With the wrapping paper cleared away, today is a time to look at some of Friday’s gifts. But, you may have questions about that cutting-edge device found in your stocking. American technology spending on hardware and services from October to December was projected to hit $135 billion in revenue, the Consumer Technology Association reported. That’s 10{3c6be4297db6c6dead22aac82e61edad92a520b73a55778b8446ff6b78406501} more than in 2019. Some purchases probably ended up under Villagers’ trees, and some recipients may have questions. Ted Wright, lead facilitator and co-founder of Computer Connected Villager, has seen people come to meetings for help with wrapping paper still attached to their tech gifts. So, when logging into or trying to figure out your new device, here are five tips to keep in mind:

1. Be careful when upgrading to a newer system

The system on Macs sometimes changes enough to where the programs people are using won’t work in the newer operating systems, said Jim Rietz, of the Apple Users Drop In club. Rietz tries to warn people about that, and advises people to have back-ups in place. If you lose your device, you need to get going as fast as you can. “You can’t have enough backups,” said Rietz.

2. There might be a learning curve when switching devices

For example, when someone moves from a Windows computer to a Mac. However, both computers do have the same controls, said Rietz, of the Village of Country Club Hills. Another example is when someone decides to switch their smartphone from a Galaxy to an iPhone. Apple has applications to help preserve data. Samsung also has applications to help those switching from an iPhone to a Galaxy.

3. Make sure your devices can work together

Getting compatible devices saves headaches. Many people move to Apple products because they’re in the same system, said Dexston Reed, The Villages Apple User Group president. When hooking up surround sound systems, Wright recommends getting one from your TV’s manufacturer because they’re made to work together. If it was a gift and doesn’t match? “I probably would find a way to discreetly return it and get the one that matched,” Wright said.

4. Don’t be afraid to turn on your device and explore

Reed, of the Village of Winifred, has encountered situations where children buy their parents a new computer for Christmas “and it sits there because they don’t know how to start it.” Reed encourages first-time users to play around with their devices, maybe even open the manual. You can’t crash it easily. Wright, of the Village of Bridgeport at Laurel Valley, said you can’t damage cellphones and tablets unless you really try.

5. If you need help,

there are several clubs you can drop in on

Clubs include Apple Users Drop In, which meets 9 a.m. second Wednesdays and third Fridays at Paradise Recreation Center. The club also meets over Zoom at appleusersdropin.com. The Apple User Group meets 1:30 p.m. the first four Tuesdays  over Zoom. To become a member or ask questions, contact Reed at 352-751-7208. Computer Connected Villager meets 1 p.m. first and third Mondays over Zoom. Zoom logins are on the connected villager.com calendar. To ask questions, email [email protected]