PASSHE Virtual Conference: February 15-26th

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education will present an online conference, Transforming the Teaching & Learning Environment beginning February 15th.  The 60 one-hour sessions are all delivered live via Blackboard Collaborate and allow you to interact with the presenters and your fellow participants. Sessions are chosen by selecting the best and most current sessions from other conferences in the past year. You’ll have the opportunity to engage with education professionals from all over the world.
See the schedule for the sessions that run for one hour each from 9-12 and 1-4.  You can view the sessions from any internet-enabled computer by clicking the “Join Session” link in the schedule and entering your name and Elizabethtown College (ie. Linda Macaulay – Elizabethtown College).  All webinars will also be broadcast from N101, except for 2/26 from 1-4, which will be in N106.

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Posted in Home Page, Teaching and Learning, Digital Citizenship Tagged with: , , , ,

Why Not To Go Wireless

Wi-Fi not working as fast as you’d like? Believe it or not, there are reasons your Netflix account isn’t streaming as fast as you’d like. Going wireless is not faster for anyone. The signal quality is affected by a number of things, all of which you and your neighbors can control.

Wireless printers and personal routers, for example, contribute to poor wireless signal for everyone. Don’t blame ITS next time your internet is slow; your neighbor’s wireless printer could be the true culprit. Ask them to use a USB cable for printing, and report unapproved wireless routers to your RA.

ITS_Wireless_Campaign_Wi-Fi_Monster

Read more about  network routers and wireless printers on the college’s Acceptable Use Policy: http://www.etown.edu/offices/its/Policies.aspx

Printers: http://helpdesk.etown.edu/helpconsole2012/kb/default.aspx#pageid=printing

Routers: http://helpdesk.etown.edu/helpconsole2012/kb/default.aspx#pageid=wireless

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Posted in Computer Tips, Web Tips, New Student Tips, Home Page, Digital Citizenship Tagged with: , , ,

Valentine’s Day Tech Gifts

So, you waited until the last minute, and now you’re scrambling to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for that certain someone. Well, you might have to settle for a chuckle, because perfect requires more shipping time, but here’s a few cool V-Day gifts anyway. Psst, pro-tip! Thinkgeek.com has great gifts for anyone any time of the year, but especially the geek or nerd in your life on Valentine’s Day. Plus, the site has free shipping on orders over $75, so buy yourself something while you’re at it! What will you choose?

  1. Skip the flowers this year, buy your loved one (or at least strongly liked one) a Plush Bouquet. The average Think Geek Plush Bouquet costs around $50, but come on, this Star Wars Bouquet is totally worth the money, right?
  2. If you can’t quite afford the plush bouquet, this flower might be more up your alley, especially if your valentine is a Nintendo fan. This 8-Bit Flower Bouquet is simply adorable and easy on the wallet. At only $9.99, don’t be afraid to buy your S.0. some flowers that won’t die in a week.
  3. Does your mostly, or even just occasionally, wonderful other half need somewhere to cool or warm a single can of soda? Of course they don’t! For only $19.99, though, they can make everyone around them jealous of their USB mini-fridge for their can. Give them just-what-they-never-asked-for with this USB Thermoelectric Can Cooler and Warmer.
  4. Insert corny “star in my heart,” or “twinkle in my eye” quote here. Or skip the quote and just give your “more than just a friend” these Constellation Earrings. They’re even on sale for only $12.49 for those of you on a budget! (We’re in college. Who isn’t on a budget?) These might be your best bet for a wow that doesn’t require a USB cord.
  5. If Bae might be a gamer, or if they just liked the old games, then these USB Classic Console Controllers might be for them! Hook these bad boys up to your computer and you have a classic controller for your nostalgic game like Super Mario Bros, Sonic, or any of those old GameCube games that can be easily downloaded to a computer. Enjoy these controllers for under $20. I know, reasonably priced nostalgia is hard to come by these days especially Windows and Mac OS compatible nostalgia.
  6. Finally, make them groan every time they can’t find their iPhone Charger with this obnoxious $14.99 Heart Charging Cable. Android owners are off the hook this time as Think Geek doesn’t have an Android version of this adorable gift this year. If your special one won’t like the hearts too much, then iPhone users can also opt for a similar cord with light up Skulls instead for $9.99.

