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How to Tap Less on Your Phone (but Get More Done)

When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone in 2007, he dissed the tiny keyboards on rival smartphones. “They can’t change down the road if you think of another great idea you want to add to this product,” he told the audience. “We’re gonna get rid of all these buttons and just make a giant screen.”That design decision eventually opened Pandora’s container ship: the teeming world of full-screen, touch-sensitive apps.Yes, eliminating the keys and buttons left a bigger canvas for displaying apps. But it also eliminated the keys and buttons. As a result, almost every smartphone task now requires tapping on glass. Typing text, correcting errors.…

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How to Make Your Phone Limit Your Screen Time for You

You probably spend too much time on your phone. Apple and Google seem to agree, which is why both companies have added tools to their phones to help you track and control your phone addiction. Do self-imposed limits really work, though? If you use them right, then they can help break your bad habits.Apple’s feature, called Screen Time, was introduced in iOS 12. Screen Time allows you to monitor how much time you spend using your device and what you’re doing with it. Google has a similar feature for Android devices called Digital Wellbeing that not only charts what you do and for how long, but also…

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Tech Fix: How to Declutter and Organize Your Personal Tech in a Few Simple Steps

With a new year and a new Netflix show that features the Japanese organizing guru Marie Kondo on the art of “Tidying Up,” many of us are experimenting with how to simplify our lives by purging our homes of unwanted possessions.But what about the stuff we don’t see? Think about the digital junk we hoard, like the tens of thousands of photos bloating our smartphones or the backlog of files cluttering our computer drives, such as old work presentations, expense receipts and screenshots we have not opened in years.In addition to the digital mess, tech hardware adds to the pile of junk that sparks no joy in…

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In Price and Value, Chinese Phone Makers Outpace Apple in Much of the World

BEIJING — To most Americans, the names are unfamiliar, maybe a little hard to pronounce: Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo.They are China’s biggest smartphone brands. Around the world — although not in the United States — they are making the handset business brutally competitive. This week, after Apple warned of disappointing iPhone sales in China, industry observers said that devices from the Chinese brands were a major culprit.As the phone market in China reaches saturation and sales shrink over all, the country’s hardware makers are pushing hard, and increasingly winning fans, in places like France, Germany, India and Southeast Asia, where consumers find that the phones can do…

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How to Stop Apps From Tracking Your Location

At least 75 companies receive people’s precise location data from hundreds of apps whose users enable location services for benefits such as weather alerts, The New York Times found. The companies use, store or sell the information to help advertisers, investment firms and others.You can head off much of the tracking on your own device by spending a few minutes changing settings. The information below applies primarily to people in the United States. How can I tell if apps are sharing my location?It’s difficult to know for sure whether location data companies are tracking your phone. Any app that collects location data may share your information with…

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Tech Fix: Make Your Friends and Family Less Irksome This Holiday Season

With the holiday season upon us, our phones will soon explode with messages and calls from friends and family hoping to catch up and make plans.As heartwarming as that sounds, the simple task of coordinating a group feels acutely painful this time of year, especially when people with widely varying levels of digital literacy all rely on the same tech to congregate.Everyone is familiar with the endless email threads scattered with replies from people saying when they are available, where they would like to meet and what they would like to do — with no one seeming to agree on anything. Same goes for the big group…

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How Google Protected Andy Rubin, the ‘Father of Android’

SAN FRANCISCO — Google gave Andy Rubin, the creator of Android mobile software, a hero’s farewell when he left the company in October 2014.“I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next,” Larry Page, Google’s chief executive then, said in a public statement. “With Android he created something truly remarkable — with a billion-plus happy users.”What Google did not make public was that an employee had accused Mr. Rubin of sexual misconduct. The woman, with whom Mr. Rubin had been having an extramarital relationship, said he coerced her into performing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013, according to two company executives with knowledge…

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Google to Charge Phone Makers for Android Apps in Europe

LONDON — Google has always made its Android mobile operating system available free as a way of getting its search engine, web browser and other applications on as many devices as possible to collect data about users and to sell advertising.But on Tuesday, in response to a European antitrust ruling this year, the company said it would for the first time begin charging handset manufacturers to install Gmail, Google Maps and other popular applications for Android in the European Union.The new arrangement is the latest sign that global technology companies are adjusting their business practices in Europe to account for stiffer regulations there.Online privacy regulations adopted in…

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Tech Fix: The Google Pixel 3 Review: Phone’s Smarts Shine Through Its A.I.-Driven Camera

Apple and Samsung typically show off glitzy hardware innovations — dual-lens cameras; bigger screens — to mesmerize millions into buying their new smartphones. Google has taken a different approach: It wants to sell people on better software.That was abundantly clear with the Pixel 3, the search giant’s latest smartphone, with software features powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. When you take a blurry photo, for example, the Pixel’s camera software can capture a series of alternate images and look for a clearer shot. When you get a call from an unknown number, you can use a screening tool to determine if it is a robocall. (I…

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Tech Fix: Samsung’s Galaxy Note9: Too Much Phone for Most of Us

AdvertisementTech fixThe new $1,000 device is aimed at power users who work, play, consume and create on their phone. For others, there are plenty of cheaper options.Aug. 22, 2018ImageThe Samsung Galaxy Note9 has new features like the ability to convert the phone into a personal computer. It also has a bold new starting price: $999.99.CreditSamsungApple’s iPhone X broke the pricing barrier for smartphones with a $1,000 price tag. Now Samsung’s new Galaxy Note device, which will be released this week, is joining the $1,000 Phone Club.That raises the inevitable question: Is this new phone worth spending that much money?After a week of testing, my conclusion is you…

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