Have You Replaced the Battery in Your iPhone?

Apple gave haters the best belated Christmas gift ever last year. “Proof” that Apple was slowing down phones to “force” users to upgrade.  *MUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA*

It’s not always easy being a Mac advocate. We love our iMacs, Mac Minis, Mac Pros, MacBooks, MacBook Pros and Airs, iPods, iPads and iPhones! We love the closed, secure, dedicated ecosystem. We love the company and its values, commitments and innovations. We even love the haters (and we love watching them realize they were wrong  come around). Every Mac fan knows that Apple does things we don’t immediately understand and we’ve learned over the years to …

… wait for it. (Steve Jobs taught us well with his “one more thing“.)

What Apple did in the wake of the controversy is what Apple Faithfuls knew they would do. They made it right! They issued an explanation and an apology for not being more transparent. A short time later, they started offering reduced cost battery replacements, then partial refunds to people who paid full price. In the next big iOS update, they introduced a “Battery Health” feature that lets you see what state your battery is in. Learn more on the Apple support site about how this feature works.

We have been surprised lately by the number of people who are still experiencing slow performance but haven’t taken any action. Your iPhone is a technological marvel (and priced accordingly!) and you ought to be getting every last drop out of it. Well, let us help you!

First, let’s clarify “battery life” and “battery lifespan”.

Your iPhone battery uses lithium-ion technology, which means it can pack faster charging, longer lasting, power density into a light, thin package. It charges up to 80% or so very quickly, then moseys along the last 20% to not strain the battery too much and extend it’s lifespan.

Battery life refers to the amount of time your device runs before needing a recharge. If it seems like your battery is not lasting as long as it should, there are lots of things you can do to prolong it. Here is quick list of the ones we think are most effective:

  • Turn off “Background App Refresh”. This function allows apps to refresh even when you’re not using them. You can either disable it entirely or leave it on and allow on selected apps to refresh. You can adjust this in >Settings >General >Background App Refresh
  • In iOS 11, you can go right to “Battery” settings to make energy saving changes. If your battery is low or you know you’ll be unable to charge it for a while, you can put your phone in “Low Power Mode”. You can also see (if you dare!) what processes are using your battery in % from highest to lowest. This is helpful, because you may be able to tweak how a certain app behaves if it’s hogging the battery.
  • Keep you phone’s iOS up to date. Apple is constantly improving, getting feedback, adjusting. Keeping your iPhone up to date (if you’re a stickler, wait a few days and read about what people are saying good and bad before you update) is a great way to make sure your device is being the best it can be!

There are approximately a BILLION articles with tips for saving battery life.  Here is one we really like that includes simple and pro level tips.

Battery lifespan refers to the amount of time your battery lasts until it needs to be replaced. Lithium-ion batteries chemically degrade over time. There is no magic way to make them last forever. There are many, many factors involved in determining how long a battery will last. How is it used? Heavy cpu and gpu usage will take a higher toll on a battery than phone calls, text, email and FaceBook surfing. Where is it used?  On a hot day, if you leave your iPhone in the car .. it may never come back. Repeated exposure to extreme heat or cold will shorten the lifespan of your phone battery.

  • Check your battery health in the >Settings >Battery >Battery Health (Beta) tab on your phone (iOS 11).
  • Don’t stick it on the charger every time you’re not using it. Let the battery get lower before giving it a full charge.
  • Keep your iOS up to date (maybe wait until the first update to a whole new version).
  • Check out Apple’s own performance enhancing tips.

Don’t give up on your iPhone!  TechRestore has been dedicated to Apple devices and the people who use them for many years. We see broken, degraded, abused, vintage, unlucky devices all day, six days a week! So what may seem like a deal breaker annoyance may only require a quick and inexpensive fix. For example, battery replacement on most models is just $29.99 and comes with a one year functional warranty.

 

Take it to an expert who cares. We also have gently used, Certified Restored products on sale all the time AND, if you are ready for an upgrade, we buy used devices for MORE than Apple and our closest competitors. We are also dedicated to a no landfill policy and will responsibly recycle at no charge.

Here’s hoping these tips have helped your iPhone battery

Live long and prosper“!

*disclaimer – beware the rabbit hole of video compilations for Live long and prosper ….

 

TechRestore vs Online Classified Sites

Every so often, a customer will come to us with a device they purchased from an online classified site.

Although it seemed fine at first, there’s a problem:

  • During set up they discovered it is iCloud locked
  • There is some functionality problem (buttons not responding, won’t charge, touch screen is erratic)
  • It was working fine, then it suddenly died.
  • It won’t work on their network, even though it’s supposed to be unlocked for their carrier
  • They can’t get ahold of the seller again to unlock, explain or refund the purchase

Sometimes, we can help resolve these issues and occasionally we find some damage that cannot be fixed. We hate being the bearers of news like this. Some of these problems can be avoided, but many people don’t know how to get their Apple device ready for resale. 

There is no completely reliable way to check iCloud lock without the device in hand.  Apple had an online tool to verify iCloud status on their site until early 2017 when it was suddenly taken down (presumably it was being used for nefarious purposes). There are other online checkers, but the best way to check it is to go through set up.

There is no easy way to confirm what network a phone will work on. Most late model phones (iPhone 5 and later) were unlocked when they were released, but some networks “lock” them once they are activated. Even if you call with the IMEI number, you can get different answers depending on who you talk to. “Jailbreaking” an iPhone can also lead to hardware issues.

Water damage can sometimes take a while to show up. We’ve done thousands (upon thousands) of iPhone repairs over the years, so we’ve really seen everything. Sometimes water (or soda or whatever) does its damage right away and the device never comes back. Often, corrosion occurs over time and shows up as little functional issues followed by a big collapse. The same is true when a device has been dropped over and over. Each drop shakes up the inside a little bit and eventually, something comes loose or breaks.

Of course, there are the other cautions of online classified private party sales. Whether you’re buying or selling, each site will have some safety tips so you don’t end up a headline on the evening news. Most of them are common sense but being overly cautious is usually better than being over trusting.

Watch this video and see if you can relate. We think it (hilariously, over-dramatically) perfectly describes what it’s like to buy something from an online classified (in this case, Craigslist).

