Google’s reverse image search

Q: On a computer, you can use Google’s reverse image search feature in several ways, like dragging and dropping an image file in the search box or right-clicking on an image file on a webpage. But how can you do reverse searches for pictures using a mobile device?

Third-party apps and sites for hunting down images are available, but Google offers its own way to use its image search engine if you are using a tablet or smartphone at the time. On a computer, you drag a file into the search box (or right-click it) to do a reverse search for similar images on the web. On a mobile device with the Chrome browser for Android and iOS, you start with a photo that has already popped up in the search results.

When you have an image you want to research in the Chrome app, tap it to open the photo to a full-screen view. Next, press and hold your finger on the screen and choose “Search Google for this image.” The results page returns other webpages where Google has found that particular image, often with text accompanying it for additional information.

Another method in the Chrome app involves switching to the desktop version of the Google image search page by tapping the menu button in the top-right corner and selecting “Request Desktop Site.” Once you are on the desktop version of the page, tap the camera icon in the search bar. You can now choose a file to upload from your device’s photo app or from an online file-storage site.

You can also take a picture of something and instantly upload the photo to the Google image search. (The process might be seen as a rudimentary precursor to the new Google Lens tool, announced at the company’s I/O conference last month, which uses a smartphone’s camera to gather more information about your surroundings in real time.)on your phone, like a pass code.

Q: Is there a way to always show the battery-life indicator in the Windows 10 taskbar?

If the battery icon has retreated into the hidden icons section of the taskbar’s Notifications area or disappeared from view altogether, you can restore it quickly. Right-click the taskbar area and choose Taskbar Settings from the menu; on a tablet, press and hold your finger on the screen for a few seconds to get to the menu.

When the Taskbar settings open, scroll down to the Notifications area. Click or tap either “Select which icons appear on the taskbar” or “Turn system icons on or off.” On the next screen, tap the button next to Power to On from Off. (If you wish to display icons from third-party programs, choose “Select which icons appear on the taskbar” to turn on notification icons for apps like Dropbox or an online backup service.)

Once you have restored the battery icon to the taskbar, you can tap it, click it or hover the mouse cursor over it to see the percentage of battery life left on the current charge. The Windows Store has several free or inexpensive apps available to display the charge percentage and other details; open the Store icon from the Start menu and search for “battery.”

Mac users who want to display the battery icon in the top menu bar should open the System Preferences by clicking its icon in the desktop dock, or by selecting System Preferences under the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen. In the System Preferences box, click the Energy Saver icon and then turn on the checkbox next to “Show battery status in menu bar.”

J D Biersdorfer
INYT

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Pharmaceutical apps

Q: I need an iPhone app that reminds me to take my medicine, and if I’m late taking it, helps me readjust the time between doses. Setting an alarm on the phone won’t work because I may be in a meeting. What apps might help me?

The App Store stocks several pharmaceutical apps designed to organise your pills, schedule doses and remind you to take your medicine. Many of the apps in this category require a bit of setup, where you enter the name of the medications you take, your dose, schedule and other information; some also integrate with the Health app built into iOS 8 and later, and have Apple Watch companion apps.

After you set up the app, it alerts you when to take each medication. Some apps also include features like refill reminders and warnings about drug interactions. Finding the pill-reminder app that suits your needs may take some experimentation.

If you are looking for an app that notes when you go off schedule and can help you recalculate your dosage times, a recent update to the free, well-reviewed Round Health iOS app records when you last took a pill so you can do the math needed for timing the next dose. The app reminds you to take your scheduled pills with pop-up alerts.

The Medisafe app for Android and iOS is another popular pill-reminder program with good reviews from users on both platforms; the app is free but offers in-app purchases for more features. MyTherapy Pill Reminder & Medication Tracker (free for Android and iOS) includes a journal function and can create PDF reports to share with a doctor.

Before committing so much personal information to an app, read its privacy policy and be aware where your data is stored, especially if it can sync content between devices. You should also enable the available security features on your phone, like a pass code.