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Posted in Web Tips, Home Page Tagged with: , , , , ,

Don’t Be Snowed by Ads and Viruses

These days it seems that pop-ups are worse than ever. All new pages bring pop-ups with them. Or do they? If a page is causing pop-ups or constantly encouraging you to download/update software, that is a page you might want to avoid.

The internet is filled with Malware, fake software that often loads viruses onto your computer. To avoid Malware, be very cautious about the links you click. A Java updater isn’t always an actual Java updater. Sometimes, it’s clever Malware waiting to fill your computer with viruses that slow your computer down or even cause serious problems like lost files.

How exactly do you avoid Malware?

Well, it’s not a science. Just be careful what you click. If a website doesn’t look reputable, then don’t click any links or ads. If a website opens with a pop-up, then go back. Sometimes viruses can sneak in the second you open a website without even clicking any bad ads.

Avoid websites that seem sketchy right off the bat.You wouldn’t open doorways down a haunted hallway, you’d turn around and run for your life. When you’re on a bad website, you’re running for your computer’s life.

A simple ad blocker can prevent many of the pop-ups or ads that you see on websites. For most browsers, like Chrome and Firefox, you can search for something called an extension or an add-on. These are often free apps that you can download to improve your user experience. A recommended program would be Adblock Plus for Chrome or Firefox. Remember though, not all add-ons or extensions are safe either. Double check before you download anything from the internet.

What do I do if I already have Malware on my computer?

That’s where antivirus software and pop-up blockers come to the rescue. A virus scanner, like Symantec Endpoint Protection, will help protect your computer from unwanted Malware and viruses. Symantec will also eliminate viruses that manage to get onto your computer too. For more assistance eliminating viruses or malware from your computer, you can try MalwareBytes. Stop by the Help Desk for more information.

Antivirus software ultimately works to protect the entire system from viruses. Each computer on campus is a player in protecting our system. That is why every single computer on campus must have Symantec installed to access our Wi-Fi. For more information on Symantec, or instructions for updating your software, check out this Knowledgebase article on Symantec Endpoint Protection.

Be careful where you click, and make sure that your antivirus software is running and up-to-date. You never know if there is a virus hiding behind a link. For more information on internet security check out these Knowledgebase articles on Computer Security. To read more about avoiding Malware, check out Tips to avoid Malware on your Windows PC or Mac Isn’t Safe Anymore.

If you find yourself with a virus on your computer, stop by the Help Desk in Nicarry or call to set up an appointment x3333. There are specialists that can help clean your computer and remove the malicious software (Malware.)

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Posted in Computer Tips, Web Tips, Home Page Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Recent Updates to Canvas: February 2016

Canvas recently enhanced the email notifications for discussions and announcements.  All users can reply directly to announcements and discussions from the email notification.  Learn more about other updates in this video.

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Posted in Home Page, Canvas

Tech Tip: Change Screen Size in PowerPoint

In PowerPoint, the size of slides can change with just a few clicks of the mouse. The default size in PPT 2013 or newer is in Widescreen (16:9). In older versions, the default size is Standard (4:3). To change from widescreen (16:9) to standard (4:3) or vice versa, open PowerPoint and navigate to the Design tab. Select Slide Size, and choose either Standard or Widescreen. If you choose Standard, you will be given scaling options. Maximize increases the size of the slide content and may result in not all of your content fitting on the slide. Ensure Fit decreases the size of the slide content and may make your content appear smaller, but all content will fit on the slide. Click here to view the Knowledgebase Article on Slide Size.

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Posted in Computer Tips, Home Page, Office 2013 Tagged with: , , ,

Top 10 Apps of 2015 for Students

2015 has seen more apps than ever before, and if you don’t have these yet, you’ll definitely want to take a look to find your next most used app on your phone.

Organization/Productivity:

When it comes to school, apps can improve your workflow and productivity. Busy people often don’t have time to sit down at a computer to access documents. There are a few options for on-the-go document access. CamScanner Pro (Android, iOS) will turn your phone into a portable scanner and save images as word documents or PDF files, and share them via a cloud service like OneDrive, Dropbox or Evernote.

