10 Best Powerline adapter starter kits 2016/2017 – Boost your broadband with the best Powerline adapters you can buy

Powerline technology can revolutionise your home, bringing speedy downloads and fast Internet access to the farthest corners of your house. Here we explain the simply speedy home-network technology (relax, it’s super easy to install) and pick our ten favourite Powerline adapter starter kits.

Best Powerline adapters: the problems Powerline solves

Many houses these days have more than just their laptop or PC crying out for Internet access. Smart TVs connect to catch-up TV and movie-download services, games consoles are the gateway to multi-player action, and all sorts of smart-home devices need to be linked to your home network and mobile devices.

Yet most homes boast just one lonely wireless Internet router, whose job it is to pump out data to all these devices, often located rooms away from its position tied to the telephone line and modem.

Wi-Fi is great but even at relatively short distances it starts to wane in its powers to shift data around where it’s most needed. When you’re trying to download a high-definition movie or keep up with the action in a multi-player game (or worse, both) a fading Wi-Fi signal is not helping you maintain an even mood.

Wired access to the Internet is what you need, but no one wants to snake metres of Ethernet cable round their house. That coil of cables near your router is ugly enough, and power and HDMI cables already lurk behind your TV.

The answer is Powerline, an amazingly simple yet effective means of creating a near-invisible yet speedy home network.

Powerline, as the name suggests, uses the power lines/cables that already exist in your house. If you have more than one wall-mounted power socket you can use Powerline to solve your data-distribution problems.

how-powerline-works-house

Best Powerline adapters: how does Powerline work? Simple plug-&-play set up

Powerline uses the mains wiring in your home as proxy Ethernet cables, taking the data from your Internet router into rooms any distance away from your modem/router without losing signal strength to the same degree as Wi-Fi.

Data (that movie / web page / streaming music / gameplay you’re downloading) runs from the router not just to the connected computer but also to the base Powerline adapter that you simply plug into a nearby wall power socket and connect via Ethernet cable to the router.

Now take the second Powerline adapter and plug it into a wall socket near the devices that require fast Internet access. You then connect this second adapter to those devices via the supplied Ethernet cable, and you’ve got yourself a fast home network.

Powerline set up is as easy as that. Plug in the adapters and connect one to the router and the other to your TV, etc. It really is Plug & Play. Any power outlet becomes a potential Internet connection. You can add multiple Powerline adapters around your house, but two will be plenty for most of us.

powerline-graphic

Best Powerline adaptors: Powerline explained -what’s in the box

You need a Powerline Starter Kit to begin with. This will include at least two Powerline adapters: one base adapter for the room where you keep your Internet router, and the other for the room where you need the fast wired Ethernet access for TV, Sky box, Tivo DVR, games console, laptop, and so on.

These adapters are often exactly the same. Sometimes the base unit has less Ethernet ports as you only really need one here to connect the Powerline with the router.

Each starter kit should also include two Ethernet cables. If you want to connect more than one Internet-hungry device you may need to buy more cables.

powerline-ethernet-ports

Powerline Ethernet ports: Consider how many Ethernet ports you need at either end of your Powerline set up. If you want to connect more than one device (smart TV, Sky/Tivo, games console, etc) then having more than one Ethernet port is important. It’s not essential, though, as you can add an Ethernet Switch (such as the xx) that operates as a hub with multiple Ethernet ports, and may well save you money on the pricier multi-port Powerlines. But if you need just two or three then having that number on the second adapter is your easiest solution.

Ethernet comes in different flavours and strengths. 10/100 Ethernet is the most common, but will limit any speed to 100Mbps. Stronger Gigabit Ethernet removes that limit, and is a must-have for faster 1,200Mbps and faster Powerline sets. Thankfully, all these faster Powerline starter kits we tested do include Gigabit Ethernet ports and cables.

powerline-wifi

Powerline Wi-Fi: The second unit may also offer wireless functionality – the ability to add a new Wi-Fi hotspot in a different part of your house. This is handy if your wireless connection is particularly weak in your house away from the wireless router. It creates a new Wi-Fi hotspot, using the strong signal from the Powerline rather than merely “extending” the weak signal as you get with so-called Wi-Fi extenders.

The best Powerlines allow you to “clone” the wireless signals so both appear to be from the same source – meaning you use just the one password.

powerline-pass-through-sockets

Powerline pass-through sockets: Look out for adapters that feature a pass-through socket; that is, a power socket on the front so that the adapter doesn’t use up one of your valuable wall sockets. There is also some evidence that a pass-through socket will shield the adapter from electrical noise that could weaken a signal.

Don’t try to cut corners by plugging the Powerline adapter into a power strip, as that will reduce its performance.

Best Powerline adapters: Powerline manufacturers

There are many makes of Powerline adapter. The most respected are from Devolo, TP-Link, Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, TrendNet, Solwise, and Zyxel. Some are branded by broadband providers. For example, BT has a range of Powerline adapters.

All adapters that are certified to the HomePlug standard are compatible and work together, regardless of manufacturer.

Best Powerline adapters: Powerline speed reality and myth

Powerline starter kits are available in a range of speeds. The original 200Mbps Powerlines were superseded by 500Mbps kits, so this should be your minimum speed for a Powerline. Later, faster 1,200Mbps-rated Powerlines will further increase your network speed.

But, and this is an important point, you will not get 1,200Mbps from one of those Powerline set ups, and you won’t get 500Mbps from a 500Mbps-rated Powerline.

These rated speeds are theoretical maximum speeds only. All sorts of environmental factors will pull back Powerline performance; distance, the state and age of your home’s electrical wiring, other electric devices in your house, and much more.

In our testing environment (a three-storey Victorian house) we struggled to get over 70Mbps on many Powerlines, but you may get faster (or slower) performance depending on your house and its wiring.

Don’t despair, though, as 70-100Mbps is going to be a marked improvement on using a weak Wi-Fi signal to download movies, play games, etc.

Best Powerline adapters: Best budget Powerline

zyxel-hd-powerline-adapter

ZyXel 500Mbps Powerline Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

Speed: 500Mbps

Wi-Fi: No

Pass-Through socket: No

Ethernet: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet per adapter

RRP: £79.99

Amazon price: £57.40

Amazon.com price: $34.95

This Powerline starter kit of two 500Mbps adapters has a retail price of £79 (US$) but are available from Amazon for just £29.99.

It’s basic in features – no extra Wi-Fi, no pass-through sockets and just the one Ethernet port per adapter – but it achieved more than respectable speeds in our real-world tests. The ports are Gigabit Ethernet, too, which means potential speeds aren’t limited by the older 10/100 Ethernet standard.

The adapters are dinky little things so you’ll hardly notice them.

 

netgear-powerline-1200-plp1200-adapters

Netgear PLP1200 Powerline

Speed: 1,200Mbps

Wi-Fi: No

Pass-Through socket: Yes, on each adapter

Ethernet: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet per adapter

RRP: £79.99

Amazon price: £59.99

Amazon.com price: £75.30

Again, the online discounts on this Powerline starter kit are impressive. Instead of the £79 list price we’ve seen this on Amazon for just £44.99.

It’s the faster 1,200Mbps Powerline, so the price looks even better, and you get pass-through sockets on both adapters. It is restricted a bit by having just one Ethernet port per adapter but you can add an Ethernet Switch to create more ports if you need them. There’s no added Wi-Fi functionality, but if that doesn’t bother you this is a bargain set.