Q: How do I get apps to give me notifications when I’m using Windows 10 on a desktop computer?

As with mobile operating systems, Microsoft’s Windows 10 can display app alerts on your screen, even when you do not have those programs open. You may not want to hear from every app on your computer that can send notifications, but you can control what you see both while you are working and while your PC’s lock screen is on.

To do so, go to the Start screen and open the Settings app. As a shortcut, you can press the Control and I keys on the keyboard to open the Settings box, or tell the Cortana assistant to do it for you.

Once you are in the Settings box, select System. On the left side of the System screen, choose Notifications & Actions. Here, you flip the switches for apps and services you want to show notifications. (Some programs may have their own notification settings, like web browsers sending you updates from selected sites.)

You can also select the style of alerts you see on the screen, and if you would like audio cues as well. If you prefer not to have the computer ping you with notifications between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., you can turn on the Quiet Hours setting. Select the Action Center icon in the lower-right corner of the Windows taskbar. In the rows of Acton Center squares (choose Expand if you do not see them all), tap or click the Quiet Hours icon to toggle it.

Mac users can find similar settings for the system’s Notifications Center — just select Notifications in the System Preferences area. The Mac operating system also includes a Do Not Disturb setting to mute the alerts during specified hours.
J D Biersdorfer
INYT

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Update Google Now cards

Q: For the past week or so, I keep getting a message on my Android tablet that my Google Now cards “failed to load.” What causes this, and is there a way to fix it?

The Google app’s on-screen cards create a personalised feed of information you care about, like traffic and weather, and the feed is updated regularly over your internet connection. However, the service has been hampered in the past by things like glitches on the Google side of things, incorrect Google Account settings or device problems.

Earlier this month, many users began to complain on forums, blogs and social media about getting the “Failed to load cards” message in the Google app, as well as similar problems with the home screen in the Google Play app. The problem has not affected all users (some of whom suspect testing by Google as a cause), but if it has not resolved itself by now, you can try the known workarounds.

On your Android device, open the Settings app, go to the Application Manager and select the Google app. Tap the Manage Space button and on the next screen, tap Clear Google Search Data; menu names may vary slightly depending on the Android version.
If your cards still fail to load, try turning your Google app feed off and on again in the settings. Deleting and reinstalling the Google app may also fix the issue, but you may have to redo some of your feed preferences.

Changing your Google preferences can affect your cards. If you have recently changed your account settings (like by turning off Web & App Activity), change the settings back to see if your feed is restored.

Q: I saw somebody in a restaurant using a smartphone to magnify the tiny type on the menu. What app is that and can I get it for my new iPhone?

The App Store has several programs that borrow the iPhone’s camera and use it to display a magnified view of objects in front of the device, but the current iOS 10 system software comes with its own Magnifier function. This tool is part of Apple’s suite of Accessibility features.

To use the Magnifier on an iOS 10 device, open the Settings icon and select General. On the General settings screen, choose Accessibility and then Magnifier. On the next screen, tap the button to the On position. Press the Home button to return to the iPhone’s main screen.

Now, when you want to read the fine print on the page or need to get a close-up look at something, press the iPhone’s Home button three times quickly. This triple-click action (also known as the Accessibility Shortcut) brings up the Magnifier and any other preconfigured functions geared toward users with impaired vision, hearing or motor skills.

When you have the Magnifier open in a dark restaurant, tap the lightning bolt icon on the screen to turn on the iPhone’s flash for a steady stream of bright light. Tap the Filters icon to change the colour cast on the screen. You can zoom in by dragging the slider on screen and tap the padlock icon to lock the camera’s focus.

If you want to freeze the frame, tap the round camera shutter button. Once the frame is frozen, you can zoom to the part you want to see better. Press your finger on the screen and select Save Image if you want to keep a copy in your Camera Roll. Tap the shutter button to unfreeze the frame, and press the Home button to leave the Magnifier.

The iOS Accessibility settings have a Zoom feature for making things larger on the iPhone screen itself. For Android users, Google includes a similar feature and Microsoft’s software for its Windows phones has a Magnifier, too.

