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Phone/Tablet Common problems

Wondering what makes a smartphone smart? Here are the answers to your common questions about smartphones, Tablets and other mobile devices. We have compiled a list of common questions and possible solutions to help aid you in solving your own Smartphone/Tablet issues. Please click on a section on the right to find faq's about certain common issues and fixes.

In the days of increasingly slim phones and metal- rather than plastic cases, a phone that gets warm in use is not at all uncommon.

While some heat is normal, excessive heat isn't good for your smartphone's battery. You could try removing the case to allow it to cool down a little, reduce the number of things you're trying to do on it at once, and unplug it once it's finished charging. If it's really hot, you could also turn it off for a short while to give it a rest.

Working out exactly where on the phone the heat is coming from can also help you work out how to tackle the problem - it could be the screen, the battery or the processor, for example. If you've recently installed a software update, this could also be causing problems.

If your phone was once fast and is now slow, but otherwise seems to be functioning properly, the most common cause is a build-up of apps, data, temporary files and other junk.

Go through your phone and remove anything you don't need or use. It could be the microSD card causing problems. First try removing it from the phone and see if performance is affected. If the microSD card seems to be causing problems, attach your phone to a PC and back up the memory card's contents by copying everything over to the PC.

Other things you can do to speed up your phone is to disable animations and extras, close multiple running apps, and if you have several try removing some widgets from your home screen. Sometimes the simplest fix is to restart your phone.

If your phone is reporting that no SIM is installed then the most likely explanation is that your SIM is either not installed or incorrectly inserted. Try taking the SIM out the phone, ensuring that it's clean, and reinserting it correctly. If it sits in a SIM tray, ensure the tray is the correct way up and fully pushed in. Also try restarting your phone and checking that all software updates have been applied. If it is a brand-new SIM then it's possible it hasn't been activated. Contact your mobile operator for help.

If you're absolutely certain that your SIM is activated and correctly inserted and the phone is still reporting no SIM or SIM missing then it's most likely a problem with either the hardware or the SIM itself or your service has been cancelled contact your mobile operator.

With most mobile contracts now offering free minutes and texts, it's usually data that is to blame. However, it's worth checking your phone bill to see how many minutes and texts you use on an average month and upgrading your package if necessary.

Data is what's usually behind huge phone bills. Even when you think you're not using it certain apps will be running services in the background, periodically checking for new emails or weather updates and the like. One fix for this is to connect to a Wi-Fi network whenever possible and keep tabs on your mobile data usage. You can set an alert for when you're nearing your data allowance, then opt to turn off mobile data until the month is over.

Services such as Whatsapp use a tiny amount of data, but streaming video and downloading large apps can quickly eat through your allowance.

Roaming is another cause for huge phone bills. When you go abroad you are charged more for the calls, minutes and data you use, even if they are free on your contract back home. A solution to this is to turn off data roaming.

All batteries degrade over time, but even new phones can struggle to make it through a full working day thanks to increased usage, larger, higher-resolution screens, more powerful hardware and so forth.

If your phone's battery is removable, a 'fix' may be to buy and fit a replacement battery. Most flagship phones these days do not allow the user to access the battery, however, and if it's a software issue then fitting a new battery won't help. Software updates that haven't been optimized for your phone's older hardware are a common problem, but other than waiting for the manufacturer to roll out a new update there's little you can do.

Tips:

  • Restart your phone every once in a while.
  • Turn down screen brightness and adjust the screen timeout setting.
  • Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you're not using them.
  • Close multiple apps running in the background.
  • Turn off vibration feedback.
  • Turn off live wallpaper and animations.
  • Reduce the phone's volume when playing media.
  • Take advantage of power saving modes.
  • Unplug your phone once it's finished charging.

In order to 'fix' this issue we need to look at the hardware you're using to charge your phone. If a phone has for no apparent reason suddenly started to charge slowly then it could be an issue with the USB cable, the charger, or even the phone's battery or charging connection itself.

First, USB cable. It's often recommended that you use the USB cable supplied with the phone for charging. You should also check your cable for damage, and that the connector itself still fits snugly in the phone. Also check that the connection on your phone is free from dust and grime.

Second, the charger. These days it's becoming increasingly rare that a mains adaptor is supplied with your smartphone. This makes sense, given that you don't need multiple identical chargers for every piece of consumer tech you own. However, it also means you could be using an old USB adaptor that is underpowered for your device. Standard phone chargers are typically rated at 5W, but most modern smartphones will accept a higher wattage, such as that offered by the chargers typically sold with tablets. What we call 'fast' chargers may offer between 10- and 12.5W, which means you could potentially charge your phone in half the time. If you're not sure how much power your phone will accept, don't worry. It will draw only the power it requires. Wireless chargers will charge a phone much slower than can a USB mains adaptor, so if you're in a rush don't use one of these.

4G is the fastest mobile data connection, with Wi-Fi like speeds for accessing the mobile web. Indeed, it's the next best thing to connecting to Wi-Fi for getting online from your phone. Check with your mobile operator whether you would be able to benefit from 4G. 3G is also usefully fast for browsing the internet from a smartphone, but anything other than this (such as GPRS and Edge) are too slow to even think about using to get online. If you are connected to 4G, 3G or Wi-Fi on your phone and your Internet is slow, it may be a problem with your connection or signal strength.

If your Internet is slow you should ensure you don't have other Internet tasks running in the background slowing down your connection, such as app downloads. Sometimes we find closing and restarting the browser can make a huge difference if it gets stuck trying to load a page. Occasionally it can be congestion or a problem with the mobile network causing Internet problems, too.