Can I Turn On My Smartphone?

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Rufus T. Firefly asks how to turn on his Android...or was it his iPhone?

A lot of this depends on your definition of turn on.

If you're using the colloquial meaning, that doesn't quite work. Although we call them smartphones, they're really quite dumb. They can't think. They can't feel. And they certainly can't be turned on as easily as a 15-year-old boy who's just figured out how to get around Net Nanny.

But if by turn on you mean power up, then the job is definitely in the realm of the reasonably possible. Indeed, recent surveys prove that a majority of Verizon support personnel can successfully power up a least most of the time.

To power up your smartphone, press and hold down its Power button, which is usually located at the top of the phone where you can't see it. In fact, if you can see the button, chances are that it's not the right one.

If the phone doesn't come on right away, keep holding down the button until people start looking at you with suspicion or pity.

At that point, consider the possibility that you have forgotten something; probably electricity. Many people don't realize this, but the radio waves coming from your carrier's closest cell tower are not strong enough to power a phone--especially if your carrier is AT&T.

You can solve this dilemma by charging your phone. I know--you've already charged your phone. But this time, don't use your credit card.

Your phone came with something called an AC adapter. It's a thin cable with a standard AC power plug on one end and a pointlessly unique connector on the other. Use this adapter to connect your phone to a home power outlet. (Note: If you have to press really hard to get both prongs into your phone, turn the adapter around.) Leave the phone plugged in like this overnight.

If the phone doesn't power up the next morning, you may be using a dead power outlet. To find out, move your refrigerator into the room so you can test the outlet with that.

If you cannot recharge your refrigerator, either, you have one option left: Notice the date of this article.

Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector wrote Gigglebytes, a technology-oriented humor column, from 1986 through 2008, and occasionally still feels the need to be silly. Email your tech questions to him at, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum.

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