 

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TrendNet Powerline 500AV2

Speed: 500Mbps

Wi-Fi: Optional

Pass-Through socket: No

Ethernet: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet per adapter

RRP: £68.99; £69.99 with Wi-Fi

Amazon price: £62.49; with WiFi, £42.98

Amazon.com price: $79.98; with WiFi, $70.99

The TrendNet Powerline AV2 Adapter Kit (TPL-408E2K) comes with the two standard adapters – each of which has one Gigabit Ethernet port. The TrendNet Powerline 500 Wireless Kit (TPL-410APK), however, boasts not just an extra Wi-Fi hotspot but two Ethernet ports on the second-room adapter (although of the slower 10/100 variety of Ethernet). The non-Wi-Fi model was super-fast wired, even rivalling some of the 1,200-rated Powerlines we tested. This is a very speedy set of Powerline adapters for a bargain price. At the time of writing the Wi-Fi model was actually cheaper than the one without!

 

tp-link-av500-powerline-adapters_thumb800

TP-Link AV500 TL-WPA4230P Powerline

Speed: 500Mbps

Wi-Fi: Yes

Pass-Through socket: Yes, on each adapter

Ethernet: 2 x 10/100 Ethernet on base adapter, 3 x 10/100 Ethernet ports on second adapter

RRP: £89.99

Amazon price: £59.99

This budget 500Mbps starter kit has all the Powerline bells and whistles: multiple Ethernet ports, the ability to create a new Wi-Fi hotspot in your home, and pass-through sockets on both adapters. The TL-WPA4230P KIT is actually two separate adapters boxed as a starter kit. The base unit, which you plug into your internet router, is the TL-PA4020P, with two Ethernet ports. The second adapter, which sits near your TV, Sky box etc, is the TL-WPA4230P, with three Ethernet ports and the Wi-Fi hotspot.


Best Powerline adapters: Best fast Powerline

tp-link-pa9020p-kit-powerline_thumb800

TP-Link AV2000 2-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline

Speed: 1,200Mbps

Wi-Fi: No

Pass-Through socket: Yes, on both adapters

Ethernet: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet per adapter

RRP: £99.99

Amazon price: £99.95

Amazon.com price: $138.99

This Powerline starter kit claims it’s even faster than the latest 1,200Mbps standard, achieved by some clever tech tricks. We’re not absolutely sure about that but we do know that it performed very well in our tests – indeed was the fastest we’ve tried out. The two Gigabit Ethernet ports and pass-through sockets per adapter are handy, although there’s no extra Wi-Fi hotspot created using these adapters.

 

solwise-1200-powerline-800

Solwise SmartLink 1200AV2 HomePlug Powerline

Speed: 1,200Mbps

Wi-Fi: No

Pass-Through socket: Yes, on both adapters

Ethernet: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet per adapter

RRP: £81 (two adapters)

Amazon price: £37.76 (price for one adapter, you need two)

You need to buy two of these Powerline adapters as there’s no starter kit available, so watch out for that if buying online. It’s not the best in looks but matches and beats some of the other 1,200Mbps-rated Powerlines in performance. The two Gigabit Ethernet ports and pass-through sockets per adapter are a plus, but there’s no extra Wi-Fi hotspot. Buy two (or more) and the price is one of the best available.

 

devolo-dlan-1200-powerline-kit_thumb800

Devolo 1200+ WiFi ac Powerline Starter Kit

Speed: 1,200Mbps

Wi-Fi: Yes

Pass-Through socket: Yes, on both adapters

Ethernet: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet per adapter

RRP: £159.99

Amazon price: £134

This Powerline starter kit has it all: two Gigabit Ethernet adapters and pass-through sockets on both adapters, plus the ability to create a new, strong Wi-Fi hotspot in the second room. There’s a cheaper version with just one Gigabit Ethernet port and no Wi-Fi but we like the fully featured version for the bells and whistles.

 

tp-link-powerline-wpa8630p

TP-Link AV1200 Gigabit Powerline Wi-Fi Starter Kit (WPA8630P)

Speed: 1,200Mbps

Wi-Fi: Yes

Pass-Through socket: Yes, on both adapters

Ethernet: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet on base adapter; 3 x Gigabit Ethernet on second

RRP: £124.99 / US$164.99

Amazon price: £99.99

Amazon.com price: $139.99

This Powerline starter kit has everything the Devolo 1200+ WiFi starter kit has, plus a third Gigabit Ethernet port on the second adapter, although just the one on the base unit. The second room is usually where you need multiple Ethernet ports. If you can live without the extra Wi-Fi then the TL-PA8030P version (RRP: 89 and Amazon price around £70) is great value and with even more Gigabit Ethernet ports (three per adapter).

 

trendnet-500-av2-powerline-adapters_thumb800

TrendNet Powerline 500AV2

Speed: 500Mbps

Wi-Fi: Optional

Pass-Through socket: No

Ethernet: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet per adapter

RRP: £48; £69.99 with Wi-Fi

Amazon price: £62.49; with WiFi, £42.98

Amazon.com price: $79.98; with WiFi, $70.99

Although rated at only 500Mbps the TrendNet Powerline AV2 Adapter Kit (TPL-408E2K) rivalled some of the 1,200-rated Powerlines we tested, and so gets in both our Best Budget Powerlines and Best Fast Powerlines listings. It comes with the two standard adapters – each of which has one Gigabit Ethernet port. The TrendNet Powerline 500 Wireless Kit (TPL-410APK) boasts not just an extra Wi-Fi hotspot but two Ethernet ports on the second-room adapter but uses the slower 10/100 variety of Ethernet so is not as fast as the fully wired model.

How to build apps for iPhone | Learn to code iPhone apps with these 5 best Swift coding courses

Here we show you how to learn to write Swift. The 5 best courses for learning Swift, how to code iPhone apps, and how to learn to code. Here’s how to build iPhone apps.

Swift is Apple’s coding language, designed to make it easy for anyone to build apps for Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad. ‘Easy’ is a relative term, however. Although Swift and Xcode are freely available vi the Apple app store, and that will help you get started.

If you are not a professional coder you will likely need some kind of support to get grips with Swift. But such support is readily available. In this article we outline the best free and paid-for courses that will help anyone build iPhone apps with Swift.

How to write apps for iPhone: 10 best courses for Swift

There are loads of courses that will help you to learn to build iPhone apps. But not all such courses are made equal. In all cases you will need motivation, and discipline.

We recommend the Udemy course as it is the best, if not the cheapest, offering the best chance of you making it. But we present all options so that you can make the right decision for you.

How to write apps for iPhone: Apple Swift developer resources

Every aspiring iPhone app writer should start by visiting Apple’s Swift developer resource page. Here you can download Xcode 8 and get started with Swift 3. Use the migrator in Xcode 8 to convert your existing Swift code to use the new Swift 3 features and syntax. You’ll find sample code, and links to reference material.

Don’t worry if you don’t know what means. You will if you keep reading.

How to write apps for iPhone: Udemy

Hands down the best way to learn Swift is to take this hugely popular and well reviewed course via the Udemy learning site. The Complete iOS 10 Developer Course is brand new for Apple’s latest iOS, but has already garnered rave reviews from some of its tens of thousands of students.

Udemy courses are normally very expensive, and this one retails for £200. That is good value if you are a novice coder who is serious about writing apps for iPhone. But if the price makes you balk right now there is an amazing offer by which you can do this course for just £19. Take advantage!

