Something on emails first today – and then a quick mention of something that might be relevant if you have a smartphone of any kind…
Imagine someone came and told you that even though you’d lived in your house for years, they were changing what it’s called, without your say-so.
And in a few months, if anyone wrote to you at the old address, the post wouldn’t get to you.
What a pain – you’d have to let all your friends know, your bank, your card companies, all the other organisations who have your address on file. I think you’d be a bit cheesed off – I know I would be!
Well, it’s not quite the same, but Orange (part of EE, the mobile phone and broadband company) is doing something similar to its customers. They’re scrapping the email addresses that they gave to people who get broadband from them – so anyone with an email address along the lines of [email protected] or [email protected] will find they don’t work any more after the end of May.
(Here’s the official line on it from them, but you might be better off just reading my version below!)
So, what’s the situation?
Well, if you have an email address that ends in any of:
Then as of 31st May, it won’t work – you won’t be able to send emails from it and any emails sent to it won’t get to you.
And I’d recommend you read this even if you don’t have one of those email addresses – I’ll explain why in a moment.
So you’ll need to set up a new, separate email address. Or if you already have another one, switch to using that. Then you’ll need to let everyone know your new email address (including us so you don’t stop getting this newsletter) – not just friends and family but all the companies who have it either to send you bills and so on or have it on record as a way to reset passwords or anything like that.
So that might include Facebook, Skype, Amazon, any other shops, any other email accounts which have it as a “backup” email address to send you a reset code to if you forget your password, your phone company, possibly your electric and gas companies if you get electronic statements/bills… and probably a lot more.
My advice is to start changing them over as soon as possible, rather that waiting until May, to allow time for you to think “Oh, I forgot so and so”.
Step 1 – set up your new email address
You can skip this if you already have another email address you want to use, but otherwise you can go to gmail.com or yahoo.co.uk or outlook.com and set up a free web-based email account – look for an option saying “set up an account” or something similar. Sometimes you have to click on log in and it then gives you an option to create a new account if you haven’t already got one. (If you have one of my tablet One Step at a Time books and want a bit more help, this is covered on page 29 in the iPad one or 31 in the Android one.)
I don’t particularly have any recommendation between the different free email accounts – they all seem to work fairly well.
Step 2 – tell everyone to change it over
Telling your friends and family is fairly straightforward – just let them know. (Do make sure they know to delete your old email address from their address book, so they don’t accidentally use it.)
For organisations like Facebook or whatever, you usually have to log in to their website, then look for an option along the lines of “account settings” – it’s sometimes a cogwheel symbol and sometimes it has your name that you click on to get to it. Then you should be able to change your email address. Best do this before the old one gets turned off as you may get an email to the old one to confirm it’s you switching it over.
Then for a while check both email accounts and if you’re still getting emails you want to the old one, remind whoever’s sending them to use the new one.
Of course, if the organisation is a nice friendly one, you might only need to email them to say what’s happening and they’ll sort it out for you – for example to switch over the email address we have for you so you don’t stop getting this newsletter, just email [email protected] and say what your old and new email addresses are and we’ll update our records for you. Sadly, I doubt you’ll get the same kind of service from the likes of Facebook, Skype or even your utilities company – they’ll probably insist on you logging into their webpage and searching for the option to change the email address they have for you.
Extra step – if you have emails you want to keep, copy them over
When the old email account is turned off, you’ll probably lose access to your old emails (I say probably because it does depend on how your computer is set up – if you get emails through what’s called pop3, you might not lose them from your PC. I wouldn’t rely on it, though.)
So if there are emails you really don’t want to lose, I’d recommend forwarding them over to your new account. The easiest way is simply to click on the email you want to keep, then click on forward and send it to the new email address.
I said I’d recommend you should read this even if you don’t have one of those email address – why?
Well, if you have an email address that comes from your broadband company (eg one that ends in BT.com, virgin.net, sky.com, talktalk.co.uk or so on, there’s a chance they’ll do the same in the future. And even if they don’t, if you ever want to switch to another broadband company, you’ll lose your email address.
In fact I need to take my own advice on this – we have an email address from our broadband company (TalkTalk as it happens) and because so many organisations use that email address to contact us, it’ll be a right pain to switch to another company – but I know we could save money if we did switch.
So it would make sense for me to set up an email address that isn’t from the broadband company and gradually let everyone know to use that one – until the talktalk one isn’t being used at all. Then I’d be free to switch to another broadband provider without worrying about emails not reaching me.
Phew – that was a bit of a marathon article, I know! But it could be so frustrating if you suddenly lost your emails without being prepared.
Just like last time, when I wrote about things going wrong with the battery on your phone – that’s frustrating too. In fact, it can be frustrating when all sorts of different things go wrong on your phone – making it not work properly, go slower and slower or simply have some niggle that shouldn’t be there.
But I’m working on something that might help at the moment – more on that shortly. (I don’t want to say too much yet as I hate to “tempt fate” by saying too much about something until it’s finished!) Put it this way: if you have a smart phone of any kind (or are thinking of getting one), make sure you don’t miss the next few emails from me (which’ll include what Alastair had to say about it – good advice as it turns out)!