may be some also be competitive Words With Friends happening on there, but we’d never admit it.

If your smartphones are anything like ours, you’re probably watching the little red battery symbol get brighter in your last meeting of the day and frantically scrambling for an outlet by happy hour.

iphone battery

Sound familiar? If so, we have five battery-saving tips that we think you’ll love:

1) It may sound ridiculously simple but, whether you have an iPhone an Android or a Blackberry, the backlight is normally the biggest battery guzzling culprit. If your battery symbol is red, just turn your brightness settings down to the lowest acceptable level and you’ll be amazed how much longer your cell phone will stay alive.

2) Whenever you don’t need them on, disable your WI-FI and Bluetooth. If you don’t, your phone will be constantly scanning and drain your battery.

3) We recommend disabling or removing phone apps that you’re not using. If you’re keen to get the most out of your iPhone or iPad, we highly recommend the $.99 Battery Doctor Pro app. The app gives you an accurate breakdown of how long your battery will last performing common tasks, and shows you which apps are draining the most power. It also includes tips for the most common battery saving practices.

Battery Doctor Pro smartphone app

4) If you are spending your summer at the beach, or by the pool, make sure to keep your phone in the shade. Cell phone batteries prefer cool, dry climates. Leaving cell phones on a window sill, or texting relentlessly on the beach, is a sure way to harm your battery.

5) If you have tried everything and you are still running around desperately looking for a power outlet, the Mophie Juice Pack Plus is probably the best solution. The Mophie looks like a rather big and bulky phone case but it can double the battery life of your iPhone! Although the case has a rather substantial girth, it can save you from missing an important call and it comes a variety of colors (blue, pink, yellow, purple, red with black accents, all black) to stop it from seeming too clunky.

Mophie Juice Pack Plus

That’s our roundup but are there any tips or tricks that we’ve forgotten? If you know of any great battery saving tips, please share your secrets!

If your battery is driving you completely mad and you’ve decided to buy a new phone, there’s still a way to make the most out of your old phone. You can subsidize your upgrade by selling your phone at ExchangeMyPhone.

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Game of (smart)phones: Siri Versus Google Now

Siri was first launched in October 2011 as a virtual assistant for iPhone users. She was designed to set reminders, send text messages, make appointments, etc. Although search was certainly a part of the initial design, Siri was never created as a searching tool. As we’ve seen in the TV adds, Siri has personality, she tells cute jokes, is great at helping us make reminders and find places to eat. She can even answer strange, odd ball questions. We’re looking forward to see what the future holds for her (Apple is improving Siri every day), but right now she’s not so brilliant at pulling up normal, human queries.

On that front, we were pretty excited to hear Google announce Google Now – a search-centric, voice-powered digital assistant for the upcoming version of Android, called Jelly Bean. Unlike Siri, the Google Now feature is lacking on the personality front but, as the WIRED guys puts it, “Siri is like a friend with a slight hearing impediment. The Google Now voice is a robot that sounds really good.”

smartphone competition google seach versus Siri

A very cursory internet search brings up hundreds of videos pitting Siri against Google Now. Neither is perfect but it is seems like Google Now has the edge on pulling up relevant search information almost instantaneously. The team at Google have also worked hard to improve the voice recognition, so you can now ask your Android smartphone questions in a natural way. You don’t have to sound like a robot to get the answers you’re looking for.

The most powerful, and innovative, piece of Google Now is its ability to be contextually aware. It does not solely rely on spoken word, instead it uses your time, location and past behavior to inform your search results. The intelligence of Google’s voice assistant makes us wonder what is coming up next from the company’s engineers. Wearable computers are only a step ahead!

We are excited to hear your thoughts but, for now, Google Now is only available in the latest Android version. Sadly, Google and its hardware and carrier partners, are not great at providing timely updates for Android devices.

In other words, competition remains fierce and neither company has eclipsed the other. Which is wonderful news for all of us smartphone users, because it means that they will continue to battle it out to provide us with better and better answers.

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Notes from Beyond: Following eWaste

Posted on January 19, 2012 | cell phone, Phone stats, sustainable living, Upcycle

Heard of SENSEable City Lab? We hadn’t either but are sure glad we have now.  The interdisciplinary research group, based out of MIT, is dedicated to investigating and anticipating how the proliferation of hand-held technologies alter the way people live, interact and how they can be used to catalyze the actualization of interactive, creative environments.  In not-quite-so-academic terms: how portable, instant Internet access will change cities.

Their most recent project, BACKTALK or, “Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects” is now meeting rave reviews.  The work aims to draw back the curtain on tech reuse and recycling and report what, exactly, happens when we replace our old technologies with new ones.  At ExchangeMyPhone that’s what we are all about so we couldn’t be more excited to find others who share our passion and are dedicated to following the journeys of replaced devices, and to know that this question is beginning to be posed by a larger public (not just us gadget junkies).  After all, personal technologies are intimate, they hold our whole lives but are eventually relegated, with little sentimentality, to the “out of sight, out of mind category” corner of our consciousness.  Even the device on which you are accessing this blog will one day belong to this unconsidered realm.

