If you're reading this article and you're a regular at Android Central, we think you're pretty tech savvy. You've probably been called on many times to help solve tech crises for friends and family. Since we're all pretty much working from home, you may have had an increase in requests recently.
Here are some tips, tricks, and tools that we use to help out our friends and family when they need us.
I have done customer support in the past and I can tell you that it can be hard to diagnose a problem over the phone or text. It's just as frustrating for the person who needs help as it is for the person who gives it. Video calls are the best way to diagnose and solve family tech problems.
It doesn't matter which platform you use, I recommend one of the better cross- platform consumer applications. Chances are your friends and family already have these apps on their phones so why complicate matters with a new app?
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If you have a Mac computer, iPad, or iPhone laying around, don't forget about the video chat feature. Chances are at least some of your friends and family use it exclusively.
Screen sharing and the ability to switch between front and rear-facing cameras are some of the features of many common apps. Most of the apps are available on the web or through your phone. If both your grandma and uncle have issues, you can use these apps to talk them through it together.
A screen recording is a great way to walk your loved one through their problem or show them how to do something on their device in a step-by-step manner that they can watch and rewatch.
You could only access screen recording via adb commands, but it was built into the operating system, so it wasn't technically a screen recording feature. It was much easier to use and locate when the screen recording function was added to the notification panes.
The screen recorder option is available on all the best phones running the newer version of the software. The feature is very easy to use, and many manufacturers have built their own versions of it.
If your phone doesn't support this feature, you can download a screen recorder. Third-party recording apps have been known to be a potential cause of bad actors.
If the problem you're trying to solve is not complex enough to warrant recording your screen, or if you don't think your friends or family will follow along easily, you can take a picture of the problem and mark it up.
It's easy to reference static notes like this, and they can be saved in their messaging or notes app. You can use any of the best messaging apps to send a message to the person you're helping.
All you have to do is take a picture of something on your phone or computer, and then add notes to it through your photos app or another app. There are many other photo editing apps that can mark up photos in the same way that Google Photos does.
The pens on the phones like the Moto G Stylus are great for writing up an explanation, as they give you the precision and editing tools that you need. Even if you don't have a decent stylus, you can still use your fingers.
Some people learn best when they can watch someone else do a task, which is why some of the most effective teaching tools include video calls or screen recording. There's already a lot of great how-to content from many device manufacturers on platforms like YouTube and you might not always be around to help out.
I know that your family doesn't follow any of the official channels, but they have a lot of great, snack-sized content on how to use their devices.
We recommend sending them to the Android Central, Mr. Mobile, i More, and Windows Central channels.
There are more extreme ways to provide remote tech support, such as using an app, but I wouldn't recommend this approach. It is satisfying to just take control of your friend or family's device and fix it yourself, but you are also setting yourself up for future problems.
You have to trust that the person on the other end knows how to set up the software, and this in and of itself will likely involve its own degree of tech support. You don't want the worry, hurt, or liability that come with messing with someone else's device. You can open yourself up to a lifetime of support once you've done this once.
It's more gratifying for everyone if you can help people fix their own problems. You will feed a man for a day if you give him a fish. You can teach a man to fish and give him food for the rest of his life.
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