As for the technical questions, I have them all. More than ever, I hear people inundated with requests from older family members to fix their devices.
Maybe they clicked on the wrong link and their computer is acting up. Tap or click for eight signs that it is infected with malware or other malicious software.
The problem may be more mundane, such as text that is too small to read. A few taps in the settings menu will make their life much easier. Tap or click here to enlarge text on a phone, tablet or computer.
Gifts are great, but here’s a gift that will last your loved one all year round: a phone privacy and security tune-up. Do it this holiday season.
1. Enable emergency and health settings
A smartphone can save your life if set up correctly. It is essential to put this in place.
In the event of a health event, rescuers can access the iPhone Health app, even if the phone is locked. Add details such as your (or your loved one’s) name, age, medical condition, allergies, and emergency contacts to give first responders more information.
How to Configure Emergency Settings on an iPhone
When you first open the Health app on an iPhone, you are prompted to enter some basic health information. You can always come back to update health details.
After completing the Health Details section, it’s time to set up the Medical ID.
• Open the iPhone Health appthen touch the profile picture.
• Select Medical ID > Begin Where Edit. Enter any health information.
• Faucet Person to contact in case of emergency and add the information of a trusted person.
• Faucet Do.
One more step: Allow emergency services to access Medical ID even when the phone screen is locked. Here’s what to do:
• Open the Health app and press the profile picture.
• Faucet Medical ID > Edit.
• In the Emergency Access section, slide the toggles next to Show when locked and Share during an emergency call right to activate.
Now first responders will be able to see important medical information.
How to Configure Emergency Settings on an Android
If you or your loved one has an Android phone, follow these steps. Note that the steps vary depending on the phone you are using.
• Go to Settings > Security and emergency.
• Select Medical Information to enter details such as name, blood type, allergies and medications.
• At the bottom of the screen, activate this parameter: To help in case of emergency, people can see this information without unlocking your device.
Finally, configure emergency contacts. Just go to SSecurity and emergency settings > Emergency contacts > Add contact.
Here are a few more ways to share medical information on your Android in an emergency.
2. Make sure there is always a backup in place
A stolen or broken phone means you or your loved one could lose everything in an instant. This is why automated backups are so important.
I heard of a woman who lost text messages with her husband after he died. She was heartbroken. Tap or click for easy ways to save texts.
To enable iCloud data backup on an iPhone:
• Go to Settings > (Last name) iCloud > iCloud Drive.
• Enable Sync this iPhone.
You get 5GB of free storage with iCloud. If you need more space, you’ll pay 99 cents for 50GB, $2.99 for 200GB, and $9.99 for 2TB.
To set an Android to back up automatically, follow these steps:
• Open the Google One app.
• Faucet Storage and scroll to Backup.
• Faucet See > Configure data backup > Manage Backup.
You get 15 GB of free cloud storage with your Google account. If you need more storage, a basic Google One plan costs $1.99 per month and includes 100GB of storage. A Standard plan costs $2.99 per month for 200GB, and a Premium plan costs $9.99 and comes with 2TB of storage.
From there, you can choose your backup settings.
More technological intelligence: You can send an SMS from your computer. Tap or click here for five ways to text from your PC.
3. Silence unknown callers
I hear people who want to help their parents or grandparents who are victims of phone scams. Scammers are smarter than ever, and once they have someone on the phone, it’s easier than expected to trick that person into handing over personal information or money.
This tip will save your parent the headache of dealing with spam. Note: If you disable unknown callers, they may miss a legitimate call. In my experience, a real person who needs to reach you will leave a voicemail.
To silence unknown callers on an iPhone:
• Go to Settings > Call > Silence unknown callers.
• Drag the toggle next to Silence unknown callers.
Now the phone will no longer ring when an unknown number calls. It will be silenced, sent to voicemail, or shown in the Recents list. Incoming calls from familiar numbers will still ring as usual.
You can also hide unknown reminder texts. Here’s how:
• Go to Settings > posts.
• Drag the toggle next to Filter unknown senders.
Here’s how to block calls from unknown callers on an Android phone:
• First, press the Call icon at the bottom of the screen.
• In the upper right corner, tap the three dot menu.
• Select Settings > Blocked numbers.
• Drag the toggle next to Block calls from unidentified callers.
Arm the vulnerable people in your life with knowledge. Tap or click here to avoid the most popular tactics of scammers to trick seniors.
Keep your technological know-how
My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, click the link below for a recent episode.
PODCAST CHOICE: Best Cheap Gifts, Airline App Tips, Win $100 Amazon Gift Card
In 30 minutes, you’ll learn 1: what apps to download before the holidays, 2: how to add your driver’s license to your phone wallet, and 3: how to win a $100 Amazon gift card.
Check out my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.
Discover all the latest technologies on the Kim Komando show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.