J D Biersdorfer
INYT

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Apple parked-car marker app

Q: I thought Apple Maps on my iPhone was supposed to automatically show me where I parked my car, but I don’t think it’s working. Am I not doing something I should? Location Services was on.

Apple added the parked-car marker to its Maps app with iOS 10, but you need an iPhone 6 or later for the feature to work. You also need to pair your iPhone to the car’s dashboard audio system over a Bluetooth connection or have a vehicle equipped with Apple’s CarPlay software. The app does not mark parking spots you use regularly, like the one in your garage or your space at the office lot. If you have met all the requirements so far, go to the iPhone’s home screen, open the Settings and tap Privacy.

When Locations Services is enabled, scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap System Services. In that screen, make sure Frequent Locations is on. Tap your way back to the main Settings screen and select Maps this time. At the bottom of the Maps screen, make sure the button next to Show Parked Location is on. Once you have done all that, the iPhone should sense when your car stops moving and you break the Bluetooth connection with the dashboard. Once you do, the app automatically records the current location and provides directions back to that spot later when you tap the parked-car icon. Google recently updated its Google Maps app for Android and iOS with an improved parking-spot tool. You do not need to have the phone connected to the car with Bluetooth, but can just tap to mark your spot.

The Google app for Android also shows the parked location of your car if you have Driving set as your transportation choice for commuting, and Microsoft’s Windows Maps app for its own phones includes a parking-location reminder.

Q: I would like to transfer my bookmarks (favourites) from Internet Explorer to Chrome. IE keeps malfunctioning, and I’ve heard that Chrome is more reliable. My operating system is Windows 7. How would I go about transferring them?

Most browsers these days are very good at importing bookmarks from their competitors, so start by installing Google Chrome, which can be downloaded free at google.com/ chrome. Once you install the new browser, open it. If Chrome does not ask if you want to make it your default browser and import your existing bookmarks from other programmes, it can be done manually.

Go to the top-right corner of the window and click the icon for the More menu; the icon looks like a vertical stack of three dots. On the More menu, select Bookmarks and then Import Bookmarks and Settings. In the box that opens, select Internet Explorer from the drop-down menu. Under Select Items to Import, area, turn on the checkboxes next to Favourites/Bookmarks. You can also choose to import your browsing history file from Internet Explorer, so you can quickly return to previously viewed pages in Chrome. Click the Import button when you are finished. If you plan to use the Chrome browser on multiple computers or devices, there is an option to sync bookmarks, history, stored passwords and other settings to all your hardware.

To get everything in sync, you need a Google Account; if you do not already have one from using Gmail or YouTube, you can sign up at accounts.google.com/signup. Once you have a Google Account name and password, use it to sign into Chrome by selecting your name or profile icon in the top-right corner of the window and clicking the sign-in button. To adjust what data is synced with Chrome, go to the Menu button, select Settings, then pick Advanced Sync Settings.

J D Biersdorfer
INYT

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Window background settings

Q: In Windows 10, how do you make the screen and window backgrounds black instead of white?

Windows 10 includes a “dark” theme that flips the backgrounds of some apps from white to black. The operating system also has a high-contrast mode available in the Ease of Access settings that inverts the white background with black, while also changing the colours of buttons and menus to make them stand out against the dark background. You can get to either option by pressing the Windows and I keys to open the Settings area, or by going to the Start menu and selecting the gear-shaped Settings icon. In Settings, choose Personalisation and then Colours. In the Choose Your App Mode area toward the bottom of the window, select Dark; you can pick a custom accent colour for your windows here, too.

The dark theme works with several Windows 10 apps, but does not give everything a black backdrop. For example, the File Explorer and browser windows keep their white backgrounds. Some versions of Microsoft Office have their own dark themes, too, as does the Edge browser. Other browsers have similar add-ons; Google offers its own High Contrast extension for its Chrome browser. For a more universal system switch from white to black, click the High Contrast Settings link under the app mode options in the Personalisation box, or click the Ease of Access icon in the main Settings area. In the Ease of Access box, select High Contrast and choose a colour combination that suits you from the drop-down menu.

