Protect Your Privacy from Google, Siri and Alexa

from the desk of Rich on Tech


As you might have noticed, these newsletters have become a semi-regular thing. It just means that when you get one, they’ll be packed with the most relevant information I have to offer!

For those of you who wait with bated breath each week for the latest issue, please accept my sincere apologies.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, we are now deep into the holiday shopping season. There’s a package on every doorstop in the neighborhood. That’s how you know.

Black Friday was particularly fun for me. KFI let me host 4 hours on the radio, which I’ve never really done before. Sure, I’ve filled in for Leo, but that’s much more structured. This was pretty much anything goes, and I had a blast. If you listened, thanks!

Now, let’s get to the stuff you should know, shall we?

Google, Amazon & Apple Add New Ways to Protect Your Privacy

At first, many embraced all of these new voice assistants without thought of the privacy repercussions of welcoming microphones into our pockets and homes, now we’ve gotten a little smarter.

The tech companies have taken notice, and they now offer some new ways to delete the things you’ve said to these assistants. It’s worth knowing how to do it.

Hit up the link for a little lesson in the latest privacy settings that can help you out!

2019’s Top Apps Take Your Instagram Posts to the Next Level

Apple and Google recently named their top apps of 2019 and a lot of them have to do with social media. Fun little creation tools that can really make your Instagram posts, videos and stories look their best.

My favorite is the top camera app, called Spectre. I played with it at Disney California Adventure last night and was super impressed. You can basically take pictures that look like no one else is around. It sort of erases people and cars while leaving your main subject. Super cool stuff. Unfortunately, it was too dark out for me to get any Instaworthy results, but I will be trying this again very soon in the daylight!

Hit up the link for some cool and unique apps to potentially add to your home screen.

My New Book ‘101 iPhone Tips & Tricks’ Explains Latest iOS 13 Features

Thanks to you, my latest book is already the #1 bestselling iPhone guide on Amazon. We did a segment on KTLA highlighting some of the fun tips inside. Take a look and you might even learn something new!

My book makes the perfect holiday gift. Over and over, people come up to me and tell me that they like how I explain things in a way that they can actually understand. That’s what my book is all about. Making the iPhone’s useful features understandable to everyone, not just techies.

Right now, you can even get a personalized, signed copy using this link:

I Tried on Google and Levi’s Smart Jean Jacket and It’s Cool, but Not There Just Yet

Google and Levi’s have collaborated on some cool new technology that weaves sensors into clothing. I tried on their jean jacket and it’s neat to see what they’re done, but it’s probably not something you need to run out and get right now.

The idea is that you connect your phone to your clothing through Bluetooth and you can now control certain functionality - like skipping tracks and hearing the current time - with a simple gesture on a pressure sensitive sleeve.

Check it out, if only to see me embracing a jean jacket again after all these years.

Rich on Tech Podcast

In my podcast, I talk about the tech stories I think you should know about and answer the questions you send me.

This week:

An upcoming iPhone might ditch wired connectors completely; Google Photos gets a feature to help you send picture messages to friends and family; breaking down the FBI's smart TV warning; Mattress hackers; best apps of 2019.

Listeners ask about the best duplicate file finder programs, the best flip phone for seniors, Apple's credit card reporting to credit agencies, wireless charging pads versus power banks and the best Apple Watch for the gym.

Take a listen using the link below or search “rich on tech” in your favorite audio app.

Holiday Gadgets 2019 on Hallmark Home & Family Show

I’m super jealous of the Home & Family house. It’s so warm and cozy, you sort of forget it’s actually just a set on the backlot at Universal Studios. I chatted with host Debbie Matenopoulos about some cool gadget gift ideas. BTW, she was super duper nice, so fun to meet her!

If you want more info on the gadgets I showed off, hit up this link:

That’s going to do it. One more thing. So random, I know… but I shared a picture of this ginger dressing I found at Target on Instagram Stories and I can’t believe how many people messaged me about it. Guess I’m not the only one who loves the Benihana salad dressing! This is super similar. We found it in the refrigerated section at Target. You’re welcome.

Have a fantastic weekend!


Motorola Brings Back the Razr

from the desk of Rich on Tech

Well, hello there!

This is the busiest time in the tech world, with lots of new goodies from manufacturers all vying for our holiday shopping dollars. I’m going to do my best to highlight great gadget gift ideas over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, you know my new book will make a great gift for the iPhone user in your life. It’s packed with all kinds of useful tips anyone can use and fully up to date for iOS 13. Check it out!

