Friday, June 27: Getting the Most from Your Tablet



When: TODAY, Friday, June 27, 2014
12:00-1:00 pm PT
3:00-4:00 pm ET

‘Getting the Most from Your Tablet’

Join @theonlinemom @RobynsWorld @geekbabe and @thetechdad TODAY at 12 noon PT (3 pm ET) as we chat about Getting the Most from Your Tablet!
Manufacturers are claiming that tablets are the new laptops, but most people are still using them as oversize smartphones. We take a look at the latest innovations in tablet design and examine how we can make the most of all those remarkable features and apps!
  RSVP and attend the party for a chance to win a Google Chromecast or a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet (2014 edition)!

(Click here to learn more about our Twitter chats. You must RSVP and attend the party to be eligible for a prize.)

  1. Email (subject line: VZWBuzz) and include your Twitter ID.
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed:
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#VZWBuzz) today between 12 – 1 pm PT
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!
PRIZE WINNERS will be announced during the Party!

(The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Verizon Wireless.)


Thursday, May 29: Discover Thrively!



When: TODAY, Thursday, May 29, 2014
9:00 – 10:00 pm ET
6:00 – 7:00 pm PT

‘Discover Thrively’

Join @theonlinemom and friends TODAY as we discover Thrively, a brand new web site designed to unlock your child’s potential!
  RSVP and attend the party for a chance to win an iPad with Retina Display!
(Register on Thrively and double your chances to win. Have your child take the Strength Assessment and triple your chances to win!)

(Click here to learn more about our Twitter chats. You must RSVP and attend the party to be eligible for a prize.)

  1. Email (subject line: Thrively) and include your Twitter ID.
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed:
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#Thrively) TODAY between 9 – 10 pm ET
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!
PRIZE WINNERS will be announced during the Party!

(The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Thrively.)


Online Tuition: Is It Right for Your Family?

By Suzy St. George

Remember taking music lessons as a child? For many students, that meant packing up your instrument and your books at the same time every week and making your way to your teacher’s house. Maybe you got dropped off at the lesson or perhaps your parents waited patiently in the next room or in the car.

Well, things have certainly changed since then! Now, you can find practically anything you need online or through various smartphone apps – from shopping for household basics to learning a new language.

Music lessons, too, are evolving with technology. Many private teachers offer live, online lessons through Skype, Google Hangouts, or other video chat platforms. It’s a convenient way to help your child learn, and one that can save you time, money – and even your sanity!

Web sites like TakeLessons make it easier than ever to find teachers nationwide, offering online lessons in subjects ranging from music and languages to screenwriting, drawing, and vocal training.

Singing and acting teacher Molly R., based in Hayward, CA, has worked with several online students and sees them flourish just as much as her in-person students. Her student Sam, for example, came to her hoping to brush up for an upcoming audition.

“We chose online lessons because I don’t have a license and my grandparents didn’t want to drive me somewhere if they could avoid it,”Sam, 17, explained. “I wanted to improve my singing to help me be more successful in theater.”

For most online students, the learning process is exactly the same; you’re simply working through a webcam.

“We started with the basics – alignment, breathing, and basic ear training,”said teacher Molly. “I do this with everyone – in person and online. Nothing changes! The only thing that does differ is that my online vocalists tend to sit. This is not an issue as long as they sit up straight. I’m always looking!”

The training and guidance Sam received certainly came in handy – she scored the lead role at her audition.

Even if you’re not prepping for an audition or performance, online lessons can be a great option for students of all ages. Wondering if online tuition is right for you or your child? Here are 3 questions to consider:


  • Do you have a packed schedule or limited transportation? The convenience of online lessons is unbeatable. Instead of shuffling your kids to their lessons, simply power up your computer and your webcam and connect instantly!
  • Do you have a limited budget? Online lessons are typically priced lower than in-person lessons; plus, you’re saving money on gas or other transportation costs.
  • Are you having trouble finding a quality teacher? If your perfect teacher is across the country, connecting with them is still possible with online lessons, which can be a huge benefit if you live in a small town and want to expand your options.

For families with packed schedules, the convenience of online lessons is unbeatable. Students get the same one-on-one guidance that private lessons provide without the higher cost or hassle of traveling. And that alone can be quite the sanity-saver!

