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756 Comments

  1. Lisa | | Reply

    Hi Bob, I’m looking to buy a laptop I can use Adobe Premier and InDesign. Currently I am using a Toshiba Satellite P55-A5312 (1TB and 6 GB, i5) and editing videos is impossible due to lagging. I’m thinking 16GB, 1TB would be a better configuration. Am I on the right track? Could you recommend a few laptops under $1400? ($900-$1200 would be better.) Thank you.

  2. Ben Dismer | | Reply

    I just bought a samsung galaxy z fold 2 I am a current straight talk customer with an AT&T sim I was wondering what the APN settings would be for this phone. Thanks for the help the phone is working as I am writing this on the device. Just wanted to be sure it was set up correctly.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Thanks. Hope all if well with your new phone. Liking that fold?

  3. James | | Reply

    Can I purchase an iPhone SE from Tracfone with T-Mobile service and, if so, how can I do it? When a Tracfone is purchased online, there is no option for choosing the carrier SIM. While Tracfone support and sales reps say I can, they have not yet sent me one; I receive the same Verizon SIM with each.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      No. You cannot. Tracfone sells most if not all of their phones with Verizon SIMs. At one point, if you used a zip code, where Verizon didn’t have service, they would offer phone’s with an ATT to T-Mobile SIM, but I don’t think that’s been the case for years. In my experience, an Tracfone BYOP SIM card will work one of those phone’s but not the T-Mobile BYOP SIM card. If I get a chance I’ll try it again for 2021, but in the past, the phone would log back to the activation lock.
      If if it did work, it would be problematic in the sense you’d need to activate with the Verizon SIM and tranfer your service to the T-Mobile SIM. At that point you’d be a BYOP customer, You’d no longer qualify for the $50 one year of service days and on, and I think, Tracfone would then not unlock the phone after one year(but that is unproven)

  4. Rob Mullen | | Reply

    I transfered the # of my Motox4 phone to our new Samsung phone this past month. However now I would like to reactivate my old phone. Problem.. the SIM card is locked into this model. We had this phone with Net10 for over 5 years. I would expect them to have this number on their billing/ computer. AmI expecting too much ?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I am not sure what you mean by “the sim card is locked into this model” and I’m not sure what number you are expecting to them to have.

      Did you buy the X4 from Net10 or sign up with it BYOP? Net10 uses different networks, do you know if you had an AT&T, Verizon, or T-mobile net10 sim in?
      you should simply be able to transfer the service back. When you login to your account on Net10 to you see a deactivated device listed.

  5. Lisa | | Reply

    Hi, regarding your youtube post on “iPhone Unable to Use Cellular Data With a New Carrier Could Not Activate Cellular Data Network”

    What if I don’t fine the file “come.apple.manageCarrier.plist” to delete under ManagedPreferencesDomain?

    Can this file stored somewhere else?

    Please help, thank you.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I don’t know.
      I haven’t looked into this problem for some time. I don’t know if the problem is still present in iOS 14.. What version of iOS are you using?
      Did you have the specific problem, where the phone told you the profile is already installed but none are present in Settings > General > Profiles?

      thanks for following the instructions in the video on how to ask for help.

      • Lisa | | Reply

        I have iPhone 11 on IOS 14.3 and no, my phone doesn’t have any profiles installed.

        I was on google fi before and had to change the APN setting to get MMS working, but I didn’t clear the setting before I switch to AT&T and now my MMS group message can’t work now. (I cant’t send picture to non iPhone user nor text/pic in a group chat if there is one non iPhone user)

        I found an article says to just put back the google fi SIM card back and clear the setting but when I switch carriers I got a new phone and entered a 30 month contract where my iPhone is in carrier lock state(can’t take other SIM card) with AT&T and they won’t unlock it for me due to the term/promotional service I have.

        I’m not able to get to the cellar data page to change the APN and that Apple support said it’s AT&T preventing customer from changing it, and I contacted AT&T and they said they don’t have the option to reset it. All they tell me is to restore to factory default and do not load my backup.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Apple provides a feature for carriers to hide the APN settings. AT&T and many other carriers do this. The phone is supposed to set the APN automatically, hiding the settings prevents users for changing them and causing problems and support requests. The problem is when the APN isn’t getting set correctly.

