Digital Whyzdom: Traveling with your iPhone

Photo by Hayley Juhl
by Marc Poellhuber

Putting your devices on airplane mode

When the flight attendant asks passengers to turn off all electronic devices, the way to do this with an iPad or iPhone is to go to the Settings icon and slide the button next to the Airplane icon until you see it turn green. You can check the upper left portion of the screen to confirm that a small airplane image replaces the usual row of 5 circles representing cellular and the three-layered wave indicating wireless access (Wi-Fi).

Making camping reservations

My girlfriend and I had been on Big Island in Hawaii in a fancy bed and breakfast that we had booked for the first week, but wanted to go camping the second week. In Hawaii, you can’t just show up at the State camping grounds; you need to reserve online. But, we had no computer. Traveling around in our rented Ford Explorer, we stumbled upon an Internet Café and saw the light: I had my iPhone! It had been on airplane mode to avoid roaming charges — as much as a $1.50 a minute for leaving your phone on when traveling in the US. (Check with your provider about roaming charges and plans to avoid them before you leave Canada.) I discovered I could stay in airplane mode but still activate the Wi-Fi and we were able to make reservations from the phone using the Safari App, which made us happy campers.

Letting your friend access email from your phone

I checked my email on the Internet and my girlfriend had immediately wanted to check on how her cat was doing. My Phone Mail App was set up for my account only, but I realized she could use my phone web browser and login into her Bell Web Mail account. With your phone, you can check your own mail with a Mail App or with the Gmail App. For someone else’s email, use Safari or another browser. Just go to the site and log in. Remember to have other users log off when they are done. Fortunately, she knew her password. Memorize your password even if you don’t bring your computer.

Internet banking from your phone

Last winter, I was enjoying the beach in the Dominican Republic. Because I didn’t bring my computer, I checked my email on my iPhone at the hotel lounge. I panicked when I discovered I had to make an immediate payment! I had done Internet banking from my computer but never attempted it on my iPhone. I suddenly remembered Hawaii and tried to log into my Internet banking web site. It worked! They even had a mobile version of their site. Mobile versions of sites are simplified for smaller screens like phones and the site usually recognizes your device. I had to set up a new billing account for the payment and the mobile version of my bank web site didn’t show that option. I discovered it was possible to revert to standard navigation —but I found the function and was able to make the payment.

Google Maps anywhere?

In a sunny Val-David café, I saw a young man using the café Wi-Fi with his phone. He was preparing to drive to Montreal to meet a friend and wanted to use Google maps. I knew it would shut off once he was out of Wi-Fi range. I heard a familiar iPhone picture click and went over to him asking him what he had done.

“I took a picture of the Google map so that when I am walking in Montreal I can refer to it,” he replied. “The picture is in my Photo Album.” I asked him how to take a screen shot.

“It’s easy. You press the power button on the side of the phone and then press the round button under the screen. You will hear the familiar camera sound and voilà, your screen is now in your photo album, ready to access even while you are not connected.”

The above tips apply to all smartphones. The difference is in the procedure used to access the features. To get videos showing step-by-step instructions for your phone, search YouTube for Sony Screen Capture.

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