5 Cellphone and Tablet Accessories That Make Life Easier On The Go

We love our cell phones and tablets! They keep us connected on the go, help us be more productive, and entertain us wherever we are. However, no device is perfect, and you may find yourself wishing it was easier to do certain things. Here are 5 must-have accessories help you make the most of your device:

1. The Stylus Pen: like a finger, but with more control

Libberway Stylus Pens for Touch Screens

Some phones require you to touch a very specific spot – maybe to type on an onscreen keyboard, maybe to delete an app or just to close an ad that pops up on your favorite game (they make those X’s so darned small!) As you’ve no doubt experienced, activating an onscreen target can be tricky sometimes, with a lot of false taps and near misses. A handy tool for this is a stylus pen.

These little pointers are also useful when you have to keep you finger still for a while, like when you need to enter Home Screen edit mode to rearrange you apps. Oftentimes if you move your finger even a little in any direction, the phone will think you want to move from page to page. The only solution is to stop touching the screen and try again, and again… and again. This little tool can help you avoid all that frustration.

2. Monitor Wipes: the BBQ wipes of the tech world

Pre-Moistened Electronic Wipes for Computers, Cell Phones, LCD Screens, Monitors

Whether it’s greasy fingers, pocket dust or dried spittle, eventually your screens going to get dirty. A fingernail might do the trick sometimes, other times using your shirt as a rag can get things done, but usually these aren’t great ways to clean your screen. The better solution is carry some disposable monitor wipes.

These pre-moistened towelettes are designed for TVs and computer monitors. Windex and other glass cleaners can permanently damage the protective coating that protects your screen. Monitor wipes are specially formulated for gadget screens and won’t cause harm to your device. The liquid chemical will wipe away oils and soften dried spit drops and carry away dust, leaving the screen as clear and clean as the day you bought it!

3. “Fold Flat” Stand: Angling for a better view

MoKo Foldable Phone/Tablet Stand

Ever try to go on a video call without holding your phone? They don’t stand up well on their own. You can set it against a cup of coffee at the cafe, or try to lean it against your bag when out and about–but these temporary solutions inevitably lead to slips and slides. In situations like these, having a stand that folds down flat is a must!

These stands have multiple angles to prop up your phone and tablet. They also have a little lip on the base to keep it from slipping. If you pick up the larger size, it works for phones and most tablets. When you’re done, it folds up flat for easy storage.

4. Folding Double-USB Plug: Charge 2 for the price of one

Anker 2-Pack Dual Port 12W Wall Charger with Foldable Plug

The plugs that come with our devices often come with a couple of fatal flaws when it comes to portability. One, the prongs stick out and can get bent or poke holes in other items in your bag. Two, if you have more than one device (like Bluetooth headphones) you’ll need 2 plugs. This 2-port USB charger with folding prongs solves all that.

Works on most phones and USB chargeable devices, you can charge 2 devices at once using only one outlet. And compared to other charging bricks, it’s so small and light. Just don’t forget to bring the appropriate cables!

5. One Pouch to Hold Them All

Pendancy Mesh Zipper Pouches

Lastly, a simple solution for keeping track of all of these helpful tools: a zippered mesh pouch makes it easy to find them all and keep them from sliding around in your backpack or bag. It brings them all together into one neat little package!

WWDC 2021 breakdown: The big stuff we got… and the stuff we didn’t

This year’s WWDC was dense! Two solid hours of reveals and explanations from across the entire Apple ecosystem There were rumors that there would be new MacBooks or even the reveal of the forthcoming Apple Glass augmented reality spectacles (or even the virtual reality headset they’re supposedly working on) but no hardware announcements were made. Here are some of the big highlights that will change the way you use your Apple devices when the updates are released later this year.

Coding on the iPad, for the iPad

If you want to write an app for anything Apple you must first own a MacOS device. MacBooks, iMacs or MacMinis will allow you to download XCode, Apples Development environment. With XCode you can write for MacOS, iOS/iPadOS, even WatchOS.

The Swift Playgrounds app will become an app development tool

That’s all fine and dandy, but if you only owned an iPad, you couldn’t code apps on it even though it’s capable from technical perspective. There’s still no proper XCode app, but now Swift Playgrounds, Apple’s “Baby’s first coding sandbox” app will be expanded to be able to make apps for iPads and iPhones.

File management is still disappointing, but…

There was no word in the keynote presentation about iPad file management. It’s been subpar since it came out and the arrival of the M1 iPad Pro earlier this year makes the app look even more wimpy. But as of the writing of this article, there have been a few new features discovered:

  • Supports “read only” access for NTFS devices
  • Drag to select multiple files with a mouse or track pad
  • Progress bar for file transfer (…finally!)

The files app may be one of those features the makes incremental progress quietly over time.

“Focus” brings multiple profiles without adding multiple logins

Some Apple devices allow multiple user login profiles, like Android does. Macs and Apple TVs do it, and there is a special educational version of iPadOS that allows for it. However iPhones, and iPads have never had that feature – and they still don’t. But they did add something called “Focus”.