Suzy St. George is a writer for TakeLessons, an online marketplace for students and families to find qualified and vetted instructors in areas ranging from music, dance, and acting to foreign languages, math, and photography. Learn more and search for a teacher near you at


Gamification: Turning Users into Influencers

By Stacey Ross

Ready. Set. Gamify!!

UPS embraced it by using video games to train newly recruited drivers after finding that 30 percent of candidates had failed the company’s traditional training program. The Hilton Garden Inn worked with Virtual Heroes to develop Ultimate Team Play, an interactive game that places employees in a virtual hotel. The National Institute of Justice developed a training game, called Incident Commander, in which emergency responders practice coordinating disaster relief efforts.

Gamification is one of the most impressive trends in technology today. It involves applying game-design to certain applications to create a more fun and engaging experience. Rewards for accomplishing certain tasks might come in the form of points, badges, or virtual currency.

Many of us were introduced to the gamification concept by using the location-based app Foursquare, which awards points and perks for “checking-in” to places. Earning points at restaurants and sporting goods stores was my big buy-in. Gamification turns a user into a player and helps generate enthusiasm!

As educators at Teachers College Columbia University, Joey J. Lee and Jessica Hammer, wrote in their paper Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother?, “Gamification attempts to harness the motivational power of games and apply it to real-world problems — such as, in our case, the motivational problems of schools.”

That whole “spoonful of sugar” connection can help in the areas of independent study, team building and student motivation. When users have a more inviting experience, they tend to have a more stimulating and rewarding experience with whatever task they are attempting to accomplish.

Another example is the utilization of games like SimCityEDU, which teaches students STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in a virtual environment, which is highly likely to enhance the usual classroom experience! Educators embrace methods to learn in disguise, so long as the methods are results-driven. Last year, it was announced that there would be a classroom version of DanceDance Revolution for physical education classes.

A Nike program incentivized runners to track their runs with an accelerometer in their running shoes. The runner can plug the device into a computer and track their results against friends via letter boards. Accountability and healthful competition keep players on their toes!

Sometimes recognition is reward in itself. When Microsoft faced a challenge, it set up a competition with its employees, turning the mundane task of manually checking dialogue boxes in multiple countries and languages into a game. Although testers were not given monetary rewards, the most successful office was publicly acknowledged.

Agragati Siegel, chief operating officer of Gamesync Gaming Center in San Diego, shared with me that his company has been using gamification marketing programs for about a year. They incentivize gamers to achieve certain tasks via home gaming and reward them once they return to visit his facility! Clever, right?

That is the nail on the head for marketers: Keep ’em coming back for more of a good thing; encourage community building and engagement; and celebrate milestones! As PC Mag reports, social marketing company Gigya found that gamification increased consumer commenting by 13 percent and consumer sharing by 22 percent. According to market research analyst Gartner, “more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application by 2014.”

Wise words for gaming enthusiasts: Watch your budget and the clock, and win it!

Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.

The Top 13 Things College Admissions Officers Want to See

By Mandee Heller Adler

Public high school students can get into the college of their dreams. All it takes is gumption, advanced planning, and guidance. Students frequently want to know what colleges are looking for. The reality is there is no one perfect combination. Colleges want a range of students to create a diverse campus community, so students need to present themselves as a whole, showing off their own unique mix of qualities in the best way possible. As there isn’t one perfect combination, but rather may different ones, students should focus on the following:

1. Choose the right high school classes

Take classes that are a challenge, including AP and IB, when possible. If a student takes classes that are all easy, this will not be very impressive. Students need to challenge themselves but not to the extent they are hurting themselves grade-wise. Students must also meet all high school course requirements for their chosen college and to meet statewide graduation requirements in order to earn a diploma.

2. Get to know the college counselor

High school counselors can help students with their big picture planning for the future, including academic advising, college planning and personal counseling. College counselors are also needed for the all-important college application letters of recommendation. Make an appointment to see a school counselor at least once each year, including freshman year. The goal is to try to build a relationship with the high school counselor during the four years of high school. During the meeting talk about interests and goals. The more the school counselor knows about a student, the more he or she can help. Many public school students do not know their advisor, being proactive will make a student stand out.

