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1 week ago

How to load Google Play on your Chromebook

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Google Play is just a click away once you get the M53 update on your Chromebook.

If you're using a Chromebook that has support for Android apps in the dev channel, you won't magically get Google Play with the update. The good news is that it's easy to install and get everything up and running.

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1 week ago

How to switch your Chromebook to the developer channel

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Changing channels on your Chromebook is easy — you just have to know where the button is.

The M53 dev channel update for the ASUS Chromebook Flip has arrived, and with it, we can have our first look at Android app support for Chromebooks. Android apps for the Acer Chromebook r11 and 2015 Pixel are also expected in the coming weeks as well. Chances are if you have one of these models, you're also running on the stable channel. That means you will need to change channels if you want to give things a try. It's fairly simple to do, and all you need to know is where to look and which button to click.

Here's how it's done.

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1 week ago

What companies need to know when creating a BYOD work environment

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Increase workforce agility and mobility by going BYOD.

If you're considering implementing a BYOD (bring your own device) policy in your workplace, there are a few things you should consider before diving in and giving employees' personal devices access to sensitive information. Do you have the right security in place? Are there any restrictions on device usage during work hours? Are you and your employees using the right apps?



We've got a few tips that could keep your safe and on the right track when setting up a BYOD environment in your workplace.

It's not as cost-effective as you think

Some employers may think that by creating a BYOD strategy, they'll save thousands on computers and other network devices that would otherwise be owned by the company.

This isn't really the case, since security measures and support for employee-owned devices will likely just replace those costs. Implementing a BYOD policy is about employee efficiency and mobility, and should not be considered a cost-saving measure, since the savings may be minimal or nonexistent. Let's just get that out of the way off the bat.

Create a framework

Before even mentioning BYOD to your employees, you need to set up a BYOD framework. The framework address issues like: who gets to use their devices while on the job and for what purposes; which types of devices may be used; and, how support for these devices will be carried out.

Your framework should also include your roll-out strategy. It should be careful and calculated, so as not to become vulnerable to security risks.

Prior to development, it's a good idea to perform a cost-benefit analysis, to make sure it's worth it to set up support for all the devices that will be added to your network.

You framework should include the input of your IT and HR staff, legal and financial advisors, and anyone else who should be involved in the decision-making process.



Get some policies going

The BYOD framework is a top-down view of how BYOD will be implemented. Your policies fill in the details. These will explicitly define what your employees may and may not do when using their personal devices for work.

This is where you can talk about any specific apps that have to be on employee devices and any apps that cannot be on employee devices, for security reasons.

This is also where you'll outline how IT will support employee devices. If devices are malfunctioning, will it be up to IT to fix them or, in the case of smartphones, the wireless carrier in question? These are questions that are to be addressed and their answers outlined.

Cover your endpoints

An endpoint security management system is pretty much a necessity at this point, if you're considering a BYOD environment. Endpoint protection is like anti-virus on steroids. It involves an integrated system of anti-malware, data input/output management, user management, and more.



This is where you can add log-in restrictions, block unsafe websites, monitor network traffic, and much more. Endpoint security is imperative if you want to protect your data and make your network safe for both you and your employees.

You may want an endpoint security system that involves MDM or Mobile Device Management software. This will allow you to control employee devices if they become lost or stolen. Any device employing the MDM software can be remotely accessed and erased.

An endpoint security management system should be factored into your cost-benefit analysis.

Choose safe apps

If you're requiring your employees to use specific apps on their own devices, then make sure the apps you're using are safe and do not contain harmful code. This could be damaging to both your network and your employees' devices, which could entail costly replacements for them and potential data loss or worse for you.

A good endpoint security management system can assume app control and prevent harmful apps from executing on your and employee devices.

Educate your employees

A lot of people know the risks of computer viruses and spyware, but believe that smartphones are all but invincible. This is absolutely not the case and employees should know the possible security risks associated with bringing their own devices to work.

They should be walked through your framework and policies and educated in the use of any MDM software you implement. They should also be made aware of any NAC (Network Access Control) tools are in place, like website blockers.

Test it!

Before rolling out a company-wide BYOD policy, test it in very small doses. Have your IT department monitor usage and strains on the network and have HR monitor its effect on employee relations, efficiency, and satisfaction.

