Back to School: How to Choose the Best Laptop

Back to School - How to Choose the Best Laptop

Summer break is not only a great time for fun in the sun but is also the perfect time to start selecting school supplies for the upcoming school year. Investing in a laptop can make life much easier and more productive for students when it comes to taking notes, doing research and writing essays, and even taking online exams. However, buying a new laptop can be confusing if you’re not sure what features to look for, and if done without proper research, buying a laptop can also break the bank.

Keep in mind the age of the user, is this laptop for a younger student who has never really used a laptop on a regular basis before or is this purchase for a older child who has demonstrated responsibility and will likely be taking this laptop with them to college soon? The user’s age may help to determine the budget and features you are looking for.

We have done a lot of the research for you and listed some factors to consider before making a purchase.

  1. Size – When selecting a laptop, it’s important to consider the size of the laptop as it will be taken to school, afterschool activities, and beyond. Select a device that the student in your life will be able to carry easily anywhere they need to go. A heavy laptop can mean it will get dropped more easily or may keep a student from really being able to take it to school and use it extensively.
  2. Specs – Depending on the age and academic demands of your student, you will need to think about what specs are necessary and which you would be able to do without. Some students, such as film or art students, should look at laptops with retina displays. Students using their computer to write essays may consider simpler displays but may need computers with a lot of internal storage or USB accessibility.
  3. Cost – Laptops come with a large variety of options and are most definitely an investment. When considering the purchase of a laptop for a student, it’s important to remember that this device will most likely be heavily used and you will want it to last a number of years – consider the budget you have set for this purchase accordingly. One way to keep costs under control is to consider the purchase of a certified pre-owned At Experimac, you will find certified pre-owned Apple® laptops in excellent condition with all the features any student would be proud to have at a reasonable price.

Below is a breakdown of some certified pre-owned models commonly available at Experimac locations.

  • MacBook® Laptop – The MacBook laptop offers great specs such as a 13.3-inch LED-backlit display, 250 GB of storage space, and weighs in at 4.7 pounds. The MacBook laptop includes a multi-touch trackpad with a full-size keyboard making it easy to use for those who are not accustomed to the smaller keyboard often found on laptops and has two USB ports available. This laptop is built to last yet affordable and makes a great pick when you think about needing to carry a laptop in addition to books, notes, and other materials.
  • MacBook Air® Laptop – The MacBook Air laptop features specs that make it a fantastic school option. Though the MacBook Air laptop has a 13.3-inch display, it does not feature the Retina display like some of its MacBook siblings. It does have up to 12 hours of battery, a multi-touch trackpad and either 128 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB of storage. The MacBook Air laptop has USB ports and is lighter than the MacBook Pro® laptop options. All in all, the MacBook Air laptop does not offer the higher end specs that some of the other MacBook® laptops offer but it is still a great pick for students.
  • MacBook Pro Laptop – The MacBook Pro laptop comes in two sizes: the 13-inch and the 15-inch. The 13-inch model features a 13.3-inch LED-backlit Retina display, up to 10 hours of battery life, and comes with 128 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB of storage. This model also features the Force Touch trackpad and weighs 3.02 pounds. The 15-inch model is very similar, except for a few details – it features a 15.4-inch LED-backlit Retina display, up to 9 hours of battery life (instead of 10) and weighs in at 4.49 pounds. The 15-inch model has the additional feature of more storage space, as you can choose between 256 GB, 512 GB or even 1 TB.

The purchase of a laptop for your student getting ready to go back to school should not be done in a rush. Regardless of your budget or needs, Experimac’s team of experienced techs can help! At our store, you can test out the certified pre-owned devices you are interested in purchasing. You can ask questions and compare the features from one laptop to another. Not only do we offer a warranty on all of our products and assure you that our certified pre-owned Apple products have been thoroughly examined and are ready to take on a new school year, we also offer financing options. And the best part is no appointment is necessary!

Mobile Location Tracking & Ads – How to Protect Your Privacy on Your Apple® Device

Mobile Location Tracking & Ads – How to Protect Your Privacy

There’s no doubt that iPhone® devices are incredible devices. However, did you know that your iPhone device and some of your applications could be tracking your location?

Smartphones and their apps like Maps or Google Maps utilize your mobile location tracking information to provide GPS services. However, did you know that other apps such as gaming, restaurant or social media apps also use location services information from your phone? You can also be targeted to receive certain ads based on your location. For example, you may receive ads for a store when you are near that store.

While most users are not bothered by this at all, some are and would like to know which apps have access to this information. We’ve taken a look at some of the reasons why location tracking is helpful and how you can regulate which apps you allow to have access to this information.

Pros to Location Services:

  • Lost or Stolen Devices

    iPhone devices can utilize mobile location tracking when trying to track lost or stolen iPhone devices by enabling location services.

  • Parental Controls

    Location services enable parents to keep tabs on their underage children and their location.

  • Locate Lost Friends or Family

    If you have ever gotten separated from your group during a concert or other crowded event, you know how stressful it can be. By enabling mobile location tracking, you can find lost friends or family members in busy places such as concerts, parties or athletic events.

  • Law Enforcement

    In the past, law enforcement has made good use of location services by utilizing it in missing person cases as well as for documenting criminal activity.

  • Emergency Calls

    Whether or not you enable Location Services, your iPhone device’s location information can be used when placing emergency calls in order to give first responders the ability to find and help you.

How to Regulate Location Services:

  • Apps

    You can see which of your apps use location services by going to Settings>Privacy>Location Services. You can also individually control which apps can use your location services and when. Just know that some apps require it in order to function.

  • GPS Accuracy

    In order to ensure your GPS app is as accurate as possible, be sure to set the correct time, date and time zone under Settings>General>Date & Time.

  • Location Based Ads

    In order to turn off mobile location tracking based advertisements, you can go to Settings>Privacy>Location Services and tap on the System Services button. Flip the Location-Based iAds to OFF.

If you are having trouble with mobile location tracking and regulating who you share this information with, Experimac’s techs are well-versed in the settings and features you’ll want to take a look at. Stop by Experimac Katy today and we will gladly help you out.

How much Faster will Upgrading your Hard Drive to an SSD make your Mac® Computer?

Are you frustrated with your Mac computer because of a slow hard drive? Has it frozen on you multiple times? It always seems to happen when you’re in a rush or trying to meet a deadline.

Consider updating your Mac computer with a Solid State Drive (SSD). This easy upgrade offers users a much faster computing experience as SSDs are more energy efficient, more reliable and even quieter than other hard drives.

Upgrading your Mac computer’s hard drive to an SSD can make one of the most drastic differences to your Mac computer’s performance.

But how much difference, really?

Take a look at how much of a difference upgrading to an SSD can make in even the slowest Mac computer:

Upgrading your hard drive to an SSD can greatly improve the speed of your computer’s hard drive in many ways, particularly when completing everyday tasks. Perhaps the most drastic change users notice is the improved time it takes the computer to reach the login screen. Booting the system can be up to 61% faster when using an SSD as compared to using the older standard hard drives.

Reaching your favorites on Safari will also be faster by upgrading to an SSD. How much faster? Up to 51% faster! Even surfing the web can be up to 8% faster by upgrading your current hard drive to an SSD. Bring new life to your Mac computer by investing in an SSD upgrade!

Not sure if upgrading your hard drive to an SSD is right for you? Stop by Experimac Katy today to find out more. Our experienced techs are available to answer all of your hard drive and SSD related questions today.

5 Tips for Increasing Security on your iPhone® Device

5 Tips for Increasing Security on your iPhone Device

Can you even imagine getting through the day without using your iPhone device? Probably not.

iPhone devices are wonderful tools for accessing and managing a variety of private information: emails, credit cards, social media accounts and much more. Don’t fall victim to unwelcome users, here are our top five tips for increasing your iPhone device’s security.

  1. Change passcode to password

    The iPhone device comes with the standard option of creating a 4-digit passcode. However, creating a longer password provides more security. By having a password that incorporates letters instead of a passcode, you instantly add more possible combinations making it more difficult for anyone to guess your password.

  2. Turn off Wi-Fi in insecure locations

    Keep your information as safe as possible by only connecting to Wi-Fi in secure locations. By turning off your Wi-Fi in locations that do not seem to have a secure network, you limit the chance of hackers getting to your private information.

  3. Enable Touch ID

    The Touch ID® function is a great iPhone feature in recent models that allows users to access their iPhone by scanning their registered finger print. Not only does Touch ID keep your information safe from those looking to gain unauthorized access to your phone, it also makes logging into your phone a lot easier than entering a password.

  4. Avoid untrustworthy sites

    It’s true that Apple devices do not suffer from viruses or other malware as often as other devices, however, they still can fall victim. Because of this, do not trust unworthy sites, even when on your iPhone device.

  5. Keep up with recent updates

    Apple, Inc.’s® noteworthy safety from viruses is due to their OS® software. In order for your iPhone device to take advantage of this, be sure to keep up with all updates. Not applying the updates may leave your phone vulnerable.

Looking for ways to keep your personal information personal? Experimac Katy can help make sure you are doing everything possible. Stop by today!

Meal Prep is a Breeze with These Thanksgiving Apps

Meal Preparing Thanksgiving Apps

Are you one of those people who looks forward to a day of homemade delicious food all year long? Are you in charge of setting the table and looking for ways to impress your family and friends?

Figuring out what to make and how much to make can be a challenge for some people. However, thanks to technology, meal prep is a breeze. From the turkey to cocktails, table decoration ideas and more, this list has been designed to help you from start to finish with décor and recipe apps.

  • Todoist
    Cooking an entire feast for several people in one day can be overwhelming. Organize yourself with the free app Todoist. Create and share to-do lists and reminders with yourself, and even delegate to-do items to family and friends. Todoist has a “Smart Schedule” feature, making scheduling tasks a breeze, from food shopping to invitations.
  • The Coupons App
    Finding deals on food, decorations and even Black Friday specials has never been easier. Download this free app and save on thousands of items at retail stores in your area. This app also includes restaurant coupons, saving you money while eating out once the Thanksgiving festivities are over and the chaotic holiday season begins.
  • Hobnob Invitations & Text RSVP
    Take the stress out of inviting guests to dinner this year with this free app. This app allows you to make a group, create and send invites out and receive RSVPs all in a matter of minutes from your iPhone® device. Send photos and keep the group you’ve made, making future event invites easier. You can also go back and check all events and photos you have shared with the group.
  • Food Network in the Kitchen
    Mix things up this year and incorporate new flavors to your Thanksgiving spread. Instantly access Food Network’s most popular recipes from famous chefs such as Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay or Guy Fieri . . . all for free on your iPhone device or iPad® tablet. This is not your average recipe app.
  • MixCocktails
    This free app is home to hundreds of cocktail recipes, conveniently categorized by type of drink. Discover some fun holiday recipes such as their Boozy White Hot Chocolate, Hot Apple Cider Buttered Rum Cocktails, or even their Pumpkin Cheesecake Martini. Thanksgiving apps never tasted so good!
  • Yummly
    Do you or your guests have specific dietary needs? Yummly is a free app that lets you easily search through thousands of recipes with filters to meet your specific needs. If you are cooking for 20 people, some of which require gluten free food, for example, you can search with that criteria. Yummly offers meal recommendations, nutritional tracking and instructional videos. This is a whole new spin on a recipe app.
  • Pandora
    Don’t just whistle while you work, cook to the rhythm of your favorite artists for free with Pandora. Pandora plays music for hours on end based on artists or genres of music you choose, meaning you won’t have to stop and play DJ during the busy hours of the day.
  • Craftsy
    Find fun craft, cooking and décor ideas, lessons and instructional videos on this free app! Whether you’d like to learn how to crochet, decorate cakes, woodwork or create simple crafts for decorating your dinner table this holiday season, look at the thousands of ideas available on this app to get ready for your Thanksgiving celebration.
  • SharetheMeal
    Lastly, while you celebrate what you are thankful for, consider giving to those less fortunate with this app. SharetheMeal allows you to see where your donations go, and makes it easy to donate. Giving thanks takes on a whole new meaning when you are able to share with others.

We encourage you to plan ahead and download these apps to simplify your life as you prepare for Thanksgiving this year. Whether you are looking for recipe apps because you are eager to try something new or you need some tunes to keep you going in the kitchen while everyone else is gathered around the TV watching football, this list has it all.

Need someone to fix your iPhone device or iPad tablet screen before you start downloading these Thanksgiving apps? Don’t give it a second thought. Bring your phone or tablet to Experimac Katy for a screen repair, no appointment is necessary.

Data Recovery – What’s Possible and What’s Not

 

Data Recovery - What's Possible and What's Not

Losing data is the most devastating thing that can happen when working with technology. If you have ever experienced this, you’ll know the pain we’re talking about. Whether it’s deleting a file, forgetting a password or the aftermath of a destroyed device, you know the agony this can cause.

However, not all hope is lost. In some instances, your data can be saved. So, what’s possible and what’s not when trying to recover data on your Mac® laptop or computer?

The first and most critical thing you should do once you realize you have lost data is: stop using the device. By continuing to use the device, you hurt the chances of recovering lost data. As frustrating as it may be to sit back and not use it, it can make the difference between what’s possible and what’s not.

There are several reasons why devices can lose data and the cause for the data loss may determine whether your data can be recovered or not.

Sometimes, lost data is a result of storage cloud issues. Some Mac users depend on cloud storage; however, some erroneously believe their data is instantly backed up. This isn’t always the case as most storage services typically synchronize with a folder instead of the computer’s hard drive. As a result, users sometimes cause damage to their own device when trying to find problems with their hard drive or software that do not exist. Making sure this is setup properly can make all the difference in the world.

When data is impossible to recover, it usually comes from a physical problem with the device involving the hardware. Due to their unique design, Mac devices can be difficult to fix. Some circumstances have easier solutions than others, making it best to leave data recovery to trained professionals who can properly diagnose the problem and do their best to recover missing information. Surprisingly, data can sometimes be recovered even after floods, fires, or other extreme situations.

Don’t risk permanently losing precious data. Stop by Experimac Katy to see how we can help you avoid the need for emergency data recovery on any of your Apple® devices!

Our Promise

A PROMISE IS SUPPOSED TO BE KEPT, ISN’T IT?

When someone ‘promises‘ something to you, they are supposed to keep it.  If they don’t do as they ‘promise ‘, their promise doesn’t mean anything ever again, right?  They trained you to not listen to them.  They trained you that their ‘word’ doesn’t mean anything.

Whether that comes from a stranger, a friend, or a company, you want to trust them, but they need to keep their part of the relationship by actually following through with their promise.  Or you don’t listen to them in the future.

You know the saying, “fool me once, shame on you.  fool me twice, shame on me.”

If your friend says they will see you at 3 pm, and they show up at 3:30, and give a lame excuse, you know they will be late next time; if there is a next time.  Showing up late says one thing to me, that they think their time is more important than mine.  They just dissed me and brushed off their rudeness with a lame excuse.

A promise is supposed to mean something.  It’s supposed to be their word that they will do what they said that they will do.  If they do, their promise means something.  If they don’t, their promise doesn’t mean anything.

The same holds true with a company.  If they ‘ promise ‘ that their product will clean the best, last the longest, or whatever their product promises to do, you try them.  If the product delivers, you continue to buy it.  If the product doesn’t deliver, you never buy it again, and sometimes tell others that they shouldn’t try it.

There is a company who delivers on their promise.  Not because it’s ‘good business ‘, but because that is who they are.  They don’t ‘try‘ to meet their promise, they do deliver on their promise.

Experimac Naperville is an electronics repair company, and their promise is simple:  if they say they will repair your phone, computer or tablet that same day, they will.  If they say that the pre-owned product you purchase is certified, it is.  A promise is supposed to be a promise, and that is how they operate. 

If you are looking for a company that keeps their promise, contact Experimac Naperville at 630.857.9984, or visit them and their trained technicians at 1523 North Aurora Road in Naperville.

 

 

 

 

Experimac’s Favorite Apps for Dog Lovers

Experimac Top Picks - Favorite Apps for Dog Lovers

 

Celebrate your beloved dog this year by incorporating fun and helpful apps that are designed to improve all aspects of your dog’s life. Take a look at our top 10 app picks for dog lovers!

  1. Perfect Dog
    Considering getting a dog but don’t know what breed will fit your lifestyle? Check out Perfect Dog. This app has features that will help you sort through 340 different breeds based on activity level, grooming, living space and other important features. There is a free version of this app, but there are also in-app purchases.
  2. Pooch – Your Personal Dog Trainer
    Training your dog should be a fun and bonding experience for you and your furry friend. This free app teaches you how to reinforce good behavior and provides instructions along the way. Learn how to teach your dog commands and tricks, and track your dog’s progress throughout the process. You can also track their weight and feeding schedule.
  3. PetCoach
    Get connected to licensed vets and trainers for free any time of day or night with PetCoach. You can ask about symptoms, nutrition, or advice on any emergency. If you find a professional you and your pet really connect well with, you can even schedule an appointment with that particular vet or trainer.
  4. Dog Walk – Track Your Dog’s Daily Walks
    Do you enjoy going for walks, jogs or runs with your dog? Then you need to take a look at this app. Keep track of where you are, how long your walk has been, and even keep track of where your dog likes to relieve themselves. This free app can be easily used on your phone or Apple Watch® device.
  5. Walk for a Dog
    This app will donate funds to the animal rescue organization of your choice when you walk your dog. The amount of the donation depends on how many people actively walk for your chosen organization. You can view past walks and even post to social media to inspire others to join in.
  6. Companion
    Keep yourself safe wherever you walk, or with whomever you walk with, by using this free app. This apps tracks where you are and can send notifications to loved ones if you don’t feel safe. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, the closest dispatcher will send police in two taps of your device.
  7. Wag
    Need a dog walker, sitter or overnight boarding? No problem! Install Wag, and you’ll always have access to walkers and sitters, as well as text updates, GPS tracking, pee/poo notifications, and photo report cards. Their walkers and sitters are thoroughly tested on dog handling and all services are insured.
  8. Pet First Aid American Red Cross
    Is your dog or cat demonstrating weird symptoms? Having a place to turn to if your dog or cat suffers from injuries or illnesses is a good plan of action. Check symptoms for emergency situations your dog or cat may encounter. Learn about warning signs and first aid steps from your smart device, and even locate the closest emergency animal hospital.
  9. Whistle
    This free wellness-monitoring app is a great way of keeping track of your dog’s health and happiness. Pinpoint your dog’s location and heartrate, and create wellness goals for your pet. You can add other members of your family or even a dog sitter to your dog’s profile, ensuring everyone is aware of your dog’s needs.
  10. BarkCam
    This fun and free app makes taking pictures of your dog easy for both of you by playing sounds to catch your dog’s attention while you snap the perfect picture. This app also has fun filters, stickers and quotes you can add to your dog’s perfect selfies.

Dogs are our loyal companions, man’s best friend. At Experimac Katy, we know how much you rely on your devices, so if you’ve run into issues downloading all of these great apps, stop by our store today. We’ll help you troubleshoot your device’s issues, explain our trade-in process, or show you all of our certified inventory.

Great Deals on Certified Pre-Owned Apple® Products

Summer is the time of year when we all try to slow down a little and make time to create memories, check out new local spots, get back in shape and hang out with friends and family. Can’t decide on which of those you want to accomplish? Do them all! Get the tools you need to have the summer you want by updating your phone, tablet, watch or laptop with some great deals on certified pre-owned Apple products at Experimac Katy. Here are some of Experimac’s summer favorites:

  • iPhone 6S Plus® Device

    Our smartphone pick for summer fun is the iPhone 6S Plus device. It does everything you need it to do on a daily basis at a fraction of the cost of the iPhone 8® or the iPhone X®. Check your email, listen to your favorite music while you work out, take some great photos and don’t spend more than you have to.

  • Macbook Pro

    The Apple Macbook Pro is a powerful computer with cutting edge technology. In either the 13″ or 15″ model you will have a powerfull processor and video card. We can configure your computer with solid state drive of 128 GN, 256 GB, 500 GB or even 1 TB. Certified pre-owned computers are the best option for buyers who want to save money while minimizing risk. Many buyers consider purchasing pre-owned devices from online sources, such as Craigslist, eBay, or similar sites. Unfortunately, many have paid dearly for making this type of risky purchase. Unlike most online marketplaces, when purchasing a pre-owned product from Experimac, you can see the product in person, ensuring a safe transaction from a reputable retailer. 

  • iPad® Tablet

    Redefine travel entertainment and invite convenience into your life with the iPad tablet. Easily pre-load movies onto your iPad tablet before taking a flight or heading out on a road trip and use your iPad tablet as a mini movie theater anywhere you go this summer. Completing summer reading assignments has never been easier thanks to the multitude of summer reading apps available in the app store. Complete work tasks from the passenger seat or while sitting by the pool. With the iPad tablet, you don’t have to stay indoors strapped to your desk all summer; be productive on the go!

Here at Experimac Katy, we are equipped and ready to help you make this summer one to remember! Buying certified pre-owned devices has never been easier. When you purchase any device, laptop or computer from Experimac Katy, you can rest assured that our certified pre-owned products have been thoroughly checked and are ready to go in your hands. Purchasing from Experimac also means you are able to see the device you are investing in and hold it in your hands before purchasing making the transaction safe and stress-free. Stop by and visit your sotre today to find out more about the products we have in stock.

How Much Time Spent on Your Phone May Surprise You

How much time do we spend on our phones and doing what?

The answer might surprise you!

How much time?

mobile research report conducted by eMarketer shows total time spent by mobile users as 4 hours, 5 minutes per day. Some studies have found that smart phone use may make up as much as five hours of use daily in adults, and even more than that from users aged 18-24. In other words, we are spending about 17-20% of our lives on our phones. You could have an additional part time job with all of that time!

Doing what?

So, we may spend a lot of time on our phones, but that doesn’t make us bad or negligent people. Smart phones have several practical uses, making them highly functional, partially justifying our amount of use. Whether for communicating, conducting business, using a calculator or just waking up to a morning alarm, our dependence on smart phones as a society is undeniable.

What started as a trendy device has now become an essential tool in American culture. The website Hackernoonsaid it best, “The amount of time people spend on their mobile phones is less representative of addictive behavior today, and more representative of a massive cultural shift.” The smartphone has revolutionized human behaviors and challenges and has set a new precedent for how we conduct communication, business and ourselves going forward.

You may be wondering, what could anyone do on a phone for five hours a day? Well, user-time adds up quick, and according to MediaKix, we spend an average of 1 hour, 56 minutes on the top 5 social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. eMarketer found that 22% of mobile phone time is taken up by texting, 22% by phone calls, and 10% by email. Most of our phone use is devoted to apps, while a small 8% of our average use relies on browsers.

Smart device use, whether it be an iPhone® device, iPad® tablet or an Apple Watch® device, has consumed our modern American culture and has created a new frontier for business, communication and leisure. If you are an avid smart device user, don’t feel bad as you are clearly not alone. Our reliance on smart devices as a society is simply a reflection of the ever-changing world we live in.

Has reading this made you realize your iPhone device or iPad tablet needs a repair or its time for a trade in? If so, stop by your local Experimac store and we’ll gladly help you get back to your favorite apps, text messages, phone calls, and of course, social media.