You can turn off or adjust either the dark theme or the high-contrast mode by returning to Settings. Apple includes its own contrast and colour settings for the Mac in the System Preferences. To make adjustments, open the System Preferences icon in the desktop dock, click the Accessibility icon and choose Display.

Q: How do I change the billing information for iPad app purchases?

You can update your credit card number, address or other details about the way you pay for your iTunes and App Store downloads by opening the Settings icon from the iPad’s home screen and selecting iTunes & App Store. In the box that pops up, tap View Apple ID and sign in, if prompted. On the Apple ID screen, select Payment Information from the list, and on the next screen, make the changes you wish. Apple notes that if you are using its Family Sharing feature to corral all purchases made by members of a designated family group, only the user previously deemed the “organiser” can change the payment information.

If you are having trouble trying to remove a linked credit card from your account by switching to None as a billing option, make sure you have no outstanding charges with the iTunes or App Stores — or subscriptions that automatically renew and bill that credit card. You can also change your Apple billing information from your Windows PC or Mac computer. To get to your settings from the desktop, open the iTunes programme, go to the Account menu and select View My Account.

Sign in with your account password and on the account settings screen, click the Edit button next to payment type to make your changes. The process for changing billing information is similar for other companies that keep your electronic payment method on file — like Google and Amazon and apps that offer purchases or subscriptions. Simply find the account settings area, log in and locate the section for payment details. Just make sure you are on a secure network connection when you do.

J D Biersdorfer
INYT

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Authenticity of windows

Q: I keep getting a window popping up on my laptop, which is running Windows 10. It says I have outdated drivers, with an offer to update them for a price. How can I find out if I really do have outdated drivers? How do I know if the window is a legitimate offer or a scam?

While free driver utility programmes are available online, any aggressive pop-up window that points out supposed issues with your computer and then offers to fix them for a price is trying to take advantage of you. Some of these offers may not be outright scams, but they are trying to make a quick buck by doing something you can do yourself for free. Persistent pop-ups shilling products can also indicate your computer has a spyware or adware infection and needs anti-malware software.

Windows 10 automatically downloads and installs new versions of your driver software through Windows Update, the same system tool that downloads and installs system updates and monthly security patches pushed out by Microsoft. If you have trouble with a certain hardware device (even after an update), you can try manually updating the driver to try to fix the problem.

To update a driver yourself, press the Windows and X keys and select Device Manager from the menu that appears. In the Device Manager window, click a hardware category to open the list, right-click the name of the problematic device and choose Update Driver.

If you still have issues after updating, return to the Device Manager, choose Uninstall Device from the menu and restart the PC; Windows will try to reinstall a new copy of the driver itself. You can also find driver software on the device manufacturer’s website.

Q: I was browsing online and noticed a small letter “i” in a circle. What does that mean? I use the Chrome browser.

The web is full of sites that do not use the strongest security; some browsers — including Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox — now warn users when the page they are visiting may put their information at risk. In Chrome, that “i” symbol indicates a site may not be secure because it is using an unencrypted connection. When you click the “i” on the left side of the Chrome address bar, you can see more information about the site, adjust some settings and possibly see a security warning.

As you may have noticed from online shopping, sites with secure connections use a form of the HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure technology to encrypt data between their web servers and your computer; this helps protect your credit-card number and other personal information from being intercepted by someone else. These sites also have a security certificate from a presumably trusted authority that verifies the website’s identity and protects it from being modified. You typically see a padlock icon and a URL that starts with https:// when you have a secure connection.