Compared to how many transactions are conducted through these sites, the likelihood of having a problem is relatively low, but even one bad experience can turn you off to it forever. The ones we hear about, of course, are the bad ones.

At TechRestore, you can always buy and sell with confidence. No shady terms, no hassle returns if there is a problem.  We’ve been delivering quality repair and sales experiences (even on online classified sites!) for over 14 years. 

Our devices undergo a 25 point inspection by an Apple Certified Technician to become “Certified Restored”. They look and act like new. We stand behind them with a 90 day (extendable) warranty, too. 

Our store is brightly lit, staffed with friendly, knowledgeable staff and open at convenient hours! If you’re not local, we offer several shipping options for most products. We’re happy to answer questions and even help with set up if you need it.

We pay 10% more than Apple or Simply Mac for  devices you’re ready to sell! You can either bring a quote from them or we’ll show you on their site how much they would offer. We’ll even recycle unusable or no value devices for free! We adhere to a “no landfill environmental policy” (we have a verifiable, certified downstream).

What else can we say? We LOVE MACS! We use them, repair them, sell them and buy them. Come check us out and you’ll see our prices are fair and our quality is outstanding.

Artificial Intelligence in Its Place

Over 39 million adults in the U.S. use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their everyday life. Siri, Google, smart speakers, appliances, cars; the list goes on and on. AI is everywhere. It predicts the weather, customizes what ads we see online and even what shows up in our social media news feed. It has become so commonplace we automatically use it and hardly notice.

Artificial Intelligence is the science and engineering of intelligent machines that can make predictions based on computer programs and data collection.

Talos

Though it is now more integrated than ever, AI is not a new concept. Even in Greek mythology intelligent machines sparked the imagination. Hollywood has long enjoyed playing on our fears that rogue computers will betray and enslave mankind (H.A.L.Matrix). It’s no wonder the line between special effects and reality is increasingly blurred.

We are infatuated with the potential of technology and we know there’s almost nothing it can’t accomplish.

Right now, at MIT, technology is being developed that can “read thoughts” by sensing the muscle movements in your jaw. Perhaps more amazing, researchers in Japan have successfully “decoded” thoughts with deep learning – generating pictures of thoughts! (Incredibly cool, but don’t use it on me! Right?) Both projects have mostly humanitarian ideals and will certainly go on as practical and useful applications.

Whether life imitates art or vice versa, there is cause for concern.

Tom Cruise in “Minority Report”

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, cautions that AI is potentially more dangerous than nuclear weapons to mankind. Since the best way to predict the future is to invent it, he and others sponsor OpenAI, a non-profit research company that aims to develop AI technology safely. The long term focus is on positive human impact and “setting AI free“.  To summarize: they believe putting development and technology in the hands of many will prevent it from being misused by a few (check out the site for their complete vision and mission statement). In other words, we can’t (and we shouldn’t) stop it, but we can (and we must) at least control this key time in its development.

Are they right?

While we’d like to believe it would be very obvious AI has gone “too far“, it’s more likely we won’t notice. For now, companies will continue to implement it into our daily experience (hello, magic mirror, one-click checkout, GPS, streaming music service, refrigerators, vacuums, nightlights, you name it). Our responsibility is to make sure we enjoy – but not depend too heavily on – AI. Be aware that you are using it. Siri and Alexa, for example, are wonderful assistants, but don’t forget they are also collecting data every time we speak to them.

Apple is actively developing Siri to be more natural. Deep learning networks map your preferences and habits. While computers are learning to talk like us, our conversation skills are declining. The way this tech will continue to impact our lives is very exciting. Really, isn’t AI supposed to make our lives better and save time? Well, save time and spend time wisely – invest in your analog life and the organic world around you!

 

While taking pride in Natural Intelligence, we’ll admit to depending on our devices as much as anyone (see what we did there? Natural – Artificial … nevermind).

Until computers learn to clean themselves, they will still be dependent on us! With that in mind, we’d like to remind you about our Spring Cleaning Special which offers inside and out cleaning to put some zip back in your Mac. You can even add an external hard drive back up to keep your documents and photos safe. This special runs now through June 21st (click link for details).

TechRestore also offers 10% discounts for all military (active or Veteran) and First Responders all day, every day! Thank you for your service!

TechRestore Advanced Care (T.R.A.C.) for Technology in Education

TechRestore has announced a new service product designed especially for customers in the education sector.

T.R.A.C. is TechRestore Advanced Care.

As an alternative to Apple Care and other insurance models, the goal of T.R.A.C. is to eliminate downtime, deductibles, incident fees, shipping fees, and the worry over exceeding budget constraints. It also reduces processing time by 80%!

HOW?

With three solutions (2, 3 or 4 years), T.R.A.C. offers educators flexibility and peace of mind. A one time flat fee starting as low as $59 covers the entire term. Some of the benefits include:

  • Care and accidental damage coverage for all Apple portable devices and Chromebook machines
  • Protective case for each device
  • A loaner pool of like devices
  • Complimentary repairs
  • Free and Fast shipping

WHY?

TechRestore has been working with schools and districts around the country for over 14 years. We have successfully tailored our quote, repair, invoice and billing to each one based on their needs. We have great respect for those who are called to work in education (and it really is a calling). The IT/Tech Support team is often stretched thin, wearing many hats and balancing tasks, budgets and time. Let TechRestore take some of that weight! T.R.A.C. is designed to help:

  • Balance the cost of quality repairs with budget constraints
  • Minimize (or eliminate) the time students, teachers and administrators are away from their instructive device time
  • Stop wasting time navigating red tape with insurance or purchase orders
  • Spend more time focusing on the reason you answered the call to education – the Students!

Our customers will tell you that these concerns will be addressed in a manner that is up-front, no-hassle, trustworthy and human. Not to brag, but ….

