How to Disable Google from Tracking You

Whereever you go, Goggle is tracking you, especially Google Maps, and archives that activity in your Google Timeline. It is both a blessing and a curse. It can take you down memory lane, but as a curse, it leaves the door wide open to your privacy.

With Timeline, Google Maps can show where you are going and where you have been. Even photos taken and uploaded to Google Photos can reveal your location. You can also share your location in realtime on your smartphone.

If you prefer to keep your location private, you can remove your location history and stop Google from following you.

This feature is for your iOS (iPhone/iPad), Android device, Windows 10 or whatever smart device supports Google

Stop Activity and Location Tracking

  • Open your Google browser
  • Log into your account at myaccount.google.com
  • Select Data & personalization
  • You can disable what Google can tract and collect from you by managing your Activity controls. To stop tracking, click on the Title and toggle the switch to off. See below image:
Google Tracking 1
Google Activity controls

Warning! Turning off these Activity controls will effect the use of their features.

Delete your Activities

Your activities are kept until you manually delete them (the default). You have the option of deleting all data for the past 18 months or past 3 months.

  • Navigate to your Google account at myaccount.google.com
  • Select Data & personalization>Web & App Activity>Manage Activity>Choose to delete automatically. See below image:
Google Tracking 2
Google Deletion process
  • Select the 18 or 3 month option
  • Tap Next. See below image:
Google Tracking 3
Google selection of how long to keep your activity
  • Google will show you what is about to be deleted
  • Tap Confirm at the bottom of your screen. See below image:
Google Tracking 9
Google confirmation of your activity deletion
  • Also, you can delete a particular day’s browsing activity by taping the Trash icon next to the day. Refer to second image above.

To select a custom range, an hour or a date:

  • Tap the Menu icon located next to My Activity
  • Select Delete activity by. See below image:
Google Tracking 4
Google custom deletion
  • Choose one of the following options. See below image:
Goo5le Tracking 6
Google selecting your custom deletion
  • There are other privacy settings you can explore such as Location Services under Settings>Privacy and Security>Location>Location. A set of apps that use Location Services can be toggled on or off. See the following screen:
Google Tracking 8
Google Location Services to turn on or off

Warning! Turning off these Apps Location Services will effect the use of their features.

Go Incognito

The best and easist way to “hide” your browsing is to set the Incognito Mode. This feature allows you to browse without Google compiling history, cookies, site data or form information. Google has extended the feature to Maps and YouTube. Maps will stop tracking your location history; YouTube will no longer track your search and view history.

  • Launch Google
  • Tap the More icon in bottom right hand corner (the 3 dots)
  • Tap Turn on incognito. See below image:
Google Tracking 10
Google setting for Incognito Mode

You will see the following screen:

Google Tracking 7
Google Incognito Mode turned on

To turn off Incognito Mode:

  • Launch Google
  • Tap the More icon in the bottom right hand corner (the 3 dots)
  • Tap In incognito mode
  • Tap Turn off incognito. Refer to following image:
Google Tracking 7
Google Incognito Mode turned off

Leave a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

How to Block Unwanted Apps in Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge has a new “crapware” blocker. For some reason, it isn’t enabled by default, and it should be.

The browser can block “potentially unwanted programs (PUP)”, also known as “potentially unwanted apps”. These are obnoxious programs like adware, cryptocurrency miners, malware and browser toolbars, to name a few.

There is a simple toggle to block these “crapware” downloads. Let’s see how this is done.

This is for Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 and Mac versions

First, let’s check what version of Edge you are running. The stable release of Edge is 80+.

Check Your Version of Edge

Stable Version

  • Open Microsoft Edge
  • Click the Settings & more icon (the three dots in the upper right-hand corner)
  • Click Help & feedback
  • Click About Microsoft Edge

If you have the correct version, let’s enable the toggle. If not, go to Windows Update to check for updates or download and install from this link.

Set the Toggle to Block Unwanted Apps

  • Click the Settings & more icon (the three dots in the upper right-hand corner)
  • Click Settings
  • Click Privacy and services option
  • Under Services, toggle to On for Block potentially unwanted apps option
Block Unwanted Apps in Edge
  • Close the Settings screen
  • You may now Close or Exit Edge

Microsoft Edge will now be more active in blocking unwanted software.

Leave a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

Want to Fix Your Crooked iPhone Photos?

Your photos are off center and you want to fix one or more. The Apple iOS 13 photo editor can straighten a photo. But what if you want more control over the photo. I am going to introduce to you to a free third party app called Snapseed from Google.

