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Digital Resources: Smart Phone Basics

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What is a smartphone?

A phone and a computer all in one.

Smartphone capabilities

What can a smartphone do?

A smartphone can do everything a phone and a cell phone can do plus more!

Phones Cell Phones Smartphones
  • voice calls
  • voice calls
  • text messaging
  • contacts
  • voice calls      
  • text messaging       
  • pictures/camera
  • contacts         
  • web browsing         
  • apps
  • email              
  • games                 
  • video calls
  • calendar         
  • maps                 
  • touch screen

What's in a smartphone?

Your smartphone is made up of various components such as an operating system, memory, apps, a browser, and wi-fi.

If you think of your device as a house, the Operating System (OS) would be the foundation.

Different OS, and different versions of the same OS, can look and act differently! 

Examples: Apple= iOS; Windows= Windows 10; Other= Android

You can find the OS on your device by:

  • Apple: Going to Settings>General>About>then look at Version
  • Android: Open Settings>About Phone>find Android Version or Firmware Version

The Memory of your device would be like the attic of the house (storage space).

Memory is made up of Gigabytes (GB). These GBs hold pictures, eBooks, videos, and any other data you save to you device.

*Fun fact: A GB is made up of 1,024 MB (megabytes).

Apps (Applications) are computer programs which are like the walls of a house.

Apps are the little "squares" on your device. Many apps are pre-installed to a device (like the Phone, Calendar, Texts, and Mail apps) and you can download more from the App Store (like games or other programs). A widget is a form of an app that has one simple component, like the calculator or weather app.

A Browser is a preinstalled app that is like the windows of a house.

A browser is your window to the Internet and are used to view websites. Different companies provide different browsers.

Ex. Apple= ; Windows=  ; Android=

Wireless Connections connect you to other devices, making it the satellite of a house.

Wi-Fi allows you to connect to the Internet, printers, etc.

Bluetooth allows you to connect to speakers, microphones, headsets, etc.


How does WiFi work? 

WiFi is a Wireless internet connection and you are not limited to a single WiFi network. Multiple devices/computers can connect at the same time. You can set WiFi to automatically connect to networks you've used before.

Connect anywhere if:                                    

  • you are close enough to a signal
  • the network is "open" (no password required) OR if you have the password for a secure network.

How to automatically connect to WiFi?

Apple devices Android devices

1. Open Settings

2. Tap Wi-Fi 

3. Make sure "Ask to Join Networks" is turned off. (white=off; green=on)

1. Swipe down from above the top of your screen to display the hidden menu OR tap the icon bar at the top.

2. Tap Wi-Fi 

Or Settings   then Wi-Fi

3. Tap the network name OR tap More  then Saved Networks.

4. Tap and hold the network name, select Modify Network, then Save.

What is the "Cloud"?

Normal= program data stored directly onto your phone

Cloud= program data stored on other super computers (a.k.a) "the cloud." These computers are run by the company who developed the software.

Ex. Gmail is a "Cloud" program because:

  • accessible on any smartphone, tablet, or computer with wi-fi access
  • data is stored on Google's servers

Smartphone Manuals

Here are links to the manuals they never gave you:

The iPhone manual

The Android phone manual

Google the term “user guide,” the name of your cell provider, and the model of phone.  (example: “user guide verizon samsung galaxy s7”

The Windows phone manual

700 East Common Street, New Braunfels, TX, 78130    •    Phone: (830) 221-4300    •    SMS: (830) 253-4804    •    Fax: (830) 608-2154