Thoughts?

Is your workplace a BYOD environment? What is your experience?

Sound off in the comments below!

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1 week ago

Dive back into the EAC with our Finding Dory theme

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Pixar is diving back into the world of Finding Nemo with a new film about everyone's favorite absent-minded Royal Blue Tang, Dory. She has short-term memory loss, which obviously presents a lot of challenges to her everyday life. And while fish can't use smartphones, I think we have a Finding Dory theme that would be perfect for her situation. As someone who forgets a lot of things, Google Keep is my friend, and I know it'd be Dory's friend too.

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1 week ago

How to choose what you sync on Chrome across devices

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You can choose exactly what syncs with Google and your computer, and it's easy.

If you have a Chromebook and use Google Chrome on another computer, here's a quick tip about choosing what you synchronize between them.

On our Chromebooks, many of us install apps and extensions that add more features and functionality. That's how Chrome OS was designed, with it's own online store full of apps and extensions, and there are plenty of useful ones included. But things you might want on your Chromebook — for example a small text editor or online image editor — also might be things you don't want on a Windows or Mac (or Linux) laptop or desktop. Plenty of software comes bundled into those operating systems, and often it makes no sense to have duplicate programs for productivity or entertainment. The good news is it's easy to manage.

You can choose exactly what Chrome syncs across your devices. To get there, make sure you're signed in with your Google account and follow these steps.

  • Open the settings
  • Under Sign in, click the button labeled "Advanced sync settings..."
  • In the dialog that open, click the drop down menu in the top left and pick "Choose what to sync"

You'll find an entry for everything that Chrome can synchronize, both on your Chromebook and with the Chrome browser on any platform. Extensions and Apps are the focus of this article, but you can choose to not sync other data, like passwords or browser history, if you like. You can even choose to not sync anything if that suits you better. Some things — like browser tabs, passwords and history — also sync with Chrome on Android. You can manage those settings on your phone or tablet inside the Chrome app settings.

You'll also see some encryption options, and with those you can choose to use your own sync password, but by default Google encrypts all the data that goes in and out of your account. There's also a handy link to see your web activity, where you can manage your browsing and search history online.

A quick "one more thing" protip — when you install Chrome on a new computer, or sign into a new Chromebook, leave the defaults set for the first sync. This way you won't have to manually install any apps or extensions or themes from the Chrome store. Once everything is set up, you can change the settings and uninstall the things you don't want through the Settings > Extensions page. When you choose what to sync on one device, it won;t delete anything from any of the others — but it will if you leave the "Sync everything" option enabled.

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2 weeks ago

How to take a screenshot on your Android Wear device

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Android Wear

Taking a screenshot with Android Wear is easier than you'd think.

It used to be that taking a screenshot on Android Wear could be a real hassle. Thankfully, that is no longer the case. Taking a screenshot of your smartwatch is super simple, and just requires you to have the Android Wear app open on your phone. We're gonna walk you through it step by step, so that you can grab one whenever you need it.

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2 weeks ago

What does rooting your phone actually mean?

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Rooting your phone? Have questions? We have a few answers that explain how root works and what exactly it is.

We love getting your questions. It's always a good thing when we can help each other, and we learn stuff ourselves when looking for the answers. While we can't find time to answer all of them, sometimes a certain question comes up enough that it deserves a detailed answer.

"What does root mean?" is one of those questions. The concept may be simple for some of us, but for many folks who haven't spent time fiddling around with Android or any other permissions-based operating system, it's something to ask questions about. I'm going to try and answer them all as best I can.

Permissions

Before we define root, it's important to understand why it exists and how it works. It's because Android uses permissions (Linux-based permissions, to be exact) in the file structure. Every file, every folder and every partition has a set of permissions. These permissions decide who can read a file (look at or access the contents without changing them), write to a file (be able to change the contents of that file, or create a new file inside a folder or partition) and execute a file (run the file if it's a type that can run, like an app). This is done based on users and permissions — certain users have access, while users who don't have the right permissions are blocked from having access.