You should also check out some of Udemy’s other iPhone app writing courses.

Udemy iPhone app writing course
Udemy iPhone app writing course

How to write apps for iPhone: Lynda.com

Lynda.com is the doyen of the online education world, and as you might expect it has courses that will help you to learn to code iPhone apps.

You will find a tonne of such courses here, but for the beginner we particularly recommend iOS 10 App Development Essentials 1: Create Your First App. It is short, and easy to follow, but gives you all the basics.

Lynda is a subscription service, and after a free 10-day trial it costs £22.95 a month or £227 a year. If you are serious about learning to code for iPhone, that year-long deal may make sense given the sheer volume of iOS coding courses included.

Lynda iPhone app writing course
Lynda iPhone app writing course

How to write apps for iPhone: Totsplus

A much cheaper option that will suit those on a budget but doesn’t offer as much depth as Udemy, is Totsplus. We like this course Learn iOS SDK Development From Scratch, and you can sign up for just $15. Pretty cheap, even post Brexit.

Totsplus iPhone app writing course
Totsplus iPhone app writing course

How to write apps for iPhone: iTunes U

Our final option is to use Apple’s own iTunes U. Here, via iTunes you can get access to course materials, videos and resources that will help the motivated iPhone coding newbie get to grips with Swift.

We like this one, and this one.

It’s inexpensive, and a little like guesting at a university. You can sit in on lectures and download and use all the resources you need. But you have to set your own pace and mark your own work, and this can be a little lonely.

How to download YouTube videos | How to download YouTube videos to iPhone | How to download YouTube videos to Android

How to download YouTube videos. Download YouTube clips to iPhone, Android and more. 

We show you how to download any YouTube video to your iPhone, or Android phone. The methods aren’t straightforward, but that is the nature of the beast. Google doesn’t really want you to download someone else’s copyright material, and it isn’t going to make it easy for you to do so.

Fortunately, we are here to show you how to download YouTube videos. How to download YouTube clips to iPhone, and how to download YouTube clips to Android. (See also: How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone.)

How to download YouTube videos to iPhone

This is much more involved than you might expect. But the process is basically install a media download app, find the URL of your preferred video, and then get the one to suck down the other. There are some clunky limitations here, so if you find a better way to do it please let us know.

On your iPhone, go to the App Store and search for ‘Documents 5’. Documents 5 is a free app that is useful for this exact purpose, although it isn’t straightforward – Apple doesn’t like to be seen to be promoting the downloading of copyright content. Install Documents 5, launch the app, and tap the bottom-right icon (it looks like the Safari compass).

This will display a web browser where you can search for ‘savefromnet’. Find ‘en.savefrom.net‘ in the search results, and tap it.

No you need to find the URL of the YouTube video you wish to download. Either find it via your iPhone web browser, or open the YouTube app. Then find the video you want, tap it to show the controls and hit the share icon (the bendy arrow pointing right). One of the options is ‘Copy Link’, and that is the one you want.

Once you have copied the link, return to the Documents 5 app. It is best to do this, the download stage, on Wi-Fi. Much data will be used here. Tap in the white box to select it, then tap again to bring up the Paste option. Paste in the video URL you copied from YouTube.

Download YouTube clips to iPhone
Download YouTube clips to iPhone

Now hit the green tick. You will see a list of resolutions. Choose the quality you want, remembering that higher quality means a bigger file on your phone. When you have chosen a quality that suits, hit the relevant green link, give your video file a name, and hit done. The video will now download to the Downloads section of the Documents 5 app.

Apple really isn’t going to make this easy for you, so you can’t then save the video file to your native Video app. But you can move it to the Camera Roll, by tapping holding the video file, and then dragging it to the Camera Roll. Head to that app to watch it any time you want. (Also see: How to stop running out of data on iPhone.)

How to download YouTube videos to Android

As with iPhone there are free apps available that help here. In this case they make it easier, because Android is more open than is iOS. However, it’s not all gravy. The app we are using isn’t on the Google Play store. Such is life. Follow our instructions and you will be okay.

The app is TubeMate: head to tubemate.net on your Android browser, and click to download a recent version from the provided list of verified sites. Your Android pone will want you that the file downloading can harm your device – this is only because it is software from outside the Play store. It’s cool. But you do have to open up your Android’s permissions.

Go to Settings, Security, and enable the option to allow installation from unknown sources. You will be warned again, but click through this. And remember to reverse this process when you have installed TubeMate.

Now install TubeMate. Use a File Manager to navigate to your phone’s Downloads folder, and find the relevant .apk file. Tap the file to begin the installation.

Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung Galaxy S7

TubeMate will prompt you to agree to some permissions, so do so and click Install. Once it is installed, tap Open. Accept the Terms of Use. Once TubeMate launches, use the Search option to find the YouTube video you want to download and select it. At the top of the screen you’ll see a green arrow – tap this.

You will be offered a range of quality options for your download. Quality means big, remember. And also it makes sense to be on Wi-Fi at this stage. Make your choice and press the Download button.

Once your video has downloaded you’ll see a notification in the drop-down bar at the top of the screen. Tap it and TubeMate will open. Swipe in from the right to access your downloaded videos, or use the three dots icon at the top right and select Download List. Either way tap on any video to begin playing it.

The video files themselves are automatically saved into your smartphone’s Video folder. So you can move them from your device on to a PC and then another device. (See also: How to fix Android insufficient storage available error message.)

TubeMate
TubeMate

10 best antivirus for Mac | Do Macs need antivirus? Best free Mac antivirus

We reveal the best antivirus for Mac. Best Mac antivirus and best Mac security software. Best security software for Apple Mac. PLUS: do Macs need antivirus? Why you need to install security software on your Mac.

Here’s how to secure any Mac. We rank and rate the best free and paid-for antivirus for Mac, and security software for Apple computers.

Best antivirus for Mac: Do Macs need antivirus?

Simply, yes. Many people will tell you the opposite, of course. And it is true that the threat is much less urgent if you are a Mac user than those Windows-using clowns. But if you have a Mac you care about, and it is connected to the web, you ought to install security software.

Macs are less vulnerable than are Windows PCs and laptops for two reasons. Firstly, there are fewer Macs. All cybercrime is based on plucking low-hanging fruit, so the much larger group of Windows users in the world is a much bigger target. That may change, however, as the Apple user base grows. Lest we forget, Macs are expensive so Apple users are a lucrative target.

Which brings us to the other point: Macs are harder to attack than are Windows PCs. That’s because the Mac OS (previously OS X) is a UNIX operating system, built in the dim-and-distant past on a UNIX derivative. This means that it is sandboxed. Unlike a Windows PC or laptop, if a crook infects a Mac in one area, they can’t get it all. Not easily, anyway.

This makes Macs less attractive to hackers. But that is a long way from making them invulnerable. So if you value your computer and the information on it, get yourself some security software. These are the best.

We base our ranking on the most recent AV-Test group review of Mac antivirus products, as well as price and ease of use. The tests look at efficacy in terms of detecting and destroying known and unknown web threats, and the impact each program has on system performance. We’ve split the best Mac antivirus products into those you pay for and free Mac antivirus. In general the best free products offer high levels of protection, but tend to have a greater negative impact on system performance when compared to their paid brethren.

Windows users should read our piece: Best antivirus for PC | Best antivirus for laptop | Best security software for Windows.