3. Keep your grades up

Make a commitment to work hard for the good grades. Students who find themselves falling behind should get help — before they fall too far behind. Grades count and schools look for students who have challenged themselves and expressed a passion for learning. There is a classic question, is it better to get an A in a regular class or a B in an AP class? The real answer is it is best to get an A in an AP class.

For the majority of students, good grades are entirely necessary to get into a good school. Schools are looking for a positive pattern. In the best-case scenario, a student maintains good grades throughout his or her high school career. Though, if the grades started off badly and then improved, colleges give points for this. If grades are too low or show a steady decline, then a student is in real trouble. Spending a night studying while friends go out may not be exciting, but the path to college needs to be looked at with a long-term perspective.

4. Take standardized tests early

At most highly selective colleges, SAT or ACT tests are very important. The schools are looking to see if test score are consistent with – or exceed – a student’s high school performance. No student knows how high his or her score can go until the test results come in. But, if a student waits too long and does not get a desired score, there won’t be enough time to retake it. Many unexpected circumstances can affect test scores on any given day, including the state of a student’s health. (It’s impossible to plan not to get food poisoning.)

Taking the test early will also allow time to take a test prep course if necessary. Most students take the SAT and/or ACT at least twice and improve their score the second time they take it. Students must also make sure to schedule test days for the SAT Subject Tests. Most students take Subject Tests toward the end of junior year or at the beginning of senior year. The best time to take the tests is as soon as possible after completing the course in the subject.

5. Do your homework and try hard

No matter what the class, even one with a loathsome teacher and boring subject matter, students need to do their homework, try hard, and behave. Keep the eyes on the prize: college. Plus, teachers are where college recommendation letters come from so you want to impress them.

6. Engage in the right mix of extracurricular activities

Admissions officers are looking for commitment and impact in a student’s activities. It is better to be highly involved in one to three activities and/or sports over a number of years, than less involved in many activities. Anyone can join 10 clubs and be marginally involved in them all. Schools are looking for a student to demonstrate the willingness to stick with something and make the most of it. Schools are not so interested in hearing about passions; they want to see them proven! Once a student finds the activities he or she wants to focus on, the next step is to work on becoming a leader or to demonstrate initiative.

7. Take the college application process seriously

Students need to make sure they put time and effort into every part of the college application, from the essay to the resume. The college essay gives admissions officers the opportunity to know who a student is and how that student might contribute to the college campus. It also gives the admissions team a chance to learn something about a student that they won’t find elsewhere in the application. Admissions teams tend to prefer thoughtful, authentic essays that show real interests and passions combined with complicated thinking and good writing. Extracurricular activities should be carefully written so a student can best highlight all of his or her accomplishments and experience. The best recommendations come from individuals who really know the student. They should offer detailed information and-or personal stories about the applicant that back up the information on the application.

8. Do the research

Know what the choices are when it comes to colleges. This way any “coulda, shoulda, woulda” regrets can be avoided later in life. Research could be as simple as visiting a school’s website. Students should also try to attend college fairs, meet with admissions experts when they visit, and go on college visits.

9. Maximize summer opportunities

High school students who want to stand out on their college applications should consider the summer an ideal time to add some resume gold. Good choices include attending a summer enrichment program, taking a summer job or internship, participating in volunteer work, taking virtual classes, attending a dual enrollment program, or taking classes at a local college.

10. Develop any special talents or abilities

Students who do something extraordinarily well do gain an edge in the college admissions process. A special talent or ability can be anything including performing or visual arts, athletics, science, math, speech and debate, or writing. Colleges will look for evidence of a student’s accomplishments through recognition from others (i.e. awards, scholarships). They may also look for significant contributions that show the student’s depth of commitment and follow-through (e.g. newspaper articles).

11. Get help as needed

Students who are having trouble with academics or other issues or need college guidance should seek help. It is not hard to ask, though some students do find it difficult. Adults who are in a position to help may not know if a student is struggling, if no help is requested. Parents, teachers, expert independent college advisors can all help the process.

12. Make smart decisions

Say no to alcohol, drugs and embarrassing usage of social media. Don’t text and drive or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. One dumb mistake can ruin a student’s life.

13. Banish the self-doubt

Fear of failure and doubting personal abilities only hold students back from achieving what they want to achieve. Just say no to these thoughts and others like them.