When you first set up your phone and turn it on for the first time, you are assigned a user ID. If another user logs in via Google, they are assigned a different user ID. When an app is installed on your phone, it's also assigned a user ID of its own. The system itself is a user and other processes that need to run on your phone may have their own user ID. Everything that can do anything to any files on your Android is a user.

A system of users and permissions is how Android keeps track of who can do what.

Let's say you install a messaging app. It gets assigned a user ID when you install it. It also gets a spot on your data partition of it's own, that only it has access to. You have permissions to execute the app, and when the app runs it has permission to access its own data folder and files. The app may also request permission to access things like your address book or SD card or photo library. If you say yes to these requests (or if you agree to the permissions on older versions of Android) the app's user ID is granted permission to the data files of those things, meaning it can look at the data folder and its contents and possibly change them or add new files. The app can't access any data files it doesn't have permission to "look" at. That means (in our example) it can't do things like look at the settings database, or access the data folder of another application. The term sandbox is often used for this — apps are sandboxed and can only play in the sandboxes they have permission to be in.

For files that are programs and can run (like apps), the same permission model applies. Your user ID has permission to run the apps you installed while you are signed in. The system user has permission to run them and other system-level users may have access to the apps or certain processes the apps use. Other apps can't start up apps they don't have permission to start. If you added a secondary user, they don't have access to your apps or files and vice-versa. There are files, folders and apps on your phone that your user ID doesn't have permission to see, alter or run. Usually those parts of Android require system-level permissions (the system user ID) to do anything with, and you aren't the system user or a user that has system-level permissions.

Switching permissions

While it's technically possibly to change the way your phone boots up and the files it uses to start the running system and assign your user ID elevated permissions, that's neither safe nor practical. But Android (and most Unix or Linux based systems) have what's called a root user, and support the SubstituteUser binary (think of a binary as a small app) to change user IDs. Those are used to administrate the system at the core level.

Because the people who made your phone don't want you to have easy access to the root user ID — and not all the reasons are selfish because it also protects you and your private data — the SubstituteUser binary isn't included in most builds of Android. Without SubstituteUser, we can't switch our user ID. Most system level things in Android have similar easy names, by the way. The core security (files in the bootloader and/or the kernel itself) are also built in a way to prevent you from switching user IDs as part of the SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux — told you the names are easy) kernel module. Some phones (Samsung's Knox comes to mind) have further protections, and nearly all the companies who make Androids require that, in order to make changes, the bootloader would need to be unlocked so these files can be changed and allow you to switch user IDs. Some phones, like the BlackBerry Priv even go a step further and aren't going to boot if we change anything (even if we could).

To become root, you need a way to change your user ID.

Once we get past all that — either by unlocking the bootloader through authorized means or using some sort of exploit — we can place the SU binary (SubstituteUser) in a spot that it can run when it's called to run — that's called a PATH. If any app is in your user ID's PATH it will run without telling the system exactly where it is. You also need to make sure the SU binary is in a spot that your user ID has permission to execute (run) files. Any other app (Google Play has plenty of apps that need root permissions) will also need the same access. When you use a method to root your phone, all this is sorted out by the folks who built the root method.

Once all that is in place, we can run the SU binary (or another app can run the SU binary).

Getting root access

This is where root comes in. The SU binary uses flags when it's run to tell the system what user ID you want to switch to. For example, if I run the SU binary on my Ubuntu computer like this "su Jim -c nano" I will run the nano command as the user Jim (after supplying Jim's password). If you run the SU binary with no flags or arguments, it switches you to the root user. Normally you would need to supply a password, but since "root" is an unused user on Android it has no password. Running the command "su" will switch you to the user root, and assign you the user ID of 0, and put you in the root group. You are now the Super User.

As the Super User you can do anything to any file, folder or partition on your Android. By anything, we mean literally anything. You can remove bloatware apps and you can also remove essential system files that break your phone. You can also do things to the hardware like change the CPU frequency and ruin your phone forever.

Root is the super user, who can do anything. And we mean anything.

Apps can do the same thing. SU is placed where it's in the application PATH and any app can call it and run it. That app then has Super User permissions, and can do anything it likes to any file any place on your phone. This is why the people who made your phone really don't want you to have this level of access, and the companies who allow you to unlock the bootloader and change things still don't place the SU binary on your phone by default. Having root access with no way to control who or what can use it is dangerous to your phone's software and your personal data.

