Mobile Device Services

It is no secret that mobile devices have risen in popularity in the last few years, and that trend will probably only continue to grow. Nothing beats having a computer that fits into the palm of your hand and that you can carry around with you everywhere you go. While tablet sales have dropped off sharply in recent times, smart phone sales continue to rise.

Apple Devices

My personal experience is limited to mostly Android devices, as I personally do not like Apple devices and so have not had the chance to really tinker around with one. I do have a few friends or family that own that Apple devices so I do know my way around them, and I hope to be able to snatch a device or two in the future from someone looking to throw out their old one. This would allow me to play around with one and learn their ins and outs like I've been able to do with Android devices.

Android Devices

I have owned many Android devices, and because of that I have had the chance to play around with them and see everything that they are capable of. The Android operating system is open source, which means that anyone can view its source code and then even play around with that code. Because of this, there has risen an entire community of developers that modify the operating system and make their own versions.

These custom operating systems have the advantage of running stock Android, meaning that they do not contain "bloatware", and usually offer even more customizability than Android does on its own. Bloatware is all of the crap software that the device manufacturers pre install on their phones or tablets which slows your device down. These custom operating systems' biggest strength though, is that if your device manufacturer decides to stop updating your phone or tablet (which they are quick to do, since it encourages upgrading to a new one) then you can install one of these instead and keep your device up to date.

I have personally installed a custom operating system on all of my Android devices. Whether you decide to do this or not, having that choice is one of Android's greatest strengths - control over your device to do with it what you want.

Rooting an Android device

Another option for getting rid of bloatware on your Android device is what is called "rooting". What this means is that you are given root (or the highest possible level) permissions to perform actions on your device.

You know how some of those apps that come pre installed on your device will not let you uninstall them? Well that is because you do not have permission to perform that operation. You will also see in the Play Store where some apps have a special tag ([root]) next to its name. This means that your device needs to be rooted in order to use the app.

Whether you use rooting to get rid of device bloatware or to install special apps, the bottom line is that it allows more granular control over your device and it gives you true freedom to do whatever you want with it.

One word of caution though, rooting can make your device more vulnerable to malicious software. To be fair, malicious code can gain root access even if you do not root your device, but rooting can make it easier for malicious software to gain root level permissions.

The same still holds true whether rooted or not though - only install trusted apps from the Play Store (not third party app stores), browse the web responsibly and you will be as safe as anyone can be.

Repurposing Old devices

Another great thing about these mobile devices is what you can repurpose them into once they become outdated, and you are forced into purchasing a new one.

I personally have three of the old, original Samsung Galaxy phones and a Galaxy tablet that I have repurposed into IP cameras. I put them in my windows and use them to keep an eye on the dogs when they are outside and it works great.

There are many use cases for something like that though, as you could imagine (baby monitor, a way to keep an eye on things in the house if you are not home, etc...). You can also turn them into electronic picture frames, complete with a slideshow effect or my personal favorite, putting a .gif image onto them.

Mobile Security

As far as security goes for mobile devices, it really isn't any different than a regular computer. Spyware, adware, and ransomware are the most prevalent with these devices as well.

If you stick to only installing trusted apps directly from the Google Play Store, don't click links from untrusted sources, and browse the web responsibly then you don't have a lot to worry about.

The one difference with these mobile devices though is that you do not really need to install anti virus software. Mobile anti virus software just doesn't have the same functionality that their desktop counterparts do, and will really only slow your device down.

Mobile device Maintenance

Mobile device maintenance is also mostly the same for mobiles devices as it is for traditional computers. Over time junk files become littered around the operating system, and the code has been interacted with or changed so much that the device begins to slow down.

Most of the time though, the loss of speed can simply be attributed to having too many apps installed at once. Most of these mobile apps love to always have services running in the background, which of course hogs the devices resources. Install too many apps and your device will grind to a halt, whether it is a brand new cutting edge device or an aging one (the only difference being that a newer device will allow more apps before this begins to happen).

It is good to go through and uninstall any apps that you haven't used in the last month or so. You can always reinstall an app later if you end up needing it for something. Of course, performing a factory reset is a surefire way to get that device running like new. Any device regardless of age will be quite fast once it is restored to its factory condition. It only begins to slow down as you use it and start installing extra software.

The biggest misconception on mobile devices though are those "optimizer" apps. These apps not only do nothing for your device, they actually slow it down. This is because Android manages its resource (RAM, CPU, etc..) fairly well, and it actually learns your habits over time in order to keep those apps you use the most in memory so that they load faster.

Those optimizer apps screw this process up all the while always running in the background hogging your devices resources. Just try doing a search for "are mobile optimizer apps actually helpful?" and you will find that every technology based website will have an article stating this exact thing. If your device is running slow then uninstall some apps or reset it to its factory condition, but do not turn to these optimizer apps as that only compounds the problem.

Whether it is installing a custom operating system, rooting (or jailbreaking in Apple devices case), or repurposing old devices - mobile devices have allowed computers to break out of their former shell and become more ingrained into our daily lives.

As always you can email me with any questions that you may have about my services here - services@s1lentechoes.com.