“TechRestore delivers outstanding repairs, is attentive to needs, and provides friendly customer service. TechRestore plays an important role in our district’s efforts to shape digitally engaged learners.” – Bend-La Pine Schools – Bend, OR

“Our school is in its sixth year of using iPads. TechRestore has been with us on most of the journey. Not only has their service been good quality and timely but the people are great to work with. Their advise when we did our last round of purchases from Apple saved us untold headaches. I highly recommend them.” – Berean Christian High School – Walnut Creek, CA

The T.R.A.C. Service Team includes a dedicated Account Specialist with years of experience for ONE point of contact and Apple Certified technicians to handle the repairs. Our techs hold over 50 years of combined certifications and have completed many thousands of repairs. We are ready to face any obstacle, overcome any hesitation. Schools and districts have been asking for a solution like this for years and today, TechRestore delivers.

Once you’re signed up, the repair process is easy:

  • Broken devices come to the Coordinator and a loaner device is deployed
  • Once 5 devices are ready for repair, contact the Account Specialist who will create a prepaid shipping label, set up the repair order and arrange a pickup if needed
  • The devices arrive at our Louisville facility and our techs get to work
  • Each device’s serial and asset number is recorded on the order along with the services performed
  • Most repairs are completed in 1-2 business days and then they’re on their way back to you!

Do we sound excited? WE’RE REALLY EXCITED! Working with schools has been a special part of our business and this program was carefully crafted using our existing relationships as a model.

Does YOUR school have a 1:1 deployment or use technology in the classroom on portable devices? If so, do them a solid favor and share this blog with them.  It’s worth a conversation to find out if T.R.A.C. is a good fit for them. We even have a “sample repair” offer with no obligation whatsoever.

At TechRestore, we sleep well at night, knowing that our work, our services and most of all, our relationships with our customers are built on trust we have earned. So you can trust us to take care of your devices, your student’s devices and your school’s devices! (We like our sleep!) 

Rest assured that though your devices may fail you – TechRestore never will!

TechRestore – we’re here to help!

Spring Cleaning for Your Mac

TechRestore Spring Cleaning Special $60

With 1TB external hard drive backup $150

Spring is in the air! Can you feel it?

Even if it’s still cold outside, through those late snows and rains, you feel the promise of warm weather, chirping birds and sunshine!

Oh, but all those sun rays are going to make the winter dust show, time to put on your rubber gloves and get busy with spring cleaning.  What about your Mac?? Have you noticed sluggish starts, long loading times online, midnight snack remnants in the keyboard (yikes!)? Have you thought about backing up your data lately? We don’t want to be *that* person, but data loss happens! Don’t let it happen to you.

TechRestore has TWO  Spring Cleaning Services  to get your Mac running smoother and faster and a long term backup solution.

  • Faster boot up
  • Better performance
  • Malware detection and removal
  • No more crumbs in the keyboard
  • Increased interior fan efficiency
  • Early detection of potential functionality issues
  • Hardware and software upgrade recommendations

Our $60 Spring Clean special includes all these services:

  • Software tune-up
  • Full functionality testing (and recommendations for upgrades if needed)
  • Inside hardware cleaning (fans, etc)
  • Exterior cleaning and thorough wipe down
  • Malware detection and removal

All with a same day turn around in most cases. Better put your sunglasses on.

No matter what the cause, data recovery can be a costly and emotionally draining experience. A little planning now will avoid many of the headaches and worries of data loss.

Our Spring Clean backup (regularly $150)  is 30% OFF!  $105 includes:

  • 1TB Western Digital external hard drive with all your Mac files backed up
  • We’ll show you how to set it up on Time Machine for regular backups

“TechRestore, Wait! I need both!”

We hear you! For a limited time, get your laptop squeaky clean and all backed up for just $150! No, we haven’t got cabin fever – we want you ready to flip flop your way confidently into summer with at least TWO less things to worry about.

You’re welcome.

TechRestore. We’re here to help!

The Long Game Matters

“A company should have values, because a company is a collection of people. And people should have values, so by extension, a company should” – Tim Cook

 

 

Apple turned 42 this week and is still proving the long game is best for hardware, software, privacy and security.  Looking back, no one can say it’s been an easy road for the company that has become a household name all over the world. Often secretive, they clearly have a long term game plan and aren’t inclined to share; preferring to let us put the puzzle together as it unfolds. (They must hear us saying “Ooooohhhhh, NOW it makes sense!”)

However easy it looks, when you start out with an ideal and settle for nothing less, you become an icon. When you have a strong vision and commit to growing into it, it looks easy to be a leader.

That’s not to say that every iconic leader has strong ideals and commits to growing their vision.  It is, however, easy to see who does.

 

 

OH and Apple, too.

 

TechRestore has been in the business of repairing, servicing and restoring Apple devices for a long time and we’ve had an opportunity lately to reflect on why Apple is such a natural fit for us. As a small company – as individuals –  we share fundamental ideals with this tech giant and we see its products as an extension of its values. Following that logic, we see our services as an extension of our values. Some consider this a revolutionary approach, but it’s actually the foundation TechRestore was started on all those years ago.

It’s not all that surprising, when you look at the big problems showing up in technology today, that Apple’s long term (sometimes frustrating) focus and investment was well placed. It makes it easier to trust that what they’re working on now is along the same lines, good for users, good for the planet and good for business. Here are some points along that line.

The best (not the first) products, with the future in mind. They were not the first MP3 player, smartphone, AI or tablet. The hardware gets better with every software update. It’s better in the long term to build strong hardware and then the technology to fill its potential.

Privacy is a basic human right. Apple recognized the need for strict privacy and security in their ecosystem from the start. They have not done it perfectly, but they decided long ago, before personal data was such a commodity, that no amount of money or pressure was worth sacrificing the privacy and security of the people who use Apple products. In 2010, Steve Jobs warned what risks we faced if personal data was exploited. MacOS and iOS developers must adhere to strict guidelines. Every Apple product is designed to minimize the collection and use of data, use on-device processing whenever possible, and provide transparency and control over your information.

The Apple ecosystem includes the entire ecosystem: sustainable sourcing, environmentally conscious, supply chain accountability, accessibility focus, strict App store vetting, honesty, rigorous data security and solution oriented problem solving. The list goes on and on. Even when mistakes are made, they own up and make it right. Recently, Apple got in some hot water (class action suits still pending) for slowing iPhones down to keep them from shutting down under certain conditions. They have since lowered the price on out of warranty battery replacement and in the latest iOS update, given users the option to turn off the performance management feature and see how their battery is performing. They stand behind the action, while admitting they could have been more forthcoming about why they were doing it.

