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Our mobile phone glossary

02/12/2021 · Blog

Words and acronyms that may be used in a phone and it’s meaning.

Phone Glossary: Words you may hear when talking about phones.

First, what’s in a name?

Mobiles can be called a variety of things, you may have even used some of these when talking about your phone:

Mobile phone, iPhone, Device, Mobile, Cell phone, Smartphone, Gadgets and Gizmos (a plenty...), Phone, Workphone and Telephone.

As technology moves on, so do all the descriptions, acronyms and fancy tech speak which outline what your phone actually does. To avoid you having to trawl the internet to find out what that specific serial reference actually means, we’ve pulled together the basics for you in our Phone Glossary.

Our Mobile Phone Glossary

Android - Android is the technology behind mobile phones and gadgets such as tablets. Android powers well known devices such as, the Samsung Galaxy models, Google phones, and Nokia devices as well.

Apple / IOS - As you can see by the name, this is the operating system that powers many of Apples’ products including all of their iPhones. Apple has similar names for the operating systems of their other gadgets - MacOS, WatchOS etc.

Adapter / Charger - Used to plug your phone into charge, most new devices come with a detachable USB-C cable, some may still supply the plug as well. However, a new rule proposed by the European Commission (EC) to help reduce waste by encouraging consumers to re-use existing chargers when buying a new device. This means your new device may only come with a USB-C or for iPhone a USB-C to Lightning cable. Additionally, some modern smartphones can be ‘fast charged’ or can even be wireless charged.

Applications - More commonly known as ‘Apps’. These are installed onto your device(s) via the Apple iStore or the Android equivalent, the Google Play Store.

There are apps designed to help you in your everyday life, from banking, to health apps, while some are purely to keep you (or your child) entertained, like YouTube and games! Some apps are free (with adverts within them) and some may come at a fee - which normally means it will be ad free.

Always do your research prior to downloading to make sure the app is both what you expect and is secure. Remember to check the privacy settings for your phone and your apps to ensure it doesn’t collect data it doesn’t need to.

Audio Jack - Quite simply the place where you plug in your headphones [id] into your device to listen to music or videos, with some modern headphones you can even make and receive phone calls. Audio jacks are becoming redundant due to the rise in Bluetooth headphones connect wirelessly to your handset.

Battery - All modern phones are battery powered. Remember, some apps may reduce your battery usage quicker than others. Some phones may even come with fast charging capabilities, more on that later.

The capacity of batteries is indicated as mAh (milliampere/hour) and is commonly used to measure the energy capacity of a battery. According to GSM Arena, mAh is a technical term for how much electrical charge a particular battery will hold. As an example, using higher mAh batteries in a device with constant electrical consumption will theoretically give you longer operating times.

Biometrics (Fingerprint reader & Face ID) - Some new smartphones are coming with the ability to scan your fingerprint, which can be referred to as Touch ID. This method of unlocking your phone is sometimes built into the screen of your phone, or the sensor is at the back, usually near the camera.

What this does is add another layer of security by only allowing you to unlock your smartphone with your unique* fingerprint.

*Koala bears, apes & chimps excluded.

Another way to unlock your phone is by using your face! Face ID unlocks your Phone using facial recognition authentication. You can set up Face ID the same way you’d set up a PIN, Password or Pattern for your phone, but instead of entering your code/password/pattern, you simply use your face.

Bluetooth - Is a technology that creates a 'local' wireless connection. It allows smartphone-owners to exchange data over short distances including syncing with smartwatches and Bluetooth speakers and headphones!

CarPlay / Android Auto

CarPlay - comes as standard with Apple iPhones running iOS 7 or later. You can use this to get directions, send and receive messages and calls and enjoy listening to music in a safer way, whilst you are driving.

Easily activate CarPlay by pressing Menu -> General -> Apple CarPlay® -> ON.

Android Auto - with Google Assistant on Android Auto, keeps your eyes on the road by allowing you to use your voice to text, make calls and listen to music.
Available on phones with Android 10 or higher are suitable for Android Auto. Android 9 or older users must first download the Android Auto app from the Google Play Store.

Please check your car and phone are both suitable for these.
CarPlay
Android Auto

Connectivity (3G, 4G & 5G) - It started with 1G, the first generation of mobile phones, which provided the basis for the smartphones we know and love today.
The introduction of 3G allowed users to access the internet and even download music. Now, most modern smartphones come with at least 3G implemented, if not 4G or even 5G, the UK saw 5G launched in May 2019 and the biggest difference between 4G & 5G is speed.

Fast Charging/Charger - Fast charging, sometimes known as quick charge, allows you to charge your battery by using higher-than-normal voltage. For this to work, both your phone and your wall charger need to support fast charging.

Flash / Torch - Mobile phones can come with a torch installed, normally easily accessible from the pull-down menu at the top of your screen. The torch comes in handy when trying to find something in the dark, it is normally located next to your camera as it doubles up as the Camera’s flash!

Did you know you can set this to come on when you receive a call or notification and when you shake or tap your phone! Which can be handy in an emergency.

Front & Rear Camera(s) - According to Mobile phone history the “Sharp J-SH04, launched in November 2000, was the world's first commercially available camera phone.”

Now available in most modern smartphones, cameras are normally on both the front and the back! Used for snapping or recording precious memories, modern smartphones usually modify and update the cameras when they release new phone models.

