Person reading tech news on tablet

If you’re anything like me, your smartphone is never far away. In fact, it’s usually within an arm’s length, and very often it’s ding-ding-dinging at me random to check this and that notification.

Smartphones are a part of life now, for most of us. And for most of us, that means we want to keep our handheld lifelines not only up-to-date, but totally current on the features that matter most to us. After all, if you’re paying a $couple hundred for technology, you want to be sure to really take advantage of that tech.

The challenge, of course, is identifying what it is that matters most to us. And the challenge that precedes that, is to stay at least somewhat up-to-date on all the new features, new apps, new updates, new everything that constantly hit the mobile market. And it is constant. It seems like there’s something new to know about, every hour of every day, for your Android device, or your iPhone, or your Windows phone, or your tablet. It can be overwhelming.

So, to make it a bit easier, we’ve rounded up some of the need-to-know mobile news of the past month:
smartphone news roundup

Android News

  1. Want to boost your battery life by 20%? Just uninstall Facebook for Android.
  2. If you’re doing some holiday shopping, or just looking to upgrade your own phone, you’ll be interested in AndroidPIT’s Reader’s Choice Poll for the best smartphone of 2016.
  3. Early-adopters may be excited to hear that the Samsung Galaxy 8 rumors are rumbling, and they’re whispering about leaked specs, and 5.7-inch and 6.2-inch screen sizes.
  4. Getting hacked is a concern for every, single smartphone user today. Luckily, Androidized has four simple but actionable tips to protect your Android from hackers.
  5. A new and seriously evil Trojan is striking fear into the hearts of Android users: Mazar malware has the power to erase your phone with a single text message. (Upside: It’s easy to avoid. Just don’t click on links from strangers.)
  6. Good news, drivers! Android Auto has arrived, and it does everything you’d expect: controls your music, reads your texts, takes calls, and more.
  7. Warning! Warning! Cheap BLU smartphones have been found to secretly send sensitive user info – texts, contacts, etc. – to China.
  8. The new WhatsApp Android beta release bumps security even further, adding two-factor verification.
  9. Hidden feature alert! Android Nougat enables partial screenshots.

iOS News

  1. iPhone and iPad users let out a unanimous “finally!” when Mac announced its new “Organize by Thread” feature for Mail for iOS 10.
  2. If you like sneak-peaks and maybe-but-maybe-not rumors, check out Today’s iPhone’s news about a possible hi-res, curved-screen iPhone 8 and a 10.9-inch iPad.
  3. Crave privacy? Firefox Focus brings it, for iOS devices, at least.
  4. Emergent reader in the house? Apple released iBooks StoryTime for Apple TV, designed to help littles learn to read.
  5. Twitter just got a bit more manageable for iPhone users, announcing Twitter Highlights for iOS.

Windows Phone News

  1. If you’re a Windows mobile user (or computer user, for that matter), you should know that Cortana is now enabled with to-do list skills.
  2. Psst, rumor has it – Windows and HP have teamed up on a new Windows 10 smartphone, set to launch in 2017.

Mobile App News

  1. If you love WhatsApp but hate writing long messages on a small screen, you’ll appreciate this AndoMint tutorial on how to get WhatsApp for Mac and PC.
  2. IBM Watson, the question-answering computer system, just released its first app, Element for Educators.
  3. Face-a-snap-a-gram? Instagram is adding two new features: live video and disappearing messages. Sounds vaguely familiar…
  4. There’s a new video chat competitor in town: WhatsApp added encrypted video calling to its November updates.
  5. If you need better translation in your life, the Google Translate app can now read whole sentences (instead of piece-by-piece, as it did previously).
  6. Have something to say? The Secret app, which enables private messaging, is back.
  7. Oh, joy. Facebook Messenger is now bringing the ads.
  8. Delete this app: Uber-rival Karhoo goes bust after burning through $250M in a year’s time.
  9. Haven’t fired up Pokémon Go in awhile? Developer Niantic has promised to freshen the pot with 100 new Pokémon, as well as other never-before-seen features.