Policing smartphones, big money from Google and more: Tech Q&A

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Girl holding smart phone outside

Law Enforcement and Your Phone

Q: Is it true that the cops can force you to unlock your iPhone? This act seems like a violation of my rights.

A: Tech changes fast, and the judicial branch is struggling to keep up. This stalemate society often runs into: Most of us want to feel safe in public, and we want law enforcement to be as sophisticated as the cyber-criminals and terrorists who exist among us. At the same time, we don’t want any police officer rummaging through our personal data without probable cause. In short, the police can’t necessarily force you to unlock your smartphone, but it’s important to learn your exact rights. Tap or click here to hear my take on a federal judge’s ruling.

Turn Off Targets Amazon Ads

Q: I noticed the ads I get on my Amazon Fire are a little personal, which is embarrassing when the family is watching. Can I turn those ads off?

A: Amazon has become the dark horse of targeted advertising, and it can become uncomfortable. Unlike Google, which tracks searches and other data, Amazon is exclusively interested in your purchasing habits, which may or may not reflect the “real you.” Just like Google, Amazon has a dense network of personalized settings, and you can manipulate almost any feature. Some of these are parental controls and using your photos as screensavers. But one option may appeal to you in particular: the ability to turn off targeted advertising. Tap or click here for five Fire TV Stick tricks you’ll use time and time again.

Make Serious Money with Google Ads

Q: I have Google Ads on my website. I heard you say I can increase the revenues by 30%. How do I do that!?!

A: Anybody can place a Google Ad and pay a pittance to reach thousands – or even millions – of people. You can modify target demographics to reach a precise audience, or you can cast a wide net and hope your product appears in front of the right people. The real pros can combine the Google Ad interface with thoughtful marketing, then target specific users and offer them special incentives. Running Google Ads on a website to make money is both science and art, and there are many tricks to the trade. Tap or click here to make 30 percent more revenue using this secret strategy.

Get More iPhone Storage Space

Q: I have run out of storage space on my iPhone. Now what?

A: Store enough apps, movies, and photos, and you’re bound to run out of space. The easiest way to free up your storage is to remove media that you don’t use, such as movies you’ve downloaded but already watched, podcasts you’ve saved but have already listened to, plus audiobooks and other large-format files. You’ll also want to save your photos and videos to your iCloud account. Then what? There are so many things you still want to keep because you cherish those apps and use them every day. The time may have come to make some hard choices, but there may be alternative programs that are a little leaner. Tap or click here for apps that take up less space on your iPhone.

Slash Cell Bills

Q: My cell phone bill is crazy high. How can I lower it?

A: Unlimited plans, often without contracts or hidden fees, have become an attractive option for people who are fed up. How do you find these plans? There is at least one website that will help you figure out exactly the plan you’re looking for, based on your needs and interests (and budget). At the same time, many similar sites use clever criteria to find you bargains you never knew existed. Tap or click here for seven sites that will save you a ton of money.