Now, let’s get to the big story of the week.

Motorola is bringing back the Razr

The iconic phone looks similar but it’s totally new and modernized. For starters, this time around it’s a smartphone and it’s running Android. There’s also a big, foldable screen inside!

There’s no denying Motorola did a great job with the reboot and the interest is certainly there. But will that translate into sales? Especially at $1500 a pop? To further complicate matters, the phone is exclusive to Verizon. Even if you don’t plan on buying it, take a trip down memory lane and watch my story.

Tiny satellite lets you text without a cell signal

Speaking of phones, I did a segment on a really cool smartphone accessory: a tiny satellite that lets you send and receive text messages even when cellular goes down.

My in-laws could have used this when they were caught up in the recent California wildfires; my wife was seriously worried when she didn’t hear from them for hours. Turns out the power and cell signal were out, a one two punch for connectivity.

The device is called the SatPaq and it connects to your phone via Bluetooth. Then, just aim it at the sky and send and receive. It’s not just for emergencies, hikers will like it too. It’s pricey at $250 plus message packs, but it might be worth it.

Disney launches its streaming service

Disney+ launched this week, and if you have kids or are into Star Wars, you might have already subscribed. It’s pretty impressive. Apparently 10 million people signed up already; Netflix has 60 million subscribers in the US.

There is a ton to watch, especially older stuff. There are originals, but it doesn’t really matter. At $6.99 a month, it’s sort of a no brainer for families. If you have an unlimited plan on Verizon wireless, you might even be able to nab a year for free. Check out my video below for details.

Rich on Tech Podcast

In my podcast, I talk about the tech items I think you should know about and answer the questions you send me.

Here’s what Producer Meghan and I discussed this week:

The Razr flip phone comes back as an Android smartphone; Google enables an iMessage-style solution to all Android phones; A look at the Disney+ streaming service; Apple's new 16-inch MacBook Pro; Google Maps gets a handy feature for international travel; the Libby app for downloading free library books to your Kindle.

Listeners ask about getting free cloud storage, the best digital picture frame, how to edit their address book on a computer, whether AirPods Pro are still worth it and a phone to replace a Samsung device.

Take a listen using the link below or just search “Rich on Tech” in your favorite audio app

Filling in for Leo

I spent two weekends in beautiful Petaluma, California to fill in for Leo Laporte on his Tech Guy radio show. It is so cool that I get to do that!

If you want to take a listen or watch some of the episodes, I’ve linked them below.

Get free library books on your Kindle

I mentioned this on Leo’s show and on my podcast, and I’m putting it here too since I think it’s so darn cool. Did you know you can get free books from the library… ON YOUR KINDLE? It’s seriously cool and totally free. Just download an app called Libby and link your library account (you can even sign up for one instantly through the app) and then link your Kindle reader account.

Next, you can search for and download books right to your Kindle reader! They carry the same rules as physical books, sometimes they are out of stock or you have to wait a bit for popular titles to become available, but did I mention it’s free?

Audiobooks too! Libby even works with CarPlay (haven’t tested to see if it shows up on Android Auto). You can keep books for a certain amount of time as determined by your library, but check it out.

Thanks for reading!

That’s going to do it for this time around. Thanks so much for taking the time to get this far, please hit the heart below on your way out or share this with a friend who might enjoy.


The Good and Bad of AirPods Pro

from the desk of Rich on Tech

Hi again! Did you forget about me?

I know, it’s been a while since I sent one of these handy emails, but between the fires in Southern California and travel on assignment, they just evaded me.

But I’m back! First, my thoughts go out to everyone who is affected by these California wildfires. Stay safe out there. Now, let’s get to the tech.

Hands on AirPods Pro

Apple surprised us with a new type of AirPods called AirPods Pro. The high level new features: active noise cancellation as well as sweat and water resistance. I’ve worn them for a few days now and they do a great job at sounding really good. I love the noise cancellation - I never felt more immersed in a workout. I also like the option to switch to what apple calls Transparency mode, which lets you hear the world around you. You can’t have both at the same time. It’s one or the other.

The bad: they seal out your ears much more than regular AirPods, which not everyone will like the feeling of. They are tougher to get out of the case. Also, the “squeeze” functionality to skip tracks and perform other functions is tricky on the short stems. The tap feature on regular AirPods is easier.