To access those documents from your phone or tablet, faculty, staff, and students can download Microsoft365 for free (instructions here) for portable access to programs like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. If you’re having trouble keeping everything straight for class, work, and everything else going on, then let Studious (Android, iOS) take care of it for you! This app will allow you to input all due dates, schedules, exams, and sports games into one app and it will remind you when the date approaches.

Social Apps:

Most everyone has Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram already, but there are always new apps to be found. As LinkedIn becomes more popular, getting the mobile app will keep you up to date. LinkedIn Connected (Android, iOS) will allow full access to your account while on the go. For those of you who want more out of your camera, try Photo Director (Android, iOS), an image editing app that lets you do almost anything with your pictures including editing out annoying photo-bombers or adding cool filters, then upload your final product directly to your social media app of choice.

When we’re all so busy, it can be hard to communicate with friends sometimes. Tossup (Android, iOS) lets you post get-togethers and allows friends to mark if they are in or out and even vote on where to hang out! When you meet up with your friends, maybe consider making a funny lip sync video to post on Vine or Facebook later. Use Musical.ly (Android, iOS) to choose from hundreds of songs and then film, edit, and post your unforgettable video.

Leisure:

If you missed a lecture, didn’t fully understand what happened in class, or maybe you need to refresh your knowledge of an old topic, try Khan Academy (Android, iOS). With thousands of videos and explanations, you can easily learn material. If you enjoy listening to Podcasts, Podcast Addict (Android, iOS) makes discovering and downloading new podcasts a much easier process. If you plan on travelling to an area with no internet access, Pocket (Android, iOS) will let you save webpages and  images for later viewing when you disconnect.

Want to find more cool apps? Check out these articles about apps for college students and the best iPhone apps month by month.

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Posted in Web Tips, Phone Tips, Home Page, Office 2013 Tagged with: , ,

Wireless or Bust?

Every year some students bring wireless printers or routers on campus hoping to use them to make life easier. However, attempting to set up these devices interferes with the campus wireless network and can affect not only your devices but those of students around you.

Using a wireless printer is similar to blasting music from your room when the school radio station is already broadcasting. The two music streams interfere with each other and neither broadcast can be enjoyed. A wireless printer slows down the Wi-Fi connection for everyone around you and on campus.

Instead of using the wireless feature, bring a USB printer cable and use a wired connection to print in your room. Also, be sure that the wireless is turned off on the printer. Check your Owner’s Manual for instructions. If you’ve lost the Owner’s Manual, most major companies have a version online for convenience. If you don’t have a printer that uses a wired connection, don’t worry. Etown allots 500 pages per semester free of charge for printing on campus.

Routers are not allowed in any capacity on campus. They interfere with connections to the campus wireless network and are against the college’s Acceptable Use Policy. All students signed this policy as part of the First Year Student ITS Tech Orientation and must adhere to it during their time as students at Elizabethtown College.

If you have already brought a router to campus and have been using it, please stop immediately. This improves the wireless experience for everyone on campus.

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Posted in Web Tips, New Student Tips, Home Page, Digital Citizenship Tagged with: , , ,

Tech Tip: Format Painter in Microsoft 2013

Format painter is a neat little tool that allows the user to take all the font formatting they have created and use them on another line.

Open an office program like Word. Style the first line how you would like it to be replicated. You can format things such as font, text size, text color, uppercase/lowercase, etc. Highlight the formatted text, and select Format Painter under the Home tab. Then highlight the lines you would like to be formatted to match. The cursor should have a paint brush tool on the left hand side of the cursor. When you click away from the text it will automatically format.

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Pros and Cons of Laptops in Class

At the beginning of nearly any class, students always ask the same questions. “Is attendance graded? Is the final cumulative? Can we use laptops to take notes?”

With fewer and fewer people taking notes by hand or doing any kind of handwritten work in the real world on a daily basis, should students still take handwritten notes in class? With the elimination of cursive from the Common Core Curriculum Standards in 2014, and every student now being required to take a typing class, the US has made a commitment to the transition to digital notes. The great debate is whether typed notes are really in the students’ best interest.