That's why you need to install an app that forces you to allow root access any time you or another app tries to invoke the Super User permissions. Most times when you use a root method for your phone one will be included, along with some other useful binaries like the BusyBox toolset. If you did things by hand, you'll need to install one yourself. SuperSU by Chainfire in Google Play is a good one to start with.

Odds and ends

Many phones and some root methods do things a little differently (Android 4.3 brought a lot of changes) and require scripts or a daemon (you'll see words like daemonsu or su.d mentioned) instead of just dropping the SU binary in place. These are used to call SubstituteUser so you can switch to the root user just like the raw binary method. The people who figured out how to root your phone have sorted all this out and it will work the same on the user-facing side.

It's also possible to "temp-root" some Androids. This means you can have Super User permissions and do a few things you need to do, but a reboot takes root access away. Likewise, you can have a "shell-root" where you can only access the root user through adb from your computer.

Finally, I want to stress that if you had these questions, you need to consider if you're ready to have a rooted Android. We weren't kidding when we said it's easy to ruin your phone with SuperUser access. There's no reason to be ashamed that you need to do a little reading or ask a few more questions before you do things that can break your phone or give some random rouge app access to all your data.

That's what we're here for.

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2 weeks ago

How to give your Android phone a Microsoft makeover

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Bringing the look, feel and functionality of Microsoft's ecosystem to your Android phone.

Windows Phone is in an odd place right now — an argument could be made Windows Phone's been in a weird place for a few years now — and whether you have come to Android for more apps, or more consistent experiences, or better hardware, you're here in the Android ecosystem now. But that doesn't mean you have to kiss all your Microsoft and Windows services goodbye.

Whether you're looking to recreate as much of your Windows Phone experience as you can, or you just want to see what Redmond can offer Mountain View, we've got the guide for you. Some devices offer more Microsoft services out of the box, from Cyanogen OS on the OnePlus One to Microsoft productivity suite on the Samsung Galaxy S7 — but there's plenty out there besides.

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2 weeks ago

How to set up and secure your phone using Samsung's My Knox

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Keep your work and personal data safe and secure without even having to send your phone to Kentucky.

Samsung's My KNOX is a free security platform that essentially partitions your phone's storage so that your business and work data are kept separate and secure.

It's totally free; all you need is an email address.



How does it work?

The idea is that you would use My KNOX's "virtual sandbox" to store your work data, leaving the "main area" of your phone for personal use. For example, when taking photos in your My KNOX Camera app (same camera app, just used within the My KNOX portion) the photos will only show up in your My KNOX Gallery and not in the regular Gallery. It's basically like having two phones in one.

This is done through the use of containers or "sandboxes" at the software level. These are means of isolating bits of code, which is how your My KNOX apps and regular apps keep from intertwining. My KNOX now has the container support that IT departments would normally have to contract other companies for. This sandbox is know as the KNOX Workspace.

Within the "KNOX Workspace," security is heightened, so certain processes, like taking screenshots within apps, aren't allowed. This advanced security app is ideal for those working in a BYOD (bring your own device) environment and ideal for companies who want to protect their data as well as their employees' data. There's no mixing and mingling of accounts, which lowers the chances of data leakage and cyber attacks.

My KNOX doesn't just split up your work and personal data; it also acts as a multi-layered security system that protects your phone all the way from the hardware up to the application level. Even if your phone is attacked by malware, the data within My KNOX is still protected. Because of these security measures, you will only be able to use the default KNOX launcher within the KNOX app.



If your device is lost or stolen, you can remotely find, lock, or wipe it, so there's no worry of losing work or personal data. So, if you're wanting to (or have to) use your own device for work, downloading the My KNOX app is a great way to maintain your personal privacy while keeping your work data, documents, and emails safe.

How to find and download Samsung My KNOX for Android

You'll first want to download and install the app. There are already a bunch of apps that will be automatically added to your My KNOX folder and you can add more as you please.

  1. Launch the Google Play Store from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the search button on the top right of your screen. It's the magnifying glass.
  3. Type My KNOX into the search field.
  4. Tap the search button on the bottom right of your screen. It's the magnifying glass.

