Everyday Tips from the ComputerMom 

November 2016
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Colder nights, shorter days, snowflakes on the weather map - at least we have Thanksgiving to look forward to!

Two long articles this month - one for iPhone users, and one for the PC crowd. Firstly, I find that there's a lot of confusion about iPhone storage, so I'm hoping to put some of that to rest. Next, there are some big changes for Microsoft email users to be aware of. I've run into problems with these changes with a few clients now, and expect to run into more, as the changes will continue to roll out into the new year. It's always best to be prepared.

Stay warm out there, and hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Julie Marto 

P.S. It's not too soon to start your holiday shopping - call me if you need any help picking out and setting up that perfect tech gift!
iPhone - Internal Storage vs. iCloud Storage

These days, I don't just support PCs and Macs, I'm asked to help out with phones, tablets, even TV streaming devices! One of the most popular devices I help people with is the iPhone, and one of the biggest questions is about storage, both on the phone and in the cloud. There's a lot of confusion about iPhone storage, so I hope this article helps.

Internal Storage - When you first buy your phone, you are asked to choose which phone you want based on different features - size of screen, speed of processor, and internal storage. Current phones ship with between 16 and 256 GB (gigabytes) of internal storage. Older phones shipped with as little as 8 GB. The amount of storage a phone has is fixed - you cannot upgrade it or add to it. Apple charges a lot for this type of storage - the bigger your phone's capacity, the more expensive the phone is at purchase. Since you can't add more, you need to make the decision upfront.

So, what is all of that storage space used for? A certain amount is used by the Apple software that runs your phone. And some of it is used by apps - the more apps you have the more space they take up. But by far the most storage space is used by your actual data - music, videos, and especially photos. On average you can assume every 200 photos on your iPhone is taking up 1 GB of your storage space. If you have 256 GB, that's no problem. But if you have an older phone with only 8GB of space, you are in trouble with as few as 200 pictures!

I sometimes see iPhone owners who can't take any more pictures, or can't upgrade the operating system on their phone, because it's out of internal storage. Until they remove quite a few pictures, videos, and apps from their phone they are stuck. If you are in that situation, you will have to make some tough choices. Although it's nice to keep all your pictures in one portable place, the most logical solution is to back your pictures onto your computer and delete them from your phone, freeing up space. However, sometimes people tell me that they have "bought more storage", and yet, they still have a problem. That brings me to my next topic . . .

iCloud Storage - This is storage that is "in the cloud" - space available for you to use on Apple servers somewhere, that you access via the internet. Apple gives every Apple user 5GB of iCloud storage for free. The idea is for you to back up your files and settings in the cloud, so that your Apple devices will all sync. 

The free storage Apple includes is really not enough to make iCloud useful, but the first level of purchased storage is usually a very good purchase. Apple charges $.99 a month for 50GB of iCloud storage. For most people that's sufficient to automatically keep your phone backed up. That phone back up gives you the peace of mind to know that if you lose or damage your phone, you can restore it to exactly where it was when you first turn on the replacement. Calling and texting records, apps, settings, photos and videos will all come back if you choose to restore your phone from the iCloud back-up - totally worth it!

You can also use paid storage to enable  iCloud Photo Storage and "optimize space" , so that the pictures on your actual phone are just smaller copies of what's stored in the cloud. Since many people like to have access to all their photos, all of the time, this can be a good solution to the limited internal storage space on a lot of iPhones! Yet another solution is the Google Photos App, which I use to access all my pictures. But that's a topic for another day!
Microsoft Mail Changes

Do you have a free Microsoft mail account? By that I mean an account that ends with @msn.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, or @outlook.com. If you do, and you use Windows Live Mail or Microsoft Outlook to read your mail, there are some big changes you need to know about.

Outlook users first - Microsoft is in the process of upgrading all of their free mail accounts to something called Exchange. Exchange is actually a very good system - your mail, contacts, and calendar will sync across all devices. Until now this was a premium service, offered only to paying business clients. 

If you use Outlook 2007 or 2010 to pick up your mail, you will have to remove and re-enter your email account into the program once your account is upgraded. And you won't know it until you start getting error messages! If you are using Outlook 2007 or 2010 and you get error messages rather than your email, you should suspect your account has been upgraded, and should follow these steps to get Outlook working again.

If you use Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 you will continue to get mail, even after your account is upgraded, with no interruptions. However, you should remove your account and add it in again regardless, to take advantage of all the new features Exchange offers.

Windows Live Mail - is at end of life, and Microsoft will stop offering it for download after January 2017. If you are using it with a Microsoft email account it will stop working as soon as your account is upgraded. However, there are a few options. One is that I can set the account up again using a different protocol called IMAP. You won't have the same syncing features you had in the past, but you will still be able to use WLM. Another option is to go to www.outlook.com to send and receive mail. And, of course, you can use the built in Mail app in Windows 10.

I know these are a lot of changes, and there's a lot of detail I don't have room to put into this article. If you have any questions or need some help with your email, please get in touch with me and we can set up an on-site service call