Android Tablets and Phones
A Gateway to the World
Your device is built for connection. In this lesson, we'll learn:
How your device connects to the Internet and phone network
How to connect to a local Wifi router
The importance of online accounts and synchronized information
A Tale of Two Networks
Soon after the invention of the telephone in the late 1800s, telephone exchanges and services were put in place worldwide. Eventually, this evolved, connecting every phone on the planet through a vast Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) that we still use for traditional texting and voice calls.
Later, advances in communications between computers led to the growth of the Internet, resulting in a massive worldwide network of connected computers starting in the 1990s. In addition to handling information transfers, this network also carries more of the communications that were traditionally handled by the telephone network.
Your phone has two main ways of connecting to other computers and phones. First, the cellular or mobile antenna connects to a local cell tower and allows your phone to connect to the PSTN and also to the Internet if you have a data plan. Secondly, a Wifi antenna can connect to a nearby router to give you a faster, less expensive Internet connection.
If you are using both cellular and Wifi, the phone will automatically prefer the Wifi connection for Internet communications. You can see the connection status by checking for the icons at the top of your screen.
Your device also has an Airplane Mode feature that conveniently turns off all communications antennas. When this mode is on, you will not be able to connect to the networks.
Connecting to Wifi
Often, it is an advantage to make a Wi-Fi connection when available. Wi-Fi offers fast and often free communications over the Internet. Use these steps to connect:
Go to Settings > Network and Internet
Check that Wi-Fi is on
Choose the network you want to join.
Then, depending on the service, you may be asked for a password or comply with an on-screen agreement.
If successful, the wifi status symbol will appear at the top of the screen. Also, your device will remember your information, making it easier for future connections.
When not connected to Wifi, your phone accesses the Internet through the cellular connection if you have a data plan. Knowing your data plan limits and the billing cycle is helpful to manage your data usage. For example, streaming video or music can rapidly use up available data limits and could result in additional billing.
Use these steps to view your data usage:
Go to Settings > Connections > Data Usage > Mobile data usage
View App data usage
You'll see a list of Apps sorted by how much data they've used. You can also set data limits and warnings to help you manage your data usage.
Much of the information you see isn't actually stored on your device. Instead, information is constantly being exchanged with various computers on the Internet. Consequently, your data is stored and managed in secure accounts that give you access and keep others out.
Your device uses an account id and password for secure access. After you initially enter this information, your device usually remembers it so that you don't have to enter it repeatedly. It's crucial to have a written copy of this information if you ever lose or upgrade your phone. Beware, giving someone access to your device also gives them access to all your linked accounts!
Know Your Google Account Info
Your Google Account info connects you to your account at Google. This account controls many aspects of your device and can be used to store a backup. Although your device remembers your Google login and password, there may be times when it will ask you for these details. Therefore, it's essential to have them written down somewhere.
Your Google account info gives you access to various Google products including the Google Play Store. You'll also need it to find a lost device.
Your Google account info will usually be a gmail address. You would have selected a password when you initially set up your device. You can view your Google account information with these steps:
Go to Settings
Press on the account circle at the top right of the setting screen
Be sure to keep a record of your Google account information!
Accounts and Passwords
Internet computers use your Account ID to identify who you are. Most services request an email address as your account ID. Email addresses work well because they are guaranteed to be unique, and they also reference a communication channel for messages.
Choose strong passwords to secure your accounts. They should be at least 8 characters long and use a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. Also, longer sentences make strong passwords that are easy to remember. For example, 2Secure4Me! and "big red truck" are both strong passwords.
To avoid locking yourself out, write down your password before typing it in. Also, fill out the account recovery information should you ever need to reset your password in the future. And, never reuse your banking, email and social media password for any other Internet account!
Internet Accounts use your identification to securely store your information and your preferences. You are responsible for managing your Internet accounts. We suggest you record and date your account information and share a copy with someone you trust.
Accessing Information Online
Most of your information is stored on the Internet. Therefore, your device is constantly accessing and sending data to Internet computers. In addition, your device uses a synchronization or sync process to keep everything updated and efficient.
A sync is a temporary copy of information from your account to your device. This allows you to continue to work in a limited way even when you lose your Internet connection.
New information is automatically synced to the central Internet computers. In this way, all your devices can see the same information when connected to your account.
In Settings, you can choose which accounts sync with the integrated Phone Apps such as Mail, Contacts and Calendar. In addition, third-party apps, like Google Photos can directly sync to your account from within the App.
Where's Your Data?
Some information may only be stored on your phone. If your phone is damaged or lost, you will lose this information. Ensure that all your essential data is backed up or stored on the Internet.
Google provides 15GB of free storage in your Google account. You can set your device to automatically backup to this space. However, be aware that syncing Email, Contacts, Calendar, Messages and Photos are different choices that you can sync individually. You can purchase additional storage space from Google as required.
Data from non-Google services, like Rogers or Microsoft Outlook, are stored on their respective Internet computers. Remember the golden rule of preserving digital information: keep a minimum of two copies of anything important!