DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: I DON’T GET THOSE LITTLE SQUIGGLY ICONS ON THE TOP OF THE PHONE SCREEN. I AM TOO EMBARRASSED TO ASK WHAT THOSE IMAGES ARE SUPPOSED TO MEAN. Rory, Fontana
Dear Rory: You should not feel shy or embarrassed. What you describe is more common than you think. For example, what is a circle with a half closed arrow? Sometimes you can hover over the image with your finger and a descriptive label will pop up. But, I assume you tried that. So, as a first step, try to describe the mysterious icon in an online search… you’ll be surprised! You could also get an instructional book for your phone or look on YouTube. And, check out classes at the phone stores. Many of these are free.
DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: MY BOYFRIEND AND I ARE BOTH IN TENTH GRADE. HE HAS A SECRET PHONE SEWN INTO HIS BACKPACK AND DURING CLASS HE WILL OPEN UP A FLAP AND BROWSE IT. IF THE TEACHER COMES BY HE CLOSES THE FLAP UP. SHOULD I REPORT HIM TO THE TEACHER? From Gabby, Stockton.
Dear Gabby: It is going to be difficult to confront your boyfriend, but if you care about your relationship you need to do this. You don’t want to have a friend you cannot trust. Tell him that you do not respect the fact that he is hiding the phone from the teachers. He may be hiding other things too.
DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: IN YOUR OPINION, WHICH PHONES- APPLE OR ANDROID- ARE BETTER FOR USERS WHO WANT TO USE TRANSIT APPS? Nick, Omaha NE.
Dear Nick: It is the policy of Dear Ms. Smartphone to not endorse particular brands or recommend operating systems. Whichever phone you pick, the key is to become knowledgeable and informed with its many features. For transportation apps, make sure that you can access the phone’s built in compass. Download the maps you find easiest to navigate with. And, make sure, the phone has a security system you trust because in the near future, transit fares will be loaded directly on smartphones.