Chrome labels sites that use a plain HyperText Transfer Protocol connection (http://) without the encryption factor as “nonsecure,” because a third party could intercept your information — or the site could be masquerading as something else; try adding an “s” to the end of the http:// prefix to see if the site has a secure version. Sites that Google considers dangerous because of major security lapses or possible malicious intent get a red-alert triangle in the address box, and sometimes a full-page warning

Google announced in September that it was “moving towards a more secure web” and Mozilla recently added insecure password warnings to the Firefox browser. Many sites around the web (including nytimes.com and other news organisations) have also switched to https:// connections.

J D Biersdorfer
INYT

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Mac operating

Q: I’m new to the Mac operating system. I recently hit some button on my keyboard that shrank down all the open program windows and returned them to normal when I clicked one. What happened and how did I do that?

If it felt like you suddenly got an overhead view of all the open windows and programs on your Mac’s desktop, you have stumbled upon the Mission Control feature. When intentionally summoned, Mission Control can be used to quickly locate a particular window in a cluttered desktop, temporarily move aside a program open in the full-screen or split-view modes, or see any alternate desktop spaces you may have created for different tasks on your Mac.

Depending on your Mac hardware, you can land on the Mission Control screen in several ways. Some Mac laptops put a shortcut to the utility on the keyboard’s F3 key. You may also see a Mission Control in the Mac’s dock; it features three coloured squares on a black background. (The same icon is also available in the Launchpad, a system tool that displays the clickable icons of all your Mac’s installed applications in the centre of the screen when you click the silver rocket icon in the dock, or press the F4 button on some Mac laptops.)

Unless you have turned off the gesture in your settings, Apple’s Multi-Touch and Magic Trackpads take you to Mission Control when you swipe up with three or four fingers at once. You also can get there by tapping twice on a Bluetooth-enabled Apple Magic Mouse.

To learn more about using the feature, go to the Mac’s Help menu in the main toolbar, enter ‘Mission Control’ in the search box and press the Enter key. You can change the way Mission Control behaves in the Mac’s System Preferences.

Q: How do you take a screen image on Android?

How you take a picture of the current screen displayed on your Android device depends on your hardware and the version of the operating system you are using. A screen image is also known as a screen shot, screen grab or screen capture. You can find screen shot apps in the Google Play store and some phone-makers may include their own screen-capture utility, but many models just require the push of a few buttons.

On many Android smartphones and tablets, you just need to press and hold down the power and the volume down buttons together. You should see a quick flash and then a preview of the screenshot before it disappears into your photo gallery app. Getting the timing right may take some practice — if you press the power button too soon, the device turns off, and if you land on volume down too early, you see a sound control bar appear on screen.

If your Android hardware has a physical home button, try pressing the home and power buttons together, this is similar to the procedure to take a screenshot on an Apple iOS device, but you should press the Sleep/Wake/Power button and then immediately press the home button. Many of Samsung’s Galaxy phones use this method, but on some models, you can also take a snapshot of your screen by swiping the edge of your palm across the front of the screen.

If your device is running Android 6.0 or later and you have the current version of the Google app installed, you can easily take and share a screen shot with the Google Assistant tool built into the software. Just press and hold the on-screen home button. Swipe up and choose Share Screenshot; on some devices, you just need to wait for the toolbar to appear after you capture the shot and then tap the Share icon. From there you can email it, upload it or post it elsewhere.

J D Biersdorfer
INYT

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Edit your FB post

Q: After I crop and touch up a picture from my phone camera, I sometimes post the wrong one to Facebook because it’s hard to tell which version is which from the little preview images. Normally, I just delete the post with the wrong photo and upload the right one, but sometimes I don’t notice right away and people have already commented. Is there a way to replace the old picture with the new one without losing the comments?

As long as you have uploaded the photo directly (with Facebook’s own app for Android or iOS, for example) and not through a third-party programme, you should be able to edit your post and swap in the photo you meant to use. To do that, go to the post on your Facebook timeline with the picture you want to change.

In the top-right corner of the post, tap the downward-pointing arrow icon and choose Edit Post from the menu. Tap the small “x” in the top-right corner of the photo (or photos) you want to remove, but do not click the Save button yet. Instead, tap the icon for adding photos down at the bottom of the screen.