          The directions in my video were for deleting APN profiles, not APN settings. I am confused though. You have an iPhone 11 now. If that the new phone you got from AT&T with a 30 month contract? Or is it the phone you used with Google Fi? If you had this phone with Fi before going to AT&T why would AT&T lock your phone? Or if the phone is from AT&T why would it have your Google Fi settings?

          When you had Fi did you set the APN settings directly or install an APN profile? Does your phone show AT&T in the top left corner? When you look in General > Settings > Carrier show AT&T 45.0 or some other number?

          You may also want to try General > Reset > Reset Network settings. … you’ll need to re enter WiFi passwords, but it should reset the APN settings.

          • Lisa | |

            The new phone is with AT&T for 30 month contract, and when i setup the new phone the data was transfer directly from the old phone side by side and not with computer. According to them (AT&T and Apple support) the APN should have been erased and set to what AN&T need, but because the setting is hiding I have no way to tell. All i know is my MMS message is not working and all my research points to APN setting is causing the problem.

            And yes, I have to directly make changes to the APN setting per Google FI request so the texts works properly.
            Network Carrier showed AT&T 45.0

            I tried over 5+ times with the reset Network and it doesn’t work, I also been on the phone with Apple and AT&T for over 4 hours 🙁

          • Bob Thompson | |

            Ok. FYI If you are unable to send & receive MMS one of the reasons might be that some of the MMS settings are not set correctly. While I believe you are having a problem, I don’t think the problem has anything to do with the fact that you previously used Google Fi. Assuming your AT&T data works, that would mean some of your APN settings were correctly updated, but not others. So I don’t think that is the problem.

            First off I’m going to say, this is AT&T’s problem to solve. Assuming you are using AT&T post paid service with a 30 month contract. You are paying for MMS service and they are not providing it. You are also paying postpaid services prices and should be getting support. Your conversations with AT&T and / or Apple should only be focused on the fact that MMS service doesn’t work. Nothing to do with the fact that you used to use Google Fi, or transfered your data from your old phone. Conversations about APN, Fi, and blah blah blah only offer the option for excuses on their part. If AT&T is not able to provide MMS they are not meeting the terms of your. contract.

            If you want to try and fix this yourself, there are some things to can try. Some of them are just to try and better understand the problem. Did you know that when you switch carriers, there is sometimes a lag before MMS starts working.. Something in the phone systems takes time to update. Kind of like when you move and mail goes to your old address. Did you know that the current iPhone software has bugs in iMessage that sometimes prevent people from receiving MMS.

            If I were you, here is what I’d do.
            First, on that new iPhone, I’d go into Settings > Messages and turn off iMessage. Restart the phone. Try sending a text message (SMS), a group text (MMS), and a picture message (MMS). See if it works. This will tell you if the problem is iMessage.

            Next, I’d try my AT&T sim in someone else’s phone. See if you can send & receive texts, pictures, and group texts. If you can’t, that tells you the problem isn’t your phone, its the service. You can do this using either an iPhone or Android phone. You didn’t say what your old phone was. If you have that phone you could do this with that old phone. if it doesn’t work consider resetting it factory settings and trying again. if no MMS, the problem isn’t your new phone.

            Assuming you have postpaid AT&T service, this could even be done in person in an AT&Tor Apple store.

            If MMS works with your SIM, you can assume the problem may be with your new iPhone. I’d do a full back up to iCloud or a computer or both. I’d fully reset the new iPhone, put the SIM in, and see if MMS works. If it does, I restore from the back up and try again.

            If you decide to try some of this, let me know and I’ll share some more info. Coffee time is over, got to get my day started.

  6. Lisa | | Reply

    Hi, regarding your youtube post “iPhone Unable to Use Cellular Data With a New Carrier Could Not Activate Cellular Data Network”
    What if I don’t have the file “com.apple.managedCarrier.plist” under ManagePreferenceDomain?
    Where else can I find the file to delete it?

    Thanks you.

  7. Selena | | Reply

    I have net10 service but I use a verizon phone where do I find the correct apn settings for my phone

  8. Susan | | Reply

    How would you compare consumer cellular to tracfone?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I have never used consumer cellular but the plan prices look high for what is included. I like tracfone for people with very modest needs, that don’t spend a lot of time talking on the phone.
      What are your needs for a phone, talk, text, and data?

