The Galaxy Note 10+: Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy

It’s been just over a month since Samsung released the much-anticipated Galaxy Note 10 phones and the initial excitement has had time to cool in the glare of cold reality. Since Apple launched their iPhone 11 series at the same time, general smartphone hysteria is still at a fever pitch, but a month living with the latest, greatest smartphone is still enough to dull the edge of pure hype.

The phone we used during this 30-day period is a 256GB Aurora Black Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. It is however not the US model using a Snapdragon system-on-a-chip. Instead, this is the version using Samsung’s in-house Exynos 9825 SoC. The difference between these two chips is essentially imperceptible. 

If you have a Note 10+, you have one of the fastest phones in the world and the margins between the top contenders are hardly enough to influence your buying decisions, unless you only care about synthetic benchmarks.

So the first thing you need to know about our time with the Note 10+ is that performance was never once an issue. If something runs poorly on this phone, it will run poorly on any contemporary smartphone. With that small point crossed off the list, we can dig into the real-world experience of using the Note 10+.

What We Got In The Galaxy Note 10+ Box

If you’ve bought a modern Galaxy phone since Samsung decided to embrace USB Type C, then you’ll know that quite a few bits and bobs were included in the box to help ease the transition. 

You’d get an OTG adapter to connect USB A devices to your phone, as well as a Micro-USB to Type C adapter and a USB A to USB C cable. Sadly none of these rather useful accessories were included with the flagship Note 10+. Inside the rather attractive box you’ll find one pair of AKG “tuned” USB-C earphones, one USB-C to USB-C cable and a wall charger that takes USB-C exclusively.

One problem immediately presents itself here. If you want to connect your Note 10+ to any device that doesn’t feature a USB-C port, you’ll have to go out and buy a Type C to Type A cable or cannibalize it from another device. It’s especially weird since one of the unique flagship features, dockless Dex support, needs a USB cable connection to a PC and you’ll rarely find USB-C connectors on PCs that aren’t relatively new. Even then, it’s still not a standard, widespread feature.

A very welcome inclusion is the factory-fitted screen protector and included silicon cover. Both of these are basic but very serviceable. The clear silicon cover does hide the rear finish of course, but if you are going to make use of a cover, it’s best to wait until your phone arrives to see if you like it. 

Silicon covers for the Galaxy Note 10+ aren’t cheap and if you’re happy with the bundled one it would make more sense to put that money towards a Samsung Care plan.

The failure to include a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter is however inexcusable in a phone of this caliber and price. It’s a small additional cost, but there’s no way the typical Note 10+ user isn’t going to need a way to connect an auxiliary 3.5mm audio cable to their phone at some point. Adding the cost of such an adapter would surely not have moved the needle on profitability. 

Aesthetics & Build Quality

Starting with the S8, Samsung really has been upping its design game and flexing its tech muscles. The last few generations of Galaxy flagships have developed a distinctive, futuristic design that really feels too advanced for 2019, compared to what else is available. 

The now-signature double curved screen has creeped even closer to the edges of the device, almost completely eliminating the bezel. More than 90% of the front of this phone is screen and that’s a revelation. 

Of course, this leaves the issue of where to put the front-facing camera, but barring some sort of future under-screen camera technology or a motorized pop-up solution, it’s hard to imagine how the designers at Samsung could have made this less obtrusive. The front camera has been reduced to a single, tiny hole punch that very quickly becomes invisible during daily use. 

It’s fairly simple to toggle apps between full-screen and normal mode. So if you can’t abide the hole punch in certain apps, you can simply restrict the edges of the app to stop short of crossing into that zone.

Ergonomics

How well specified a phone is doesn’t matter much if it’s a literal pain to use. Make no mistake, the Note 10+ is massive. Operating it with one hand isn’t impossible, but it takes some doing. By using all four fingers to lift and move the phone, you can just about reach every corner of the screen.

YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/aFtDcW-Kk7M

Samsung is aware of this and has had a “one-handed mode” in their note phones for a while now. It’s not activated by default and it does make using the phone with one hand as easy as using a smaller phone, by dynamically altering the display and user interface as you use it. 

We didn’t feel the need to activate this feature, but users with smaller than average hands will surely be glad the option is there. If you are curious, this mode isn’t hidden too deeply. 

Simply open Settings and head to Advanced Features > Motions and gestures > One-handed Mode.