Different admissions directors seek different things. Some colleges look for students who are well-rounded, with a wide assortment of extracurricular activities; others give preference to those who have displayed a sustained passion for something. Be the best you can be.

Mandee Heller Adler is the Founder and Principal of International College Counselors, one of the world’s largest and most successful college and graduate school admissions counseling businesses. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with Honors and two degrees before receiving an MBA from Harvard Business School, all after attending a Florida-based public high school. Adler has personally helped hundreds of students across the world find, apply to, and gain acceptance into college. A member of NACAC, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, and a professional member of the IECA, the Independent Educational Consultants Association, she shares her insights and expertise in From Public School to the Ivy League: How to Get into a Top School Without Top Dollar Resources. For more information, visit

The 7 Best Features of the Samsung Galaxy S5

The new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone has been described as more evolution than revolution, with Samsung eschewing radical design changes to concentrate on perfecting the features than consumers value the most. The result is a gadget-lover’s delight – a device that strikes just the right balance between novelty and practicality.

But even with so many new and improved features to choose from, a few still stand out above the rest, further separating the S5 from many of its high-end rivals. Here are just a few of our favorites:


If you thought the days of smartphone screen improvements were largely over, it’s time to think again. The Galaxy S5 features a 5.1-inch full HD Super AMOLED display but that’s just the beginning. A tool called Local Contrast Enhancement automatically analyses the local light conditions and adapts the screen brightness so you see everything clearly. That means an optimized display when you are in bright sunshine and a much softer display when you are enjoying a late night movie under the covers.

Another feature called Adapt Display analyses the content that you are viewing and automatically optimizes the color range, saturation and sharpness. The result is a super-sharp display that can be completely customized based on your content and local lightning.

S Health

Samsung has been criticized in the past for loading up its mobile devices with unnecessary and gimmicky apps. However, S Health supports a growing trend of consumers incorporating mobile devices into their daily health and fitness routines. Pedometers, calorie counters and heart rate monitors have long been staples of the mobile app stores and now Samsung has incorporated all these and more in one easily accessible suite of apps.

Much has been made of the built-in heart rate monitor positioned on the back of the S5 just below the camera. Some have questioned the usefulness of such a feature but we can see it encouraging thousands of users to think about a healthier lifestyle, and for that reason alone it’s a worthy add-on for any smartphone.

Ultra Power Saving Mode

Battery life has long been the Achilles heel of Android smartphones and the Galaxy range has been no exception. To help combat this frustration, Samsung has introduced Ultra Power Saving Mode or UPSM. UPSM doesn’t automatically kick-in when the battery gets low. Instead, it’s up to each user to activate it when they choose.

Once UPSM is activated, the screen turns black and white, the power ramps down, and you are limited to using just 6 apps. Fortunately, you have complete control over which 6 apps you want to remain active. The obvious ones are voice and messaging but you can also choose web browsing (and run your battery down faster) or social apps such as Twitter or Facebook.

UPSM is particularly useful when traveling or near the end of the day when you want to remain reachable but are happy to forego weather updates or a quick game of Candy Crush.

Kids’ Mode

Effective parental controls were a long time coming to smartphones but now they’re here, they are proving to be imaginative and very effective. There are several ways to go with parental controls but here Samsung rejects the all-or-nothing approach of Apple and the iPhone for the more selective criteria utilized by Nokia and its Kids’ Corner.

Each customized Kids’ Mode has its own PIN and its own suite of age-appropriate apps pre-loaded by Samsung. Parents can add to those apps, approve certain media files, and even set the amount of time each child is allowed to use the phone. During this time the phone is essentially locked down for web browsing or other non-approved use but can be returned to ‘adult’ mode at any time.

Download Booster

Place this under the “Why didn’t they think of it before?” category. If you are in a rush to download something – say, a movie or photos of your friend’s wedding – then you can get Wi-Fi and your cellular service to work together to boost download speeds by up to 80 or 90 percent. (The exact improvement will depend on relative network strengths.) Although this will do nothing to improve your data usage, it’s a useful feature to have at your fingertips when you’re in a jam.

HDR Mode

OK, this isn’t unique to the S5 but it sure is a wonderful way to enhance certain photographs. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it’s a way to combine multiple shots taken at different exposures to produce an optimum image. The real time HDR feature on the Galaxy S5 actually lets you see how your photos can be enhanced before shooting, so you know whether the mode is appropriate or not.

