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Nov 18, 2019

Good To Know: Charging Your Phone Safely While Traveling

Good To Know: Charging Your Phone Safely While Traveling

Having your phone with you on your travels is important. More importantly, it is to keep it charged.
You may be asked to turn on your phone in front of the airport security. TSA now has the authority to demand that passengers flying to the US from overseas airports to power on their device for further checking. Gadgets that fail to turn on will not be allowed on-board the aircraft. So it is highly advised that you bring your charging cables with you. Worst yet, such gadgets will be confiscated and it is unknown, and might not be returned to the owner when the person reaches the destination. Best not to take a chance and charge your gadgets before you leave and while waiting to board the plane.

There are a few assumptions and misconceptions around where and how you can charge your phone. Below are some of these resolved.

Myth: My phone is totally safe in a public charging port

Did You Know?
Charging your devices at charging stations could be a security risk

#FraudFriday - USB Charger Scam from LADAOffice on Vimeo

Truth: Using a public port could put your information on the device at risk. Unlike the typical socket, those cords you see at restaurants and airports create an easy path to transfer data. Many people don’t know that when you connect your phone to a USB port, not only are you charging your phone but you’re also transferring data, which transmits over a USB port. USB ports allow USB devices to be connected and transfer digital data over USB cables.

Similarly, charging stations are also something to be avoided if possible or at the least to be aware of the security risk. When you’re plugging your phone into one of those stations, there is really no way to know who can then see the information flowing through.
“People don’t realize they’re not just a power source,” says Eva Velasquez, CEO, and president of Identity Theft Resource Center. “It’s not like plugging your lamp into the wall.” Hackers could potentially access anything in your phone—emails, texts, photos, and more. Travelers are advised to avoid using public USB power charging stations in airports, hotels, and other locations because they may contain malware. If you need to charge your phone battery in public a lot, a portable charger is a much safer option, says Velasquez.

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Myth: Any charging cable will do

Truth: Not all charging cables are created equal. The cables from the random third-party manufacturers might not be made out of quality material and become frail. And if you’ve got exposed wiring, your charger might be a fire hazard. That’s all the more reason to invest in high-quality charger cords properly rated for your iPhone. You don't necessarily have to buy one from your phone's brand. Amazon and Anker sell highly-rated nylon braided cables that work well and not that expensive.
Earlier this year we purchased Anker 6ft Premium Nylon Lightning Cable and it has been great. It charges the phones well and is not frailing like our previous cables. Prior to these, we had the Amazon Basic cables. They lasted us quite a while considering we bought them back in 2014. They did frail with the wires sticking out from the casing.

Travel Tip:
Bring along a portable phone charger. These travel battery packs can supply enough charge to keep the phones juiced up several times. They are not collecting or storing any of the data and cannot be used for any other purposes other than charging your device. We have been traveling everywhere with portable chargers from Anker. They have relatively large battery capacity for their compact size and easy to operate and transport.

As you can see, we bought ours over a year ago, and it is still going strong:

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Other Phone Tips:

Myth: I shouldn’t keep my phone plugged in overnight

Truth: Smart technology stops your phone battery from charging after it’s full. If the battery drops back down to a certain point when it’s still plugged in, the phone knows to start charging again.

Myth: I need to charge my new phone fully before I use it

Truth: Your phone already has some juice and skipping that first charge won’t affect its life long-term. The only reason some manufacturers suggest charging it first is to make a good first impression.

Travel Tip:
Always pack a universal adapter with you
The electric plugs differ from country to country, so you have to have a universal travel plug that will let you charge your phone in any country that you may find yourself.

Myth: I shouldn’t charge my phone until it dies

Truth: It’s better to juice up the lithium-ion battery in your phone before it reaches zero.

Myth: One app can’t take up that much energy

Truth: Just one app could be sucking up a ton of your phone’s battery. Check the list of apps and their battery usage. The biggest culprits are usually social media and browser apps.

Myth: Turning my phone off is totally useless

Truth: Resetting your phone could help conserve battery. Most people don’t fully close apps when they’re done using them, so those apps are still working in the background. The more that they are running, the shorter your battery life will be. Also, the phone is just like any computer, from time to time it needs to be shut down and restarted for optimal performance.

Update:Travel Tip: Never Charge Your Phone in Rental Cars
Almost always the USB port is connected to the car’s infotainment system and it may download your personal information onto the car’s on-board computer.
Most everything you do with the phone and the vehicle systems will be stored in the vehicle’s memory, which may include your destinations, phone numbers dialed, texts sent and more.
When you disconnect, unless you specifically removed that data from the infotainment system, you leave all this information behind. This can be accessed by anyone who uses the vehicle after you.
Best practice is to either find out how to remove the data from most used systems or just use your phone directly without plugging into car's USB.

Our phones these days contain as much or more information than what is in our wallets. Hence, these great tips, 10 Things You Should Do ASAP If Your Wallet Is Lost or Stolen, apply as well.

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