The Under-Screen Fingerprint Reader

One of the worst casualties of the screen ratio wars has been the fingerprint reader. Facial recognition and the very wonky “iris scanning” that debuted with the S8 just don’t work as well as a traditional fingerprint scanner. 

However, moving the fingerprint reader to the back of the phone causes all sorts of usability issues. If the phone is in a car mount, unlocking it is a pain and you have to resort to a passcode or pattern. If the phone is laying on its back, you have to pick it up to unlock it or, once again, fall back to the passcode.

YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/lYtdxDedCLM

So everyone will be overjoyed to hear that the under-screen fingerprint reader works flawlessly. It’s fast and, once you learn where it is located, pretty easy to use. Samsung has an OS-level overlay that pops up whenever an app asks for fingerprint authentication. Everywhere we tested it worked as advertised. Whether it was web-based authentication for Paypal or in our banking app, it just worked. 

While some have complained that under-screen readers are noticeably slower than the traditional kind, this was never an issue. Regardless, Samsung released an update that included speed improvements for the reader about halfway through the month. While we are happy to believe it’s faster now, it seems just as snappy.

The Camera(s)

It’s basically impossible to find a flagship smartphone, or even a mid-range model, that has what any person could call a “bad” camera. Differences in camera performance between the top dogs these days often come down to subjective preference or subtle technical differences that make no difference to the average consumer.

The Galaxy Note 10+ does not have the best cameras on a phone today, by various measures. However, it’s hard to imagine anyone being unimpressed with what is clearly a serious push by Samsung to make this an incredible all-round content creation machine. 

There are three rear-facing cameras on the phone, from super-wide to telephoto. The easiest way to demonstrate what you get is to show you. Here are some head-to-head photos with the Note 9, with the exception of the new ultrawide lens of course.

Note 10+ Ultrawide

This first image is the result of the Note 10 Plus ultra-wide angle lens, which the Note 9 lacks.

Note 9 Wide Angle Lens

This is the Note 9’s standard wide-angle lens.

Note 10+ Wide Angle Lens

Here we can compare the results, since this is the Galaxy Note 10+ standard wide angle lens.

Note 9 Telephoto

The Note 9’s telephoto lens was a welcome addition and it still looks pretty darn good.

Note 10+ Telephoto

Video is also a pretty important aspect of modern premium smartphones. So we decided to head over to the local off-road motorcycle racing track and put the Note 10+ through its paces.

First, here’s a clip using the ultra-wide angle lens and “super stabilization”. Of course, YouTube does do a little damage to the visuals with its compression, but it remains a level playing field since this happens to all videos uploaded to the web.

YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/sMQkjq9wQAY

For an action sports event, what you really want is slow-mo, and here the Note 10+ really impressed with its standard slow motion setting.

YouTube URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLPEapciQZs

As you can see, the Note 10 Plus is a step up from the phone it replaces, but you have to look at the photos side-by-side, as if the Note 9 takes poor photos. The inclusion of the ultra wide lens is however a pretty big deal if you are a serious phone photographer. It’s one killer feature that justifies upgrading from the previous generation Note.

Everything here was shot on full-auto, as most people are likely to use the phone. However, the built-in camera app includes plenty of manual options for those who want to achieve near-professional results.

Dockless Dex!

Samsung Dex is a desktop environment that’s been built into their phones since the S8’s release. By using the Dex Station accessory, you could connect a screen, mouse and keyboard to your phone. Docking the device takes you straight to Dex where you can do virtually everything you could with a regular light productivity machine.

The Dex stations were rather pricey, although these days you can pick them up for a fraction of the launch price. Still it doesn’t seem that this has caught on with users, so Samsung has done something new with Dex for the Note 10 release.

You can use Dex with a Windows or Mac by installing the Dex app on it. Then when you connect the phone to the computer via USB, Dex opens up as a desktop app. 

Now, it’s fair to ask what the point of this is when you’re already sitting at a computer. But there are quite a few use cases where this form of Dex makes sense. Internet cafes or other public computers are one example. You can also use Dex on your work computer to ensure none of your personal information gets mixed in with company data.

Dex is a neat app and worked pretty well. There was certainly some detectable lag, but nothing that rendered the application unusable. Most importantly, Dex makes it dead easy to transfer data between a computer and your phone and the Note 10 is powerful enough that normal phone operations keep working as usual, even while Dex is running.

