Apple has been working with manufacturers for years to develop hearing aids and apps compatible with the iPhone. You can find a lengthy list of models on the “Use Made for iPhone hearing aids” page on Apple’s website. The site also has a list of models that meet the Federal Communications Commission’s hearing aid compatibility requirements and a guide to using other accessibility features built into the iOS software, like closed captions and flashing alerts.

While Apple’s site points you in the direction of specific hearing aid models, be sure to have a thorough conversation with your doctor or specialist about using the technology and what to expect. Your health care provider may have specific recommendations for you.

The Accessibility section in iOS device settings offers features and controls to make the phone or tablet easier to use for those with hearing loss.

Hearing aids with the “Made for iPhone” label were specifically designed to work with Apple’s mobile hardware — the iPhone 4s model and later (running at least iOS 7), as well as many iPad models and the fifth-generation iPod Touch or later. In addition to piping sound from iPhone calls, music, podcasts, video and other sources into the hearing aids, the “Made for iPhone” gear can control the auditory experience in other ways.

When the iOS device is wirelessly paired with these types of hearing aids, the wearer can adjust the volume, check battery life and use audio presets to adjust the sound pickup for specific situations, like being outdoors or in a restaurant. Apple’s technology also features a Live Listen feature that uses the device’s microphone to pick up and transmit conversations and other sounds around directly to the hearing aids.

As for Android users, Google has built similar basic accessibility features into its mobile operating system, but different phone and tablet manufacturers have also added tools of their own — which can vary based on the company. Some hearing aids and apps designed for the “Made for iPhone” program also work with Android-based devices made by GoogleHTC and Samsung. Microsoft’s site has information on hearing-aid compatibility with Windows Phone models.

It’s World Backup Day, which is another way of saying it’s a good time to safeguard your digital photos, videos, documents and emails by creating second copies, or backups, of them and storing them somewhere secure.

As headlines about hacking and cybertheft remind us daily, our personal devices are vulnerable. The good news is that setting up a system to keep your files backed up automatically is easy. Spending a little time today could save you a lot of trouble in the future.

Here’s a quick guide to the basics, with tips from The Wirecutter, the product review website, and J. D. Biersdorfer, who writes the Tech Tip features for The New York Times.

Backing Up Your Computer

An automated backup system can preserve all the essential files, even your iTunes library, that are stored on your computer.Microsoft includes File Recovery software with Windows 10 (or Backup and Restore if the computer is running Windows 7), while Apple’s Mac operating system has had the Time Machine program for backup since 2007.

For those who want more than the basic built-in backup software, third-party programs like Acronis True Image (for Windows and Mac, as well as Android and iOS) or Carbon Copy Cloner (for Mac) can grab a backup of the entire computer.

Next, you will need a place to put those backed-up files, typically an external hard drive or network server. The Wirecutter product review site (owned by The Times) has several suggestions for external hard drives.

Some programs (like Acronis True Image) also back up your files to a cloud-storage server. If you have a Mac and you want a cloud-based storage option, you can back up your files in iCloud. You can also use an online backup service — The Wirecutter recommends CrashPlan.

Many of today’s lightweight, travel-friendly “ultrabook” laptops come with internal solid-state drives that store data in a type of flash memory. Solid-state drives are more expensive to make and typically come in smaller capacities compared with hard disk drives.

If you have files you can store elsewhere, either in the cloud or on an external hard drive connected to the new laptop, you can offload them from the main drive if you get a laptop with a smaller capacity. Many laptop makers advertise devices in basic configurations, so even if a new computer’s drive looks like it tops out at 512 gigabytes, you may be able to pay extra for a custom configuration with a one-terabyte solid-state drive.

Backing Up Your Phone

If you have an iPhoneyou have the choice of backing up your data in iCloud or in iTunes.

If you choose the iCloud option, you will get up to two terabytes of storage, with the first five gigabytes free. Your backup files are always encrypted, and you can create and use backups from anywhere with Wi-Fi.