Typing is faster than handwritten notes, that’s for sure, but there is less freedom with the typed page. The Guardian argues that pen and paper allows for more graphic freedom than the computer screen. Paper can be formed into anything you need such as instantly created pictures, tables, or diagrams, whereas the computer requires more time and work to create these items.

If that’s the only thing that’s keeping paper around then why not switch to laptops? Notes are faster that way, and students can’t ‘lose’ their homework quite so easily if it’s saved to their network folder. There are no pencils to be sharpened, and no one ever runs out of paper on a laptop computer. Searching back through notes is easier too. Flipping through a semester’s worth of notes for one bit of information can take time, but with computers it can be found easily and quickly. Is that really what’s best though?

Neuroscientists don’t think so. Writing and drawing letters by hand improves recognition and memory. Much like practicing a play over and over again improves muscle memory for game-time, writing out notes can improve recall according to Princeton and UCLA researchers Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer. Students using pen and paper reworded and analyzed their notes more than students using laptops. This allowed pen and paper students to gain a better understanding of concepts as well as recall facts better.

Students using laptops took more notes than students writing long-hand according to Mueller and Oppenheimer. However, that did not transcribe into better scores on assessments of factual or conceptual understanding of the material. Pen and paper students that studied for a mock exam did better than all other groups of students in this study of college students including those who took verbatim typed notes and studied for the mock exam.

Proponents of handwritten notes say that cursive can improve spelling whereas computers fix spelling errors before the user even knows they made an error allowing for perpetual spelling mistakes. Also, pen and paper allows for more emotion in writing compared to computers. Don’t forget one last important note, computers are distracting. Even students that might otherwise pay attention might be led astray by a distracting laptop screen.

Technology can be a major asset, but also a major crutch. So, when students ask if they can use laptops in class, will you allow them to? Or will you believe that The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard? Read the article by Mueller and Oppenheimer for more information: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/25/6/1159.full.pdf+html.

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Posted in Computer Tips, Home Page, Teaching and Learning, Digital Citizenship Tagged with: , , ,

New Year New You

As few as 25 years ago, communication was mostly limited to face-to-face interactions or word of mouth. With the tech age we live in now communication has changed, and so too have conventions and manners. Below are 10 tech faux pas to avoid this year according to Forbes Electronic Etiquette.