This is for iOS devices iPhone and iPad

  • Either take a crooked photo or select one that you want to fix. See my following crooked photo:
iPhone Crocked Photo Cropped 1
My crooked iPhone photo

Cropping the Photo

  • Tap the Edit button
  • Tap the Crop button at the bottom of the screen

The photo will be automatically crop and the perspective will be changed. Sometimes, this is enough. If so, just click Done and your finished. In my case, I had to use the Straighten tool to rotate the photo then I clicked Done. Notice I rotated the photo a -18. Refer to below image for my result:

iPhone Crocked Photo Cropped 3
Editing with iPhone photo editor

If you are using iOS 13+, head over to the App Store to download and install the free program Snapseed. Once installed:

The Snapseed Tools

  • Open your crooked photo in Snapseed
  • Click on Tools at the bottom of the screen. You will see the following image:
iPhone Crocked Photo Cropped 5
Snapseed tool set

As you will notice, there are lots of tools to chose from for your photo.

  • Click on the Perspective icon. You can tilt up or down, rotate right or left, scale the photo or free hand the perspective. Refer to my below image:
iPhone Crocked Photo Cropped 6
Using the Snapseed Perspective tool

The app is super sensitive to your touch, much more precise than the built in iPhone photo editor. As you move the perspective, the app will automatically fill in the edges. Check out all the other tools you can use for photo editing. Once you are finished, click Done. Notice at the top of the screen the Straighten is precise to the hundreds of a percent. See the below image:

Phone Crocked Photo Cropped 7
Final image with Snapseed. This photo was cropped showing white edges

Saving Your Photo

  • Tap on the Checkmark icon in the lower right of your screen
  • Tap on Export. You will see the following image:
iPhone Crocked Photo Cropped 8
Saving your photo
  • Tap on Save to save your changes or Save a copy to preserve your original photo. You are now finished.

Leave a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

Four Tips and Gotchas for a WordPress Blog

I have been blogging using WordPress as my hosting site for a couple of months. I have discovered a few tips and gotchas using WordPress that may be of interest to you.

First, if you noticed some strange highlighted text on your site, don’t panic. They will go away by exiting and relaunching your site. I had some highlighted text (in yellow) in my Categories section that I did not enter. After exiting and relaunching, the highlighted yellow text disappeared.

Second, if you have links in your posts, the linkage may add the words “opens in a new tab” at the end of your URL. This happens if you have the slider control Open in new tab turned off. This control is found in the drop down arrow next to the Return or the Edit (the pencil) icon). Your links will not work. You must remove the words (opens in a new tab) in the link URL. To open the link in a new tab, you must turn the slider control Open in new tab to the On position.

Third, when I am writing a post, I want to return to a previous block to add or change some text. I position the cursor in the text, but nothing happens. I am unable to add or change any text. I have to save whatever changes I have made, exit the post, then relaunch the post. Then I am able to make text changes. This is most frustrating aspect of WordPress.

Fourth, in my version of WordPress, the Dashboard does not automatically load. To get to the Dashboard, enter <your website name>/wp-admin in your browser search field. For my blog, I would enter the following in my browser: techsavvy.life/wp-admin.

Leave a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

Why Auto Logging Out of Apps Should Be Required

This is for iOS, Android, Mac and PC devices

We all have our favorite smart device apps. This would include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit and others. What happens when you turn off your device, power off or shutdown? These apps are still active and readily available when your device is turned back on.

These apps offer you convenient access by keeping you logged in. When you log into a financial institution, say Bank of America or Morgan Stanley, you are logged out within two minutes of no activity.

Our favorite apps should do the same. By staying logged in, the apps are more subjective to hacks by others.

Of course, by logging out, means you have to reenter a UserID, Password and Passcode, if using Two Factor Authentication, to gain access. And that can be a pain but it’s worth it.

If you are selling or disposing a smart device, you should log out all apps. Also, you may consider erasing all data and/or resetting your device. Only do this if you no longer need the device.

I would like the app industry to follow the same logging out protocol as financial entities. What do you think? Please take the one question survey.

Leave a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

How to Use the Dim Feature in Microsoft PowerPoint

I ran across this neat feature of Microsoft PowerPoint that I want to share with you. As a presenter, you are in control of what is being displayed. Instead of presenting all your bullet points at once lets dim there appearance one at a time. The “dim text” feature allows the audience to focus on one topic. For my example I am using a single slide with five bullet points.

This is for PowerPoint for Office 365 Windows and Mac versions. Other versions of PowerPoint will be similar.

Launch PowerPoint

  • Open PowerPoint on your Desktop/Laptop or Mac
  • Find a slide that contains bullet points or text you want to dim. See my example below:
PowerPoint Slide 1
PowerPoint Slide Bullet Points screen
  • Highlight a bullet point or text
  • Select the Animations tab and choose the Appear animation

Set Animations

The animation will be successfully applied if you see a number next to the bullet point or slide.