The Stylus

No review of a Galaxy Note device is complete without looking at the actual “Note” bits of the product. 

The bottom line is that writing on this screen feels eerily like writing on paper with a pen. Side-by-side with our Note 9, the experience is pretty much the same. The Note 10+ feels perhaps a tiny bit more responsive, but not that you’d notice day-to-day. The new stylus has a much longer battery (technically a supercapacitor) life. The Note 9 will last 30 minutes before needing a recharge. 

The new stylus will keep trucking for more than 10 hours, which we did not test. Simply because there’s no reasonable scenario where you’d use the stylus for that long without putting it back into the phone. You don’t need to pay attention to the battery life anymore.

YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/ZaXp-0Y-tVs

Which is good, because the stylus can now perform remote control functionality. Using it with the PowerPoint app and as a remote camera trigger is awesome. However, the app has to specifically support it. Some macro-like customization would have been nice. 

This is the best stylus experience on any phone. If you like to doodle, write notes, mark up PDFs or do lots of presentations on the go, it’s brilliant. If you don’t care about this aspect of the Note10+, you’re much better off saving some money and getting a Galaxy S10+.

Real World Battery Performance

The Note 10+ has an absolutely massive 4300 mAh battery and you’ll find various reviewers around the web subjecting it to torture tests that empty the phone out at a little less than 12 hours of abuse. 

While that’s an interesting metric on its own merits, most people would rather like to know what sort of performance they can expect on average, day-to-day. After using the Note 10+ for a month, we can definitively say that unless you plan to be away from any sort of charging facility for more than 24 hours, battery life isn’t something you need to spend any time thinking about.

We made a point of starting the day off with a full charge and only putting the phone back on charge at bedtime. Usage during the day included general web browsing, YouTube Music, moderate amounts of gaming and more Netflix than is strictly recommended. When at home or in the office, the phone was set to use WiFi, with about two hours of LTE use during commutes each day of the week.

For the most part, after a full work day, the Note 10+ still had at least 40% left in the tank. We’re sure very heavy users might get closer to that 12-hour torture test mark in real life, but the vast majority of users should have no issues. 

For the sake of interest, going to bed with a full charge and leaving the phone unplugged overnight typically used about 8% of the total capacity. The Note 10+ does of course learn your usage patterns and adapts to them to optimize battery use, but we saw great battery performance out of the box.

However, let’s say you do manage to drain the phone into the red – what about charging time? In a word – woosh! The included wall-charger rapidly fills the meter back up. Going from 60% to 100% takes 40 minutes. Bear in mind that you can buy a faster 45W charger, but we’re sticking to what you get for the asking price.

Who Should Buy a Note 10+?

You’ll notice that there isn’t much in the way of negative sentiment when it comes to the Note 10+. While it’s not a perfect device, it does represent a sort of premium smartphone pinnacle. It’s not the best at any one thing, but the device has no real weaknesses either. Whatever you want to do with the Note 10+, it will comply without complaint and gives a generally flawless performance.

The biggest problems relate to its size. We strongly recommend holding one of these phones in your actual hands before buying one. It’s no larger than the Note 9 to hold, but anyone else not accustomed to this relative bulk need to try before they buy.

The physically smaller Note 10 may be a better all-round choice and if you don’t want the stylus functionality we strongly recommend you consider the Galaxy S10 and S10+ instead.

Which brings up the next most important issue – Note 9 owners. If you have a Note 9, the Note 10 doesn’t bring enough to the table to warrant an upgrade. If it is your natural time to upgrade then you’ll definitely feel happy with your new phone. There are no backwards steps here. But don’t cut your time with the Note 9 short for this phone. The cost simply isn’t justified.

If you are considering buying a Note phone for the first time, there has never been a better time to get onboard. Make no mistake, the Note 10+ is the true Note.

The big, no-compromise phone that has the best specifications when it launched and is aimed at enthusiast users. Which is the main point, the Note 10+ is an enthusiast-class device. It is more than anyone needs, but exactly what many of us want. 

Samsung has reached the summit of this particular mountain and that shows in what’s on the horizon. The Galaxy Fold may now be the next cutting-edge tech-geek phone and there are strong rumors that the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 phones will be the last of their respective lines.

Instead they will be merged into a new hybrid device. If true, this is the masterpiece capstone of a legendary smartphone line and it’s undoubtedly a great one.