Are they worth $250? If you want noise cancelling, yes. One less set of headphones to pack for travel, and much smaller at that. Also, that price includes a wireless charging case, so technically they’re only $50 more than similarly equipped “regular” AirPods.

More on the AirPods Pro in the link below!

Pixel 4 Thoughts

Another gadget I’ve been testing out is Google’s new Pixel smartphone, widely known to take the best smartphone pictures on the planet.

It doesn’t disappoint in that area, if pictures are your number one priority, you will love the Pixel 4. What’s not so good is battery life, you’ll be recharging it more than similar phones (and especially the iPhone 11 Pro, which has uncanny good battery life) and there is no wide angle camera.

Take a look at this picture shot on Pixel 4:

Compared to iPhone, Pixel is more of a smart phone in every sense of the word. It seems to anticipate your every move, including when you get nearby. It has radars built in to recognize gestures like to skip to the next song (which you probably won’t use) but it is really nice how it lowers the volume on incoming calls and alarms as you reach over to turn them off. That’s smart.

Still, iPhone has the better apps in many cases and access to iMessage, which everyone seems to use and love (for good reason).

Again, if you only want the best camera, Pixel 4 is a great device for that, but I feel like the iPhone 11 and Samsung S10+ and OnePlus 7T offer a more well-rounded experience.

Install Apple TV+ on Fire Stick

Apple’s new streaming video service has launched. It’s called Apple TV+ and you get a free year if you’ve bought select Apple products (like an iPhone or iPad) since September 10th.

Surprise: you can watch Apple TV+ on a wide variety of devices, including Amazon’s Fire TV sticks. Just download the Apple TV app and sign in with your Apple account. In addition to Apple’s new original programming (like Jennifer Anniston’s The Morning Show) you can watch your purchased and rented iTunes movies on Amazon Fire TV!

Watch my video below to see how to get it up and running on your Apple TV.

Want to learn about all of the new features of iOS 13?

Just want to get the upper hand on cool things you can do with your iPhone? Check out my updated book, 101 iPhone Tips & Tricks, now available as an eBook and Paperback on Amazon.

Important basics are covered including the new way to update, delete and rearrange apps, use the revamped Photos app and video editor, set time limits for apps and set your phone up properly to help out in an emergency situation.

Learn how to activate the new Dark Mode, swipe to type, stop robocalls, create an iMessage profile and choose WiFi and Bluetooth connections faster than ever.

Understand new settings that can help protect your privacy including how to share photos without revealing their GPS location, keep apps from accessing your location in the background and temporarily disable Siri’s listening feature instantly.

Fun tips include how to get Siri to play any radio station you can think of, find out if movies and TV shows are streaming for free and make sure you never get charged with a free trial fee ever again.

Favorites from the previous edition include how to turn your iPhone into a magnifying glass, scan a document, reveal hidden tools and use your phone as a level.

From beginner to expert, all levels of iPhone users will appreciate the tips inside this book. You’ll finally feel more in control of the device you use every day.

Makes a great holiday gift!

Learn more here:

Rich on Tech Podcast

My podcast is sort of like an audio version of this email. In it, I talk about the tech items I think you should know about and go more in depth on the stuff you see me talk about on TV.

In this week’s episode:

“Ears on” with Apple’s new AirPods Pro noise cancelling headphones; Google Assistant gets SiriusXM stations; Sony shuts down PlayStation Vue streaming service; Spotify tests a kids app; Amazon Fresh is now included in Prime; Details on HBO Max; the Hottest Toys this holiday season.

Listeners ask about the best earbuds for a Pixel smartphone, if it’s necessary to upgrade the iPhone 5 software, whether it’s worth signing up for Nextdoor, finding a new home internet provider and the best early warning earthquake apps.

Listen using the link below, or search “rich on tech” in your favorite audio app.

Light Up Costume

Here’s a great story. A Dad dresses his kid in a DIY light up costume. Next thing he knows, the video goes viral with 23 million views and he has a whole new business.

The suit is now called Glowy Zoey (after his daughter) and he sells a bunch of them, not just during Halloween. I wore one last night for trick or treating and pretty much every person I passed had to comment on it. It’s an attention getter for sure!

Watch my behind the scenes story on a business born out of social media:

Drag and Drop Stickers

Here’s a fun iOS tip: you can drag and drop your new Memoji stickers on top of specific iMessages for the perfect reaction. Did you know you could do this? Try it on your friends!