  5. Tap Samsung My KNOX. It should be the first result. If not, make sure that it's by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
  6. Tap Install.

My KNOX is now installed on your device and will be available from either your Home screen or from the app drawer.

How to set up Samsung My KNOX for Android

  1. Launch My KNOX from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap Get Started in the bottom righthand corner of your screen.
  3. Tap Allow to be able to make and receive calls via My KNOX. If you Deny, the app will just quit.

  4. Tap the checkbox to agree to the terms and conditions.
  5. Tap Confirm.
  6. Tap Add account.

  7. Enter your email address.
  8. Tap Done.
  9. Tap Next. A security PIN will be sent to the email address you provided.
  10. Enter the PIN that you received in the email.

  11. Tap Done.
  12. Tap OK.
  13. Tap the checkboxes next to the apps that you'd like to add to your My KNOX folder.
  14. Tap Next.

  15. Tap Try it to use the Find your phone feature. Tap No Thanks if you don't want to.
  16. Choose a lock method:
    • Password
    • PIN
    • Pattern
    • Fingerprint
    • Two-step verification – You'll have to execute two of the above-mentioned lock methods.
  17. Tap KNOX timeout to choose how long before you'll have to re-enter your My KNOX password to access your My KNOX folder.
  18. Tap Next.
  19. Set the lock method that you chose by entering a password, PIN, pattern, scanning your fingerprint, or a combination of two of these methods.
  20. Tap Continue.
  21. Perform the lock method again to confirm,
  22. Tap Confirm.
  23. Tap Set up.

Note: Screenshots unavailable for steps 15 to 23, due to security restrictions within My KNOX.



KNOX mode will now be created, along with a Home screen shortcut. Each time you want to access apps in the My KNOX folder, you just need to launch the My KNOX app and then use the apps within as you would normally.

You'll be able to tell you're in your KNOX Workspace by the yellow keyhole in the bottom right corner of whichever app you're using.

How to manually lock your Samsung My KNOX folder for Android

If you don't want to wait for your KNOX Workspace to time out, you can manually lock it so that your lock method will need to be used to access it again.

  1. Launch My KNOX from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the More button.
  3. Tap Lock.

The next time you try to access an app within your My KNOX folder/Workspace, you'll have to input your password, PIN, or pattern, or scan your fingerprint or two of these methods, depending on which one you selected during setup.

Note: If you uninstall My KNOX, all of the data that was stored within your KNOX Workspace will be deleted.

How to add apps to your My KNOX folder for Android

  1. Launch My KNOX from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap More.
  3. Tap Add apps.
  4. Tap each app that you'd like to add to your My KNOX folder. You won't be able to add every app you download.
  5. Tap Add.

The apps you add will now be available in your My KNOX folder; you might just have to scroll down to see them.

How to remove apps from your My KNOX folder for Android

  1. Launch My KNOX from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap More.
  3. Tap Remove apps.

  4. Tap the app you'd like to remove.
  5. Tap Disable.
  6. Tap Done once you've removed all the apps you wanted to.



How to add My KNOX apps to the Home screen

Rather than constantly opening your My KNOX folder, you can add secure apps to the Home screen. They'll appear the same as other apps, but will have a yellow keyhole on their bottom right corner.

  1. Launch My KNOX from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap More.
  3. Tap Add to home.
  4. Tap the apps you'd like to add to your Home screen.
  5. Tap Add.

These apps will now appear on your Home screen.

Note: Unless you manually lock your My KNOX folder, the My KNOX apps on your Home screen will not be locked until KNOX times out.

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2 weeks ago

How to use Trusted Devices in Android

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Using Smart Lock is an easy way to mix security with convenience — keep your Android locked unless you want it unlocked.

Introduced with Android 5.0 Lollipop, Smart Lock includes the addition of what's called a Trusted Device. A trusted device is anything — from an Android Wear smartwatch to a smart luggage tag to your car's stereo — that can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth, or a programmable NFC tag that's been set up to unlock your phone when the two are close enough to communicate.

While folks who are truly security-focused won't use any of the Smart Lock options (if someone steals your phone they will probably steal your smart watch, too) they are one of those good things that get more people to lock their phone because it's more convenient to unlock it — just like a fingerprint scanner. Anything that causes more people to protect their data and keep things locked away, the better we say.