TechRestore is not affiliated with Apple directly. We are part of the ripple Apple creates that expands outward with support jobs and even whole industries. We don’t stand in their shadow and we also believe that the size of your business should not define you.

Playing the long game, in our case, is not as dramatic as Apple. Our customers know for sure that we plan to be around for a long time to deliver solutions in repair, training, service and sales. How?

Professional and honest with the future in mind. We stand behind our work with a one-year functional warranty on repairs. That’s really easy to do when you’re up-front with services and repair quotes. We’ve built strong partnerships with trusted parts suppliers who have high standards so you can trust the parts we use to service your devices.

We listen to our customers (kudos and complaints) and we’re over the moon when you refer your friends and family to us! Your reviews let us know we’re growing in the right direction. Is being the premier provider for repair and service to individuals, businesses and schools our goal? YES! We move toward it by focusing on each customer, making every transaction the best it can be. If we’re the best, it’s because of YOU!

Actual humans! YAY! And we plan to stay that way. We’ll never send you to email or auto-attended phone tree purgatory. We’re here to help and you’ll know as soon as you call, email or come in.

So whether you need repairs, software help, accessories or certified restored Apple devices, you can count on us to deliver quality, professional service and a human touch.

TechRestore – we’re here to help!

 

 

TechRestore Offers One on One and Group Training for Apple Devices

Yay! I got a Mac! …. Now what??

Have you ever wished you could sit down with someone and have them just show you how to use your iPhone, iPad or Mac?  Are you confused by the newest updates? Do you just know there are features you’re not taking full advantage of?

TechRestore answers the call!  We not only repair, refurbish and sell Apple products, we use them and we love them!  Now, we’re happy to offer 45 minute one-on-one instructional courses in our store.  These sessions cover basic applications and help you fully understand and efficiently use your Apple devices.

Currently we offer training for iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.  Topics range from using Touch ID to understanding iCloud to just getting started!  If you have a specific topic you want to cover that’s not on our listing, just call the store after you book your appointment.

Our trainings are available for $39.99 for one session OR you can save some and learn more with three sessions for $99.99.  We’re all about adding value, so rest assured, you won’t be left hanging.  We allow extra time for questions. Sessions can be booked here ,directly from our FaceBook page or just call or come by our store.

Groups can also take advantage of this great service!

Maybe you want to collaborate on a project, or share files and photos or get the most out of FaceTime!  Whatever your needs, you can trust TechRestore to be there with knowledge, experience and understanding. Team TechRestore has over 30 years of combined hands on Apple expertise and extensive experience in corporate and school site training.  Groups of THREE or more qualify for special discounts on in store training and larger group trainings can also be accommodated.

Recently, we added some short, focused training videos to our YouTube channel.  Head on over (and subscribe, because there are more coming soon) and check them out!  These are done right in the store (so you can hear all the life going on in the background) by our very own Daniel B. (the Bob Ross of all things Mac).  The first is a quick tutorial for Photos, the second is part 1 of understanding “Settings” in iOS 11.

We’re here to help!  Let us know what topics YOU would like to see, in person or in a video.  After all, who would we be without our awesome customers?

Don’t have an iPhone, iPad or Mac? We can help with that too!

TechRestore is a TRUE Mac specialist – we buy, sell, repair, use and LOVE Apple products. Come see our selection of Grade A devices, laptops and desktops for sale.  Of course, we don’t stop there!  We back up all our products with a full 90 day functional warranty AND we offer extended warranties that include accidental damage coverage.  See store for details.

We look forward to meeting you!

TechRestore Grand Opening Event in Louisville!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends and Family!

We are SO excited to announce that our new store is open and ready for an official celebration!

If you are in the Louisville area, you simply must come visit us on Saturday, September 23rd from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  We invite you to spend some time in our newly remodeled lounge area and preview our retail offerings, which will include:

  • TechRestore Certified Apple products
  • Matias keyboards
  • Griffin Survivor Series protective cases
  • and much more!

We will also give away some of these great products!  You don’t have to be present to win, but you DO have to come in to enter.

Guests who “check in” on FaceBook while visiting will receive a special free gift!  Our Service Department will not be open on Saturday, but you will have the chance to meet our Apple Certified Staff, with a combined experience of over 70 years!

Come see the official Ribbon Cutting ceremony at 11:00 am, with Senior Economic Development Manager of Louisville, Christy Jarboe in attendance.

techrestore logoTechRestore is an award winning Independent Repair shop that has  served customers around the country since 2004.  We were recently acquired by local Louisville businessman, Jeffrey Jewell.  Jeff has the vision to bring together the best and most experienced Mac Loving techs he’s had the pleasure to work with over the last decade and a half.

TechRestore carries on epic customer experiences in Louisville with:

  • Fast turn-around, up front repairs. Most repairs are completed on-site in one business day or sooner! We like sleeping at night! So you can trust us to be honest and upfront with you and back it up with a ONE YEAR functional warranty on all our repairs.
  • We don’t just fix Macs, we use them!  We keep up with the latest changes and we’re happy to help you get the most from your Apple product.
  • Matias keyboards and Griffin protective cases are some of the best you can buy.  Through years long partnerships, we’re able to offer these to our customers at terrific prices.  We’ll also have TechRestore Certified Apple products for sale, in the store and online.  If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask!

Check out our Yelp page as well as our FaceBook page, where we’ll be offering Grand Opening special deals all week long.  If you’re not fortunate enough to live near Louisville, you won’t miss out! We’ll have great discounts for you too!  We owe a lot to the customers and business partners who helped make it possible for TechRestore to grow into this new vision in Kentucky.

Won’t you join us?  And please, share this blog post with anyone you know who is close by! The free product giveaways are for anyone – no “Mac Lover ID” required (we may try to convert you though, fair warning!).

  

Siri and The Rock

You know we love Siri – she is at once helpful, witty, compassionate and snarky.  All the things we treasure here at TechRestore.   A sense of humor is indispensable and we just couldn’t help ourselves, we had to share this fun with you!