6 best antivirus for Mac

Best antivirus for Mac: 1. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Bitdefender remains the undisputed leader of the pack in terms of Mac security. In AV-Test’s lab Bitdefender detected and protected against literally every piece of malware thrown at it. And it had no recognisable negative impact on performance.

Bitdefender costs from £39 for a one-year licence for a single Mac.

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Click here to find out more about Bitdefender for Mac

Best antivirus for Mac: 2. ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac

ESET is another excellent Mac antivirus, offering exactly the same perfect protection as did Bitdefender in AV-Test’s lab. It also causes very little grief to Mac performance, but loses out of Bitdefender on the basis of a tiny amount of system impact.

ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac costs from £39 a year for a single Mac.

ESET Cyber Security Pro
ESET Cyber Security Pro

Click here to find out more about ESET for Mac

Best antivirus for Mac: 3. eScan Anti-Virus Security for Mac

Cheaper than both ESET and Bitdefenr is ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac. This program offers perfect protection, as do those other Mac antivirus packages. So what is the catch? Sadly, eScan takes quite a hit on your Mac’s performance. Or at least that is what AV-Test’s report suggests.

If you can stand that system impact, ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac costs only £23 for a one-year licence for one Mac.

eScan Anti-Virus Security for Mac
eScan Anti-Virus Security for Mac

Click here to find out more about eScan for Mac

Best antivirus for Mac: 4. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac

Kaspersky ‘failed’ to hit a perfect protection score in AV-Test’s lab, picking up a mere 99.17 percent of the net nasties chucked its way. And although it had more of an impact on system performance than either Bitdefender or ESET, this excellent Mac antivirus has nothing like the impact of eScan, according the AV-Test lab results.

You can pick up a one-year, single-user licence of Kaspersky for Mac for £39.

Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac
Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac

Click here to find out more about Kaspersky for Mac

Best antivirus for Mac: 5. Symantec Norton Security for Mac

Security giant Symantec will likely be unhappy that Norton ranks only fifth in AV-Test’s run-down of the best Mac antivirus programs, but it is a really close-run thing. Norton picked up 99.17 percent of the filth AV-Test threw at it, which is by any stretch a good result. Its system impact was about the same as Kaspersky’s – a little more impact on some elements, less on others. Let’s call it joint fourth.

A two-year, one-device licence of Symantec Norton Security for Mac costs £39.

Symantec Norton Security for Mac
Symantec Norton Security for Mac

Click here to find out more about Norton for Mac

Best antivirus for Mac: 6. Mac Premium Bundle X9

It is not cheap, and according to some independent tests doesn’t offer the very best security against known or zero-day threats, but the £69.99 Intego offers an unsurpassed feature set.

Antivirus, anti-phishing and anti-spyware are a given, as is firewall network protection even outside your home. You may appreciate the parental controls with website and application blocking, and there are also backup and Mac speed up functions.

Intego Mac Premium Bundle
Intego Mac Premium Bundle

Click here to find out more about Intego Mac Premium Bundle

Now let’s look at the best Mac security freebies.

4 best free antivirus for Mac

Best free antivirus for Mac: 1. AVG Antivirus FREE

In AV-Test’s lab AVG offered perfect protection against known and unknown threats. And its system impact was middle of the pack – great for s free Mac antivirus.

AVG Antivirus FREE
AVG Antivirus FREE

Click here to find out more about AVG for Mac

Best free antivirus for Mac: 2. Sophos Home FREE

Another free Mac antivirus that picked up 99.17 of malware in AV-Test’s lab, Sophos didn’t do too badly at all on the system impact test, either.

Sophos Home FREE
Sophos Home FREE

Click here to find out more about Sophos for Mac

Best free antivirus for Mac: 3. Avast Free Mac Security

Only just behind AVG is Avast, protecting against 99.17 of known and unknown threats in AV-Test’s lab. System impact wasn’t great on test however, in particular when downloading test files. Still, free is free, right?

Avast Free Mac Security
Avast Free Mac Security

Click here to find out more about Avast for Mac

Best free antivirus for Mac: 4. Avira Free Antivirus for Mac

Avira picked up a respectable amount of the malware AV-Test exposed it to in the lab, protecting against around 93 percent of threats. That’s good, but you don’t want 7 percent of viruses infecting your Mac. Nor do you want the system impact that Avira saddled the Mac with on AV-Test’s watch.

Avira Free Antivirus for Mac
Avira Free Antivirus for Mac

Find out more about Avira for Mac

Best antivirus for PC | Best antivirus for laptop | Best security software for Windows

6 ways to stop running out of data on iPhone | How to make iPhone data go further | How to turn off Wi-Fi assist

How to stop running out of data on iPhone. Six tips for saving data on iPhone. Here’s how to make your iPhone data go further.

Your iPhone is brilliant. Too brilliant. That monthly data limit soon goes if you use all the many wonderful features and apps on your smartphone. And in the UK at least cellular data is super expensive. In this article we explain how to monitor your iPhone data usage, how to prevent apps from using too much data, and how to make your iPhone data go further. See also: How to unlock iPhone: Use any SIM in iPhone.

Stop running out of data on iPhone: 1. how much data am I using?

Go to Settings > Cellular (or Mobile Data), scroll down to view Mobile Data Usage. If you have never done this before, the number you see will be your all-time data usage, so scroll to the bottom and hit Reset Statistics. Do this every month to keep track of your data usage.

This is a faff, so you could just purchase the Data Usage app for 79p. This will keep track of your data usage for you.

If you just want to see which apps are using data, go to Settings > Cellular (Mobile Data).

How to speed up iPhone
How to save data on iPhone

Stop running out of data on iPhone: 2. how to turn off Wi-Fi assist

WiFi Assist feature kicks in to use cellular data if your Wi-Fi connection is crappy. Which is good for your connection, bad for your wallet and your data contract. If you don’t need it, turn it off. Go to Settings > Mobile Data, scroll to the bottom and disable Wi-Fi Assist.

Stop running out of data on iPhone: 3. stop individual apps using data

Go to Settings > Cellular/Mobile Data and scroll down to stop individual apps from using data. Classic data hogs include steaming services such as FaceTime, or cloud data services such as iCloud. Switch off cellular and you can still use them via Wi-Fi.

Save data on iPhone
Save data on iPhone

Stop running out of data on iPhone: 4. turn off auto play video in Facebook

Facebook’s auto play video can chew through your data. But you can switch off this specific element of the app. Go to Settings > Facebook > Settings and scroll down to Video and switch to Auto-play on Wi-Fi only.

Stop running out of data on iPhone: 5. stop iPhone using data

To turn off your cellular data so go to Settings > Cellular (Mobile Data) and toggle the Cellular Data switch to off.

This will turn off all cellular data to restrict all data to Wi-Fi, including email, web browsing and push notifications.

Stop running out of data on iPhone: 6. switch off data roaming

When you travel abroad, you may wish to stop your phone using cellular data, which tends to be a lot more expensive. Go to Settings > Cellular and toggle the switch beside Data Roaming. See also: Delete junk files on iPhone | Empty iPhone cache | Delete temporary files on iPhone: 5 ways to speed up your iPhone.

Best free email service 2016 UK | Best webmail | Gmail vs Outlook vs Yahoo!

We test, rank and rate the best free email services you can use in 2016. The best free email. Best free email for storage, best free email for privacy, best free email for features. Check out our list of the best free webmail services you can use.