Subbing for Leo Laporte

This weekend (November 2-3) I’ll be guest hosting Leo Laporte’s syndicated radio show. You can listen by tuning into KFI AM 640 in the LA area between 11-2 PM Pacific Saturday and Sunday, or by asking Siri or Google Assistant to “play KFI AM 640 radio station.”

Have a question for me? Call 1-88-88-ASK-LEO during those hours!

Find a station near you:

That’s going to do it for now. Based on this post from Facebook, I’ll be thoroughly washing off the tops of my cans from now on.

Have a great weekend. Hit reply if you want to get in touch! If you liked this newsletter, hit the heart below to let me know.


Here's How to Read My Latest Book for Free

from the desk of Rich on Tech

Hello and Happy Friday!

Tech season is officially upon us. It’s Halloween, Thanksgiving and then the slide right into Christmas.

Have I stressed you out yet? I need to come up with some holiday gift guides, I’m thinking a list of gadgets under $50, under $100 and under $1000 would be helpful!

I’ve got upcoming events from Microsoft and Google on the docket… can’t wait to see what the new Surfaces and Pixels have in store.

But until then, let’s get into the important stuff this week, shall we?

101 (more) iPhone Tips & Tricks

It’s finally here for real. The new edition of my popular iPhone guide has been fully updated for iOS 13, or is it 13.1, or is it 13.1.1? There have been so many little updates it’s tough to keep track!

It also has a new title: 101 iPhone Tips & Tricks.

In it, I explain the new features of iOS 13 and reveal the other little tips and tricks to make you an iPhone Pro, no pun intended.

I’m doing things a little different this time. You can basically read the book for free. That’s right, it’s part of something called Kindle Unlimited, which is sort of Amazon’s answer to Netflix. You can read all the books in the program for $9.99 a month. But the best part? They give you two months to try out the service free! Which means you can read my latest book gratis.

You can download the Kindle reading app on basically any iOS or Android device you can think of, even desktop computers.

Of course, you can still purchase the eBook to keep, or for those of you that prefer a printed copy, that is coming very soon.

Best Web Privacy Tools

We did a very popular segment across our TV stations this week about web privacy tools.

There are several ways to protect your privacy as you search, keep annoying ads off your web pages and stop trackers from watching your every move.

Hit the link below to watch the story (which features some fantastic acting by Producer Meghan) and get links to all the goodies. No more ads following you around from page to page!

The Electric Car Subscription

You subscribe to Netflix and Spotify, why not your car, too? We visited with Torrance-based Canoo, which is building a subscription based EV.

The car looks like a mix between a minivan and an SUV. Inside, it’s spacious and retro looking. You will be able to subscribe to it for a flat fee month to month. They’re targeting a 2021 date to hit Los Angeles streets.

The design is a bit, shall we say, unique? See what you think in the link below.

Robot Dog Lovers

Sony invited us to a meetup of robot dog owners that we just had to go to.

These are folks who bought the company’s AIBO robotic dog, which goes for about $3,000. They love it just like a real pooch and at the event exchanged stories about their dogs and let them “play.”

All my kids want is a dog, a real dog, that is. Even as the tech guy I wouldn’t be so cruel as to think a robot could replace the real thing… but you gotta check out how much love these owners have for their (less than furry) friends.

OnePlus Makes Another Great Android Phone

I’ve been playing with the OnePlus 7T. This is my absolute favorite Android device maker right now. Why?

They make phones at fantastic prices but without many sacrifices.

Their latest has a great screen, the latest Android 10 software, fantastic speed, more than enough storage and triple cameras. You don’t get extreme water resistance, a headphone jack or wireless charging. Check it out if you’re in the market for a new Android, but just keep in mind that Google is going to announce the new lineup of Pixel phones mid-October.

Rich on Tech Podcast

In my podcast, I talk about the tech stuff I think you should know about and answer your questions!

This week:

Amazon announces details on no less than a dozen Alexa enabled gadgets; Ring makes its cheapest security camera yet; Ways to make your web browsing more private; details on Rich's new book with iPhone tips for iOS 13; Google Play has a new games subscription for $5 a month.

Listeners ask about switching from Pixel to Samsung, whether the app Mobilio is safe, ideas for lightweight iPhone battery cases and the best GPS watch for kids with autism.

Listen to show below or search “rich on tech” in your preferred podcast app.

Fun with iMessage

I’m always trying to find the little features on iPhone that people might not know about. These fun little animated effects for iMessage have been around for a while, but I polled enough people that didn’t know about them, so here they are! Have you used them before?