Repeat the above steps until you have applied an animation to each bullet point or text. Refer to the following image:

PowerPoint Slide 2
PowerPoint Slide with Animation applied screen
  • Select all the Animations by using the “Ctrl” key and clicking on each animation.
  • Select the arrow next to the right side of the animation
PowerPoint Slide 3
PowerPoint Animations screen

Set Effects

Select Effect Options. See following image:

PowerPoint Slide 4
PowerPoint Effects screen

Change Behavior for Dimming

We are going to change the behavior of the default Don’t Dim option by clicking the arrow next to the item (a drop down box selection) and select a color slightly different than your bullet points or text. You want your color selected to be visible to the audience. For my example, I selected a light red color:

PowerPoint Slide 6
PowerPoint Color Selection for Animation screen
  • Click OK

Test Your Slide

Now its time to test out your slide. You should see something like the following screen as you manually or automatically select each bullet point.

PowerPoint Slide 7
PowerPoint using the Dim Feature

This is a nifty feature for your next text presentation. Save your slide or presentation, you are finished.

Leave a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.



How to Protect an Excel Workbook, a Sheet and its Structure

Do you want to protect your Microsoft Excel workbook or a sheet in your workbook? If so, this blog post is for you. We are going to password protect a workbook, protect a sheet in a workbook and the Excel file itself.

This is for Excel for Office 365 Windows and Mac versions. Other versions of Excel will be similar.

Protect a Workbook

I recommend you start with a blank Excel workbook, just in case you forget a password. To assign a password to an Excel workbook, do the following:

  • Open a blank Excel workbook. For demonstration purposes, I am using an Excel workbook that contains one sheet with cell data. You can choose an existing Excel workbook if you chose. See my workbook below :
Excel Security 1
  • Select File>Save As
Excel Security 2
  • Select More options (underneath Excel Workbook drop down box)
Excel Security 3
  • Select the Tools drop down box
  • Chose General Options
Excel Security 4

Set the Password(s)

You will see notice two password boxes, one to open the workbook and one to modify the workbook

  • Enter one or both passwords. Make sure you write down these passwords and store them in a safe place.

You have two other options to set if you chose, Always create backup and Enable Read-only recommended. The first is self explanatory. The second option is an extra layer of protection by enabling the workbook to read-only status upon opening.

  • Confirm your password(s) by reentering the password(s)
  • Click OK
  • Click Save
  • Close or Exit Excel

Note! A user who doesn’t know the second password can open and view the data by clicking the Read Only option. This user can still modify the data, but they are unable to save their changes to the protected workbook. However, the user can save the workbook under a new name, which circumvents the protection process. Of course, password-cracking software will get you into the workbook.

Protect a Sheet

  • Open a blank Excel workbook. For demonstration purposes, I am using an Excel workbook that contains one sheet with cell data. You can choose an existing Excel workbook if you chose.
  • Select the Review tab
  • Click the Protect icon
  • Click Protect Sheet icon. Refer to following image:
Excel Security 5
  • Enter your password in the Password to unprotect sheet box
  • Click OK
  • In the Confirm Password dialog box, type the password again
  • Click OK
  • Save your changes
  • Close or Exit Excel

Tip! To remove a password, click Protect>Unprotect Sheet and enter your password. You can also select Protect Workbook icon to protect a workbook which follows.

Protect Excel Structure

  • Open a blank Excel workbook. For demonstration purposes, I am using an Excel workbook that contains one sheet with cell data. You can choose an existing Excel workbook if you chose.
  • Select the Review tab
  • Click the Protect icon
  • Click Protect Workbook icon. Refer to the following image:
Excel Security 6

Select the Windows option if you want to prevent users from moving, resizing, or closing the workbook window or hide/unhide windows

  • Enter your password
  • Click OK
  • In the Confirm Password dialog box, type the password again
  • Click OK
  • Save your changes
  • Close or Exit Excel

Protect the Excel File

To prevent users from accessing the data in your Excel file, we are going to protect the file with a password

  • Open a blank Excel workbook. For demonstration purposes, I am using an Excel workbook that contains one sheet with cell data. You can choose an existing Excel workbook if you chose.
  • Select File>Info. Refer to my image below:
Excel Security 7
  • Click Protect Workbook icon
  • Chose Encrypt with Password option
Excel Security 8
  • Enter a password in the Encrypt Document dialog box
  • Click OK
  • In the Confirm Password dialog box, type the password again
  • Save your changes
  • Close or Exit Excel

Be cautious when sharing files or passwords with other users. You still run the risk of passwords falling into the hands of unintended users. Remember to write down your passwords and store them in a safe place.

Leave a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.