HDR usually works best when there is extreme light – either too much or too little – or in landscape shots where there is little movement. However you use it, it’s yet another tool in the toolbox for the growing army of serious smartphone photographers.

Fingerprint Scanner

This is one of the few areas where Samsung is playing obvious catch-up. Ever since Apple introduced fingerprint security with iOS 7, you knew it would make an appearance on the next iteration of the Galaxy S series. Not only can you unlock the S5 with a swipe of the finger but you can also initiate certain transactions, including PayPal payments and the purchase of Samsung services. There is no doubt that the accuracy and consistency of fingerprint security will improve over the next couple of years but it’s great to see that Samsung is now firmly part of that added security movement.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is available for $199.99 from Verizon Wireless. A two-year service agreement is required. For a limited time, Verizon is also offering a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ deal on the S5. A new Two-year activation is required on each device.

The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional campaigns for Verizon Wireless.

7 Apps for a Greener Lifestyle

Next Tuesday is Earth Day, a time for everyone to reflect on the fragile nature of our planet and how we can better protect the environment and provide a healthier future for our children.

While major issues such as climate change and deforestation have to be addressed by corporations and governments, there are lots of areas where individuals and small communities can also make a difference. Whether it’s energy conservation, recycling, or more informed food choices, we can all take small steps that lead to a greener lifestyle.

And if we are talking about a lifestyle change, then our mobile devices can surely help! There are dozens of apps that can contribute to environmental awareness and put us on the right road to a greener planet. Here are just a few of our favorites:


GoodGuide provides “green” ratings for over 210,000 different products, including toys, make-up, hair products, household goods, and more. Each product is rated on its health, environmental and social impact, and the app also provides information on additional attributes, such as human rights, animal welfare, energy efficiency, and more.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: free



Earth911 is an organization that helps people all over the world learn more about recycling. The Earth911 iRecycle app provides information for recycling and collections points, as well as suggesting over a million different ways to recycle everything from food to electronics. It also brings you the latest environmental news and plenty of ideas for a greener lifestyle.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: free


Seafood Watch

Seafood Watch provides up-to-the-minute information on ocean-friendly seafood and the restaurants and stores that offer sustainable seafood choices. You can see how certain seafood choices are caught and prepared for the table and get alternatives to seafood choices that appears on the “avoid” list. Restaurant guides are accompanied by a GPS map feature and you can also add your own restaurant recommendations.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: free


HopeLine by Verizon

HopeLine allows you to protect the environment and help victims of domestic violence by donating your old cell phones for recycling or refurbishing. Since 2001, HopeLine has collected over 11 million phones nationwide and donated over $21 million in cash grants to a wide range of domestic violence organizations. At a time when there are increasing incidents of domestic violence, HopeLine remains one of the most dedicated and vital resources.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: free



Chorma may not save the world but it may save your sanity! Whether you have a partner, a roommate or a house full of kids, Chorma allows you to organize chores and synchronize across devices so everyone shares the burden of a cleaner, greener home. You can create custom rewards, adjust point scores, and coordinate who does what, even when no-one is home!

Platform: iOS
Cost: free to download; monthly subscription $1.99



BrightNest is another invaluable organizer app that provides information and tips to help turn your home into a cleaner, more efficient, and more pleasant place to live. Whether you want to unclog a showerhead, make your laundry smell fresher, or change the air filters, BrightNest can help. You can schedule tasks, add reminders, and even take the BrightNest quiz!

Platform: iOS
Cost: free


Unicef Tap Project

Earlier this year, the Unicef Tap Project asked users to literally put down their phones to help the 768 million people around the world that live without access to clean water. Although the original time challenge has lapsed, Unicef is still seeking donations for its Tap Project and reminds us that a donation of as little as $5 can provide a child with water for up to 200 days. Visit on your phone and make a difference.

Platform: Web
Cost: as little or as much as you can give


5 Simple Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog

By Stacey Ross

I have built an awesome part-time business that is ideal for motherhood – namely blogging. From my blogging/online efforts, I have branched out to help others who are in their grassroots stages, and I help them with anything from building content to relationship-building, branding and multi-media campaigns. In order to approach blogging as a business, I had to embrace it as a brand and not just look at it as an online memoir or as a platform for citizen journalism.