On a side note, we want to hang out with the people whose job it is to make these short films because they get it.  We’d all like to imagine that our favorite stars’ days are as epic as this.  We also can’t help but wonder (hope!) that there will be more along this line.  A day in the life of Samuel L Jackson or Jennifer Lawrence seem inevitable (and welcome!).

If you ask Siri “Was it was fun doing a commercial with the Rock?”, she will show her discreet side, pointing you to articles about the commercial.  A trusted friend, indeed.

Here is the film.  We hope you enjoy it and that your day is epic too!

Cool and Interesting on FaceBook This Week

Ok, so we’re going to go a little further back than “this week” because we have been posting some weird and wonderful things  on FaceBook! Here are the highlights, in case you don’t follow us on FB.  If you don’t, you really should – we don’t always do a recap of postings on our blog, but we post fun facts, useful tips, new and weird tech from all over the web on our page everyday.

Leading the top 5 weirdest things we’ve ever posted: The Third Thumb.  Please, please watch the video and see if you can stop thinking about how helpful this could be!  I mean, some of those people don’t look too coordinated and they were doing just fine.  Coming in at honorable mention in the weird things category, the “10 Weirdest Emoji”, unraveling the mystery of the enigmatic emoji. (Que dramatic music.)

If you are looking for cool things to do with the incredible camera in your pocket, you may get some inspiration from Burton Rast. His 100 photos in 100 days were taken on his iPhone 6s.  He used an app to edit them to draw your eye to what he wants you to see – with incredible results.  If you have your own gang of photographers, put together an amazing project without a third party app, using Photos’ Shared Albums feature.  It’s the best reason yet to scatter and reassemble (and you may learn some things about your friends, families or co-workers, too).

Apple’s HomeKit is now available to try at select Apple stores in an unexpected way.  It goes way beyond “Why can’t you just get up and switch off the lights?”.  With the advances in Augmented Reality, we imagine it won’t be long before you can see it “work” in your home using just your phone.

With all this talk of photo taking and editing, the possibilities of AR, your iPhone battery may be feeling faint! Fear not, here are 10 in depth, pro-level tips to fix battery drain (some you may not know about, we didn’t!).

Speaking of Pro-Level .. Bill Nye the Science Guy.  The coolest things he’s ever done, well, only a few people really know that.  But for the vast majority, who have kindled or rekindled a curiosity of the sciences, engineering, life on earth – these are 11 OF the coolest things.  We feel like any one of us could increase this list to infinity (and BeYOND .. c’mon, you know you said it too).

If you’ve enjoyed the drone footage of Apple Park coming together like we have, well, it will soon be over.  For good reason, of course.  If you do a search for “drone footage of Apple Park”, there are approximately a gajillion. A nuisance at best and a real security risk at worst, especially as employees begin moving in to the massive new digs.

There were more tips and a “Happy Birthday App Store”!

If you have ideas or fun, weird, interesting facts to share, please comment!  If you dig what we’re doing and want the undying thanks of all your closest family and friends, please share us!  And be sure to follow along on FaceBook.

Have a great weekend!

Your friends at TechRestore

 

 

A Big Award and a Big Announcement

A few weekends ago, in the East Bay Times here in California, TechRestore received an East Bay Times Reader’s Choice Award for the Best Computer Repair & Service in the San Francisco East Bay.  Wow!  We have always felt that a referral is the highest compliment we can receive.  These past 13+ years have really been an incredible journey.  Award or not, we feel blessed by the incredible support of our customers, many of whom have been coming back and referring us for a long time.  If there was an award for awesome customers, we would be handing them out left and right!

Not every journey has a final destination, and in the analysis we often find that the journey itself is the point.  That being said, there are many forks in the road and we have come to one now.

TechRestore is proud to announce we are moving our repair facilities to Louisville, Kentucky in July.  Our last day in Concord, California will be July 7th.  This is extremely exciting for us!   With Louisville’s central location and being the home of UPS, our move will allow us to better serve our growing national customer base and continue to deliver exceptional service. Now, if you’re not a local customer, you shouldn’t even notice the change (except where you ship your repair and where it comes from).

The TechRestore philosophy of honesty,  fairness, integrity and promptness will not change.  We will still put our customers first, be up front with repair costs, turn around times and recommendations, and we’ll still be here to answer your call or email in a timely manner.

For our local customers, we’ve got your existing TechRestore warranty covered! (You didn’t think we’d leave you hanging on that, did you? C’mon!)  In the unlikely event that your handheld device repair needs a warranty service, please contact us in the usual way and we’ll get you all set up with a trusted local business partner.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’re here to help!

As bittersweet as this award is, coming just as we are moving locations, we think it’s the perfect end to this chapter and the perfect way to start the next leg of the journey.  We sincerely hope you will join us and again, we thank you!

There will be a special blog post soon with pictures and more information about the new digs.

 

iPhone 6, 6s and 7 Screen Repair Price Drops

techrestore repair price dropsHappy Friday!  As summer approaches, we always see an uptake in iPhone screen repairs.  Is it because the kids are coming home from college with their broken devices?  Maybe it’s the upcoming vacation that makes the broken screen more noticeable.  Whatever the case, TechRestore is here to help!  Our normal turn around for an iPhone screen repair is 1.5 hours, no appointment needed!

If you’re not local, most repairs are completed and shipped same or next business day.

Because we build value into our repair prices, a good percentage of our business includes repeat customers and referrals.  We wouldn’t have it any other way!  We would never wish a broken device on anyone, but we’re so happy to be the “go-to” repair center when these things happen. 

All our repairs come with a 1 year functional warranty.  We stand behind our work and we want you to feel good about referring your friends to us.

Besides the value we offer in customer care and warranty, when our part price goes down, we adjust our repair prices accordingly.  This is great news for you!  Especially if you own an iPhone 7 or 7 plus that has been broken, as those have come down dramatically in recent weeks.

Here are the latest flat rate repair prices on the newer model iPhones, as well as some other flat rates you may not know about AND a special offer for our blog reading customers.  For a complete list of our flat rate repair prices, visit our website.