How To Use ADB Wirelessly On Your Android

ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge and it’s a utility you can install on your computer to perform actions on your Android device. If you’ve ever searched for any customization options for your Android device, you’ve likely heard of this utility as it’s used to customize Android devices as well.

In most cases, ADB is used over a USB connection to send and execute commands from your computer to your Android device. However, it works over a wireless connection as well. It’s really strange that not a lot of people talk about this useful feature of the utility.

By using ADB wirelessly with your Android device, you don’t need any mess of cables and you can perform various actions including taking screenshots, installing apps, removing apps, and so on, right from your computer wirelessly.

Use ADB Wirelessly For Non-rooted Android Devices

If you haven’t rooted your Android device or you don’t know what it is, then there’s an extra step you need to follow before you’re able to use ADB wirelessly.

You’ll need to first connect your device to your computer using a USB cable and then start the ADB server. It’s because the wireless ADB mode often doesn’t start the server required to connect your computer to your device.

Initiating The ADB Setup Over a USB Connection

  • Head over to the ADB website and download and extract the package on your computer.
  • Launch the Settings app on your Android device, tap on Developer options, and enable the option that says USB debugging. This is the option that lets you connect your computer to your Android over ADB.
  • Plug-in your Android device to your computer using a USB cable.
  • Launch a Command Prompt window (Windows) or Terminal window (Mac) in the ADB folder that you just extracted from the package. Type in the following command into the window and hit Enter.

    adb devices (Windows)
    ./adb devices (Mac)

  • A prompt asking if you’d like to allow USB debugging will appear on your device’s screen. Checkmark the Always allow from this computer box and tap on OK.
  • You’ll see your Android device listed in your command line window. Type in the following command and hit Enter. There won’t be an output for this command.

    adb tcpip 5555 (Windows)
    ./adb tcpip 5555 (Mac)

You’ve successfully set up the ADB service on port number 5555.

Finding Out The IP Address Of The Android Device

Now that the ADB server is up and running, you’re ready to connect to your device from your computer. To be able to do it, though, you’re going to need to first find out the IP address of your device.

Also, make sure your device is connected to the same wireless network as your computer.

  • Launch the Settings app on your Android device and tap on About phone at the bottom.
  • On the following screen, tap on the option that says Status which will let you see your network details.
  • Scroll down on the following screen and you’ll find an entry saying IP address. This is the address you’ll be using so note it down somewhere.

You now know the location of your device on your network and it’s time to establish a connection between two of your machines.

Connect Wirelessly To An Android Device Using ADB

You’ll now send a request from your computer to your device asking to make a connection. Since your computer is already one of the authorized machines for USB debugging, you won’t get a prompt or anything like that asking for your permission.

  • Get back to your command line window, type in the following command, and hit Enter. Be sure to replace IP with the actual IP address of your Android device.

    adb connect IP

  • If all goes well, the command line will output a message saying you’re now connected to the specified IP address.

Now that you’re connected to your Android device using ADB, you can issue any of the ADB commands you know and those will be executed on your Android phone.

Use ADB Wirelessly For Rooted Android Devices

If you’ve gained root-access on your device, then connecting to your device from your computer won’t require server initialization process. This means you won’t need to first connect the device using a USB cable.

You’ll need the IP address of your device, though.

  • Head over to the Google Play Store and download and install the Terminal Emulator app on your device.
  • Run the following command and provide the app with SU permissions on your device.

    su

  • Type in the following command one by one and these will initialize everything required for an ADB connection.

    setprop service.adb.tcp.port 5555
    stop adbd
    start adbd

  • Run the following command replacing IP with the IP address of your device on your computer’s command line window. It’ll connect to your device using ADB.

    adb connect IP

You can now run any of the commands you want on your device. Also, since your device is rooted, you can even run commands that require superuser permissions.

What ADB Commands To Try Out First

If you’ve never run any commands in ADB before, there are a few useful commands that you can run for the first time and get things done on your device.

  • Reboot device – adb reboot
  • Send file to the device – adb push source target
  • Get file from the device – adb pull source target
  • Install an app – adb install app-name.apk
  • Uninstall an app – adb uninstall package-name
  • Take a screenshot – adb shell screencap -p /sdcard/capture.png and then use adb pull /sdcard/capture.png to pull the screenshot to your computer

When you’ve finished, run the adb disconnect command to disconnect from your Android device.

