Q: I saw the recent instructions for disabling autocorrect on an iPhone, but what about those of us who use Android? How do I turn off the automatic-correction feature?
A: The exact steps vary based on your device and the particular version of Android you use, but for the typical system, start by opening the Settings app. On the main Settings screen, choose Languages & Input. In later versions of Android, select Virtual Keyboard. When you get to the list of keyboards and input methods, tap Android (or Google) Keyboard. On the next screen, select Text Correction.
The Text Correction screen lists several controls, including a button to turn off autocorrect. You can also choose to enable or disable Android’s help when you type, including prompts for contact names and personalised suggestions based on your use of other Google apps, and you can decline suggestions for potentially offensive words.
On some Samsung Galaxy phones, you can get to the keyboard software by opening the Apps icon on the home screen, tapping Settings and then General Management. From there, select Language and Input and then On-screen Keyboard. Tap the name of the keyboard you are using — usually Samsung Keyboard or a third-party keyboard app. The Smart Typing section of the Samsung Keyboard settings has all the controls for predictive text, auto replace (automatic correction) and other tools.
Reclaim a screen from scammers
Q: My husband periodically receives a warning box telling us to contact Microsoft because of viruses. We cannot close it, so we turn the computer off and wait a few minutes before turning it back on. Local computer gurus have run scans three times and say that we are not infected with a virus. What can we do?
A: The persistent warning boxes sound like they are part of the ongoing blight of “tech support” scams that have plagued computer users for years. In some cases, the “virus alerts” are merely deviously scripted web pages or advertisements that can take over the screen and make it look like a realistic message to spook you into opening your wallet.
This type of ruse may not trigger an anti-virus program because it is technically just a pop-up window in your web browser. Some adware programs can also fly under the radar of an anti-virus tool, but an anti-malware utility like Malwarebytes or Bitdefender might be able to root out any software squatters on your system.
Even if the window is hard to close with a click, you may not have to restart the computer to ditch the message. If pressing the Alt and F4 keys on a PC (or the Mac’s Command and Q keys) does not close the program, try force-quitting the browser by pressing the Control, Shift and Escape keys to get to the Windows Task Manager — or by pressing the Command, Shift, Option and Escape keys on a Mac.
Make sure your browser is set to block pop-up windows and not to reopen the previous pages when it starts. Microsoft recommends using its newest Edge browser if you use Windows 10, but if you do not care for that program, other modern browsers can block malicious sites — or work with add-ons that do. Google’s Chrome browser has built-in tools in its settings area for removing ads, pop-ups and malware.
Microsoft, Apple and the Federal Trade Commission have information on their sites on how to spot and report tech-support scams, as does the Better Business Bureau. As always, never call a telephone number listed on the alert or supply information to the pestering site.
— New York Times News Service