If you choose the iTunes option, your backup files are stored on your Mac or PC, and the amount of storage you get depends on your Mac’s or PC’s available space. You have the option of encrypted backups. You can only create and use backups from your Mac or PC.

You can also skip iTunes and iCloud and have more control over backing up an iPhone to a PC or Mac with a third-party backup program, like iMazing or iExplorer.

If you have a phone that uses the Android operating system, you can automatically back up your data and settings to Google Drive and your photos and videos to Google Photos. Unlimited automatic backups are available for Google Calendar and Google Contacts data and your photos and videos. For app data, call history and text messages, limited automatic backup is available — as much as 25 megabytes of data per app.

If you want to move photos from your Android to a MacGoogle Photos may be a simple solution. You can install the app on the Android phone and have it automatically back up your images online to your Google Photos account, where you can also see and download them to the Mac from a web browser. And iPhone users can install the Google Photos app for iOS to see their photos there and add any new pictures taken with iOS devices to a Google Photos library.

Flash drives designed especially for smartphones are becoming popular options for quick photo backup — SanDisk and Leef Mobile Memory are two of the major players.

Backing Up Your Social Media Feed

The horror of a hacked, crashed or deleted social media account can mean losing years of personal memories. Even if you are not worried about being hacked, you may want to save a copy of your account’s contents if you decide to quit the service, the company goes out of business or changes to its terms of service agreement are not to your liking.

If you want a simple way to download a backup of the pictures, friends, followers, tags and comments from your Instagram account, a social media backup service like can be a hassle-free solution. has free software for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS systems that automatically backs up and syncs your posts from InstagramFacebookTwitter and several other social media networks to your local drive. Frostbox is another service that works with Instagram, among other social media sites.

Backup Tips for Music Lovers

If you have backed up your iTunes audio library onto an external hard drive, you can use it to listen to your music on another computer.

If you don’t have room on your laptop’s hard drive to store the MP3 audio files you finally converted from your compact discs, you can store the collection on an external hard drive or upload the converted files to a cloud server, like Amazon MusicGoogle Play Music or iTunes Match, which makes your music accessible on any mobile gadgets you may also have. For those who want a richer sound than the MP3 format, here are some tips for converting CDs into high-fidelity tracks from The New York Times.

If you are or know someone who is visually impared then there are features on smartphones to make them more usable for you.

The three major mobile platforms — Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone — all include tools and features to help users with low or impaired vision, as well as those with hearing or motor-skills issues. Apple and Microsoft also have accessibility features built into the macOS and Windows desktop operating systems, as do some Linux distributions.

Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 10, includes several new features for those with visual impairments. For example, you can invert or filter screen colors in the Display Accommodation controls, or use the device’s camera and flash as an illuminated digital magnifying glass with the Magnifier feature.

Apple’s iOS 10 software includes a Magnifier feature that lets you use the device’s camera like a digital magnifying glass.

You can find all of Apple’s assistive iOS 10 features in the system settings. To get there, tap the Settings icon on the home screen, select General and then Accessibility. Once in the settings, you can turn on the VoiceOver feature, which audibly describes what is on the screen and can be controlled with touch-screen gestures or a Braille display. Some people have even used the VoiceOver feature and Siri to recite the text from iBooks aloud. The voice-activated Siri assistant can handle voice commands and control certain apps.

The iOS Accessibility settings include a Zoom function, controls for making the onscreen text bigger and an Accessibility Shortcut to reach the system’s assistive features quickly by triple-clicking the Home button. The system can even provide audible text corrections when you type.

As for training with using the Accessibility settings, Apple’s support site has a collection of illustrated technical support articles. The Mac for the Blind website sells training packages for using Apple products and can provide personalized support over Skype, FaceTime, Messages or telephone. The American Foundation for the Blind has a list of resources for iOS users.

Helpful sites around the web like iMore and iAccessibility (which offers suggestions for specialized apps, accessories and training videos) are among the resources available for those who want to better learn how to use the assistive features of iOS.

Need help setting up these accessibility features then Get in Touch today.

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