6 Health Tracker Smartphone Apps to Get Healthy

Humans are unhealthy. We’re getting fatter, sicker, and lazier than ever. Sure, we can blame it on the accessibility to junk food, conveniences like two-day shipping, and sedentary lifestyles. 

However, the reality is that it all comes down to you and your habits. No one forces you to buy from Amazon vs. walking around your local shopping mall. Nor does anyone tie you down and force-feed you fast food and soda. Yet, only 2.7% of Americans lead healthy lifestyles.

While mobile gadgets are getting a bad rap for making us lazier, they can also be used to save us from our unhealthy customs. Let’s take a look at health tracker apps you can use on your smartphone to monitor your health. 

Instant Heart Rate ($4.99 – iOS/Android)

How often do you get your heart pumping throughout the day? Or a better question — when’s the last time your heart raced? 

Maybe it was last Tuesday when you were late for work and had to run up a flight of stairs and down a hall to catch an elevator before the doors closed? Or maybe it was several years ago when you last played tag with your children?

Either way, you’re not giving your heart the action it needs to thrive. As you’d imagine, the Instant Heart Rate health tracker app helps track your heart rate, and what it should be during different activities, such as: 

  • Rest
  • Light exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Aerobics
  • Conditioning 
  • High-performance training (Athletic Athlete)

This is all calculated based on your age. Then it’ll collect heart rate data each day, which comes with visual reports. Just make sure you have your phone in your hands since it can only detect your heart rate through your fingertips. 

Couch To 5K ( iOS/Android)

Want to lose weight and get fit, but don’t have the will to get off the couch (or wherever you’re sitting) to achieve your goals? Well, then the Couch to 5K is the app that can help you get in shape no matter where you are.

It can help take you from doing 0 feet a day to running 5K within nine weeks. 

Don’t worry, you don’t have to run around the block. Nor do you have to step foot outside of your home (or office). You can run right where you are — just jog in place, and it’ll track your steps.

It includes workout routines shown by four motivational coaches. So you’re not left to figure it all out on your own. You start off simple, switching between walking and running short distances. Eventually, you build yourself up to handle longer (in-place) journeys. 

Then to spice things up, you can listen to your music — the running tracker app plays audio cues so you don’t miss anything. 

Fooducate (Free – iOS/Android)

What you put in your body is just as important as what you do with your body. Eating the wrong foods can reverse any effort you make towards becoming fitter and healthier.

With the Fooducate app, you can learn about the foods you’re eating to see if they have too many carbs and calories. These are the common culprits of unsuccessful weight loss attempts. 

It also helps track what you eat daily, and you can scan product barcodes so the app can give it a nutrition grade. At least, you’ll never have to worry about whether the items in your shopping cart are healthy for you. 

Best of all — this food tracking app is free and available for iOS and Android. 

Headspace (Free – iOS/Android)

So we’ve talked about health tracking apps you can use for your weight loss, diet, and heart health. But what about your mind? Stress is a silent killer we must eradicate. 

The only way you can pull this off is if you practice mindfulness, get a good night’s rest, and meditate. Too many of us are working too hard, leading busy lives, and not taking care of our minds. 

Because of this, our bodies are breaking down (and our psyche). So to help improve your overall well-being, you can use Headspace to do daily meditations and mindfulness exercises. 

This includes doing breathing exercises, unwinding before bed, and helping you with focus, so you’re more productive throughout the day. 

Knocking out tasks will surely help to ease tensions we deal with at the end of the day. 

Apple Health & Google Fit (Free)

Alternatives to the Couch to 5K app are Apple Health and Google Fit. These health tracking apps allow you to keep track of all your daily activities. 

For example, it’ll tell you how many steps you take daily, monitor your weight, and tell you how long you’re active each day. You can also set goals and see if you’re reaching them. A countdown shows how long you have left to complete your daily steps and activities. 

The recommended amount is 10K steps daily, but you can always start smaller. 

These apps can also record activities like cycling and running. You can monitor your improvements, so you stay motivated to continue going. 

MyMoodTracker ($9.99 – iOS)

There’s a reason wellness goes hand-in-hand with health. If you’re not feeling well, then you can never achieve a healthy state. This is why it’s critical to keep an eye on your mental wellbeing. 