We’ve listed the best free email services by alphabetical order, which is just as well. Gmail and Outlook are the best services there are, and unless you have privacy concerns, you should check them out. (Also see: Best cloud storage service 2016 | Best online storage | Secure online storage | Cheap cloud storage.)

Best free email service 2016 UK: AOL Mail

Huge in the 2000s, but still knocking around, AOL Mail is actually a decent free email service for those who wish to be retro. But retro it is.

Log into AOL and most of the screen is taken up by a news feed. It’s like 2002 all over again. This combined with the multitude of themes and customisation options makes AOL feel more like a home page than an email tool. Depending on your needs this may be no terrible thing.

You get the usual left-sided folder list including inbox, drafts, sent and the rest. And you can create and edit your own folder list, as well as moving messages around and creating rules and filters.

But that is about it. Like iCloud, it is for basic users rather than the office. Check out AOL if you need a basic and pleasingly retro email service.

Find out more about AOL Mail.

AOL Mail
AOL Mail

Best free email service 2016 UK: Apple iCloud

One to use only if you are an Apple obsessive. Gmail and Outlook are better. Although iCloud’s iPhone and iPad integration are good, the web interface is crap. Like most Apple software, this email service exists to get you to buy its hardware.

On your iPhone and iPad, Apple Mail can be set up to access other email accounts, such as Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo!. Not on the web interface.

You have the standard three-pane view with email and folders on the left, inbox listing all the messages in the middle and the selected email on the right. Just don’t expect to be able to customise things: that is not Apple’s way.

Folders can be edited, rules and filters can be set up. If you are an Apple user on the hunt for a simple and non-technical email service you could do worse. But you could also do better.

Find out more about Apple iCloud Mail.

icloud mail

Best free email service 2016 UK: Gmail

Google’s free email device is often considered the number one free email service, and with good reason. It looks great on laptop, tablet or smartphone. You don’t get mail folders, as such, rather you can tag emails t make them easier to find. But, trust me, Google is pretty good at finding stuff, so in time you learn to worry less about archiving your messages, and more about usefully using email as a work tool.

By default Google displays email conversations in date order. Priority inbox puts at the top messages Gmail thinks are important. Indeed, Gmail can automatically sort messages into primary, social, promotions, updates and forums. Due to Google’s scanning and search skills this is super accurate, and allows you to use email in the most useful way for you.

You can change the way the interface looks in your browser, by using a Google theme or your own images, too. In general Gmail is intuitive and user-friendly, useful and customisable. It also offers a huge amount of storage for free – 15GB of free storage across Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos. So why wouldn’t you choose Google?

The only real reason is that like some other free email services Gmail scans your messages in order to deliver contextual advertising. That is a problem for some privacy conscious users.

Find out more about Gmail.

Gmail
Gmail

Best free email service 2016 UK: Outlook.com

The artist formally known as Hotmail, Microsoft’s free email service is alive and well worth your consideration.

Via your web browser Outlook doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel. You will see a folder list on the left, including inbox, drafts, and sent. Folders are used to organise emails, and you can drag messages from folder to folder. Adding new folders is a cinch. The rest of the screen lists the contents of the currently selected folder. There is also a reading pane, so you can browse- and read emails from the same view.

Staying in the traditional email box, you can set rules to automatically sort incoming mail. Microsoft’s Quick views tool automatically categorises messages like Gmail’s tabs, but there are more categories. Messages can be archived, which moves them to the relevant folder, or flagged so they appear in Quick views rather than the inbox.

Outlook is up there with Gmail as the big beast of the free email world. Like Gmail it is generous with storage limits (storage space for your Outlook.com email increases monthly). But like Gmail it will target adverts at you based on your email messages. That’s really the only down side.

Find out more about Outlook.com.

Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Best free email service 2016 UK: Yahoo! Mail

Yes, it still exists. A good-looking email web interface with occasionally unsightly adverts, Yahoo! is actually pretty useful. And you get 1GB of storage, free of charge.

You get the classic panel with inbox, sent, spam, trash and other folders, as well as a list of email on the right from the selected folder. You can preview messages and the folders themselves. And, of course, you can create folders and edit your folder list. You can auto sort messages into your folders by setting up filters.

You can open multiple emails in different tabs, and compose new messages in the same way. Each tab is in essence a new email browser. It works well.

Like Google and Microsoft’s email tools, you can import into Yahoo! other email accounts. We like Yahoo!, it is okay with us. But given the choice we would go with Outlook or Gmail.

Find out more about Yahoo! Mail.

Yahoo! Mail
Yahoo! Mail

Best free email service 2016 UK: Zoho Mail

Zoho Mail is a pretty useful business-friendly email tool. You get the now expected multi-layer folders, labels, flag, and filters that allow you to organise your messages. One nice touch is the ability to share an entire folder with a colleague.

Streams is an interesting and potentially useful feature of Zoho Mail that brings social media style comments and likes into standard email. You can tag individual correspondents to untangle complicated multi-person email threads.

For free you get 5GB of storage for your mail, and 5GB for other files. The latter relates to the point that Zoho is principally a web-based office suite that has a calendar app and allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Zoho doesn’t charge or show ads, which is great. But it does attempt to get you to shell out. The free version allows emails of only up to 25MB, and doesn’t support Google Calendar. Shell out £2 a month and the Google Calendar restriction is lifted, you get twice the storage, and a 30MB email limit.

Even with the restrictions, however, Zoho Mail is a good free email service.

Find out more about Zoho Mail.

Zoho Mail

Best free email service 2016 UK: Verdict

It is difficult to look beyond the big two of Gmail and Outlook. They offer the best software with good storage options, and easy-to-use and -customise interfaces. The only real objection could be for the privacy fan who wants ad-free email that cannot be read by the provider. Those people should look at encrypted email tools such as Protonmail and Tutanota. For everyone else, go claim that Gmail or Outlook address.

How to speed up a Mac | 11 tips to make a Mac run faster

11 tweaks that will make any Apple Mac run faster. Here’s how to speed up a Mac.

The only surefire way of boosting your Mac is to install more RAM, but that can be a challenging hardware upgrade. Here we will focus on a variety of software tips, each of which will give your Mac a little boost.

You should also be sure to restart your Mac from time to time. This will stop unused apps and processes from clogging up your Mac. Also keep a clean and tidy desktop. The fewer things your RAM has to render, the more RAM you will have to keep the lights on.

Finally, if all else fails you can reinstall your Mac’s OS. This is a painful and in depth thing to do, though. So we will try our quick tips first. (See also: 9 best antivirus for Mac | Do Macs need antivirus? Best free Mac antivirus.)

How to speed up a Mac
How to speed up a Mac

How to speed up a Mac: Shut down unused or unwanted apps

If you’re running a load of applications on your Mac it will be throwing memory and CPU cycles at them, reducing the amount of both that is available to use for the apps you need. First up find out what is running. Open System Preferences and click Dock. Make sure there is a tick next to ‘Show indicator lights for open applications’.

That will show you which apps are running. To find out which are kicking your Mac’s behind, open the Activity Monitor in the Utilities folder.

Activity Monitor shows all the processes on your Mac. Click on View and Windowed Processes. Select the CPU button and the “%CPU” column to list programs filtered by the amount of CPU they are taking up. This tool also lets you list by memory, disk and processes.