September 25, 2019

That’s all folks!

Have a fantastic weekend, see you next week. Be sure to hit the heart on your way out so I know you liked this. If you have a question or feedback for me, just hit that reply button.


Facebook Wants to Put a Camera in Your Living Room

from the desk of Rich on Tech

Happy Friday!

This is a big week for many of you: you’re either getting a new iPhone or new software for your iPhone with iOS 13. If you’re wondering whether to hit that software update button right now or to wait, just keep in mind that Apple is releasing bug fixes with iOS 13.1 September 24.

Let’s get to this week’s happenings, shall we?

Facebook’s Camera for the Living Room

Facebook has a new lineup of devices called Portal that are all about video chatting. There are two that look like picture frames, but with a camera in the corner. Another sits on top of your TV so you can video chat from the couch.

I’m fully aware of the privacy concerns surrounding Facebook, but these devices are actually quite a good idea. Video chatting on the phone isn’t so great, people move around too much. Video chatting on the couch is much more comfortable and relaxed.

The devices work with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, and nearly every human on the planet has one of these accounts.

My biggest downside to the TV device: you have to switch inputs to use it, and that can be tricky.

Watch my segment on the new devices using the link below:

Old School Light Bulbs Get Smart

Philips Hue unveiled a whole bunch of new products for their smart home ecosystem. They sort of invented the smart light bulb with bulbs that can change into 16 million different colors through voice and app commands.

Now, Hue has vintage style filament bulbs that last for years. Plus, they actually give off enough light to be useful during the day and cool looking at night. Hue also improved their portable light that can add a splash of color anywhere you go. They also have new chandelier bulbs, smart plugs and a button that can turn any light switch smart. Basically, they now have enough products to make every light in your home a smart light.

Hue bulbs are a bit pricey and they do require a hub for best performance, but I find that out of all the bulbs I’ve tested, they are the most reliable at changing color or dimming with the first command.

My Mom helped me out on this story, tap the link to check it out!

Sonic is Back!

Sega is capitalizing on our love of all things nostalgia with a new Genesis Mini game system. It has 42 games built in, including Sonic and Tetris, and will transport you right back into the 90’s. Also, it has HDMI output so it works with your modern TV.

We had fun playing with it, but personally I was a Nintendo kid growing up, so I didn’t play much Sonic except at the neighbor’s house.

The device is $80, which isn’t a bad deal considering all the games you get, but before you buy take a look at the list of games to determine how many of them you will actually play.


Since you’re on my exclusive mailing list, I’ll let you be the first to know that my new book is going to be available soon. Like any minute now!

It’s called 101 iPhone Tips & Tricks: Unlock the useful, time saving and fun features in iOS 13. I’ve been working on it for a few months and it’s nearly ready.

If you bought my last book, rest assured I wrote this with you in mind, too. There are all new tips for iOS 13 along with some fan favorites from the first.

It will be available on Amazon as a Kindle eBook first, followed by a paperback version later.

Here’s the pre-order page: it’s so secret there’s not even a cover image yet.

Apple Music Karaoke

One of the fun new features in iOS 13 is the ability to sing along with lyrics to your favorite songs! Of course, you have to be an Apple Music subscriber to take advantage.

Tap the thumbnail below to see the video demo!

The newest feature in Apple Music will have you singing... Arrives September 19 along with iOS 13 #karaoke🎤
September 17, 2019

Rich on Tech Podcast

The podcast continues to grow - many thanks if you’re already listening! If not, please check it out. It’s a fun way to get some tech news, my thoughts on the big stories and answers to questions from people just like you.

This week:

Facebook unveils new Portal video chat devices, including a model for your TV; A look at the Nintendo Switch Lite; Alexa gets smart about the election; the popular Pocket Casts podcast app goes free; new features in iOS 13; a cool new Roku feature that lets you search by movie quotes. Listeners ask if they should upgrade their iPhone, a recommendation for the best screen protector, an app to track family members across Android & iOS and whether an Echo device is a good fit for a 90 year old.

Listen here:

Love Friends?

You have to try these fun little surprises hidden in Google search! They’re there to celebrate 25 years of the popular TV show.

Hit the thumbnail below to watch my how-to.

That’s all for now!

Thanks for reading, I do appreciate it! If you liked this newsletter, please let me know by hitting the heart below before you close it out.

Have a great weekend! I’ll be the one decorating my house with spooky Halloween stuff.


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