You can do this with MyMoodTracker, which helps to keep track of how you feel throughout the day. It’ll ask how you’re doing, then you can choose between a range of emotions, such as happy, sad, mad, etc. 

Over time, you can paint a picture of how often you have bad moods. The key is to try and improve your weeks with more happy days. To do this, you have to pinpoint what’s bothering you. 

Maybe you need more sleep, a more nutritious diet, or a change in departments (or careers). Your emotional health should always be at the forefront, so try using this iOS app to monitor it. 

Take Control Of Your Health 

It’s time to stop playing the victim to poor lifestyle habits. You can improve your diet, fitness, and mental wellness just by giving it more attention. 

With the above health tracking apps, you can take control of your wellbeing and become a better you. 

How To Setup & Use Tor On Android

Tor (The Onion Router) is maintained by volunteers around the globe with one primary focus in mind – privacy security. The purpose of Tor is to offer a safer, more secure environment than is typically offered on the standard web, and it does this by using multi-layer encryption.

The Onion Router uses the Firefox search engine as default, and provides an alternative to consumers who want to shop online without worrying that a hacker is going to steal their private information or personal identity. At a time where online security is even more necessary, more and more people are becoming Tor users.

Accessing the deep web is actually quite simple from a personal computer. All you really need to do is install the Tor browser or a plugin. But what about from an Android device? You could decide to download any one of the numerous Tor applications that the Google Play Store offers. Some of them also come with offers of added VPN security.

However, to get the full Tor experience, you’ll need to download and install three separate apps. You’ll also need to root and jailbreak your phone to enable third-party app installation.

How To Set Up & Use Tor On Android

Before we get into the apps necessary for Tor, we must first make sure that your Android device is rooted. 

If you’re familiar with Windows Explorer, think of the root as the C:\ of your device. Android doesn’t allow you to access this by default to keep users from accidentally deleting important files. However, to access Tor through the device, you’re going to need to get it done.

Rooting Your Device

How you go about rooting your device will be determined by which device model you own. Due to there being multiple device models, there isn’t a universal method for rooting them all. Your best bet is to do a bit of online research on the model of your phone and how to go about rooting it.

Jailbreaking

Jailbreaking is an odd term to use, as it makes it seem like you’re doing something illegal. This is not the case. All you’re doing is enabling your device to be able to install apps from sources not found in the Google Play Store. 

The process is a simple one, but will depend on the version of operating system your Android device is running.

For Android Nougat & earlier:

The wording may vary from version to version but the basic workflow remains the same. 

  • Head into the Settings of your phone and tap to open Security
  • Toggle on the Unknown Sources option and verify the changes with OK.

For Android Oreo & later:

Mucking around in Settings is no longer necessary. Anything not downloaded through the Google Play Store will prompt you with a confirmation dialog. Click to enable installation from an Unknown Source and you’re good to go.

The OrWall App

OrWall forces all of your Android device’s apps to use the Tor network whenever data is transmitted. 

  • Click the link to download the APK file, and install it.
  • Once installed, run through the setup, and reboot your device.
  • When the device is back up, you can launch OrWall and manually decide which of your apps will have their data transmitted through Tor.

The OrBot App

OrBot is the bridge from your device into the Tor network. The app can also be found in the Google Play Store but the link provided comes directly from the developer’s site.

After the app has been downloaded and installed, complete the setup wizard. This should only ever occur when setting OrBot up for the first time. All subsequent activations can be done from the Power button located in the app.

The OrFox App

OrFox is the companion browser created for Orbot, also developed by the great folks over at the Guardian Project. Where OrBot provides the Tor connection, OrFox is the vehicle you’ll use while traveling the information superhighway. In other words, OrFox is your Tor browser and, if you couldn’t already guess, the browser used is Firefox.

The app has no required setup prior to use other than a reliance on OrBot. You simply launch it and await the “success” prompt letting you know you’re connected. OrFox does provide the bonus of getting around most online restrictions. So if you’re currently in your work office unable to access certain sites, you and OrFox may just become the best of friends.

OrWeb, which is a basic version of the Tor Browser for Android, was made obsolete with the release of OrFox. OrWeb comes as the default browser with the download and installation of OrBot but contains many limitations. Ensure that you acquire OrFox for use with OrBot so as not to be limited in your Tor browsing capabilities.

