New Year, New Devices: Things to Watch for with Your Newest Tech

[1/24/2023] Now that the holidays have passed and you’ve opened your gifts and set up your latest tech and coolest new devices, you may wonder if you’re getting the most out of all your new gadgets.

You might be curious about whether that subtle internet service slowdown is caused by your new tech instead of a gremlin or bad weather.

New devices can be incredible, but with new tech comes new potential impacts and complications. You’re probably dealing with head-scratching setups, bandwidth hogs, programming the proper settings, and protecting your privacy. So, we understand that new tech can sometimes be a headache or hassle.

The good news is that you can ensure that your new devices don’t overwhelm your internet, because you utilize DayStarr’s advanced Fiber network, you’ve got a head start on maximizing your new tech’s speeds and innovations.

We’ll discuss some common issues to look out for when setting up new devices and technology in your home. Then, with a few simple steps and adjustments, you’ll be on your way to having the most tech-savvy digs on the block!

Bandwidth Hogging

One of the most common sources of frustration for many internet users is bandwidth hogging.

Bandwidth refers to the amount of data an internet connection can transmit per second. Bandwidth is different from internet speed, which refers to the rate data is transmitted per second. You want high speeds and increased bandwidth capacity for reliable, fast, and productive internet.

Bandwidth hogging occurs when a device or internet activity uses lots of bandwidth, making everyone else’s internet experience sluggish.

Devices that use a lot of bandwidth include that awesome new smart TV you’ve just set up—especially once you’ve started streaming movies in high definition.

Or maybe one of your family members has started recording and uploading more videos to TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram from their brand-spanking-new smartphone. That budding at-home cinematographer uploading and downloading videos is another infamous bandwidth hog!

If you’ve noticed an increase in slowdowns or general sluggishness with your internet after setting up new devices or tech at home, bandwidth hogging is a likely culprit.

There are online tools available to analyze bandwidth usage among all your devices and activities that will help identify the source of bandwidth hogging.

Once you’ve confirmed that bandwidth hogging is your problem, consider upgrading your internet’s bandwidth capacity by improving your internet plan. Upgrading your internet speed will significantly increase your home’s bandwidth and should meet just about all of your needs.

Contact a knowledgeable and helpful DayStarr team member for more information about improving your bandwidth. We offer speeds of up to 1 Gbps, dramatically enhancing your home’s internet performance.

Check for Software Updates—and Install Them

Even though you can’t wait to start streaming on your shiny new devices or show them off to your friends, you should do a few things beforehand.

The very first thing you should do after setting up a new device and connecting it to DayStarr’s Fiber network is to run a software update check.

Just about every tech device runs on software and firmware that the manufacturer and programmers regularly improve. Updating software is essential for security, as programmers always work to identify security weaknesses in their code or vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.

Remember that your new device may have been sitting in a warehouse or store for months before you purchased it—and during that time, the manufacturer may have issued multiple software and firmware updates already! So you must ensure your software is up-to-date.

Most devices have settings that let their systems automatically check for software and security updates. You can also let the system install those updates automatically. Still, many people prefer to be prompted to install them first (especially if you don’t want to be stuck waiting for several minutes or longer for installation to be complete).

We consider staying on top of software, firmware, and security updates a must—it’s simply a step you cannot afford to neglect for any of your devices, old or new.

Location Settings

After updating your software and updating your security, take a few minutes to check your new device’s privacy settings. So much of your online activity leaves a digital trail that you might prefer to reduce.

You can start by turning off your “location.”

Many devices track your physical location—right down to your zip code or street address! Though some apps depend on your actual physical location to operate properly (i.e., navigation, weather, and other map-related apps), plenty of apps do not need your location to work well.

You can adjust your location settings to require permission from certain apps before they start tracking or even hide your location altogether. Every device is different, so check the options in each device’s settings or preferences before proceeding.

Other Privacy Settings

Next, check out other privacy settings and make some common sense adjustments. For example, many devices are digitally “spying” on you, tracking your browsing activities or seeing the kinds of TV series and movies you like to watch.

Smart TVs utilize a technology known as “Automatic Content Recognition” or ACR, which scans the titles of the streaming content you view and transmits that information for digital analysis—which then gets used to better “target” you with ads and other marketing materials.

Yes, we know it sounds creepy (though the practice does reduce the costs of smart TVs).

The good news is that you can altogether disable ACR tracking on your smart TV. Of course, each smart TV is different, so check your device’s settings and follow the prompts to turn it off.

Additionally, some devices are even “listening to you.”

Smart speakers sit around just waiting for their unique “wake word” to be uttered, hearing every sound in its range, including your voice.

Again, each manufacturer’s device is unique, so log in to your account and check out its settings or preferences. For example, you can limit how long to keep your voice recordings (i.e., the questions you ask Alexa or Siri, or Google) or simply turn them off entirely.

Wipe Your Old Tech Before Passing It On!

Finally, don’t forget to take some common sense precautions with your old devices.

It’s tempting to pass an older tablet, smartphone, or smart TV on to your kids or even to sell it. But remember that sensitive information and data could be there, too. And we’re not just talking about your browsing history!

Credit card information, Social Security numbers, and even personal photos can linger digitally for years on old devices.

Be sure to “wipe” the memory off your devices before you sell them, give them away, trade them in, or even trash them (or, preferably, recycle them at an appropriate facility). Look into the settings and features of each device or even invest in an app or other program to safely eliminate all of your data before you get rid of your old device.