  • iPhone 6 or 6 Plus screen repair is now $99  (down $10 for 6 Plus).
  • iPhone 6s screen repair is now $119 (down $20).
  • iPhone 6s Plus screen repair is now $129 (down $50!)
  • iPhone 7 screen repair is now $139 (down $160!)
  • iPhone 7 Plus screen repair is now $149 (down $200 since January!)

Start your iPhone repair order here

We also offer battery replacement service for iPhones and Mac laptops.  For iPhones, it’s $79 for all models up the the 6s Plus.  If we’re doing a screen repair already, we can replace the battery for $49. We replace MacBook Air, Pro and Pro retina batteries for $199, call for details on that service.

Mention this blog post and we’ll put a tempered glass screen protector on your iPhone 6 series or iPhone 7 at no additional charge (a $20 value!).


If you haven’t already, be sure to follow us on FaceBook, Twitter, and Google+ .   We share Apple news, history and updates and we feature helpful tutorials on #HowToTuesday.  It’s a lot of fun and we love sharing with everyone there!

Here’s to a happy and safe Summer season, from your friends at TechRestore.

Those Annoying “Infected” Pop-Ups are Fake 100% of the Time

Say you’re casually surfing the web and suddenly there’s a pop-up window in the middle of your screen stating “Your computer is infected! Download this NOW! or call us NOW!”.  Even if you’re savvy enough to know it’s fake, you may still get an instant headache at the thought of detecting and removing this annoying message.  If it’s the first time this has happened or if you’ve been through a virus nightmare before, your reaction may be more dramatic.

Rest assured, those annoying pop-ups are fake – 100% of the time.

The pop-up is really there, but the service they are basically demanding you download and pay for is malicious and will not solve any problems.  In fact, in most cases, it will make the problem a million times worse.  Now, Macs are not immune to malware but the operating system is less vulnerable.  Sometimes, that makes Mac users more susceptible because they are not accustomed to seeing these fake warnings.  MOST malware (viruses, adware, spyware, ransomware, etc) targeted at Macs require you to take some action to allow it first.  Even if you don’t download it, or call, many times the pop-ups will continue and you will need to take some action to remove it from your system.

So where does this malware come from and how can you tell what it is?  Simply put, malware is any program whose purpose is to cause harm to your system.  There are subsets of malware, with varying degrees of harm.

  • A virus is a contagious code that infects other software and spreads itself through a system and to other computers.
  • Adware, while not malicious itself, can affect overall performance and be super annoying.  It’s basically uninvited commercials.
  • Spyware is malicious, in that it does what the name suggests: it spies on you.  It tracks activity and is usually difficult to detect, it also can cause unwanted pop-ups.
  • A worm is an attack that replicates itself and destroys user files and system files, disabling a computer or a network.
  • Trojans disguise themselves as harmless programs, but once opened unleash viruses and attack systems.
  • Ransomware is less common but has been in the news more lately, it gains access to a system and encrypts data files, demanding the user pay to have them decrypted.  This type is particularly dangerous and authorities should be notified immediately.
  • Scareware is that pop-up with an ominous warning. “Call now” or “Download Immediately”, IF you do call or download, there will always be future problems.

Most browsers (Safari, etc) and Mac OS will warn you if you’re opening a program from the internet (as opposed to the App Store).  If you visit sites where there is a lot of peer-to-peer networking or file sharing going on, you may consider an anti-malware that runs real time scans on your system.  If you don’t download from the internet, click unknown links in email and verify requests for personal information before giving it out, you may still want to install a “clean up” tool instead. You would run a program like this if you suspect malware.

Be sure you do your homework and read reviews from non-biased sources prior to paying for any anti-malware software.  For example, go to PC Magazine or MacWorld and then search from their site. Our techs install a free program called Malwarebytes when they clear malware from a computer to help you stay “clean” in the future.

If you have or suspect you have malware, TechRestore is here to help.  Our techs are pros at getting your computer in tip top shape, in case you’ve fallen into one of the traps listed above.

Silencing Your Apple iOS or OS Device

There are so many sounds coming from your iPhone and Mac: mail notification, camera shutter, lock sound, plugged in sound, volume up and down quack – the list goes on.  You may not consider these particularly bothersome, but there’s a chance that sometime you may want extra quiet.  Besides the physical “mute” button on the phone and going into system preferences on your OS desk or laptop, how can you do it?

For iPhone and iPad, you can quickly and easily disable the “plugged in” chime or vibration by swiping your locked screen left to activate the camera.  Then plug in silently, press the home button to get back to your lock screen and check the upper right corner to make sure the lightning bolt charge indicator is on.

Have you ever felt like “If I hear one more quack today, I’m going to SNAP!”?  Well, on those days, you may have avoided listening to music or relaxing to YouTube videos, because when you adjust the volume – QUACK!  Fear not!  Simply press the “Shift” key at the same time as the volume up or down and enjoy the unaccompanied adjustment.  This is only a temporary mute.  If you want to mute your volume controls long term, go into System Preferences >Sound and uncheck the “play feedback sound when volume is changed” >Exit.  Now, if you press “Shift” while adjusting the volume you will hear the “quack”.

Now, of course, there are some notifications you actually want to get all the time.  Good news! There are endless ways to customize when and how you hear (or don’t hear) these sounds.  If you click this link, you’ll learn how to quiet the new mail notification on iPhone/iPad. If you have time, read the “Related Articles” at the bottom – there’s a rabbit hole of all the customizing you could ever want to do.  We’re grateful to the good folks at OSXDaily for offering up all these tutorials.

Here’s to a weekend filled with as much quiet or sound as you wish for, and to making your iPhone, iPad or Mac the quiet minion it’s meant to be!  Happy Friday!

From your friends at TechRestore.

Apple’s Job Creation & Q2 announcements

Tim Cook, Apple CEO did an interview this week on “Mad Money” on CNBC.  If you’d like to see the whole thing, you can watch it on their website.  He was there to talk about Apple’s Q2 earnings call and what the company plans to do with those mountains of cash.

We liked it because a wide range of topics were covered that we can look forward to hearing about in more detail in the near future.  Some felt Tim “dumbed it down“, but the context of the show, by nature, is not optimal for serious, in depth interviews.  If you want to know how Apple’s CEO feels about something, he does speak often in appropriate venues.