What is so innovative about SENSEable City Lab’s project is rather than presenting an artists rendering of the research, they turned the devices themselves into journalists, which documented and transmitted their own second life in a sort of digital self-portrait.  With permission from their new users, SENSEable City Lab used GPS tracking devices embedded in gadgets from cell phones to printer cartridges to netbooks to record and share the unseen stories of second hand electronics.  The story includes scenes from e-waste recycling villages, thrift stores, and public libraries all over the world, all with the aim to provoke questions around the nature of “our societies relationship with our electronic devices.”

Watch their amazing findings

Textnology & New York Public Schools

Chances are if you aren’t a high school student in New York City, or the parent of one then the debate raging in classrooms all over Manhattan and its boroughs, probably, isn’t on your radar.  The issue: cellphones.  Along with most personal technologies, cell phones have been banned in the city’s classrooms for the past five years.  However, it has since been a relentless battle on the part of teachers and administrators to enforce the measure.

The only schools that are, in actuality, cell phone-free are those 10% armed with metal detectors which, while keeping guns and other weapons out of schools, also make it easy to eradicate cellphones.   As a result a sort of micro economy has sprung up around these schools.  Each day Pure Loyalty Electronic Storage sends vans to the front steps to act as “mobile coat checks.”  It costs a dollar a day to store your phone safely.  Though cheaper than any other city-storage that adds up to $180.00 a year that the average high school freshman doesn’t have.  A simple solution would be to leave the phone at home.  But if your child went to school in an area that the Board of Education believed required metal detectors, chances are you wouldn’t want him or her walking home without a cell phone.

Even in schools without metal detectors there are compelling arguments to do away with the ban.  In recent years forward-thinking educators have turned to a model that embraces the proliferation of the cell phone and reframes the device as an education tool rather than a menace.  One possible benefit of allowing cell phones would be to strengthen parent-teacher communication, and provide parents with a window into the school day, made possible by applications like WeText or GroupMe.

Academically, there is also room for engagement.  Wifitti places student responses within a digital display and allows for collaboration outside the classroom.  Other experimental ideas involve oral presentation preparation using Google Voice and Voki avatars and share them though podcasts on iPadio.  Group texts also ensure that kids leave the classroom with accurate homework information.

Sound great? Well, like any hot button issue, there are compelling arguments to maintain the ban.  There are philosophic aspects, including the consequences of depending even more heavily on technology, as well as socio-economic risks of further marginalizing children low income family whose monthly budget does not include smartphone bills for their fifth grader.

So, what are your two cents?

Clash of the “super phones”

Posted on August 19, 2011 | Android, cell phone, iPhone, mobile, Phone stats, smartphone, Tech tips

The iPhone 5 versus Galaxy S II

Neither phone is available in the US yet but the Galaxy S II is the strongest rival the iPhone has ever had. The good news is that they will be available very soon so we wanted to get you prepared for this clash of the “superphones”.

To give you an idea of the stats:

*   Reports suggest that Apple plans to build 26 million iPhone 5s in the second half of 2011 and will ship a total of nearly 100 million phones this year.

*   Overseas sales of the Google-powered Galaxy S II have been impressive. Samsung sold more than 5 million of the S II in the 85 days following its overseas debut.

*   The Galaxy S II is set to hit the US market imminently (the released date is set to be unveiled on August 29th). The iPhone 5 looks like it will be playing catch up shortly afterwards with a release date set for September.

We know what Samsung’s model looks like (super thin and very light) and how it performs but the iPhone 5 will remain a mystery until it is released. In the meantime here are some of the expected features for both smart phones:

Galaxy S II

Price: Expected to be priced at $599 to $699 for an unlocked 16GB version, while the locked version to be sold on contract from U.S. wireless carriers is expected to be in the $250 to $300+ price range.

OS: Runs the latest version of Google’s smartphone operating system, Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS.

Camera: Sports a rear-facing 8MP camera with 1080p video capture capability, and has an additional 2 MP front-facing camera for video chat.

Screen: 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen with 800×480 screen resolution.

Processor: Powered by a dual-core 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 Mali-400MP GPU Orion processor with 1GB RAM.

Storage: 16/32 GB internal storage and via a microSD card slot it can expand up to 32 GB.

 

iPhone 5 (according to the rumor mill):

 

Price: Rumored to be priced at $600 without subsidies from carriers Verizon and AT&T.

OS: Will be running on iOS 5, which is the newest of the OS versions.

Camera: Apple’s iPhone 5 is expected to have an 8MP dual-LED flash camera with 1080p video playback and panoramic photo capture

Screen: iPhone 4 had a screen size of 3.5-inch with multi-touch display which will now see a major change with the upcoming iPhone 5. The new iPhone 5 is expected to have a bigger edge-to-edge 3.7 to 4-inch curved glass screen.

Processor: Apple’s iPhone 4 runs on 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, and the iPhone 5 is rumored to sport a 1.2-1.5 GHz dual-core A5 processor, which powers the iPad 2, with probably 1GB RAM.

Storage: Apple iPhone 4 doesn’t have external storage, but that doesn’t matter as 32 GB at the maximum is enough for the users. It is expected the iPhone 5 will have 16/32/64 GB internal storage.

So what do you think? Which phone are you more excited about?

Tempted by both phones but not keen to spend a lot of money on an upgrade? You can sell your old iPhone or sell your old android at ExchangeMyPhone and put that money towards subsidizing your update.