26 October, 2016
Technology sometimes goes wrong. And the more you use technology, the more you know it can go wrong.
A connection drops. A printer will not print. An app crashes or a cell phone battery drains too fast. Tech troubles can frustrate users quickly.
First reactions may be to scream, throw the device against the wall, or cry. Instead, you may be able to solve the problem by yourself.
By following these steps, you could solve some of the most common tech problems on your own.
Search the web
Learn about your tech problem on a search website, such as Google. See what others have experienced. Find expert articles about solving the problem.
If your issue is with recent tech, such as a software update, be sure to look for the most recent articles. Tech tips from years ago may not work now.
Check connection speed
Maybe you find that streaming, downloading and updating is moving slowly. First, be sure to check your Internet connection speed. You may think something is wrong with your device when, really, your network is just slow.
A website such as speedtest.net can check your connection speed.
Check for updates to make sure you have the most recent version of apps and software. You might be experiencing a problem from a bug that has been fixed in an update. But if you have not yet updated to the latest version you may miss the solution.
When your computer, phone or tablet is having issues, simply turn it off. Sometimes, software or app updates need your device turned off and restarted to work properly.
If an app or software program is causing issues, try deleting it and installing it again. Be sure to back up anything you need to have saved before you delete.
Ask the developer
Contact the developer of the app or software. If they do not have the answer, they still will be glad to know the problem exists. They cannot fix what they do not know is a problem.
You can communicate with developers over email, Twitter or a contact form on their website. Explain the issue giving as much detail as possible, including the device you are using and the problem you are having.
Also check troubleshooting and FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on developers' websites. The answer you need might be right there waiting to rescue you!
Read online forums to see if you can find information about your issue. Even if the issue is not exactly the same, you may get ideas about how to solve the problem you have.
Check YouTube to see whether there is a video with the answer to your problem. A video can show you what the problem is and how to solve it.
Twitter can help you learn whether others are having a problem. For example, last week when hackers crashed websites, Twitter alerted people to what was wrong.
Many businesses have Twitter accounts that will answer your questions about their products.
Apple recently started the @applesupport account to offer tech tips and help solve issues.
Search for keywords on Twitter especially for issues about recent changes to software or apps.
Other social media sites can also help. Search Facebook and Google Plus for groups that might be able to answer your questions. Many groups discuss tech issues. If you find one that is helpful, you may want to join the group for future tips.
A loose cable can be the cause of many tech issues. Check to make sure everything is plugged in where it should be. Unplug and replug cables to guarantee a secure connection.
Be sure that your cables are not broken, frayed or damaged. Replacing a cable might solve a problem for a lot less money than buying a new device.
If you are having a problem with an app, close it to see if restarting it solves the problem.
Is your cell phone battery draining too quickly? Are you are using too much cellular data each month? Check the settings on your phone to see which apps are using the most battery or cellular data. Turn off location and alerts for any apps that use these services.
Many tech troubles can be solved by powering off your phone and turning it back on.
On the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus and earlier models, press and hold the power and home buttons until the phone powers off and back on again. On the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, hold down the power and volume down buttons until the phone restarts.
On many Android phones, you can restart the phone by holding down the power and volume down buttons at the same time.
Some Android phones have removable batteries. Try removing the battery and putting it back in to restart your phone.
For connection issues with an iPhone, try "Reset Network Settings." Go to "Settings," then to "General," then to "Reset Network Settings."
Note that you may have to reconnect and log into networks after you reset network settings.
Look for the simple answer
Sometimes tech problems are not worth solving. Is there a different way to do something with a simple solution?
For example, if an app keeps crashing you may want to look for a different app that performs the same task. Maybe there is a new app that is even better than the one you are trying to fix.
Step back and think if there is another way to solve the issue, at least temporarily.
Go to the professionals
If you have tried everything you know to try and are still having problems, perhaps it is time to ask an expert. Take your device to a pro, such as the Apple Genius Bar, Microsoft store or other local tech shops to get help.
Time for new technology?
If your tech is not from the 21st Century, you may want to consider getting new tech. Software updates may not work on much older devices. Your tech may not be powerful enough to run today's software or apps.
You do not need to upgrade to the latest and greatest every year, but once every ten years might be a good start.
I'm Pete Musto.
And I'm Alice Bryant.
Carolyn Nicander Mohr wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Have you ever struggled when tech went wrong? Where do you turn when you have tech troubles? Do you have any tips for fixing tech?
Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below or on 51VOA.COM.
Words in This Story
connection - n. something that allows you to become connected to a system, network, etc., through a telephone, computer, or other device
frustrate - v. to cause (someone) to feel angry, discouraged, or upset because of not being able to do something
update - n. to change (something) by including the most recent information
developer - n. a person or company that creates computer software
troubleshoot - v. finding and fixing problems in machinery and technical equipment
forum - n. a website for discussing a topic
alert - v. to give (someone) important information about a possible problem, danger, etc.
keyword - n. a word that is used to find information in a piece of writing, in a computer document, or on the Internet
cable - n. a group of wires, glass fibers, etc., covered in plastic or rubber and used to carry electricity or electrical signals
plug - v. to fill or cover (a hole, space, etc.) with something
fray - v. to cause (a cloth or other material) to become worn down at the end or edge : to separate the threads of (a material)
task - n. a piece of work that has to be done: a job for someone to do
pro - n. someone who has a lot of experience or skill in a particular job or activity