On Apple’s website, you can see a comprehensive breakdown of their job creation numbers.  You can even look state by state to see how many employees, manufacturers and app creators are represented.  Tim Cook also spoke briefly of a $1Billion fund created to invest in promoting advanced manufacturing jobs in the U.S.  More on that later this month.

TechCrunch did a great job of breaking down and comparing numbers both from the website and the interview.  One point Tim Cook made during his talk, was that the jobs created by Apple products don’t stop with employees, manufacturers and app developers.  Apple is creating a ripple that expands outward with support jobs and even whole industries.  TechRestore is part of that ripple effect, and has been for over a decade.  Our repair business has relied a lot on our specialty in Apple products and their ecosystem.

We also appreciate that Apple, as a company has values that go far beyond compensating their investors.  Along with the myriad ways they conserve, they innovate and they don’t wait for government regulations or social pressure to make changes that make a positive difference.

Possibly my personal favorite quote (I’m considering making it my ringtone, but don’t mind me) was this:   “A company should have values, because a company is a collection of people.  And people should have values, so by extension, a company should.” 

He went on to talk about ways they give back, just because it’s the right and wise thing to do.  It feels like the culture Apple is fostering is one we could all do well to adopt or to use as encouragement to go a little further with our own current efforts.

Read the full transcript of the “Mad Money” interview here and be sure to watch for updates and announcements from Apple coming later this year.

 

 

Setup Emergency Contact (ICE) on Your iPhone

Most people know about ICE (in case of emergency) contacts in their phone.  But what if your phone is locked?  While you may never need it, having your emergency contact information available for anyone to find could come in handy.  If you have a medical condition or severe allergies, it could save your life! In the latest Apple Watch OS, you can call emergency services and text your emergency contacts just by pressing and holding the side button .

Setting up Medical ID on your iOS device is simple.  You can add as much information as you like (just remember, it’ll be visible to anyone who knows how to access it without unlocking the screen).

First, open the “Health” app (it should be on your iPhone iOS 8 and newer and you can’t delete it).   If you can’t find the icon on screen, swipe down and search for it.

Now in the bottom right corner, select “Medical ID” and then “Create Medical ID”.  Be sure to allow “Show When Locked”.

              

Now you will have the option to add all sorts of useful information, which emergency personnel may need to know, especially blood type, allergies, existing conditions, etc.

 

                                     

Scroll down to “Emergency Conctacts” and choose “add emergency contact”.  You can add as many people as you like from your contacts here, and designate their relationship to you.

Now, when your phone is locked, press the home button, and instead of entering your passcode, choose “Emergency” and on the bottom left corner, you will see “Medical ID” in red. When you choose it, it will show all your emergency contacts and allow you to call by pressing their name.  If you use the SOS feature on Apple Watch, it will text them your location after you contact emergency personnel.

                    

Here is a helpful guide to setting up the SOS feature on your Watch.   How to set up SOS on Apple Watch

And, if you’re still not convinced, here’s a story of the Medical ID/SOS in action!  College student credits Apple Watch with saving his life.

We hope you never have to use it, but being informed can make a difference.  Be sure your loved ones have this useful feature enabled, too!

Be careful out there.  From your friends at TechRestore.

Be on Guard Against Mac Malware OSX/Dok

Macs are less vulnerable, by nature, to viruses and malware, but they are not impervious.  There is a real threat right now, that we feel compelled to share with you, so you can be on guard and spread the news to other Mac users.   It takes over the system, but it starts with a phishing email, hoping you will let it in.

Now, most of us know by now about phishing and how to check for fake emails.  Many companies have a dedicated link on their website to report suspicious emails, in fact.  Bad guys are bad, though, and they spend their time making it harder and harder to tell the true from the false (seriously, can we give them some better project to spend their time on?).

Please read and share this blog and the links below, which have some very helpful tips about how to educate yourself and hopefully avoid falling victim to these malicious attacks.

From the good folks at 9to5 Mac:

Nasty Mac malware bypasses Gatekeeper, undetectable by most antivirus apps

PSA: Now is a good time to educate your less-techy friends about ‘Apple’ phishing emails

A great article to not only remove, but to protect against in the first place, from MacWorld:

The best free methods for removing Mac malware, viruses and ransomware

And another, which goes into a bit more detail about this new threat, from Cult of Mac:

Gatekeeper won’t stop this ‘major scale’ Mac malware

And finally, a good overview of Mac general security tips from noodlemac:

My Favorite Mac Security Tips

Of course, if you don’t have time or don’t feel comfortable removing malicious programs yourself, we’re here to help!

PS – If you’ve been a subscriber for any length of time, you know we don’t usually post two blogs in one day.  We really feel like this is important and didn’t want to wait to pass it along.  Please share as you see fit and we’ll be back on our regular schedule next week!

Apple’s Ecosystem is by Design

It always surprises us when people talk about Apple’s ecosystem and how brilliant it is, like it’s a new thing.  We know that we are now, and have always been, passengers on Apple’s train.  Yes, we can each have our own room, or we can go into the club car, or we can invite other people into our room, but we are still not driving the train.

Some people don’t like giving up that ‘control’, but people who are immersed in the Apple ecosystem are really happy they don’t have to lay the tracks or pay for the gas.  All you have to do is maintain and manage your own little space.

Maybe Apple isn’t really worried about being “the top selling” laptop/desktop/phone.  The changes they have made through the years (which are often criticized at first) have proven to be beneficial to their users.  Long before SuperDrives were removed from MacBooks and iMacs, there was a gentle incentive to ditch physical media (and who doesn’t love the extra closet space CD’s used). Apple didn’t respond to that market, they created it.  So if you miss multiple ports and resist USB-C, you can be sure that soon you’ll think it’s the best thing ever.

Is it any wonder, then, that Apple appears to be bringing a lot of its component tech development in-house?  It’s an iceberg – this has been going on for years already, right under our noses.  They are not suddenly leaping into new business ventures.  Take a look at the massive Apple Park that’s near completion after years of construction.  Just like their devices, it seemed uncalled for when we first heard about it.  Who needs that much space?!  But now … ooohhh, it all makes sense.  They have also expanded their Seattle center and other satellite offices, even in China.

