I’m going to show you how to help your family with technology, whether it’s a phone, computer, or tablet. Chances are if you’re listening to this podcast, you probably have a pretty good grasp of technology. Even if you don’t think you’re a computer expert, you’ve likely had to help a relative with their technology going haywire before.
If you’re the person who your family calls at all hours to fix a printer, router, phone, or computer, then this episode is for you.
Phones and Tablets
First let’s talk about remote controlling phones and tablets. I recommend that friends and family who aren’t tech savvy buy Apple devices. This is because these devices are built incredibly well, and because they offer support for all of their devices at local Apple stores. Apple products are more expensive, but no other devices have the type of support that they do.
If your family members have Apple phones and tablets, you will not be able to control them remotely due to the limitations Apple has for apps in its app store. This isn’t necessarily a downside, seeing as you can just recommend your family members go to a local Apple Store if they're having issues.
Android devices, on the other hand, can be controlled remotely with an app called Teamviewer QS.
Computers with TeamViewer
Computers are extremely easy to remote control using free software. I personally use two different types of free software to troubleshoot problems for my family. The first of these is TeamViewer. It’s a great product that’s free for home use. It requires you to install it on the computer before you can remote into it, which can be a problem if your friend or family member isn’t able to figure that part out.
For TeamViewer, I recommend installing it with permission on the computer you want to control. It takes a few minutes, and after that, it will start with Windows and ask you how you want to manage it. By default, it will give each computer an ID and a password. In order to remote into that computer, the user at the other end would have to give me both of these numbers, and the password changes each time you remote into the computer.
This is great because it allows for you friends or family to have privacy on their computer, knowing that you can’t just remote in whenever you want. TeamViewer can also be set up in unattended mode with an account. This lets you keep a list of computers you frequently connect to, and it doesn’t require anyone on the other side to give you a password. I have an unattended account setup for all of my grandparents, that way they don’t have to give me a code or anything. It just lets me on their computer with my password.
Let’s go over a scenario of how this works:
Grandma: “Hey Eric, my computer can’t connect to my printer, can you walk me through fixing it?”
Eric: “Sure thing, I can also remote in to your computer and fix it for you”
Grandmas: “Thanks that would be great!”
Eric: “One second.”
This is where I open up the TeamViewer program on my computer, log in using my free username and password, and click on “Grandma’s Computer.” Then her screen will show up on my computer and I can control it as if I were in front of it. I simply click out of the window when I’m done.
TeamViewer also comes with a lot of great features such as file transfer, remote commands, chat, and a ton more. The reason the software is free is because they hope you like the home version so much that you’ll use it for work, and buy the professional edition which gives you more features.