This post was previously published. It has been updated with more current information and instructions.

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2 weeks ago

Making your Android look and feel like a Nexus

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Theming is about customization and creativity; it's about making things different.

Despite the overwhelming urge to be "not the same" a great amount of time, tech, and talent goes into making 'stock' themes. And many a loving Android nerd proudly rock 'stock' or 'pure' setups. These adjectives aren't quite accurate, so we're not going to use them for the rest of the article. The look we're aiming for in this guide emulates Android as Google intended, so we shall call it Nexus, after the devices that come with this experience out of the box.

It's not hard to understand why Google's visual approach to Android is a popular one, as it's a cohesive look and it's got a wonderful simplicity to it without straying into bland vanilla. The Nexus look has evolved over the years, but now that we've settled into the Material Design era, it's gotten easier and easier to achieve the Nexus look on other devices. Here's how we do it.

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3 weeks ago

How to cancel service with Rogers

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Everything you need to know about cancelling your Rogers wireless service

Whether you are unhappy with their service, feel you need to get out of your current contract, or just looking for a change, cancelling your Rogers wireless plan may be the right choice for you.

The good news is all carriers in Canada have to follow the same rules when it comes to cancelling contracts. It's not always the easiest information to find but, we are here to help!

What kind of fees will I have to pay when I cancel my service?

As of June 2015, The Wireless Code created by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) laid out universal rules for all cell carriers across Canada. The highlights you need to know about when cancelling a cell contract include:

  • No more three-year contracts (even if you signed a deal before June 2015).
  • No more 30-day notice required before cancelling your contract.
  • No more cancellation fees (just device subsidy fees).

Whether you are on Rogers, their subsidiary Fido, or any other Canadian carrier, these rules apply. The only thing you will have to pay when you cancel is the remaining balance of your phone's device subsidy if you have had it for less than 24 months.

What is a device subsidy?

That's a good question and the easiest way to explain is with math.

  • Device subsidy = phone cost - initial payment

For example, you decide you want to buy a new Samsung Galaxy S7 but, the phone costs $1,000. Rogers will sell you a brand new Galaxy S7 for a $500 initial payment and give you a $500 subsidy to make up the rest of the cost of the phone if you sign a two-year wireless plan. In this case, the device subsidy would be $500 dollars.

Does the subsidy always stay the same?

No. As per the CRTC rules, the device subsidy needs to go down in equal increments every month up to 24 months. After two years time, the device subsidy must be $0. That means you can figure out exactly how much your device subsidy will go down each month.

  • Subsidy per month = device subsidy / 24

Using the numbers from before you would get something like this:

  • $20.83 = $500 / 24

How much will I have to pay in order to cancel my service with Rogers?

Knowing that you will have to pay the remaining device subsidy on your phone, you can use this equation to figure out exactly how much you should have to pay.

  • Remaining device subsidy = subsidy per month x number of months left on contract

Using the same numbers from the example above, let's say you are trying to cancel your plan after six months which mean you still have 18 months left on your contract.

  • $374.94 = 20.83 x 18

Is there any way I can avoid paying these fees?

Chances are slim that you can avoid paying these fees but there are a few things you can try.

Poor service

The contract you signed also holds Rogers accountable to the service they have promised you. If you are cancelling your Rogers service because you think they breached the terms of your contract, you can always try to point on what the company failed to deliver on.

New provider pays your fees

This is probably a long shot, but if you were to go to Bell or Telus and tell them you want to leave Rogers, they may be willing to buy out your contract for you.

What is the easiest way to get out of a contract?

If you are desperate to get out of Rogers and they seem to be making you jump through a few hoops or keep offering you special deals and incentives in order to make you stay, tell them you are leaving the country. If they don't have service where you are going, they will probably just ask you to pay the fees you owe and thank you for your patronage.

The bottom line

Cancelling your Rogers service is always going to be easier and cheaper the longer you wait because you will have paid more of the balance owing on your phone. Remember, if it's been longer than 24 months, Rogers can't charge you anything in order to cancel their service.