  1. Frequent cell phone use is annoying. We have all been guilty in the past of doing something on our phone when we should have been paying attention. Checking your phone too often can tell people that they are boring or that whatever is on your phone is more important than they are. If you are waiting for an important call or email, let those around you know so you don’t seem like a jerk for pulling your phone out too often. Put the phone away and talk to the people around you.
  2. If you are on your phone, don’t forget to look up! We may think we are a generation of multitaskers, but in reality we don’t realize all the mistakes we make by not paying attention. Did you see that bike almost hit you on the sidewalk? Not if you were looking down at your phone. Not paying attention to your surroundings isn’t just rude, it’s dangerous.
  3. Are you THAT guy talking loudly on the phone in the crowded Blue Bean? There is no such thing as a private conversation in a public place. People are always going to be listening in on your conversation. If you need to have a private conversation then make sure you head somewhere quiet first. Not only for your privacy, but out of respect for your caller. Too much background noise can make it hard to hear what’s being said and can distort your voice. Just do everyone a favor, and take your call somewhere a little less populated.
  4. How do you sign off your emails? Too personal or too professional can be equally awkward. Make sure that your email signature and sign off match the tone and level of professionalism of the email. Don’t sign an email to your best friend with your work title, and don’t sign an email to your boss with a cat emoji or slang.
  5. While we’re talking about emails, don’t be lazy! Take the time to write a full email before sending it. No one wants to get an email that has little to no content. Let the recipient know who the email is for, what it is regarding, the message you would like to deliver, a follow up question or note, and sign the email appropriately. Of course not every email will be the same, but following a few simple rules will guarantee that no one ever calls you a lazy emailer. While you’re at it, double check your spelling and grammar. The last thing you need is for your boss to think you can’t spell ‘Hippopotamus’ correctly.
  6. The best way to avoid a social media scandal is to avoid posting inappropriate things on social media. Remember who can see your social media posts. Does your boss follow you on Twitter? Is your grandma on your Facebook? Know your audience and tailor your posts to match. As soon as something is posted online, it can never be truly deleted.
  7. Have you ever gotten an email that sits in your inbox for days or sometimes weeks before you get around to responding? Honestly, haven’t we all? Avoiding or ignoring contacts can be a bad idea. Never let an email, voicemail, or even that text from your mom sit unanswered for more than a day or two. If you really don’t have time to answer right away, it can’t hurt to read the email and send a quick response such as “I received your message and will get back to you soon.” If the email has one of those red exclamation marks, then be sure to read and respond to the email quickly. Otherwise, keep up to date on your messages and call your mom!
  8. File Attachments are scary. The last thing you need is to send that awkward holiday picture to the wrong person, or to send the wrong paper to a professor. Every time you send a file attachment, double and even triple check to make sure the right file is going to the right person. Otherwise, you could end up in an awkward position. And while we’re on the topic, make sure that every file is named appropriately. We’ve all named our least favorite papers something…passive aggressive. Just remember to rename your files before you send them to avoid that awkwardness. Renaming files also allows the recipient to know exactly what they are receiving. Try naming a file with your last name, title of the paper, and date for convenience.
  9. Security is of the utmost importance. Cyber security is even more important. If someone hacks your account then they have access to some of your most personal information. The best way to protect your account and yourself is to keep your password private. Never enter E-town password into any unfamiliar website. ITS will NEVER ask for your password. Check out these articles for more information on password security and phishing scams.
  10. Last but not least, the dreaded pocket dial. It happens to the best of us. Your phone is innocently in your pocket, and the next thing you know your aunt is on the line. To avoid the dreaded pocket dial, always make sure your phone is locked before placing it in your pocket. This prevents your battery from wearing down faster too. Also, make sure that if you do pocket dial your aunt, that you send a quick text to let her know that everything is alright. You could give her a quick call to avoid hurting her feelings too. After fifteen minutes it’s safe to claim you have a class and hang up if she’s still chatting though.

Avoid these tech faux pas and you’ll be good to go for the new year. For more tech etiquette tips, read more on Forbes Electronic Etiquette article.

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Posted in Computer Tips, Web Tips, Phone Tips, Home Page, Digital Citizenship Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Tech Tip: Basic CTRL Shortcut Keys

Press these keys To do this
CTRL + Z Undo
CTRL + Y Redo
CTRL+ Alt +Tab Use the arrow keys to switch between open items
CTRL + Mouse Scroll wheel Change the size of the icons on the desktop
CTRL + Esc Open the start menu
CTRL + Shift + Esc Open Task Manager
CTRL+ E Select the search box (Only in outlook)
CTRL+ F Select the search box
CTRL+ S Saves a document
CTRL+ P Print a document
CTRL+O Open a new document
CTRL+ A Select all items in a document or window
CTRL + C Copy a selected item*
CTRL + X Cut Selected Items*
CTRL + V Paste*
CTRL+ B Bold all selected items in a document*
CTRL+ U Underline all selected items in a document*
CTRL+ I Italicize all selected items*

*  These need to be highlighted prior to using these commands.

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Posted in Computer Tips, Home Page Tagged with: , , , ,

Cool Tech Startups

Where do all of the cool apps, tech, and programs come from that we use everyday? Well when a Mommy Motherboard and a Daddy Fatherboard love each other very much… Actually they usually start out as an idea before launching into Tech Startups. Tech Startups are small companies that have a product like an app or a program that the developers are hoping will become the next big thing like Twitter or Facebook.

The main goal of Tech Startups is to raise money to make the product better by selling stock or selling prototypes of their product. Some startups have funding from donors to make their product whereas others have to rely on sales to produce the product on a case-by-case basis. Good startups grow quickly like Tinder or Apple, while others fall flat. Ever heard of Popin or Blurtt? Well, that’s because those startups failed.  Here’s a few tech startups that might be the next big thing this year as told by Business Insider.