Select ‘Photo/Video’ from the menu. When your phone’s photo library opens, select the thumbnail of the photo you want to use and tap the Done button at the top. Once you have confirmed that this is the correct image, tap the Save button to update the post with the new picture.

You can use the Edit Post option to correct typos in previously published posts. In Edit mode, you can also go back and tag friends you missed the first time around or add the place the picture was taken if you did not have your phone’s Location Services setting enabled.

Q: When I check Gmail on the web, my messages all arrive in the inbox but then move themselves to All Mail within a few minutes. What causes this?

Software glitches have been known to happen, but a mail filter or an account setting in your Gmail preferences may be causing incoming messages to move into the All Mail area. As its name indicates, this where all the messages in your account can be found, including mail that has been archived or conversational threads that you have muted.

If you set up your Gmail account on multiple devices — like a smartphone or tablet — or on another computer using a stand-alone mail programme, settings for those mail apps and programmes may be affecting which messages get moved from the Inbox to the All Mail area.

In your Gmail account settings on the web (available under the gear-shaped icon on the right side of the browser window), click the ‘Forwarding and POP/IMAP’ tab to see what the software has been instructed to do with messages read on other screens. If you have set up filters for your incoming messages, click the ‘Filters and Blocked Addresses’ tab to see if any filters are set to archive copies of certain messages.

If you are not sure if another device is interfering with your incoming mail, try changing your password on the Gmail website; on the Settings screen, click ‘Accounts and Import’ and then click the Change Password link in the ‘Change Account Settings’ area. Without the updated password, other apps and devices will not be able to download new Gmail messages, and if your inbox stays as you left it, you know one of those other programmes was the culprit.
J D Biersdorfer
INYT

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Scrivener

Q: I sometimes get obviously fake virus alerts invading my desktop browser, but the only option to make the box go away is to click the OK button — which I am afraid to do. Where do these things come from, and is there an easier way to get out of this besides shutting down the whole computer?

Fraudulent virus messages have been popping up in browsers and other parts of operating systems for years, and Windows users are not the only people getting them. The false alerts can be triggered by such actions as clicking on a malicious link, mistyping a web address that leads to a scammer’s site, landing on a page running malevolent scripts (or hosting poisoned advertisements), and other actions.

Even if a scareware alert pops up, you can dismiss it without rebooting your whole computer — just forcibly quit the browser program. On a Windows PC, hold down the Control, Alt and Delete keys to open the Task Manager app, select the browser from the list of running programs and click End Task. On a Mac, press the Option, Command and Escape keys, select the browser in the list of programs and click the Force Quit button.

If your browser is set to remember open tabs when it closes, decline the offer to open them again when the program starts. If the pop-up returns right away, going into the browser’s settings and clearing the recent history and cache may flush out lingering traces of the fake alert; resetting the browser to restore it to its original vanilla state is a further step.

Maintaining a real, regularly updated security program on your computer can keep general malicious code at bay. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Avast and AVG are among the companies that offer free basic security software for Windows and Mac systems, with the option to move to a more full-featured suite for a fee.

Q: The fingerprint sensor on my iPhone used to be very consistent, but it has been acting weird lately and only works some of the time — which means I have to type in my passcode instead. What might be causing this unreliability?

Touch ID is the fingerprint-reading system Apple includes on some of its iPhone and iPad hardware to securely unlock the screen or acknowledge mobile payments. While usually reliable, it can be stymied by factors like dry winter skin or a cut that alters your fingerprint a bit. Lotion, sweat, moisture, oils or other liquids on your hands can also disrupt fingerprint recognition on the iPhone and other smartphones.

Trying to unlock the iPhone while cooking — or just after working out in the pool or gym — may also cause Touch ID to fail because your fingertips may scan differently than how the sensor recorded them when you set up your phone. Before using Touch ID, make sure your finger is clean and dry.