In the UK our phones started getting smarter with the invention of front facing cameras, making video calls possible in the year 2003. However, the first front-facing camera phone was released in Japan in 1999!

Mobile devices typically have a camera at the front, which allows users to make a video call or capture a selfie. These front-facing cameras were originally intended for video-conferencing and can now be found on the majority of modern phones across the globe.

Haptics - Haptics technology that gives you a tactile response, for example your phone vibrating when you receive a message. Haptics can also replicate the sensation of physical button presses.

If you use an iPhone, you may be familiar with Haptic Touch, a feature which vibrates your phone when you long-press the screen. On some Android phones, when you unlock your phone with the fingerprint reader, you may feel a tiny bump right before your home screen loads.

Hotspot - A hotspot is a physical location where people can access the Internet, typically using Wi-F. Using a phone as a wi-fi hotspot (also known as Wi-Fi tethering) means you can share your internet with your other devices or even your friends, as long as they’re in range and know the password, which you can set.

IMEI, ICCID & MEID Numbers

IMEI Number

International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is hard coded into the firmware. It acts as a unique identifier for that device (think serial number). Every type of phone has an IMEI number, some may even have 2 IMEI numbers. A standard IMEI number is 14 digits, with an additional 15th check digit for verifying the entire number, no two IMEI numbers will be the same.

ICCID

Stands for Integrated Circuit Card Identification Number, this unique 18-22 digit code that identifies your SIM card number (ICCID). An ICCID number refers to the SIM card itself and you can find your ICCID (SIM card) number with your phone’s settings, you’ll normally see this number in the same area as your IMEI number.

MEID

Means Mobile Equipment Identifier and is a globally unique identification number used to facilitate mobile equipment identification and tracking. Like the IMEI and ICCID number, you should be able to find your MEID in the Settings menu of your phone.

Location Services - determines the approximate location of your device, using GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular towers. You can choose which apps and websites use your location and can also turn this off, although this may disable apps from functioning properly, such as Maps or ‘Find My Phone’.

SIM card(s) - SIM cards have been around since 1991. The acronym, SIM, stands for Subscriber Identity Module, and it is used to store information which helps to identify and authenticate users.

Dual-SIM - Some phones may have Dual-SIM phones, which can be connected to a different network, for example, one can be registered on an International Network, and the other on a local Network. Some of these Dual SIM phones may have a slot for a virtual sim and for a physical SIM. As above, each SIM can be connected to a different Network and you can use both in one single phone.

e-SIM - Electronic SIMs (e-SIMs) work the same way as a physical SIM, except that they are physically built within the phone, so they cannot be removed.

Storage (GB / RAM) - Storage is where you keep data, like music and photos. Memory is where you run programs, like apps and the iOS or Android system.

GB (gigabyte) - you may also hear it referred to as 'gigs'. GB is the measurement used to calculate storage on phones, laptops, PCs, tablets and gaming consoles.

RAM (Random Access Memory) - is storage used for a place to hold data. Usually, the more RAM you have on a smartphone, the more apps and files you'll be able to have on your phone.

How much storage (GB) and memory (RAM) you have will depend on the type of phone you have, and this may differ from device to device. You can easily check and back up your phone's data by following our tips.

Phone Screen

AMOLED

Your phone may have an AMOLED screen, AMOLED means Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode. It is a display technology, which is sharper than standard screens and more battery efficient. AMOLED is an advanced version of OLED with an additional layer of thin film transmitter.

OLED

Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) screens comprises thin organic light emitting material that emits light when electricity is applied. OLED screens are brighter, and battery life can be significantly improved on smartphones that use OLED screens. This is because OLED can light up individual pixels when necessary, and to different degrees.

Screen refresh rate (Hz)

The refresh rate counts the number of times your display refers to how many times per second the display fully refreshes, this is measured in Hertz (Hz). Meaning if your phone has a 60Hz display, it refreshes 60 times per second, 90Hz your display refreshes 90 times per second, 120Hz is 120 seconds and so on. So a 120Hz display refreshes twice as fast as a 60Hz.

Tethering - The difference between Tethering and Hotspot is that tethering is the linking of a device to the smartphone via USB cable whereas Hotspot connects one device to the other to get the internet availability over the Wi-Fi.

Widgets - Both Apple and Android phones have widgets, these can be added to your phone’s home screen, and are used as a quick way to access certain information from apps without having to open the app itself, for example the weather can be displayed as a widget on your phone.

Wireless charging- Charge your smartphone's battery without a cable and plug. Most wireless charging devices take the form of a special pad or surface on which you place your phone to allow it to charge. Your phone must be enabled to do this, you should be able to turn it on in your Settings, check your device has the ability to do this by reviewing your manufactures guide.

USB port - Normally found at the bottom of your phone. Use this to charge your phone, or use the USB cable to connect your phone to a Laptop or PC, which enables you to back up your mobile. If you’ve got an Apple device - this is more commonly known as a ‘Lightning Port’.

VPNs - Virtual Private Networks are mainly used when accessing the internet via public Wi-Fi. You can connect various devices to a VPN and you may have used one when working from home.

By using a VPN, you’re stopping normal public Wi-Fi users seeing what you’re doing on the internet by encrypting your data. With all this going on with our smartphones and the increasing demands and higher specs of technology, we think it’s more important than ever to protect your device.

Consider purchasing our great value mobile phone & gadget insurance and you will be protected instantly, we use high quality, approved, products when repairing your phones and our friendly UK-based team are here to help should you need us.

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