Q: I recently bought a new 2020 Hyundai Tucson. At the time, my phone, a Sprint Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, seemed to work with the car (the Android phone icons are shown on the car’s display screen.) But now, when I want to use the phone-to-car connection for navigation, the phone takes a long time to connect to the car and soon disconnects. After two visits to the car dealership, I was told that my phone appears to be too old to connect with the newest car technology. I don’t consider a phone introduced in 2016 to be outdated, and after buying a car I’m not ready to buy a new phone, too. What do you suggest?

Lori Larson, St. Paul


A: Your Galaxy S7 Edge phone may not seem outdated. But when you connect your 2016 phone to your 2020 car via the “Android Auto” software, the age difference may matter.

The first thing you should do is make sure your phone meets the basic phone-to-car connection requirements for Android Auto. Google says your phone needs to have version 6 or higher of its Android operating system, but Hyundai says you need Android version 7.

Here’s where updating your phone becomes important. The Galaxy S7 Edge came with version 6 of Android, and with operating system updates available from Sprint (now merged into T-Mobile) your phone should have progressed to version 7 and then version 8 (the latest version your phone can use.) If you haven’t downloaded those upgrades, do so and see if it helps.

If the upgrades don’t solve your connection issue, you may be facing the tech industry problem of “backward compatibility” (the ability of new gadgets to work with older ones.) While Google says your Galaxy S7 Edge phone should be compatible with your new car, it also says, “For best performance, we recommend the latest version of Android.”

The latest version is Android 11, which was introduced in September. With that introduction, your updated phone with Android 8 is now three software generations behind. That’s probably why it keeps disconnecting from the newer software in your car.

What’s the solution? You could try updating your phone to a non-Google operating system that’s supposed to be “based on Android 10” (see tinyurl.com/yy6j32re). Or you could just buy a new phone. I recommend the latter.


Q: Would Microsoft charge me for the use of their Windows operating system? I have had a tech company check my PC monthly for about three years. One day they said I needed to pay them $8,000 to $10,000 for the licenses to run my PC. I refused and hung up. Did I do the right thing?

Gwen Spring, Denham Springs, La.


A: You did the right thing, because it’s a scam — and a truly outrageous one considering the amount of money involved. Here’s why it’s a scam:

• There is no charge for using Windows after you buy a PC.

• Microsoft will never e-mail or call you unless you contact the company first.

• You don’t need a tech-support company to check your PC monthly. Instead, use good antivirus software (which runs constantly on your PC) and download the free version of security program Malwarebytes, (see tinyurl.com/y3ju6oov) which you should run manually once a month. If you think you need a tech-support company, contact a local one by phone. To learn more, read the Federal Trade Commission’s warnings on tech-support scams (see tinyurl.com/y4cvktc5).


E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com or write to Tech Q&A, 650 3rd Av. S., Suite 1300, ­Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.