iPhone storage alerts, Gigabit Ethernet, Android notifications
Bob's Tech Talk
April 1, 2023 | View PDF
Q. Every few weeks my iPhone nags me with an alert that my storage is almost full. What should I do?
A. There are two common storage errors on iPhone. One is “Storage Almost Full” and the other is “iCloud Storage Almost Full.” There may be minor variations in the words based on your device’s version, but the idea is the same.
Take both of these messages seriously, because a cascade of very bad things are about to happen.
The biggest danger is when the warning simply states that storage is almost full. This message implies your device is not connected to iCloud properly. Most likely, your device is not backed up. If you lose your device, all your data, including your photos, are probably gone for good.
The domino effects depend on which apps consume the most space. It could be that your camera can no longer save photos, or new podcasts stop downloading, or perhaps, some of your email is removed. Unless you free up space on your device, one of these issues or something similar is going to occur.
Because an iCloud account shares space with your phone, signing in properly is a short term fix.
Less dire, but no less worrisome, is when iCloud storage fills up. When the “iCloud Storage Almost Full” error appears, you probably have at least a backup. But the next steps depend on if you still use the 5GB storage plan that comes free with each device.
Your options are to remove apps to recover space or upgrade to a larger plan. The free 5GB allowance is very small, enough for a few files and perhaps a device backup. The least expensive plan costs $12 a year and offers ten times more space. If that is still not enough, the next level is $36 a year for 200GB.
Both of these plans are inexpensive compared to the value of the data they will protect.
Low space causes all sorts of other problems, everything from mysterious bugs to failed system updates.
Unless the information on your phone is disposable, do not let a storage warning drag on for long.
Q. Is gigabit Internet worth the investment?
A. The value of gigabit internet has to do with how many people are in your house watching video at the same time.
Gigabit is a “marketing” speed based on the theoretical limit of the connection. Home networks rarely reach those speeds. However, home networks can get close with the right equipment. The primary way to utilize gigabit speed is wired Ethernet to a device that can support it. Most home networks are exclusively wireless. Wireless speeds, despite ads that may suggest otherwise, still fall short.
The benefits of faster speeds are most noticeable when there are multiple people in the same household that try to stream video over WiFi at the same time. The wireless base station will need to support gigabit Ethernet and multiple WiFi standards. Unless your devices are almost new, the hardware cost to update the network might make that introductory pricing for gigabit internet less attractive.
Q. Is there a way to hide some of the notifications on my Android phone?
A. Do Not Disturb mode will block everything, which is great if you want peace and quiet. But you asked about some notifications, and there things get more complicated.
There are system-wide categories in system settings that you can select to silence things like calendar events or alarms.
The Notifications screen in Settings also has a choice for Enhanced Notifications. When supported by apps you use, this option is worth a few minutes to see if its choices work for the apps you use. Enhanced Notifications try to prioritize notifications based on how often you use certain apps.
I prefer to setup my phone with minimal notifications. My world is noisy enough without more interruptions. I start by quieting many categories. However, I use the Contacts list to mark special people as priority, then only messages from them trigger a notification.
There is no single answer for everyone. But I always advise users to explore the settings available on their phone to shape notification alerts to fit their personal taste.
Wander the Web
Here are my picks for worthwhile browsing this month:
Fix Difficult Problems
Everyone needs help sometimes, even if it’s a quick laugh during a difficult day.
The Lighthouse Directory
A delightful source of information and links for more than 24,000 of the world’s lighthouses.
Cool Places to Eat
Atlas Obscura is so interesting it deserves multiple mentions. This month, a closer look at wondrous food.
Bob has been writing about technology for over three decades. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.