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3 weeks ago

How to cancel service with TELUS

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How to cancel TELUS

If it's time to cancel service with TELUS, our guide is here to help.

Whatever your reasons are for leaving your service provider, you should know in advance how to cancel your contract with minimal damage. Time and money are things you don't want to waste when the time comes to leave your service term. All Canadian carriers are required to follow the same rules when it comes to contract cancellations, so here's a breakdown of what to expect if and when you decide to cancel TELUS.

What kind of fees will I have to pay when I cancel my service?

In June 2015, The Wireless Code, created by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), spelled out the rules for wireless carriers across Canada. According to this document, here's what you need to know when cancelling a cell contract:

  • Three-year contracts are a thing of the past (even if you signed one before June 2015).
  • The 30-day notice to cancel your contract is gone.
  • Cancellation fees cannot be charged (just device subsidy fees).

These rules apply to major Canadian carriers like TELUS, as well as their subsidiary, Koodo. If you've had your device for less than 24 months, the only payment you will owe your carrier at the time of cancellation is your phone's device subsidy.

What is a device subsidy?

A device subsidy can be explained through a simple equation:

  • Device subsidy = phone cost - initial payment

Let's say you want to get a new HTC 10, and the phone costs $1,000. TELUS will sell it to you for a $500 initial payment. Then, they will give you a $500 subsidy to make up the rest of the cost of the phone if you sign a two-year wireless plan. In the case of this example, the device subsidy would be $500.

Does the subsidy always stay the same?

No, it does not. As per the CRTC rules, your device subsidy needs to go down in equal increments every month up to 24 months. After two years, the device subsidy must be $0. You can now figure out exactly how much your device subsidy will go down each month.

  • Subsidy per month = device subsidy / 24

If we use the previous example, the equation looks like this:

  • $20.83 = $500 / 24

How much will I have to pay in order to cancel my service with Telus?

If you are leaving your contract before the two-year mark, use this formula to figure out how much your remaining device subsidy will be.

  • Remaining device subsidy = subsidy per month x number of months left on contract

Staying with our example digits, let's say you want to cancel your contract with TELUS after six months. This means you have 18 months remaining for your device subsidy.

  • $374.94 = 20.83 x 18

Is there a way I can avoid paying these fees?

While there aren't any definitive guarantees, you might try a few of these suggestions:

Poor service

If you have some examples of instances where TELUS failed you, or you had consistent issues during your service term, now would be the time to bring them up. Remember that a contract also holds your carrier accountable, and it's possible that they have breached it and are willing to compensate you.

New provider pays the fees

When you're shopping around for your next carrier, ask if they would be prepared to pay any of your remaining balance with TELUS.

What is the easiest way to get out of a contract?

It's possible that when you call to cancel your contract, the TELUS representative will try to offer you some incentives to stay with them. if you're determined to go to another carrier, tell TELUS that you are leaving the country, or moving to a region where their service won't be available. This will put a stop to their attempts to keep you as a customer, and let you pay your subsidy balance without further hassle.

The bottom line

Ultimately, the way to leave your contract with the least financial damage is to wait it out, if you can. The fewer the months remaining on your two-year contract, the lower your device subsidy balance will be. It's also important to remember that, if it's been more than 24 months, TELUS can't charge you anything when you cancel their service.

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3 weeks ago

How to cancel service with Bell

8

Learn how to cancel your contract with Bell Mobility.

It's no secret that canceling your phone contract can be a nuisance. Carriers want to keep your business, so they'll often try to negotiate a reason to stay. But if you're intent on leaving for another carrier, or just to get off the grid completely, here's how you can do it with Bell.

Let's break down how you can cancel your contract with Bell without a potential migraine!

Do I cancel my account over the phone or online?

According to Bell's terms of service you can either call or go online to cancel your contract or give them a call depending on your region. It's easier to give them a call.

If you're from Ontario or Québec, the phone number is 310-BELL (2355) to cancel. If you're from anywhere else, the number is 1-800-668-6878. If you're looking to cancel online, visit bell.ca. While the technical support desk is available 24/7, Bell's contact information is only available weekdays between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., weekends between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Holidays: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

What kind of fees will I have to pay when I cancel my service?