Now you know the apps you want to kill go to the Dock, right-click on the icon of any programs you don’t need, and choose Quit. Alternatively press Command-Tab to bring up the App Switcher, and press Command-Q to quit unused programs.

How to speed up a Mac: Uninstall apps you never use

We’ve stopped running apps we don’t need right now. But for a greater impact let’s uninstall any apps we never want to use again. The simplest way is to drag and drop apps into the Trash.

You should also remove from the dashboard any widgets you don’t use. Click the Remove icon in the bottom-left, and tap on the Remove icons on any widgets you don’t regularly use.

How to speed up a Mac: Make sure your Mac software is up to date

First let’s do a software update for Mac OS X and all your apps. Click on the Apple icon in the Menu bar and choose Software Update. To avoid ever having to do this again, click on System Preferences > App Store and make sure that ‘Automatically Check For Updates’ is selected. Then tick Install App Updates which will automatically update your software.

Apple Mac System Preferences
Apple Mac System Preferences

How to speed up a Mac: Clear disk space

If your hard disk is full it will impact on your Mac’s performance. So we will clear a little space. First right-click on the Trash can in the dock, and select Empty Trash to clear the bin.

If you need to free up more space then check through your User folder for items to get rid of (Movies and Pictures are often likely culprits). You should also empty the Downloads folder of any items you’re unlikely to need.

How to speed up a Mac: Reduce Login items

Go to System Preferences. Click Users & Groups. Click on the Login Items tab to see which programs and services are launched when you first start up your Mac. Click on any item that you don’t want, and hit the Delete from Login Items button at the bottom of the pane.

How to speed up a Mac: ‘Remove From Preference Pane’

Now we are going to look for custom items in your System Preferences. If you are not using these, they will take up a tiny amount of your Mac’s resources.

Open System Preferences and check in the row at the bottom. Right-click on any item you don’t need, and choose Remove From Preference Pane.

How to speed up a Mac: Turn off visual effects

Keeping the Dock static will help to boost your Mac. Click System Preferences > Dock and untick Magnification, Animate opening applications, Automatically hide and show the dock, Turn off accessibility.

Finally, click on ‘Minimize windows using’ and change Genie Effect to Scale Effect.

How to speed up a Mac: Limit what Spotlight searches

Spotlight is a great tool, but it has to index and re-index everything on every drive. That can steal precious resource from your Mac.

If you want to speed up your Mac, you need to limit the scope of Spotlight. Go to the Spotlight pane in System Preferences. Click on the Privacy tab, and drag in any folders or volumes you don’t need to search. That will reduce the number of files Spotlight needs to index.

Apple Mac updates to install
Apple Mac updates to install

How to speed up a Mac: Disable File Vault encryption

File Vault lets you encrypt every file you store on your Mac. This uses a lot of processor cycles, however. Disabling File Vault encryption can refresh your Mac. Click on the Security & Privacy tab in System Preferences, then on the File Vault tab. Click the padlock, type in an admin password, and click Turn off File Vault.

How to speed up a Mac: Tweak the Finder

Opening a new Finder window shows you the All My Files view. Literally every file on your Mac. This can be a drag on your Mac. Go to Finder Preferences, click the General tab, and choose a different folder from the drop-down menu.

How to speed up a Mac: Speed up Safari

Not specifically a tip to speed up your Mac, but if the slowness is affecting you browser, clearing its cache will help. Open Safari and choose Safari > Reset Safari and check Remove all Website Data. Click on Reset. READ NEXT: Delete junk files on iPhone | Empty iPhone cache | Delete temporary files on iPhone: 5 ways to speed up your iPhone

How to unlock iPhone: Use any SIM in iPhone | Unlock iPhone 6S | Unlock iPhone 7

We explain how to unlock any iPhone. How to unlock iPhone 6S, unlock iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and more. Here’s how to use any SIM in your iPhone.

Unlock your iPhone: Is your phone locked?

If you purchased your iPhone new in 2016 the chances are it is already unlocked. Huzzah! But check by first inserting a SIM from a network different to the one you use.

If it doesn’t work: you need to unlock your iPhone. (Error messages to look out for include ‘Invalid SIM’, ‘SIM Card Not Accepted’, or ‘Insert Correct SIM Card’. (See also: How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone | Transfer backup from old iPhone to new iPhone.)

Unlock your iPhone: What kind of SIM?

So, your iPhone is locked to one network, and you need to unlock it. The first issue with which you need to wrestle is what size of SIM you need.

If you have an iPhone 4S or older you will need a MicroSIM. The iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE use a nanoSIM. Before you go for the unlock make sure you source the right size.

Unlock your iPhone: Is it legal to unlock iPhone?

Yes! Well, yes mostly. It is legal to unlock your iPhone if you bought it outright, or you have finished paying the contract with which you bought it from a network.

Do bear in mind that if you are still in contract you haven’t technically bought your phone – it still belongs to the network. If in doubt, contact the network.

Unlock your iPhone: Use a third-party unlocking service

Ideally you should use the network to which your phone is locked to unlock it. This is the simplest and cheapest way to do it. Below we have listed out how to unlock phones from all the major UK networks.

If for some reason you don’t want to do that, you could use a third-party unlocking service. There are myriad of these online. Our only real advice is to read all of the small print. There are often hidden charges. And once your phone is under the control of a third-party, you may have no choice but to pay the (legal) surprising fee they are charging you. Better to go through the network. We’ve listed them alphabetically.

How to speed up iPhone
How to unlock iPhone

How to unlock iPhone on 3

Three says that iPhones purchased from it after 1 January 2014 will be unlocked as soon as connected to iTunes or activated over WiFi.

To unlock an iPhone running iOS 7 or above that wasn’t purchased from Three in that time you need to back it up, put in the new SIM, connect it to iTunes and do a safe restore.

If in doubt fill out Three’s online form.

How to unlock iPhone from EE, Orange and T-Mobile

Bought an iPhone from EE? The company says you need to have had your account for at least six months and be fully paid up. So far so nice, but EE says it’ll take up to 20 days to unlock your iPhone. Oh, and it will charge you £8.99 for the privilege. Oh, and if you aren’t an iPhone EE customer but have an iPhone locked to EE, your only option is to chance it with a third-party service. Sorry.

The process itself is simple if you are still an EE customer: just fill out this online form.

How to unlock iPhone on O2

Like EE, O2 simply requires you to fill out an online form. O2 Pay Monthly customers can unlock their iPhones at any time, but they remain on the hook for the full cost of the contract. So probably don’t do that.

O2 says it will now unlock all iPhones for free, however. So that bit won’t cost you.

If you’re not an O2 customer, simply put a non-O2 SIM card into your iPhone, plug it into your computer and open iTunes.

How to unlock iPhone from Tesco Mobile

Good news for Tesco Mobile customers: you can unlock your Tesco iPhone by calling 0345 301 4455, and choosing the “unlock your mobile” option. You’ll get a code with which to unlock your handset.

The bad news is that Tesco says it will only provide you with this code if you have been a subscriber for at least 12 months. Bummer.

How to unlock iPhone from Virgin Mobile

Recent iPhones purchased from Virgin Mobile should be unlocked. Some older iPhones may be technically locked, but Virgin advises to update the software to a recent iOS and it should automatically unlock. If for any reason you can’t do that a full restore should solve the problem. Still having problems, contact Virgin Mobile.

How to unlock iPhone on Vodafone

Like EE Vodafone says it requires you to either be the iPhone subscriber, or to know all of the details of the person who purchased it. With those details, it is simply a case of filling in this online form.

Unlocking through Vodafone is free if you are a contract subscriber and you’ve had your plan with the company for more than 12 months. Otherwise it’s £19.99.

Voda says it will get you sorted within 48 hours, but caveats this by saying it could take up to 10 days.

Read next: Delete junk files on iPhone | Empty iPhone cache | Delete temporary files on iPhone: 5 ways to speed up your iPhone

Best cloud storage service 2016 | Best online storage | Secure online storage | Cheap cloud storage

We find the best online storage services. The best, cheapest and secure cloud storage services of 2016. It’s Dropbox vs iCloud vs Amazon Cloud Drive vs Microsoft OneDrive and more.

These days we all have myriad files, photos, music and video cluttering up our inboxes. And multiple devices from which we want to access and edit those files. Here we outline the best 13 cloud storage services of 2016. We’ve listed them alphabetically, so read on: there is something for everyone. (See also: Best FREE VPNs of 2016 UK | Disguise identity, protect privacy | The 5 best FREE VPN services for UK users in 2016.)

Best cloud storage service 2016: Amazon Cloud Drive

Is there anything Amazon doesn’t sell? Certainly not storage, as the Everything Store’s Amazon Drive offers secure online storage, automatic photo backup, with access to your files from phone, computer or tablet.

It is well priced, too. You can start with 5GB of storage for free. And if you are a Prime subscriber, you get unlimited photo storage, for the duration of your Prime account. Another reason to sign up for Prime.

Other plans start at £6 a year for 20GB of storage, and £16 annually for 50GB. The 100GB plan costs £32 a year, and 200GB sets you back £64 a year. Spend £160 a year and you get 500GB, and the 1000GB option costs £320 a year. If, you know, storage is really your thing.

Amazon Drive
Best cloud storage service: Amazon Cloud Drive

Find out more about Amazon Cloud Drive

Best cloud storage service 2016: Box

A big name in cloud, Box promises all of your files, anywhere. Sign up for Box and you can store and share files, online or off, from any advice. According to Box you can view files in more than 120 formats, as well as saving them for offline access.

In-document search is a good features, as is the ability to keep your desktop-, web- and mobile content synched. And if you are an iOS user, you can instantly send photos or videos from your iPhone or iPad directly to Box. Pretty useful given the criminal lack of expandable storage on Apple’s pricey devices.

Speaking of price, with Box the free option offers you 10GB of storage, but can upload files of only 250MB. Shell out £7 per month and you get 100GB storage with a 5GB file upload image. Amazon is cheaper and offers more options, but Box offers an excellent service.

Box
Best cloud storage service: Box

Find out more about Box

Best cloud storage service 2016: Dropbox

The daddy of the cloud storage world, Dropbox offers a great range of cloud storage services at a good price. Get access to- and share all your files from anywhere, on any device. The desktop- and mobile apps offer a truly market-leading experience.

The free Basic account is barely worth the price, coming as it does with just 2GB of storage. You can upgrade to the 1TB plan for £7.99 per month.

Dropbox offers some interesting incentives, however. At the time of writing you can get 500MB of additional free storage for each friend you introduce: up to a decent limit of 16GB. There are other, similar free deals that can make Dropbox considerably more affordable.

Dropbox
Best cloud storage service: Dropbox

Find out more about DropboxFind out more about Dropbox

Best cloud storage service 2016: Google Drive

With Google Drive you get up to 15GB of free storage, spread across Drive, Gmail and Google Photos. Really, if you are a Gmail user it is a no-brain decision. It lets you save files from Gmail attachment and works beautifully with Google’s Docs, Slides and Sheets. There are desktop- and mobile apps, of course (and being Google the Android app is fully developed).

If 15GB isn’t enough you can upgrade to 100GB for £1.59 a month and 1TB for just £7.99 a month.

Google Drive
Best cloud storage service: Google Drive

Find out more about Google Drive

Best cloud storage service 2016: iCloud

Apple’s iCloud is limited in that although you can use it on Windows PC, there is no app for Android or Windows Phone. Sign up for free and you get 5GB of storage. You pay 79p per month for 50GB, £2.49 per month for 200GB, and £6.99 per month for 1TB.

It feels like a work in progress, however. iCloud Drive has some of the collaboration and storage features offered by rivals such as Dropbox. But it isn’t as good a user experience as are any of the services we have mentioned thus far.

If you’re an Apple Mac, iPad and iPhone user and are willing to pay at least 79p per month for the privilege then it could be a good tool for you.

Best cloud storage service: Apple iCloud
Best cloud storage service: Apple iCloud

Find out more about Apple iCloud

Best cloud storage service 2016: KnowHow Cloud

KowHow is the delivery, installation and repay branch of Currys and PC World, and KnowHow Cloud is the cloud storage service run by those high-street stores. So, good news: it is unlikely to take your money and disappear. Bad news: KnowHow is not a known software as a service provider. Just as well KnowHow Cloud is a rebadged service from reputable cloud specialist Livedrive.

Choose between three different levels of storage: 200GB, 2TB and 4TB. Then select the number of devices you want to use and the number of years for which you are prepared to sign up. Confused? Us too. It’s not bad value, though: 2TB of storage accessed from five devices will cost just £30 a year.Verdict

Once you are in KnowHow Cloud is easy to use with useful features. And it is secure. If you have a lot of data it may prove to be good value.

Best cloud storage service: KnowHow Cloud
Best cloud storage service: KnowHow Cloud

Find out more about KnowHow Cloud

Best cloud storage service 2016: MediaFire

MediaFire claims to store all your media, making it available to any time you want it, anywhere you go, on any device you have. Sound familiar?

You can access MediaFire files from web interface and mobile app, and you get up to 50GB of storage for free. So what is not to like? For a start, MediaFire started life as a file-sharing service, and its interface and feature set reflect these beginnings

Also, in truth you get only 10GB of storage for free, earning the other 40GB through a variety of simple tasks. The main limitation on the free service is that files can be only 200MB or less. And unless you pay you will see adverts when sharing files.

Pony up for a Pro account that costs only $4.99 a month for 1TB of space, up to 20GB file sizes, and no ads. Which is pretty sweet. MediaFire is simple to use if a little basic, but really well priced. Check it out.

Best cloud storage service: MediaFire
Best cloud storage service: MediaFire

Find out more about MediaFire

Best cloud storage service 2016: Mega

Mega is the cloud storage service from controversial Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. It calls itself ‘the privacy company’, and promises end-to-end encryption of your data and files. Mega can’t access your information, so it can’t give it away to government or worse.

The free package affords a whopping 50GB of space. If this isn’t enough you can upgrade to 500GB for only €99 a year, 2TB (€199), or 4TB (€299). You also get increased bandwidth with each additional package.

If security is important to you, Mega is a good value cloud storage service.

Best cloud storage service: Mega
Best cloud storage service: Mega

Find out more about Mega

Best cloud storage service 2016: Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft’s OneDrive is our final cloud storage service from the big boys of tech. It offers all the storage, access and sharing features of Google’s Drive or Amazon’s Cloud Drive. Namely – wherever you are, whatever device you are on, you can access your files via the web.

For free Microsoft coughs up a paltry, Amazon-like, 5GB of storage. Shell out £1.99 a month and you can upgrade to 50GB. If you are an Office 365 subscriber you get 1TB of storage as a free add on.

Being an existing user of Microsoft’s cloud tools may be the main reason to opt for OneDrive, because despite its ease of use, feature set and clean design it doesn’t really compete in terms of storage and price.

Best cloud storage service: Microsoft OneDrive
Best cloud storage service: Microsoft OneDrive

Find out more about OneDrive

Best cloud storage service 2016: Mozy

Mozy offers a very limited free service with just 2GB of storage space. You can get more via referrals, as is standard. Starting at £4.99 per month you can increase storage in what is a pretty standard online storage package. You can save to and access files from Windows and OS X, as well as iOS and Android devices.

Mozy comes into its own when it comes to security. The versioning support is good, local encryption is an important feature. Basically if you value security under keeping down costs, Mozy may be a good choice.

Best cloud storage service: Mozy
Best cloud storage service: Mozy

Find out more about Mozy

Best cloud storage service 2016: pCloud

pCloud describes itself as ‘your personal online storage space for your memorable photos and videos, your favorite music or important work documents’. It would.

In truth it is a fairly standard cloud storage service, offering access to files via smartphone or desktop app, or web browser. Out of the box the free version offers 10GB of storage, and you can upgrade to 20GB by various fairly painless means (recommend a friend, complete a tutorial etc).

500GB will set you back around $3.99 per month, while 1TB is available for around $7.99. This is good pricing. pCloud imposes no file size restrictions, so you can upload anything that your storage space allows. You can get additional security and encrypt your sensitive files with pCloud Crypto, too.

Best cloud storage service: pCloud
Best cloud storage service: pCloud

Find out more about pCloud

Best cloud storage service 2016: Spideroak

Our final two cloud storage services pride themselves on their security credentials. Spideroak encrypts files on your desktop before you upload them to the cloud, meaning like Mozy it can’t access your data even if it wanted to.

A central online hub takes care of sharing and accessing those encrypted files, and the experience is really rather slick.

Which is good, because you won’t choose Spideroak for reasons of value. The free trial lasts for only 60 days and gives you just 2GB of storage. Really it is a true trial. For $7 a month you can use 30GB of storage, which would be madness when for $12 you can get 1TB. $25 a month gets you 5TB of storage, and that should be enough for anyone.

Best cloud storage service: Spideroak
Best cloud storage service: Spideroak

Find out more about Spideroak

Best cloud storage service 2016: Tresorit

Tresorit describes itself as a business tool offering end-to-end encryption, and makes great play of its ability to thwart hackers. It sells itself on being able to share files amongst colleagues, and share and send them to clients. Oh, and the fact that it hasn’t been hacked.

Enterprise users need to get a specific quote for their business, but small businesses will pay £15 a month – per user – for 1TB of encrypted storage space. If you are a small business user with a need for security Tresorit is well worth a look.

Best cloud storage service: Tresorit
Best cloud storage service: Tresorit

Find out more about Tresorit

Read next: Best antivirus for PC | Best antivirus for laptop | Best security software for Windows

Delete junk files on iPhone | Empty iPhone cache | Delete temporary files on iPhone: 5 ways to speed up your iPhone

We explain how to delete junk files in iOS. How to clear data, and delete your iPhone’s cache. Here’s how to remove unwanted junk and speed up your iPhone. Five ways to clear space on your iPhone.

We show you two must-know iPhone hacks, that are good spring cleaning for any iPhone user. And then we recommend three apps that can help to give your iPhone a simple speed boost. (See also: How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone.)

How to speed up iPhone
How to speed up iPhone

How to speed up iPhone: Delete unwanted caches and data

First we’ll clean out your iPhone’s caches. A cache is a small amount of memory stored in order to make surfing or using software easier. It is the cache on your browser that logs you into websites and autofills forms. It helps web pages to load quicker by saving certain elements of that page.

So deleting your iPhone’s Safari cache will mean you’re logged out of any websites into which you’ve signed. It will give your web browsing a spring in its step, however. Let’s clear out your iPhone’s Safari cache.

1. Go to Settings > Safari.

2. Tap Clear History and Website Data.

3. Select Clear History and Data.

Clear history and data on iPhone
Clear history and data on iPhone

That’s it! Now we will clear out cached data stored in your apps. The same deal applies: you’ll lose some convenience, but pick up a bit of perkiness.

1. Go to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage

2. Select Manage Storage.

3. Now choose an item in Documents and Data.

4. Found something you want to delete? Slide to the left all of those unwanted items, and then hit Delete.

5. Tap Edit > Delete All to remove all an app’s data.

Clear storage on iPhone
Clear storage on iPhone

How to speed up iPhone: Recover memory

This is something all iPhone users should consider doing regularly. And it is classically simple: switch it off, and switch it back on again. (See also: 6 ways to stop running out of data on iPhone | How to make iPhone data go further | How to turn off Wi-Fi assist.)

Apple fans will tell you that iOS is an perfectly efficient memory manager, and background apps take up no memory. But we find that restarting the phone closes down all running apps and gives a burst of responsiveness to an iPhone. So let’s restart your iPhone:

1. Hold down the Sleep/Wake button.

2. “Slide to power off” should now appear.

3. Slide the power off switch to turn off the iPhone.

4. Wait for 30 seconds or so to ensure the iPhone has fully closed down.

5. Now hit the Sleep/Wake button to turn on the iPhone.

How to speed up iPhone: Clear iOS files and memory with Battery Doctor

Now we enter the murky world of third-party apps that claim to give a speed boost to your iPhone. As with all such apps in the Windows and Android worlds, we can’t guarantee any of these things will work. But we have picked out apps that in our experience are useful.

In most cases they automate the things we talked about above. They do basically the same things in slightly different ways.

Battery Doctor’s principle reason for being is to provide information about your battery. It has a handy sideline in clearing out junk files though.

1. Install and open Battery Doctor on your iPhone. You can find it in the App Store.

2. Choose the Junk tab.

3. Select ‘Clean Up Cache’, and then tap ‘Clean’.

4. Battery Doctor will then scan your files. When it has done, tap Memory.

5. Now select Boost.

After it has finished Battery Doctor will show you how much memory has been released. You should now find your iPhone runs a little faster. Or at least it feels that way!

Battery Doctor
Battery Doctor

How to speed up iPhone: Remove iOS junk files with iMyFone Umate

Another piece of software to consider is iMyFone Umate. In this case it isn’t an app, so much as desktop software that has a sideline in iPhone work. iMyFone Umate for Windows and Mac can be used to remove temporary and junk files from your iPhone. It is paid-for software, but there is a free trial that will do this job.

1. Install iMyFone Umate and connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac using the Lightning cable.

2. Open iMyFone Umate. Click Scan on the Home tab.

3. Select clear Junk files and Temporary files.

iMyFone Umate
iMyFone Umate

How to speed up iPhone: Remove iOS junk files with PhoneClean

PhoneClean is another piece of software that can remove junk files from iOS. And like iMyFone Umate it is paid-for desktop software with a free trial. Here’s how you use PhoneClean to delete junk files:

1. Install PhoneClean, and attach the iPhone to your PC or Mac using your Lightning cable.

2. Open PhoneClean, click Scan.

3. Wait for the scan to complete, then click Clean.

PhoneClean
PhoneClean

Just like that, you should have an iPhone that is as good as new. Read next, how to fix ‘Android insufficient storage’ error message.