7 ways to avoid being the tech support for your family this season | Jobs Reply


You know it happens every year. You go home for the holidays and your dad shows his computer screen jumping like a reindeer in the snow, or your aunt has a smartphone with a frozen screen. We feel your pain. Don’t want to play technical support on relatives? Here are seven ways to help you solve their problem quickly, or places to send them online to fix it themselves so you can get back to the party.

Step 1: Site Speed

This is the opportunity to use if the complaint is that someone can’t get their Netflix to run in the bedroom, or they can’t upload photos to Facebook fast enough. A side bonus: you will look like the smartest person in the room, a technological genius if you will. Launch Ookla Speedtest from your iOS or Android phone and show them how fast or slow the download is from their Wi-Fi connection. (Our writer Stewart Wolpin explains this in detail in the middle of this article.) From there, they can address the issue with their cable or internet provider (see Step 5) The beauty here is that it only takes a few minutes. , and it gets the real heavy lifting off your plate.

Ask them to check download speeds first. This may be a call their cable provider can help with, not yoursiStock

Step 2: Suggest better passwords

He’s an old friend, but a real person. Changing their password will not remove a virus from their computer. But it’s a strong security measure – and it could be the reason they downloaded something funky in the first place. Ask them if they have ever changed the password on their smartphone, or if they use a strong password manager. They probably aren’t. (Most people don’t.) Send them here to learn how to use these devices, and change passwords. Again, a good referral that frees you up, and maybe disappears into the family crowd.

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Step 3: Update all OS

We are not suggesting you sit there and update their operating systems. (Trust us, we like you.) You can, however, show them where to check on their smartphones or computers in settings to see if they’ve updated to the latest OS for their Mac, PC, Android or iOS. Often a small icon will indicate that an update is pending, and once again, they can get the job done while you sip some eggnog. In fact, by the time your great aunt has uploaded and tested her device again, you’ll be out with friends.

a photo of a coffee mug next to a tabletAsk them to make sure the latest OS is downloaded for their device. While that happens, you can chill with the rest of the familyiStock

Step 4: Security 101

Sit them down and ask them to watch our recent Facebook Live with Gary Davis from McAfee, just one of the most famous computer security companies out there. We spoke to the leading consumer security evangelist about why you want to have strong passwords, and good security on your smart devices. Also now you get a 30 minute reprieve.

Step 5: Get them real help

Here are the links to the official people in technical support:

Microsoft

Apple

Dell

Motorola

Lenovo

Samsung

Sprint

ATT

Verizon

Comcast

You can also send users to GearBrain’s new product finder for help on any smart device. You can send them this link and it will take them to The GearBrain home page. All they have to do is search for the smart device they are having problems with. Then click on the product and it will take them to a product page with links to all the information they need to solve their problems. Links to the manufacturer’s customer service, owner’s manuals and installation guides are provided. You can even ask questions on the FAQ tab which will be answered by an expert within 24 hours if not sooner. And the best part, it’s free to use.

How to Find Products in GearBrain, Our Compatibility Finding Engine for Smart DevicesGearBrain helps simplify the Internet of Things or new connected devices for consumers. The GearBrain is the first and only…

Step 6: Back Up

A favorite: Ask them before you start, “Now, you know that you could lose all your data. I want to double check you have a backup of all your data.” We’ll promise you a ham they don’t have, which will buy you an incredible amount of time. Because they need to A) back up their data, or B) get an external hard drive that will make the mail come in, or something you can’t buy today because it’s the holidays.

photo of a dinner table with wine glassesSo that selfie app won’t load? Remind them that it’s friends and family time. Unplug, and enjoy the holidays with people you love.iStock

Step 7: Turn everything off and unplug it

Honestly, restarting things can be a magic saw in the tech world. So there is no harm in trying that. (Though check Step 6, just in case.) Also really, it’s the holidays. Some of us only see our family once a year. So, tell them to unplug the computer, put down their smartphone, and tell them you’ll help them after the holidays. That’s when you can cut and paste Step 5 into a card, and we wish you a Happy New Year.

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