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Mistakes Newbie Mobile Users Make

By Andrea Cannavina

In the grand scheme of things, we are all newbies adjusting to using mobile devices. After all, even if you had one of the first iPhones, it has only been five years. Technology consultants and others who make their living helping us to find better living through technology see some sad mobile blunders on a daily basis. For this week’s Friday Five, Andrea Cannavina of LegalTypist, Inc. has a list of common newbie mistakes, and some quick fixes.  

Five Common Mobile Newbie Mistakes

1. Thinking it’s the device. It’s not the device—all of them do pretty much the same thing. No one device is “better.” The best device for you is the device you use; that improves your work flow and, as a natural byproduct, should reduce stress levels and the cost of doing business.

People who gushingly tell you their device or OS is better are not the types of people I’d consider taking tech or other advice seriously. Everyone loves a new this or that, but those of us who have been doing this a while immediately spot the person speaking as in the infatuation period with their device, and obviously a newbie.

2. Downloading every free app. Every app has its reason for existence. Some, though, are hardly more than the conduit by which the app maker will collect user data for indexing a la Google or for selling to third parties. Unless you read the full “Terms of Service” before downloading, you have no idea what an app will actually be doing once it is on your equipment. Even then, if it isn’t a trusted source, you could run into problems. Every time you download an app, you change your device’s core settings. A bit of code here, a bit of digital crap there … it may work, or it could break an otherwise working device.

How skilled are you at returning your devices back to default and starting all over again? If you’re good with that—then download at will. If not, download only those apps that you need to get stuff done and buy another device as a toy to play.

Tip: If you have a ton of apps downloaded and installed that you are not using—delete them. Don’t forget to remove all their permissions to your online accounts, too.

3. Responding immediately. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. When you return emails and calls immediately from your mobile device, you set the expectation that you are always available and will always respond in as timely a manner. You cannot possibly respond immediately to every demand on your time. Well, you can try, but chances are you will miss one or two and then what happens? Suddenly, you “aren’t meeting expectations” and all you did was wait six hours until the morning to respond.

If something is not an emergency, use your mobile device to make yourself aware of it and then schedule time into your day to handle or respond—preferably when you’re working from your desk and real keyboard.

4. Not protecting their devices. For goodness sake, if it’s mobile, it’s gonna be dropped! It’s not a question of if, it’s only a matter of when. You won’t mean to, but it will take a tumble and will probably hit something hard, too! That’s why a case is at the top of my “must have” list for protecting mobile devices.

  • A case. Mobile devices should have a case—the harder the better. Make sure the case is made for your device and does not cover any vents.
  • Insurance. For less than $10 per month, if you do drop or damage your mobile device, the peace of mind is priceless. (Some policies also cover if you lose it). With the payment of a small deductible (around $50), you get a fully working replacement. Of course, always make sure the information on your devices is also stored elsewhere and backed up.
  • Shade. Many people like to use their mobile devices to work outdoors. Keep in mind that your device is really a little machine with teeny, tiny parts that conduct electricity. This means they get hot and cases can make them run even hotter. Heat + electronics = no good!

5. Not setting and using a passphrase. Mobile devices are capable of storing large amounts of confidential and proprietary data. Use a passphrase on all mobile devices just to power up. Seriously. Also, make sure you have the ability to remote-wipe your mobile device. There are ways you can set up your work flow so that all the information you need is easily accessible, without actually syncing or storing on the device itself. For instance, try storing only one day’s worth of email on your mobile device, and put client contact information in a secure web-based account you log into from your mobile device.

Bonus Tip

Stop telling the world you’re a newbie. You’ve probably noticed most mobile devices come with a default signature. Some say the brand of the device; others add things like “excuse the brevity or typos being sent from ….” Besides being mortified that people think it is okay to have typos in communications because they are sent from a mobile device, leaving the default signature is what really highlights a user’s newbie-ness. All mobile devices should use the same signature block that is used when sending email from your desktop or main equipment (unless that siggy is huge—then a cropped version can be used for mobile).

Andrea Cannavina is CEO of LegalTypist, Inc., a digital dictation/transcription/secretarial outsourcing service that provides the tools  attorneys, law firm administrators and other legal professionals need to upgrade processes to digital. Through education, set up, integration, and use of web-based technology, Andrea helps everyone get more done with less—less time, less resources and less stress! Learn more about Andrea at

Read past Daily Dispatch posts by Andrea here.

Categories: Communications Skills, Daily Dispatch, Friday Five, Legal Technology, Mobility
Originally published September 21, 2012
Last updated September 5, 2014
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Andrea Cannavina Andrea Cannavina

Andrea Cannavina has been a mobile professional since the launch of LegalTypist in 2001. A successful entrepreneur, author and speaker, Andrea loves working with lawyers who know they need to get their law office organized, but don’t know where to start or who to trust. If your office is a mess, find out how Andrea can help at If your firm needs more people to process the work, check out LegalTypist’s scalable virtual word processing and data entry services at

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