Everyday Tips from the ComputerMom 

March 2018
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Welcome to March - even with the dusting of snow outside, there is a taste of spring in the air, and it appears we have broken the back of winter!

When I was on vacation last month, my friends complained about the annoying prompt on their iPhones to set up Apple Pay. So this month's issue starts with the steps to remove that. My second article covers browser extensions, and I finish with some interesting links posted to my Facebook page.

Julie Marto 
PS -  I'm often asked where I come up with ideas for my newsletter. Truth is, I write about what I am asked about.  So, if you have a topic you'd like me to address, just drop me a line!
Turn off Apple Pay Nags

Many of you are iPhone people, and you sometimes ask me to check your phone's settings. Recently, almost every iPhone I look at is prompting the owner to set up Apple Pay, a system to use your iPhone to pay for purchases with stored credit cards.

Apple really wants you to use Apple Pay, but a lot of people (me included) aren't yet comfortable with the process. So, here are the steps to stop your phone from nagging you to set up Apple Pay:

The first step is actually pretty counter-intuitive. You have to accept the prompt to set up Apple Pay (either from the popup nag message, or from tapping on settings and doing it there), and, at the first screen, click "Set up later in Wallet". After you've done that, you should:

Go to Settings > Notifications > Wallet, turn "Allow Notifications" off
Go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay, turn "Double-Click Home Button" off
Go to Settings > Safari, scroll to the bottom, turn "Check for Apple Pay" off

The whole process only takes a few minutes, but if you need my help with any of this just hand me your phone next time I'm at your place!  
Browser Icons Browser Extensions Explained

If the internet is the information superhighway, your browser is the car you drive to get from place to place. On an Apple system the built in browser is Safari. On a PC, Microsoft Edge has supplanted Internet Explorer, but both are part of Windows. And many people have downloaded and use one of the three main independent browsers, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Just like your car, your browser can be customized with options to make your drive easier and more comfortable. Browsers are customized with small programs called extensions - add-on toolbars and gadgets that perform an additional function. Because browser extensions have access to everything you do on the internet, it's important to be judicious when choosing and adding extensions to your browser.

There are some very useful extensions. I have two that I use every day - an ad blocker called AdBlock Plus, and a password manager called LastPass. I highly recommend both extensions, and will probably write an article about one or both at some time.

Many antivirus programs also add browser extensions, meant to keep you safer on the internet by blocking you from visiting malicious sites. Although some of them provide some additional protection, I'm not a big fan of most of them, as they can slow down your browsing without actually improving your security, so I usually turn them off. Some, particularly from free antivirus suites, can even behave like the types of programs they are meant to protect you from!

Unfortunately, the extensions I see most often are unnecessary, or downright malicious. These extensions redirect your searches or change your home page. They are generally installed without your knowledge or consent, and can be difficult to remove. Some names of common malicious extensions I see every day include MapsGalaxy, Doc to PDF, and the almost ubiquitous Ask Toolbar. If you find that you are going to a "fake Google" page, or you are getting a ton of advertising pop-ups, you probably have malicious extensions installed!

This article tells you how to check for extensions on most browsers. If you look and find that you have a bunch of unknown or unwanted extensions, it's probably a good idea to schedule a clean up!
Facebook Roundup
Every month I post a few articles of interest on my Facebook page. For those of you who don't use Facebook, here are some of my recent posts: