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5 ways to securely access Wi-Fi on your phone while traveling

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5 ways to securely access Wi-Fi on your phone while traveling

Have you ever wondered how to use your iPhone when you travel abroad? Do you know if your Wi-Fi is secure when you switch to 5G? Do you need to worry about hackers or identity thieves when you connect to public Wi-Fi networks?

These are some of the questions that many people have, including Debbie from Wilmington, North Carolina.

“When my Wi-Fi goes to 5G, is it protected on my iPhone? I will be going to Italy… for 16 days of vacation using a travel pass with Verizon. What is the best way to use the phone, using hotel Wi-Fi or my phone only?” — Debbie, Wilmington, NC

If you are traveling to a foreign country and want to stay connected with your loved ones or share your amazing experiences on social media, you should be aware of the best practices to protect your privacy and data online. Different countries have different laws and regulations for internet safety, which may affect your access and security.

CLICK TO GET KURT’S FREE CYBERGUY NEWSLETTER WITH SECURITY ALERTS, QUICK VIDEO TIPS, TECH REVIEWS, AND EASY HOW-TO’S TO MAKE YOU SMARTER

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A woman using a cell phone overseas. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson )

MORE: THE BEST TRAVEL GEAR FOR 2023

Am I still protected when I use 5G on my smartphone?

The safest way to use your smartphone is always to use a private Wi-Fi network. However, these are often not accessible to us when we’re traveling abroad or in a public space. When you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, your smartphone will typically switch over to a 5G network, which is a type of cellular network technology that allows your smartphone to continue surfing the web when you need to.

The issue is that 5G networks are not always the safest. If the network is using an older security protocol, such as WPA2 Personal, then your iPhone may be more vulnerable to an attack.

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So, what is the safest way to use my smartphone while I’m abroad?

There are a few steps that you can take when you go abroad that will protect your safety more than a 5G network might be able to. Here are my top 5 tips.

1. Use a VPN to stay private

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) helps protect your privacy and anonymity online. It does so by encrypting your internet traffic and routing it through a secure server. This means that advertisers and other third parties will find it much harder to track your website visits. It also hides your IP address, making it difficult for snoops to identify you while you’re browsing the internet. 

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See my expert review of the best VPNs for browsing the web privately on your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices.

2. Use hotel Wi-Fi

If the hotel you’re staying in has a private and secure Wi-Fi network, then you’re better off using that than using your phone’s 5G network. If the hotel only has a public Wi-Fi network, then I would stay away from those public Wi-Fi options, as they are typically the most vulnerable to hackers. However, there are plenty of hotels around the world that have private networks that are only accessible to guests. Make sure you call your hotel ahead of time or ask about the Wi-Fi policy at the front desk once you get there.

Man ON PHONE

A man using a cell phone in a hotel room. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: HOW TO RESCUE YOURSELF FROM THE HOLIDAY TRAVEL NIGHTMARE

3. Use a SIM card

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You could also consider purchasing a local SIM card or using an international roaming plan from your carrier. 

Verizon offers a TravelPass option that allows you to use your existing plan while traveling internationally. Before you choose this option, make sure you read the pricing and terms carefully to prevent any surprises on your bill.

BEST WAYS TO BOOST YOUR INTERNET WI-FI SIGNAL IN YOUR HOME

4. Keep your software up to date

Make sure that the software on your smartphone is up to date before you travel abroad. Software updates often include security and bug fixes that will protect your device against malware, so you must have whatever the latest update is at all times.

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Woman on plane

A woman looks at her phone aboard a plane. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson )

MORE: HOW TO STAY CONNECTED ON YOUR PHONE WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD

How to check for software updates on an iPhone

  • Go to Settings
  • Click General
  • Select Software Update
  • If one is available, click Install.

How to check for software updates on an Android

HOW TO SILENCE GROUP CHATS, EMAILS WITHOUT MISSING IMPORTANT NOTIFICATIONS ON YOUR IPHONE

Settings may vary depending on your Android phone’s manufacturer.

  • Go to Settings
  • Tap System
  • Select System Update
  • If an update is available, follow the onscreen steps.

5. Have good antivirus software on your device

If you’re abroad and your phone does get infected with malware, antivirus software will be able to detect it and warn you. Having antivirus software on your devices will make sure you are stopped from clicking on any potential malicious links that may install malware on your devices, allowing hackers to gain access to your personal information. 

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See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices.

Kurt’s key takeaways

Ultimately, the best way to use your phone while traveling will depend on your specific needs and preferences. It’s important to consider factors such as cost, convenience, and security when deciding on a plan of action.

What other types of protection do you wish were available for your devices while traveling abroad? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

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For more of my tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

Ask Kurt a question or let us know what stories you’d like us to cover

Answers to the most asked CyberGuy questions:

Copyright 2023 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.

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Microsoft is working with Nvidia, AMD, and Intel to improve upscaling support in PC games

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Microsoft is working with Nvidia, AMD, and Intel to improve upscaling support in PC games

Microsoft has outlined a new Windows API designed to offer a seamless way for game developers to integrate super resolution AI-upscaling features from Nvidia, AMD, and Intel. In a new blog post, program manager Joshua Tucker describes Microsoft’s new DirectSR API as the “missing link” between games and super resolution technologies, and says it should provide “a smoother, more efficient experience that scales across hardware.”

“This API enables multi-vendor SR [super resolution] through a common set of inputs and outputs, allowing a single code path to activate a variety of solutions including Nvidia DLSS Super Resolution, AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, and Intel XeSS,” the post reads. The pitch seems to be that developers will be able to support this DirectSR API, rather than having to write code for each and every upscaling technology.

The blog post comes a couple of weeks after an “Automatic Super Resolution” feature was spotted in a test version of Windows 11, which promised to “use AI to make supported games play more smoothly with enhanced details.” Now, it seems the feature will plug into existing super resolution technologies like DLSS, FSR, and XeSS rather than offering a Windows-level alternative. 

Microsoft says that the new API will be available soon via a preview version of its Agility SDK. It plans to offer a “sneak peek” of how DirectSR can be used during a developer session at the forthcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC). The session will take place on March 21st, and will include representatives from both Microsoft as well as Nvidia and AMD.

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Apple warns against using rice to dry out your wet iPhone; here’s what to do instead

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Apple warns against using rice to dry out your wet iPhone; here’s what to do instead

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Cellphones getting water damage is nothing new. Before the iPhone, I had a flip phone that fell into a swimming pool. The first thing everyone told me to do was to dry the phone out with rice.

The idea is that the rice will draw out any excess water, saving your phone from being destroyed by water damage.

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This method remains many people’s tried-and-true method for saving a waterlogged phone, and I’ve seen it work firsthand. 

However, a new support document by Apple has just come out, and the company is asking people to please not place their iPhones in a bowl or bag of rice.

CLICK TO GET KURT’S FREE CYBERGUY NEWSLETTER WITH SECURITY ALERTS, QUICK VIDEO TIPS, TECH REVIEWS AND EASY HOW-TO’S TO MAKE YOU SMARTER

An iPhone in a bowl of rice (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Why shouldn’t you put your wet iPhone in rice?

Apple is now warning customers that placing their iPhones into a bowl or bag of rice might actually slow down the drying process and damage their phone’s internal components. In particular, the company warns that small particles of wet rice may end up in your iPhone, damaging the phone’s logic board.

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iPhone rice trick 2

Wet iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

What Apple recommends you do instead

Next time your iPhone takes a dip in the swimming pool or the toilet, instead of running for the rice in the cabinet, Apple suggests doing this instead.

Step 1 – Tap the water out

Apple suggests that your first immediate step should be lightly tapping the iPhone against your hand with the charging connector pointed down. This should pull some of the water inside your iPhone out. Don’t be alarmed if only a few drops of water come from the connector port. Leave your iPhone somewhere dry, with some airflow.

iPhone rice trick 3

Image of an iPhone and power cord (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: BEST ACCESSORIES FOR YOUR PHONE

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Step 2 – Wait 30 minutes, then try to charge your iPhone

You should leave your iPhone alone for a period of 30 minutes. Once 30 minutes have gone by, you can attempt to charge your iPhone again. If your iPhone charges, congratulations. There’s no water damage to your iPhone and you can resume using it. If you receive an alert saying “liquid detected in USB-C (or lightning) port,” you unfortunately still have water in your iPhone. However, luckily, hope isn’t lost.

MORE: 5 BEST PORTABLE PHONE CHARGERS OF 2024

iPhone rice trick 4

Liquid Detected alert on iPhone (Apple)

CLICK TO GET KURT’S FREE CYBERGUY NEWSLETTER WITH SECURITY ALERTS, QUICK VIDEO TIPS, TECH REVIEWS AND EASY HOW-TO’S TO MAKE YOU SMARTER

Step 3 – Leave your iPhone in a dry area for 24 hours

If you receive an alert saying “liquid detected in USB-C (or lightning) port,” you unfortunately still have water in your iPhone. Apple warns against using a blow-dryer or any other heat gun device to dry your iPhone after it takes a splash. You should instead leave your phone in a dry area with some airflow and allow for 24 hours to pass. A room with a ceiling fan is a great place to leave your iPhone while it dries.

iPhone rice trick 5

Charging Not Available alert on iPhone (Apple)

Step 4 – Retest the connector

After 24 hours have passed, you should try to charge your iPhone again. If your iPhone charges, you are all good. If it doesn’t charge, Apple recommends removing the charging cable from the wall outlet and changing electrical sources for a moment. Apple recommends against trying to insert a cotton swab or any other foreign object into your charging port.

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If your iPhone’s charging port is damaged or not working properly, you may want to consider alternative charging methods that do not rely on the port. For example, some iPhones support wireless charging, which uses a magnetic pad or stand to charge your phone without plugging in a cable. This way, you can avoid inserting anything into the port and prevent further damage. 

Now, if all that doesn’t work and your iPhone still does not charge or shows signs of water damage, such as a wet screen, distorted audio or malfunctioning buttons, you may need to contact Apple for repair or replacement. You can check your warranty status and common issues not covered under warranty by clicking here.

Remember to back up your data before sending your iPhone for repair, as you may lose some or all of your information.

MORE: HOW TO PROTECT AN IPHONE & IPAD FROM MALWARE 2024

Kurt’s key takeaways

It’s important to remember that all iPhones since the iPhone 12 are able to safely withstand submersion in water of up to 20 feet for 30 minutes. If you do end up dropping your iPhone in the water, just don’t run for the rice.

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Do you think Apple should make their iPhones more water-resistant or waterproof? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my tech tips & security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

Ask Kurt a question or let us know what stories you’d like us to cover.

Answers to the most asked CyberGuy questions:

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Copyright 2024 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.

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X adds live video to Spaces instead of bringing back Periscope

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X adds live video to Spaces instead of bringing back Periscope

Spaces, the live audio feature for X, is now letting hosts turn on their video during chat sessions. The platform formerly known as Twitter announced the news on Wednesday as owner / CTO Elon Musk reposted a walkthrough from a user named “Dogedesigner.”

Spaces users will notice a new option to “enable video” when they first create a new Spaces session. Hosts can opt for either their phone’s front or back-facing cameras as well as either a landscape or vertical view of their video feed. 

The Video Spaces are available on the iOS version of the X app, but we haven’t seen them available on Android or the web yet. Multiple users reported significant lag while trying out the feature so far.

Right now, only hosts have the ability to turn on video. The end result is a prominent display of the host’s video feed, which is then surrounded by icons of co-hosts, speakers, and any listeners. At first glance, it’s an environment that resembles Twitch — expect for the fact that any selected audience members can chime in at any minute. A host’s video feed also only lives inside a Spaces session, so users will have to join the session in order to tune in.

When Elon Musk announced that Spaces would get video late last year, his description of it sounded closer to a videoconferencing app or video call app like FaceTime, where the video feed switches to whoever is currently speaking. 

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But for now, a typical Spaces with video session prominently features the host’s video feed, which is surrounded by the smaller icons of any other speakers, co-hosts, or listeners in the room. It’s not exactly like Twitch since anyone you give permission to can speak back to you, but it does turn the host into the main event in a similar fashion. 

The new video integration of X Spaces is separate from the platform’s existing live broadcast feature, which lets users directly livestream video. Spaces functions as a live chatroom, where multiple users can tune in and speak. In contrast, the audience in a typical live broadcast can only comment or send hearts

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