We do love the Apple Ecosystem.  It has existed – by design – from the start and has expanded and evolved, and continues to grow in unexpected ways.  Like Legos, Apple devices just fit together and work (mostly) seamlessly.  And if Mac users sometimes seem fanatical, it’s just because they enjoy knowing that if there is some adjustment to make in using a new product, it will be short and well worth it.

We completely agree with AppleHolic on this: Apple has a big picture in mind.  Apple’s secrecy doesn’t mean they are stagnant and with an entire industry built on Apple rumors, it’s nice to seem them all come “magically” together sometimes.

So, whether you’re only plugged in using an iPod nano or your house, car, tv and communications are all aboard the train, we’re glad you’re here with us!  We do have a passion for Apple products and have dedicated ourselves to helping the people who use them any way we can.

 

TechRestore FaceBook Fun Weekly Roundup

Greetings from your friends at TechRestore!  We hope you are enjoying this Spring season and all the wonders that it brings (baseball, tulips, Spring break, to name a few, if you need a list).  If you missed our FaceBook posts this week (let’s face it, FaceBook is a bit overwhelming sometimes, we don’t expect you to see everything we post!), here is a brief recap.  We really enjoy staying up to speed on Apple and tech news and we hope you enjoy what we share.

On Monday, we shared about the new Apple app “Clips”.  Clearly, you already know about it!  It’s been breaking records for downloads numbers all week long.  We also shared a tip about organizing your email like a BOSS.  After you read that, you may want to join those of us here who have taken on the massive task of putting this to practice in our own lives.

#HowToTuesday covered having “the talk” with the significant senior in your life and an early Throw Back Thursday post about the Apple I that was so good, we couldn’t wait two more days to share!   We also published a blog (which you obviously saw or you wouldn’t be reading this either!).

Wednesday, we shared a parents’ nightmare and how Apple stepped in to help out.  This story about the Apple I in the Living Computers: Museum + Lab revealed not only a fascinating exhibit and perspective on Apple’s place in computer history, but a look into the mindset of the man many credit with its success.

#TBT again visited 1976 and the 3rd Apple founder’s early exit, leaving us to wonder what the shape of Apple would be if he had stayed on.  Surely, he’s tired of hearing it, but we couldn’t help wonder if he might be related to Batman.  If you have an older iPhone, don’t worry about the newest iOS update, you’re still covered.

Finally Friday!  If you have upgraded, you’re likely to have lots more room on your iPhone or iPad now.  Well, fill it up with pictures!  Here we shared some great tips for photos.

Are you looking for some common ground with your teen?  This “Taking Stock with Teens” report may give you an idea, at least in terms of what the stock market can measure. (Hint: they want a new iPhone.)

If you haven’t already, please “Like” and “Follow” us on FaceBook. Yes, it’s a big playground, but we’d love to see you there and if you have some comments or ideas or news you’d like to hear, please share!

We’ll be publishing another blog soon with our thoughts and musings on the Apple ecosystem and why it’s not new.

Spending Less Time with Your Phone and Why It Matters

These days, our phones tell us everything.  We can see what everyone’s having for lunch via Instagram, check the news and the weather, map our bike rides, reserve parking, order coffee, transfer money, lock the door, turn on the lights, turn off the coffeepot .. you get the idea.  Hey, we can even make a phone call!

Mobile phone addiction is practically built in.  You may have an idea sometimes that you are spending too much time on your device.  Maybe the third time you have to charge it each day is a clue.  So what?  Is a digital detox the answer?  Sweat it out and break the cycle?  Sure, that’s one way – likely to lead to a social media binge trying to catch up on everything.  There has to be some comfortable middle ground, right?

They say knowledge is power. A good place to start to see where you’re spending your time is right in the settings on your iPhone.  Go to Settings >Battery and scroll down to where it displays the usage.  Right at the top you’ll see what your phone is working hardest at.  Sometimes that’s all you need – knowledge.  If you’re a will-powered person, you can apply it simply by consciously decreasing the time you spend on those top activities.

What if there’s no clear leader? What if your display uses the most battery?  Well, that means your phone is on, it’s just not powering a specific app most of the time.  In this case, try adjusting your notifications settings.  You can adjust each app individually by going to Settings >Notifications and clicking on each one to customize the type and frequency of notifications.  An easy tweak to your Do Not Disturb configuration.  You can schedule times where your phone is quiet or customize the behavior whenever you choose the feature (the crescent moon shaped icon in your control center – a swipe up from the bottom on iPhones – is your Do Not Disturb switch).

One super fix is to turn off your Background App Refresh.  This will not only save your battery, but will reduce your notifications as well.  Disabling the background refresh will also help you set aside a clear time to check important apps, like mail.  (If you’re into serious organizing of your mail, check out this boss tip.)  You can also make adjustments in other apps.  FaceBook allows you to put your friends in “lists” so you can see just the updates of people in that category.  Read this helpful tutorial to find out how to set that up.

There is also the issue of perception.  How many times do you open your phone each day?  60 – 100?  More?  What’s measured, improves, as they say.  There aren’t a lot of apps for iOS that track usage.  We found one that seems hopeful called RealizD.  It tracks: screen time, pickups, time between pickups, times of day pickups occur, tells you your busiest day of the week and allows you to set goals for yourself (then reminds you when you’re getting close).  It’s a free app, with options to pay for “family tracking” and some other advanced features.  For getting a reality check, the free version works just fine.

So, why is it important to have this information?  If everyone else is hunched over their phones, who cares if you are too?  Well, it matters.  As my gramma used to say “Because. That’s why.”  Even if you haven’t walked into a lamp post yet, you’re still missing out.  You can’t smell a cool spring breeze, pet your dog or feel the sun on your face through your phone.  Even though Siri can tell you a joke, or get you directions or remember your mom’s birthday, she is not your friend.

Spending less time on your phone hopefully translates to spending more time doing the things you used to just monitor.  Meet up with friends (or at least talk instead of read updates).  Your phone is a tool.  An amazing, useful, helpful tool and that’s all.  Learn how to use it to make your life more full by making it work for you.  And every so often, turn it off (or at least, let it rest).