This holiday season, people bought or received an estimated 45 million smartphones. While the devices are well designed and provide great user experiences, they offer so much functionality they can be complex.

Receiving or buying a new phone is just the beginning. Once you open the box and pull out your shiny new smartphone, you’re tasked with setting up the device, downloading apps and making sure your device is secure.

A recent survey conducted by Harris and Lookout reveals that Americans don’t know how to keep up with the Joneses when it comes to mobile technology and often rely on tech-savvy friends and family members for help.

The survey found:

• 63 percent find it difficult to keep up with the latest mobile technology.

• 46 percent admit that getting comfortable with new technology takes hours.

• Nearly one in three (31 percent) admit they regularly make mistakes with mobile technology.

So if you have a new device, you may need help to ensure you’re getting the best user experience, setting up your smartphone correctly, and more important, safely.

Here are some simple problems and solutions:


Fail: Not asking for advice on smartphone and tablet set-up.

Fix: Take a moment to read online reviews about your device for the optimal setup from Day 1. Changing your screen’s brightness and turning off features like GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’re not using them can make your battery last longer, giving you more quality time to crush candy.


Fail: Not personalizing settings. Your phone’s settings hold the key to how well your phone performs, what it looks like and even how secure it is. The first thing you should do when you take your phone out of the box is to familiarize yourself with your device’s settings. Each phone is unique, so take some time to learn the different settings.

Fix: Take the time to perfect your settings and personalize your mobile experience.


Fail: Downloading random apps or games. At this point, your phone can be a fully functional machine for everything — as long as you have the right apps, that is. It’s beneficial to get advice when looking for apps to download, especially making sure the app is made by a reputable developer.

Fix: Whether it’s your IT guy or the kid down the street, look for advice when downloading apps and make sure you’re downloading them from trusted sources, like Google Play and the Apple Store. Having a security app installed (which is especially important on Android devices) will serve as an extra layer of protection against downloading a bad app.


Fail: Not adjusting your privacy settings or setting a passcode. If the phone is lost or stolen, snoopers will have a harder time accessing personal information. Just make sure you know what the passcode is.

Fix: Setting a passcode is one of the smartest and easiest things you can do to protect your smartphone. Next, ensure your Wi-Fi is secured to keep your phone from being compromised.


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Lookout from Oct. 21-23, among 2,033 respondents ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.