Since June 2015, The Wireless Code created by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) laid out rules for all cell carriers across Canada. The most important parts you need to know about when cancelling a cell contract include:

  • No more cancellation fees (just device subsidy fees).
  • No more three-year contracts (even if you signed a deal before June 2015).
  • No more 30-day notice required before cancelling your contract.

Whether you are with Bell, or any other Canadian carrier, these rules will always apply. The only thing you will have to pay when you cancel is the remaining balance of your phone's device subsidy– but this is only if you have had it for less than 24 months.

What is a device subsidy?

Awesome question! The simplest way to explain it would be with some math:

  • Device subsidy = phone cost - initial payment

For example, you decide that you would like to buy a new Samsung Galaxy S7 for $1,000– that's a bit pricey! Bell will sell you a brand new Galaxy S7 for a $500 initial payment and give you a $500 subsidy to make up the rest of the cost of the phone if you sign a two-year wireless plan. In this case, the device subsidy would be $500 dollars.

Does the subsidy always stay the same?

Nope.

As per the CRTC rules, the device subsidy needs to go down in equal increments every month up to 24 months. After two years time, the device subsidy must be $0. That means you can figure out exactly how much your device subsidy will go down each month.

  • Subsidy per month = device subsidy / 24

Using the numbers from before you would get something like this:

  • $20.83 = $500 / 24

How much will I have to pay in order to cancel my service with Bell?

Knowing that you will have to pay the remaining device subsidy on your phone, you can use this equation to figure out exactly how much you should have to pay.

  • Remaining device subsidy = subsidy per month x number of months left on contract

Using the same numbers from the example above, let's say you are trying to cancel your plan after six months which mean you still have 18 months left on your contract.

  • $374.94 = 20.83 x 18

Is there any way that I can avoid paying these fees?

Chances are slim that you can avoid paying these fees but there are a few things you can try.

Billing charges

After deactivation, a final bill will be sent out, but some charges like long distance and international roaming may take longer to process. This means a separate bill would be sent out, too.

Poor Customer Service?

If you're having troubles cancelling your contract over the phone, some people have recommended calling the office of Wade Oosterman, Bell's President of Mobility and Brand Recognition at (905) 282-4944 or emailing wade.oosterman@bell.ca for much smoother, much less frustrating help.

Within a day, you should get a call from an executive customer service department representative who will hopefully help you a bit better!

Can a new provider pay your fees?

While there is no evidence that leaving Bell and heading to, let's say, Telus, would entitle you to have Telus pay for your remaining Bell bill, asking a customer service rep if there's a chance it could happen never hurts! You may get lucky and they could offer you a deal.

What is the easiest way to get out of a contract?

Some people have used the whole 'I can't pay if I'm dead or in a coma!' excuse before. This will backfire on you, as the company will ask for a death certificate or an obituary.

The easiest way to get customer service to stop hounding you and pressuring you to stay with them is to tell them you're moving to another country. They won't push if they know you're leaving Canada for Madagascar.

At the end of the day...

No matter what route you take to try and cancel your contract with Bell, don't expect for it to take two seconds, or for your to simply send in an email, or check a box online. Companies have customer retention services for a reason, but don't get frustrated! Those people are just doing their jobs by trying to get you to stay on. If the person on the other end of the phone is pushy or unnecessarily rude, don't be afraid to ask for their name and their employee number– it could help your case for cancellation!

Good luck!

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3 weeks ago

Everything you need to know about rooting your Android

While your Android isn't in the same sort of jail an iPhone lives in, rooting can help you break out.

If you've researched anything about Android on the internet, you've probably seen and read about "rooting" one. There was a time when many of the Android phones available didn't live up to their potential, and root was the answer. Horrible software was the norm, applications that you would never use ran amok and wasted data and battery life, and the experience was bad all around.

Because every Android phone is running the Linux kernel and middleware very similar to a Linux distribution you would install on a computer under the hood, rooting them was the way to allow us to try and fix them our own way. Rooting is how you get complete access to everything in the operating system, and those permissions allow you to change it all. Modern Androids are quite a bit better than they used to be. Even the most inexpensive phone or tablet you can buy in 2016 will do more and perform better that the best Android phone available just a few years ago. But many of us still want to root our phones and are looking for more information.

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