  9. grace Nelson | | Reply

    Need to know if my existing straight talk service can be transferred to a Alcatel Cricket phone

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Cricket phones use the AT&T network. You’d need to use Straight Talk’s AT&T SIM card. Do you know what towers your current Straight Talk phones is using? If you don’t ask Straight Talk customer service. If you have the Cricket phone and it uses the same sim size as your Straight Talk phone try moving the SIM card and see it works.I would not try buying a cricket Alcatel phone to use with Straight Talk.

      • Grace R Nelson | | Reply

        My iPhone main board has gone bad so I had an old phone that has a cricket SIM card and wondered if my SIM card in my iPhone would work in the cricket phone?

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          I answered you previous comment

  10. Stephanie Dalton | | Reply

    Can I use a AT&T prepaid card to turn on a us cellular phone

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      The phone needs to be both unlocked and compatible with ATT. If both those are true you’d need a new att prepaid SIM card and then you can buy a plain card

  11. Tosha | | Reply

    I have straight talk service I just was given a verizon zte phone can I use my service on the Verizon phone

  12. Samuel Zapata | | Reply

    Hello, I’ve been searching for a Sim Card without any monthly plan or data plan, just to recieve calls and use WhatsApp etc…

    Do you know any carrier or company that sells the sim card without any plan?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      it doesn’t really work that way. For most carriers, you need to pay for active service. You can sign up for some services like Google Voice of Text Now. You’ll get a phone number. But you’ll need to use them with Wi-Fi and won’t have coverage on cellular. Often those phone numbers are “Voip” numbers and cannot be used to sign up for iMessage or maybe wave What’s App (I don’t use it).
      You won’t need a SM card for these. You can sign up for Tracfone, or Tello or some other carriers for maybe $5 to $10 per month average. You’ll get a “real” mobile number capable of sending and receiving text messages.

  13. stephanie cole | | Reply

    how can i switch my number to my new phone

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Depending on your phone and carrier you may be able to just move the SIM card or you can visit your carriers website and activate the phone. Choose the option to transfer your current number and they should figure out the rest. You may need a new SIM card

  14. Kim Leibbrand | | Reply

    Hi Bob,

    Where we live we have essentially zero cellular service. We have used Sprint’s wifi calling for years with no problems. Starting in March it started being very problematic. Pictures would’t download. Texting wouldn’t work. I can call my phone from the landline when I can’t find it, and it won’t ring. The icon for wifi calling comes and goes.

    I have called Sprint a myriad of times. I saw on Sprint’s web page that they changed wifi calling to prefer a cellular network if available. I looked for it, but now everything is switched over to T-Mobile. I know I didn’t dream it up, because one of the support people I spoke with confimed this. Maybe it sees we have one bar and is preferring that. I was hoping there was a work around like turning off mobile networks while we were at home. I finally spoke with a Geneava at Sprint who broke the news that wifi calling was broken, and there was no workaround.

    Now I am looking at a budget phones (we have s9s) and budget network providers. I liked the LG Reflect. I called LG, and they said it did support wifi calling. I got it home, and it is not an option. Like the previous question, do I really have to bring phones home and then see if the sim supports wifi calling? And how on earth do I know what carrier to go with (this Reflect is a Straight Talk phone)?

    Or can we keep our phones and go to a budget service that supports wifi calling? We don’t use them enough for what we’re paying Sprint ($40 per line).

    Thank you very much for any insight,

    Kim

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Kim,
      Try this. Put your phone in Airplane mode and then turn on Wi-Fi. Check to see that Wi-Fi Calling is on. Try calling your phone. Text a friend and ask them to send you a text, then a picture, if you use group texts, text your group and ask people to reply. Let me know the results.

      Paying $80+ per month in a lot if you live in an area with no service. I’ve had reasonably goo luck with Wi-Fi calling on less expensive prepaid wireless service. Unfortunately, Straight Talk, and the other Tracfone brands, have erratic support for Wi-Fi calling.

      And I’ll add that from 2018 to 2019 both my wife and I used Sprint postpaid service (it was free for a year!), I turned off Wi-Fi calling as my calls always dropped if I walked out of the range of Wi-Fi in my yard.