If you are like most college students, money is tight. Tuition is high and unforgiving. There isn’t much money in your budget for buying a new car with fancy new features like in-car Wi-Fi. Vinli, a tech startup from Dallas, Texas is attempting to change that.

Vinli is a product that utilizes the diagnostics port under the steering wheel to enable features like in car Wi-Fi. It also allows users to download apps to their smartphone to track things such as mileage, miles per gallon, route, or even a stolen vehicle recovery app. Vinli costs $199 to purchase, but the add-ons like Wi-Fi cost extra.

If you’re more interested in new social media startups, then Beme might be the next big thing. Beme uses a similar concept to Snapchat. The app uses the camera and proximity sensor on your iPhone (Android is still in beta testing) to post 4-second video clips to your followers. With Beme there is no video editing, and no missing out on life. Beme is only activated when the phone is placed flat against a surface such as your chest, so the phone looks where you look while you still get to see the world around you. Still not sure? Watch their video Meet Beme on YouTube.

Recent or soon-to-be graduates will definitely enjoy this next one. If you want to find a connection with someone you don’t really know, then Conspire is for you. Conspire is a great partner program for LinkedIn. It finds connections between you and another person via your social media accounts. Then Conspire recommends people to introduce you to this new person. So, if you are looking for an “in” at a company before a job interview, but you need someone to put a good word in for you, Conspire finds just the right person to do that for you.

Tech Startups are basically small businesses for a national or international market. If you find a startup or tech startup that you like, make sure to let them know. You can show your support by buying stock, buying a product, or sharing their product so others can enjoy it too.

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Posted in Web Tips, Home Page Tagged with: , ,

Will Your Password be Unbroken?

Passwords are your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your devices, your information, and your identity. Identity theft is on the rise for the past 3 years. No one is safe from identity theft, not even college students. Thieves obtain sensitive information about someone from a variety of sources. The most common cause is a stolen wallet or purse, but stolen passwords is a major concern as well.

How can you protect yourself and your sensitive information?

Strong passwords are your first line of defense. Use long, complex passwords to protect your accounts. Etown requires your network password to be at least 8 characters long containing an upper and lowercase letter, a number, and a special character (# $ ! etc.) This requirement isn’t just because we like resetting passwords when you forget your complicated password; it’s to protect you, your account, and the network. The more complex your password is, the less likely it is that someone can guess your password.

Use different passwords for different accounts. By using the same password for everything, then you are increasing the chances that if someone figures out the password to one thing, they have access to everything else too. Don’t leave yourself open to that kind of vulnerability and use different passwords. Change your passwords regularly too, and while you’re at it backup your data!

Don’t give your password to anybody! Even giving your password to a friend could leave your account or information vulnerable. Especially beware phishing attempts! Phishing attempts are scams that attempt to trick you into releasing your passwords or other sensitive information.

Remember: ITS will never ask for your password.

If something doesn’t look right, then forward the email to mailcop@etown.edu.

For more information on keeping you and your information safe, visit these ITS Knowledgebase Articles. Email Safety, Password Safety, and Safe Web Browsing.

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Posted in Computer Tips, Web Tips, New Student Tips, Home Page Tagged with: , , , , ,

Tech Tip: Creating an Apple ID Account

If you got a new Apple product over the holidays, then you might need to set up an Apple ID Account. When using any form of Apple product (Macs, iPads, iPhones, etc.) you need to have an Apple ID to get apps and pretty much do anything there is on an apple product.

To set up an Apple ID Account, navigate to Settings and select iCloud. If you are logged in to your Apple Account then your account information will be hear. If not, there will be a login screen. At the bottom of the screen is an option for creating an account.

When you select “Create a new Apple ID,” it will ask for your birthday first. Then input your email address or create a new iCloud address. Then set up your password, pick security questions, and decide if you want to receive Apple News. Lastly read and accept the Terms and Conditions. Congrats, you have an Apple ID, and you are logged in!

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Posted in Computer Tips, Phone Tips Tagged with: , , , , ,