Create a Focus to limit apps and notifications

An upgrade to the Do Not Disturb feature that’s been around since iOS 6 in 2012, Focus make it possible to customize the availability of features and contacts in profiles that can be activated from the notification tray or set to take effect at a certain time. For example, if you need to focus on work, you could create a focus named “Work Time” that hides games and social media apps and silences notifications from everyone but your colleagues.

iPadOS 15 has Widgets, just like iOS 14

Last year, iOS 14 added widgets to the home screen, making it a more useful command center. This year they brought that feature to the iPad. In the process they have lost a few features, like the widget Slide Over (good riddance) and the ability to change your icon grid from sparse to… less sparse. These casualties are totally worth it as the Home Screen on iPad will now be a lot more useful.

Place Widgets on the iPad home screen

Multitasking, 2.0

Multitasking on the iPad was always useful, and there have been minor improvement over the years, but it was always a little broken. When creating “spaces” (parings of 2 apps) it was hard to track them after you’d moved on to another app. Dragging apps into place was always a vague process that was hard to learn and frustrated many users. And, when adding an app to your current app, you could only access apps located in the dock. Any apps on the home screen would be unavailable for multitasking.

Use buttons to manipulate mutitasking

Well, they fixed all that jazz! Spaces you create are referenced at the bottom of the screen where the dock would appear, making it easy to see what other apps you made pairings with and switch between them easily. Instead of dragging around, there is a 3 dot icon at the top of each app that provides simple buttons to create the multitasking set up that you’d want. And, when adding a new app to your space, the current app slips to the right giving full access to the home screen. Overall, a much need refresh of a powerful iPad feature set.

No MacOS on the iPad, but maybe the next best thing

By far one of the super star features during the presentation was “Universal Control”. Presenter and Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi blew everyone away with a demo. He lined up an iPad, a MacBook and an iMac then using a mouse, had the pointer drag a picture from an iPad app, across the screen of the MacBook and onto the iMac where he dropped the image into a final cut project.

Drag files from one device to another

Universal Control will supposedly require no set up. The devices will know how close they are to each other and through Bluetooth and WiFi be able to communicate and send files to one another. Unlike Sidecar, a feature that let MacOS extend itself onto an iPad, iPad users will still be using iPadOS and iPad apps with Universal Control. It’s not one operating system… but it’s getting closer.

Sadly, no real reason to get the M1 iPad Pro

There was no mention of an iPad version of Final Cut or any of the other pro apps. Software-wise wasn’t even anything that would make the new M1 iPad Pro more powerful than its predecessors. It was a big letdown for those of us who had been musing on why Apple would create a desktop-level tablet, and not give it the software to be a real laptop killer. It may be the first time in recent computer history that a device is way more powerful than the operating system it runs, by design.

Will Apple Unlock the Power of the New iPad Pro M1?

Well, the reviews are in: The iPad Pro with M1 processor is bright, smooth and snappy… but that’s about it. There isn’t anything the new iPad can do that the older ones can’t, so why would anyone buy it? If you don’t have an iPad, getting this one would be the most future-proof option but for those who already own one, better to wait until iPadOS 15 is announced.

A lot hinges on Apple’s changes to the upcoming operating system. There are many features users would like to see: A better files app, updates to the home-screen and iPad version pro-level apps like Final Cut, but history has show that Apple rarely makes a move based on user demands alone. We may see only minor, superficial additions. When was the last time you used Memojis? How about ARKit’s Augmented Reality features? And while Dark mode and improvements to the integrated apps were welcome (and in some cases sorely needed), none of those kinds of updates would make great use of the M1 chip.

Apple’s also been working hard to develop their subscriptions business. iOS/iPadOS 14.5 added podcast subscription functionality for content creators so they can monetize their content, and they updated the News app to be more personal. Along with the industry-shaking new requirement that apps ask permission to track users, Apple could be moving in a direction that creates a social-media playground inside of their walled garden to further separate their user base from Google, Facebook and others. These changes are taking up a lot of Apple’s time and effort and may come at the expense of real power features that would make the new iPad Pro shine.

Apple’s “What’s a computer” ad from November 2017.
It wasn’t received well, maybe since iPads couldn’t really replace computers at the time, and without a better operating system, they still can’t.

Apple also seems conflicted on just how much of a laptop-killer it wants to make the iPad. Remember the “What’s a computer” ad? On the one hand, we see their stubborn refusal to put touch control and Apple Pencil support onto MacBooks, suggesting they want tablets and laptops in separate categories. On the other hand, they went out of their way to add mouse support and created a sturdy, $300 keyboard case that makes typing on an iPad easier and much more laptop-like. Apple has shown that they’re not afraid to cannibalize sales of their own products and since both MacBooks and iPads now have the same processor it’s all going to come down to software if they make the choice to have iPads to gobble up some MacBook sales.

The invitation to Apple’s 2021 World Wide Developer’s Conference

The answer to these questions comes on June 7th when Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) will be held. Along with iPadOS 15, the next versions of iOS, Mac OS and TvOS will be revealed. There may be other product lines to be announced as well. Rumors about Apple AR glasses and a VR headset have been swirling and the Apple Car has been an open secret for some time now. GlassesOS? VROS? CarOS? That’s a lot of OS! Only time will tell if iPadOS will get enough love to make the new iPad all that it can be.