You may also want to wipe down the Touch ID sensor with a microfiber cloth or other non-abrasive fabric to make sure residual oil or dirt is not interfering. When you put your finger on the sensor, make sure you are pressing both the Home button and the ring around it for full contact. Restarting the iPhone may help, especially if the Touch ID feature began to behave erratically after an iOS software update.

If you are still having fingerprint recognition issues, open the Settings app on the iPhone’s home screen, select ‘Touch ID & Passcode’ and on the list, choose the fingerprint you first set up. Tap the ‘Delete Fingerprint’ option to remove it. On the main Touch ID & Passcode screen, tap ‘Add a Fingerprint’ to put a fresh copy of your fingerprint on file.

If you are still having fingerprint recognition issues, contact your nearest Apple Store or authorised service provider for a hardware checkup.

Scrivener
»Scrivener, a well-loved and useful app for writing anything from a short article to a novel, is finally available for iOS. The mobile version is as comprehensive as the older desktop version and works especially well on the iPad. But since your scribbles are all saved to the cloud, you can also edit your text on your iPhone, wherever the muse seizes you. Scrivener is $20 (Rs 1,339) and worth every cent.
J D Biersdorfer/Kit Eaton
INYT

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Android tablet

Q: Why does the screen border on my Android tablet sometimes turn orange?

In Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and later, the top and bottom edges of the screen turn a bright orange when the device’s power ebbs low enough to kick in the Battery Saver mode. Plugging the tablet into its charger returns the screen to its normal colour scheme.

When Battery Saver is on, certain functions of your tablet are disabled to conserve energy. Mail, messages and other apps may not sync in the background, Google Maps navigation is turned off and vibrating alerts, location services and some other functions are limited.

In Android 7.0, you can enable (or disable) the Battery Saver function by opening the Settings app, selecting Battery and then Battery Saver. In Android 6.0 and Android 5.0, open the Settings app, choose Battery, tap the More menu in the upper-right corner and select Battery Saver. When you choose to turn the feature on, you can have the Battery Saver kick in automatically when the device’s battery edges down to 5% or 15% of the current battery charge.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile software has a Battery Saver option of its own in the settings. The company’s support site has power-saving tips for earlier versions of the Windows Phone software too.

Apple has included a similar Low Power Mode setting in iOS 9 and later; you can switch it on or off by opening the Settings app on the home screen and tapping Battery to get to the Low Power Mode control. When the Low Power Mode is activated, the iOS battery icon at the top of the screen turns yellow and certain functions like the “Hey, Siri” feature and automatic downloads are temporarily shut down. The low-battery setting turns itself off when the device regains at least an 80% battery charge.

Q: I get around 20 spam advertisement emails daily. I usually submit my address to the “Unsubscribe” option. Yet the number of such emails never decreases. Why is this so?

That “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of an unsolicited email advertisement may not be as useful as it seems. Some legitimate marketing or newsletter companies do provide a working Unsubscribe link that removes your address from the company’s bulk mail list. However, less-than-scrupulous senders will add an Unsubscribe link to a message in the hopes that you will click it and verify that you have a working email address — and that you opened the message in the first place.

If the message was sent by an established company with which you have had interactions, the Unsubscribe link is more likely to be genuine, functional and in legal compliance with the federal Can-Spam Act — which lays out clear rules for commercial messages. Professional bulk email services like MailChimp are required to enforce email laws, including the provision to honour Unsubscribe requests. (However, it may take several days to have your name removed from the list.)

Spam from unfamiliar businesses — or those selling products that seem a little too good to be true — may be less honest about the purpose of the Unsubscribe link. Security software makers like Sophos and McAfee suggest just deleting spam from unknown companies, as the Unsubscribe links could be used to verify your address and sell it to other spammers, or even to install malicious software on your computer.

You can buy a spam-filtering program or service, but most modern email programs and services have junk-mail tools you can use to mark unwanted messages as spam.

It may take time to catch everything, but most filters get better the more you work with them. Gmail, iCloud, Outlook (and the online Outlook.com) and Yahoo Mail all have spam-screening tools available, as do Microsoft and Apple.

J D Biersdorfer
INYT

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