      Try the steps above. Let me know. Ideally, the best bet would be to find a prepaid wireless service with good Wi-Fi calling and to be able to use your current S9 phones with it.

      • Kim Leibbrand | | Reply

        Hi Bob,

        I turned on Airplane mode, then wifi and wifi calling. Calls and texts go through, but not pictures. However, in this configuration, if I call my phone from my landline, it goes through. That is an improvement.

        I will look for a prepaid wireless service with good wifi that works with our phones. I think you are correct on your advice. I wish I knew where to begin.

        Thank you very much for your time!

        Kim

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Kim,
          Picture messages are not supposed to work over Wi-Fi calling, only the cellular network. If it worked in the past they may have been getting delivered over the cell network.

          When you are ready to switch to prepaid, come back and leave a comment.
          The first thing you want to decide, is which major network has the best coverage in the places you use your phone AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint. If you can figure that out, then choosing a prepaid service is much easier. Ask your family, friends, neighbors, or co workers what they are using and if they have good coverage.

          • Kim Leibbrand | |

            Will do!

          • Kim Leibbrand | |

            Also, with Verizon’s no contract service, after nine months of service with automatic payments, we will be saving almost $30 a month.

      • Kim Leibbrand | | Reply

        Hi Bob,

        I found out that our phones (Galaxy s9 and s9+) work with Verizon’s no contract service. I switched our phones over in December.

        The first improvement I noticed was that I did not have to reboot the phone when it could receive a mobile network. With Sprint, when I drove into town, the phone would not connect to the mobile network without rebooting. That is after turning off airplane mode, wifi calling and all that. I still had to reboot. It used to be a big deal that cell phones could switch seamlessly from tower to tower as the phone was mobile. Apparently, Sprint broke that, too.

        The second improvement is that wifi calling never dropped. For example, with Sprint, if I couldn’t find my phone at home, I would call it on the landline, but the call would go to voicemail, because wifi calling turned itself off. With Verizon it 100% goes through, because wifi calling never drops.

        The transfer to Verizon was painful. When I installed the Verizon sim in my phone, I called the phone number to port my number. Verizon said my phone was not active with Sprint. I called Sprint, and they said my number was active with them. I had to call Verizon numerous times to get connected to the team that had to manually port my number. When that happened it only took a matter of minutes.

        Note that when I installed the new sim, my phone could send texts, receive texts (including text images) and send calls. It could not receive calls. I assume that was because the calls were going to Sprint.

        I had the exact same problems when I installed the Verizon sim in my husband’s phone. I made the mistake of timing the install during the Christmas and New Years holidays which made getting technical support even worse. One call with technical support had a rooster crowing in the background. It was so funny. The helper had me on hold with the port team, but after being on the call for 25 minutes, I had to go.

        I am a happy Verizon customer now. Thank you, Bob.

        Kim

  15. Julia | | Reply

    Hi Bob, Thank you for sharing your amazingly helpful knowledge. I’m just wondering if my experience is common or not. Last year, I signed on with Consumer Cellular and bought an iphone 7 from them. I was so happy to find a reasonably priced option!! But I had this problem where I wouldn’t get my voicemails when I was connected to wifi (in other words at home). They would suddenly populate when I was out and about, sometimes days after they were originated. I finally learned that if someone called, I could turn off my wifi connection on my phone and usually within 30 minutes I would get the voicemail. Sometimes texts were also delayed, but it was most consistent with voicemails. I spent 20-30 hours easy over several months with Applecare, Consumer Cellular, and GeekSquad trying to resolve this to no avail.

    Finally, I had to solve the problem. So, I transferred to AT&T prepaid. Some problem, Next day, I signed on to regular AT&T $100/month version of service and magically the problem was solved.

    I’m wondering if this is a common glitch with prepaid phone service.

    I’d love to hear your insights and word on the street.

    Thanks so much!!!

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I’ve recently used mint mobile, Verizon prepaid, visible, Att prepaid and cricket. I have had no problems with voicemail or texting. Some of the tracfone brands only have regular voicemail. On occasion I hear of some one not getting voicemail notifications. In years past mms picture messages and group texts were problematic. The carriers had issues, the iPhone didn’t support those carriers, and getting the correct settings for Android phones was tricky.