6 Apps Every Parent Should Know About

As a parent, it’s your role to protect your children. After all, they haven’t been here all that long and don’t understand the potential threats this world presents. 

So you bolt the doors, limit their junk food intake, and enforce a curfew. They’re safe and sound in their rooms, right? Wrong. If your children have unmonitored access to a smart device, there’s another looming threat — mobile apps. 

There are mobile apps that pose as “children-friendly,” but are not. Here are seven you should be privy to. 

HIP

Making it to the top of our list is HIP — and for a special reason. Children can use this app to hide inappropriate apps in plain sight. It works by disguising apps as something less sinister. 

For example, a dating app that looks like nothing more than a music app. The name HIP is an acronym for Hide it Pro. However, it’ll appear as a HIP on your child’s device. 

It’s available on the app store for free. Your child can set up a PIN to hide all sorts of files in a vault, including photos and messages.

So if you’re a parent who regularly checks your kid’s mobile activities, then there’s a chance they’re hoodwinking you with this app. 

Also, there’s another similar app to be on the lookout for, called Poof

Snapchat

Facebook is an outdated platform for younger groups. The alternative for them is Snapchat. In case you’re not familiar with Snapchat, it’s an app that allows you to share videos with friends. Doesn’t sound too bad does it? So what’s the red flag?

The content you publish on this platform is similar to Instagram Stories, which disappear after 24 hours. This means you can never really know what your children are up to on this app because there’s no way to go back and check. 

Ensuring your children are safe and not doing anything they’re not supposed to on the app is challenging. So just to be on the safe side, it may be better to keep this app off your children’s gadgets. 

TikTok

All the kids love it, and even some adults use it. It’s the musical app people use to reenact their favorite dance moves from their favorite song or make a parody of a popular track. 

It all sounds innocent enough until you read the reviews from parents on Common Sense Media. Some are concerned about the language their kids are exposed to while using the app, and rightfully so. 

Not to mention, there’s also suggestive dance moves young eyes shouldn’t be watching (let alone doing). Did we mention adults are using it? Well, it deserves a second mention. 

It’s worth noting that the app is taking a stand by deleting accounts for users under 13. However, some parents may still want to ban this app for their 16+ teens. 

Be wary that users can fake their age, so if your child is under the limit, they can still create an account. 

Ask.fm

Anytime you have an app geared towards adolescents hiding their identity, parents should be worried. As you’d imagine, it’s an ideal place for cyberbullying. 

This app enables you to create an account, hide your identity, and contact others anonymously. The app focuses on asking other users questions anonymously. Kids will be kids, so you can expect some of them to ask outlandish questions (some of which may be disrespectful or embarrassing). 

Then there’s also the concern that the conversations aren’t always private. Some users ask each other for phone numbers and Kik usernames. 

Speaking of which…

Kik

Teens may pass this off as just another messenger to communicate with their friends through. However, when you look closer, you’ll see some concerns about potentially harmful behavior. 

Take, for example, the fact that you can exchange photos, sketches, gifs, and videos with anyone (even if they’re not your friend). So not only are your children potentially exposed to inappropriate content, but they also may be in contact with strangers posing as children. 

Unfortunately, there are no parental controls, and your children can protect their account with a password. If you don’t know it, then you’re locked out of that portion of your child’s life. 

Tinder

If you’re not in the dating game, then Tinder may not be on your radar just yet. It’s an app that allows users to rate each other’s photos (already a toxic start). 

Since you’re able to use GPS tracking, you can locate folks who are within a 10-mile radius of you. This is one of the reasons folks are using it for dating. And it helps match you with other potential “mates.”

The app does require users to be at least 18 years old, but it doesn’t verify age either. So it’s up to parents to ensure their children aren’t using it anyway.

Another similar app is Yubo, which is known as “Tinder for teens.” Like Tinder, it has a toxic nature, allowing users to accept or reject each other’s photos (by swiping left or right). 

This is the bane of social media, where people unwittingly hurt one another’s feelings without remorse. No wonder teen depression is on the rise!

Protect Your Kids From Predators (Young & Old)

Being a parent in the digital age is tough. You have to worry about predatory behaviors from old perverts, as well as crude youngsters. 

The best way to do this is to pay close attention to the apps your kids are using. Do more than look at the icon, review the app’s description, do a Google search, and see what other parents are saying about it on Common Sense Media. Even the police have issued their own list of apps parents should be wary of.