Google Play is disappearing… Download your music while you still can!

Man Facing away wearing headphones

Please note, Google Play Music is no longer available. This article is here for legacy purposes.

Google is known for starting projects publicly and then ending them without much fanfare. Google Plus, Google TV Fiber, and many others got canned and now even Google’s streaming gaming service Stadia is headed for the Google Graveyard. It’s getting crowded in there! But with so many big companies like Apple, Amazon and even Sony having a music store as a corner stone of their respective media empires, it’s a shock that Google is going to drop Google Play Music.

Yikes! Did you get an email like this? We didn’t until we went to the Google Play Music site.

Better hurry, February 24th, 2021 is the deadline for you to head over to Google Play Music and download your purchases. The process is pretty straight forward: Log in with your google account, then click “Download Your Music Library”. The site will walk you through the steps to get your tracks.

Image of google play music's transfer site
Manage your Google Play Music library before it’s too late!

You can also click the big blue “Transfer to YouTube music” if you’re interested and setting that up going forward. We transferred ours and got a message that said it could take up to 24 hours, but it only took a few minutes. Be warned, that the transferred music seemed a little hidden. It is seen as an “upload”, not as standard YouTube Music. You can find it if you click the “YouTube Music” drop down under albums or other sections in the site’s “Library” section.

Arrow pointing to Upload option in the YouTube Music dropdown in the Albums section of the YouTube Music Library page.
Seems the music licenses don’t transfer over, just the files.

Let’s hope YouTube Music doesn’t end up in the Google Graveyard like YouTube Gaming and YouTube Messages did!

How to figure out which iPhone 12 is best for you

Watch the breakdown of the iPhone 12 line.

Apple announced the iPhone 12 lineup this week. Let’s see which phone is right for you!

Before starting, it’s important to know that all four iPhone 12 models are at their core the same device. Same A14 processor and same basic smart phone features, including 5G.

The four models are, from smallest to largest: the iPhone 12 mini at $699, the iPhone 12 at $799, the iPhone 12 Pro at $999 and the iPhone 12 Pro Max at $1099.


One of the important features that differ based on model is battery life. Apple posts estimates for battery life on their site than can shed some light on how each model compares. Looking at the numbers for continuous non-streaming video playback, the iPhone 12 mini is rated at 15 hours, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are rated at 17 hours, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max are rated at 20 hours.

Is this really how long they will last under real world conditions? Can’t say for sure, but these number tell you roughly how much more power you’ll get with a bigger phone. For instance, the iPhone 12 Pro Max should last about 33% longer that the iPhone 12 mini.


The non-pro models start at 64GB and the pro models are now starting at 128GB. This is an increase from the iPhone 11 Pro, which started with a storage size of 64GB. If you’d like to bring the iPhone 12’s non-pro models up to 128GB, just add $50 to the price.

The iPhone 12 lineup: Models, Prices, Battery life ratings and storage sizes.


Apple decided to add more colors to the iPhone 12 line. Non-pro models have the standard aluminum silver, space gray, blue, pale green and product red. The colors are glossy on the back and matte on the sides of the phone.

5 Colors for the aluminum bodied non-pro iPhone 12 models

Pro models have four stainless steel colors: silver, graphite, gold, pacific blue. The colors are matte on the back and shiny on the side, although early reports have the stainless steel picking up lots of fingerprints.

iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max come in 4 stainless steel colors

Here’s what you’re really paying for: The Camera

First off, it’s important to know a couple of things about the iPhone 12 camera line up: all the models have fantastic picture quality, even the cheaper ones. The iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 have the same camera set, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a somewhat better camera than the iPhone 12 Pro.

The non-pro versions have two lenses: A wide angle lens and an Ultra-wide angle lens. This means They can optically zoom out up to 2x.

All models have the wide and ultra-wide lens, but pro models have a telephoto lens for close-up shots.

The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max have an additional telephoto lens making Optical zoom-in possible. The Pro can zoom in up to 2x but the Pro Max’s superior telephoto lens allows up to 2.5x Optical zoom.

Camera comparison across models

The Pro versions also have the LiDAR from the 2020 iPad Pro. This make focusing faster and more accurate, even in low light. It also opens these models up to better augmented reality performance.

But the Pro Max has more features than the Pro. In addition to the better telephoto lens, it’s wide-angle lens bigger sensor means that it will preform better in low light. It also has image stabilization built directly into the lens that will help keep the image sharp even when the phone is not perfectly still.

But which one to buy?

Size is a big consideration. If you like a tiny phone, or a replacement for the iPhone SE (first generation) then the iPhone mini is best for you. If you like a big screen then the Max is the best option.

With two medium-size models, the decision comes down to the camera. The non-pro iPhone 12 will be fine for most users but for $200 more you can have a camera that will be the top-of-the-line smartphone camera for a few years to come.

Have you decided to buy one of the iPhone 12 models? Which one? Leave a comment below!