The other day, I was asked to speak to a group of mom entrepreneurs about strategically harnessing social media, and the first thing I could think of was the secret sauce that has been the most valuable strategy for me – namely giving! They say “If you give, you shall receive,” and when the primary motivation for offering tidbits for free is to help spread goodness and value, the giving is seen as truly authentic.

The following tips for increasing blog traffic have worked for me and for those whom I have assisted both on public platforms as well as behind-the-scenes:

1. Offer assistance or advice.

I learned from my online friends that lending a helping hand not only builds credibility but is a stellar way of building earned media (unsolicited endorsements and testimonials are the best). This is a far cry from having a potential client for coffee to “pick your brain” (been there). Rather it is an opportunity to offer select information or guidance to a large platform, or provide a sample of your services to select influencers.

2. Showcase or spotlight others.

This can be done in the form of an interview, by linking to quotes and websites, by telling a quick story using others as examples, or sharing images that feature interesting people and their worlds. You will be thrilled to see the shares you can get, such as “Check out the advice I gave about the XYZ controversy on ABC Blog!” This type of approach also helps your name get around and opens the doors to greater visibility by all sorts of media specialists.

3. Guest post for others!

I first got my feet wet with by asking the owners if I could write a guest post about something that infuriated me.  Somehow it led to my joining the team, and I am still here – part of this amazing online community! Free samples in front of a restaurant really work! For bloggers trying to gain brand exposure or even freelance work, there are many ideal online platforms where they can leave their marks of expertise and passion!

4. Embrace multi-media platforms!

So many bloggers are set on social media being the be-all-and-end-all in regards to driving traffic to one’s blog and/or brand, but that is just one piece of the puzzle. Offline promotions can be underrated, so besides considering SEO strategies and other online partnerships, consider tapping into print publications, TV exposure, and offline ads to spotlight your efforts as a blogger. Ask via your email subscription (e-blasts are also very valuable) how your new followers heard about you, and you might be surprised!

5. Get social!

Know what your target niche likes to read about (don’t just make it about you!) and offer them some golden nuggets and genuine conversation! If sharing a free report is not your bag, why not try some giveaways or stimulate or engage in some online chats?  Feature current and buzz worthy content and probe your community for their insight, input and opinions. Ultimately, you will see what they want more of and that will not only lead to better analytics, but also to greater brand exposure (and ROI, if you have a product or service) for you and your blog.

Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.

How to Transfer Photos Between Phones

One of the biggest reasons for not switching smartphones (or operating systems) is a fear that we would be abandoning our carefully accumulated photos and videos. Yes, we know it’s possible to transfer them wirelessly via Dropbox or Google Drive but that’s often more of a hassle than we have time for.

A simpler way is to transfer the files onto your computer and then drag and drop them – or at least the ones you want – onto your new device. This means you can transfer photos and videos from an iPhone to an Android phone or an Android phone to a Windows phone with the minimum of fuss and without worrying whether you need to be connected to Wi-Fi or any other network.

Here’s how to do it using a Windows computer:

Plug your old phone into your computer or laptop using your USB charging cable. As your computer recognizes the phone, you will get a pop-up window giving you all kinds of import and transfer options. Ignore them all. Instead, go to Computer (Devices in Windows 8) and double click on the phone icon to see the stored files.

If you have plugged in a Windows phone, then your photos and videos will be conveniently stored under folders labeled Pictures and Videos. If you have plugged in an iPhone or Android phone, then look for a folder labeled DCIM (Digital Camera Images).

If you want to save and transfer all your photos and videos, then simply drag this folder (or folders) to the desktop or another area of your laptop. Alternatively, you can open up the folder and only save the photos or albums you want to keep.

Once the photos are safely saved, you can unplug the old phone and plug in the new phone. Once you locate this device through Computer or Devices, you can simply drag and drop the saved files to save them onto the new device.

Note that there is no need to set up a folder or drill down into the new device to get the photos in the right place. Your new phone will automatically recognize the file formats and organize them appropriately.

And that’s all there is to it. No matter how many photos and videos you have taken over the years, they will all be neatly transferred to your new device, with no need to worry about data charges or cloud storage costs.