      Some phone services can get confused when connected to WiFi opposed to the cell network. The phone knows it’s connected to the internet but what it is looking for is only available on the cellular network not the open internet

      • Julia | | Reply

        Interesting! Thank you!!

        I was worried that there was some penalty to users of low cost phone services (either by design or by lowering the priority on maintaining functionality).

        I’m glad to hear that most people don’t have this problem. Maybe I’ll try again with another one of these services you mention.

        Thank you so much for your helpful insights!!

        Truly!

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Prepaid and postpaid wireless service are not exactly the same but most people don’t notice the differences. For example, most prepaid wireless service do not support international roaming. In your case, support was a problem. For years, my company paid for my phone. When I had to start paying for it I was shocked by the bill. All those years ago, I switched, had a couple issues so I wrote about it on the web, and 8 years later I writing and reviewing the services.

          I’m currently paying $15 for my service, it meets my needs.

          If you ever decide to try prepaid wireless again, come back and we can discuss it. I’m working on some tutorials on what to consider when switching.

          • Julia | |

            Fantastic!! I definitely will!

            It’s just horrible paying those high fees.

            Thank you!!

  16. Nancy Fenno | | Reply

    Can I bring my iPad (5th gen) from AT&t to Tracphone?

  17. Dave miran | | Reply

    I think my wife may have a parental control on my phone I have straight talk I need help to get it off my phone I have a LG rebel 4

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I’n not aware of any Straight Talk or LG specific parental control features. She may have installed an app.

  18. John | | Reply

    Hi Bob, I currently have Tracfone’s $15/month BYOP smartphone plan using the Verizon network and am happy with the service. However, I’m about to try Mint Mobile’s $15/month plan to see if it is worth using T-mobile towers to get the extra 2.5 GB per month.

    Question: If I decide to go back to Tracfone, will I need a new sim kit, or can I just go through the activation process again with my old Tracfone sim?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi John,
      I’m currently working on my Mint Mobile review, it’s totally awesome. Highly recommended. So far, I published this Mint Mobile $25 12GB Data Unlimited Talk & Text Oct 2019.

      Check out the Cricket and AT&T prepaid plans for $15 if the AT&T network is an option for you. There are videos on my YouTube channel.

      I’ve never tried activating an old SIM again. It should work. If not a new SIM kit is only a buck if you order it online.

      • John | | Reply

        Thanks for the quick reply. The freedom of prepaid is an amazing thing. Also, great work on your YouTube channel. Super helpful!

  19. James | | Reply

    Hello and good day.

    My father has an old LG L41C Tracfone in which he has been accumulating minutes/data over several years by purchasing/redeeming one year cards. He has been receiving messages that this phone will stop working at the end of 2020.

    I have an unlocked Verizon Iphone 7 Plus phone and I bought the $1 dollar Tracfone sim card. We called Tracfone, and gave them the IMEI number on the Iphone 7Plus but they said that the phone isn’t compatible with Tracfone network. Is this true? What are our options then on transferring the phone number and service to another phone? Should we just buy a Tracfone from their website so that we know it will work on their network? Thanks

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      That iPhone 7 will work with a Tracfone BYOP AT&T or T-Mobile SIM. You can transfer his service to either. Obviously that iPhone is compatible with the Verizon network, but for some reason when Tracfone checks the MEID its coming back as not eligible. Unfortunately, the don’t say why. If I were you, I’d try checking both the MEID and the IMEI on tracfone.com again to see if it comes back as eligible. See https://www.tracfone.com/activation/byopcollectesn/VZW

      The best deal on a new iPhone is unlocked iPhone SE 2020 from Apple for $399. That will last hime for a long time. I can going to upgrade my mother to one too. She is using the original SE. All the iPhone’s Tracfone sells use the Verizon towers. I have a deals page here Tracfone Latest Deals and Promo Codes forJune 2020 so check that out if you decide to go that route. Their selection of iPhone is a little limited though. Good luck.

      When he switches to a smartphone, we will keep his balance but may lose the triple minutes option and the $50 one year of service days. Consider loading up before transferring to a new phone.

  20. anthony pollard | | Reply

    my internet is moving so slow when i get a connection and my data is gone i just activated my plan last monday

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I don’t know what phone or wireless service you use. Check your account online to see if it shows how much data they think you used. In my experience, sometimes Android phones use up data in. the background and you need to adjust the settings.

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