Category Archives: Hardware

Wireless carriers shutting down 3G networks in 2022

A.T.&T. has shut down its 3G wireless network as of February 22, 2022.  T-Mobile will shut down its 3G network during the spring and summer of 2022, and Verizon has its 3G network shutdown date as December 31, 2022.

The FCC has more information and resources available at its 3G page. This transition may affect older smartphones, tablets, smart watches,  vehicle GPS and road assistance devices, alarm systems, and medical devices.  Some vehicles may also lose Automatic Crash Notification due to the 3G shutdown.

Apple Self Service Repair option

Apple has announced a new Self Service Repair for customers who want to repair their Apple devices with genuine Apple parts.   This program will be available in the U.S. starting in early 2022 and will first include iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 parts, with additional devices and service areas to be added later.

Update: Apple’s Self Repair program is now available as of April 2022. This includes a repair tool kit rental option.

Television Viewer Protection Act (TVPA) and modem rental fees

The Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 (TVPA) requires providers of internet, voice, mobile, and data to engage in transparent sales and billing.  It also prevents providers from charging a consumer for using equipment not provided by the service provider, such as a modem.   The FCC granted providers an extension for this legislation until December 20, 2020.  Modem rental fees should not be charged to consumers who provide their own equipment after that date.

Apple device repair programs for recent issues

Apple has reported that a small number of iPhone 11 models are experiencing issues with touch screen capability.   A free repair is available for phones with a valid serial number that are having this problem.

Apple also has a repair program for the small percentage of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models with sound issues.

Apple also has a repair program available for a small number of 13-inch MacBook Pro units with backlight display issues.

Apple is providing free repairs for users having sound issues with AirPods Pro.

Apple releases iOS 14 and new Apple Watches

Apple announced the release of iOS 14, new Apple Watches, and other products and services at its September 2020 event.

iOS 14 has several new features, including a new Translate app with 11 languages, digital versions of car keys, and  Home app for smart home management.

iOS 14 also shows if an app is using the camera or phone. A green indicator will appear if an app is using the device’s camera, and an orange indicator will appear if the microphone is in use. App settings for hardware use can be changed under Settings > Privacy.   Apps running on iOS14 will also be required to obtain permission to track users starting in early 2021.

Apple has provided a list of compatible devices for iOS 14 and iPadOS.

New watches include the Apple Watch 6 Series and Apple Watch SEWatch OS 7 also includes sleep tracking and other health related features.

Chrome OS automatic updates may not be available for older devices

Google’s Chrome OS is a secure choice for an operating system, but older devices may no longer be supported.  When a Chrome device reaches its Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date, automatic updates from Google will no longer be provided.

IFixit has instructions on how to convert a working Chromebook past its expiration date to use CloudReady.