EARS USER FAQ

Note: If you are using EARS to participate in a research study and your question isn't answered below, please contact your study for direct support

How will my participation be affected if I don’t want to accept all in app permission requests?

EARS will only prompt users for permissions absolutely necessary to meet the contribution needs outline by your study. Granting access for permissions related to notifications, background app refresh, and location access are fundamental to keep EARS functioning. You may elect to reject other permissions and keep EARS functioning with the caveat that you may not be participating fully in accordance with your study. Please contact your study directly if you have concerns about specific permissions and if disabling them will affect your participation.

Do I have to use the EARS keyboard? What does the EARS keyboard do?

If your study is using the EARS app to collect data on app usage, keystrokes, and/or language use (including emojis), then you must use the EARS keyboard instead of the default iOS or Android keyboard throughout the study. Your permission is required before any data collection can start. The EARS keyboard does NOT collect the following data:

  • Secure text fields

  • Phone pad objects that carry personally identifiable information. For example, the phone number fields in Contacts.

  • When another app has chosen to reject the use of all custom keyboards in their app.
    For example, the developer of a banking app, or the developer of an app that must conform to the HIPAA privacy rule in the US, might do this to protect user privacy.

I’m having issues with the EARS keyboard not appearing by default in iOS. How do I set EARS as my default keyboard?

Sometimes iPhones will automatically switch back to the Apple keyboard, which prevents your text data from being collected. If you notice the Apple keyboard in use, if you’re willing, switch back to the EARS keyboard.

In iOS, for privacy and security reasons there are multiple scenarios in which the EARS keyboard (and any 3rd party keyboard for that matter) will be swapped out for a default Apple Keyboard. When such a scenario occurs, the EARS keyboard may not be swapped back afterwards by default. These scenarios include:

  • When typing in a secure text field such as a password field.

  • When using a phone pad text input such as when dialing a phone number.

  • When a downloaded app (such as a banking app) elects to reject the use of all 3rd party keyboards while typing inside their app.

In iOS, making the EARS Keyboard the default keyboard can help reduce disruptions to data contribution. However, enabling the EARS keyboard as the default requires some extra steps in the settings app. To set EARS at the default keyboard, please follow the instructions found in this guide.

My phone has prompted me that EARS has been collecting my location in the background, should I continue to allow background location use?

Allowing EARS to always access your location is essential to keep EARS running in the background and collecting other sensors. If your study has specified not to collect your location data as part of your study participation, you may elect to reduce your location accuracy and not share your location data with your study.

Should I have my mobile device with me all the time to maintain accurate data?

To provide the most accurate insights about your habits and lifestyle, it is important to keep your mobile device in your pocket or with you throughout the day. Whether your day consists of staying at home, traveling to school, commuting to work, or hiking outdoors, keeping your device in your pocket the whole day allows for a natural depiction of your personal habits and mood.

How often should I charge my phone while EARS is installed?

This is more important if your study collects motion data.

Foremost, please charge your mobile phone often enough to prevent your battery from depleting.

With that in mind, we recommend the habit of charging your mobile device when you decide to go to bed and picking up your device after you wake up. To reduce strain on your battery, EARS will run complex analysis while your device is charging. Therefore, it is important to charge your device for extended periods of time at least once every two days.

How does EARS affect my mobile device’s battery life?

EARS optimizes some battery intensive activities by executing them only when your device is charging. In general, you may see some increased battery drain especially when traveling due to location services.

What devices and operating systems are compatible with the EARS app?

Some mobile devices may not meet hardware or OS requirements necessary for the EARS app to function properly. Reasons for this may vary from limitations in background memory management to lack of sensors. Please note that all iPads and tablets are unsupported devices.

iOS:

EARS requires an operating system of at least iOS 13.0 or greater.

Supported iPhone Models:​

  • iPhone 12

  • iPhone 12 Mini

  • iPhone 12 Pro

  • iPhone 12 Pro Max

  • iPhone 11

  • iPhone 11 Pro

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max

  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)

  • iPhone XS

  • iPhone XS Max

  • iPhone XR

  • iPhone X

  • iPhone 8

  • iPhone 8 Plus

  • iPhone 7 Plus

Android:

EARS requires an operating system of at least Android 6+ or greater.

Some device models from manufacturers like Huawei and Xiaomi may not support background data collection and processing, and thus will not upload very much data.

Does EARS need to be running all the time for me actively participate in my study?

Once EARS has been installed and setup according to your study we recommend keeping the EARS App running in the background for the duration of your study participation.

After opening EARS simply go back to your mobile device’s home-screen to place the app in the background. You can check if EARS is still in the background by checking the App Switcher view.

If you want EARS to function properly, make sure not to swipe EARS away in the App Switcher view as it will force quit the app.

How often should I be opening the EARS app?

It is recommended to open EARS at least once a day (out of the background and into the foreground) to maintain complete sensor collection and regular data uploads. Failing to open EARS once a day can cause less frequent data uploads requiring EARS to utilize more on device storage.

How often does EARS need to upload data?

In iOS, EARS will attempt to upload data every time it is opened or enters the foreground. EARS will also occasionally attempt to upload data in the background.

In Android, EARS will attempt to upload data every night around midnight. Please ensure EARS is running in the background and your mobile device has a steady internet connection around this time.

My mobile device has limited file storage, how much storage should I have available for EARS to function properly and maintain quality data contributions?

It is recommended to have at least 10GB to 5GB of available device storage for EARS to function properly and prevent app crashes. Since EARS can generate large files of sensor data that will temporarily be stored on your device until uploaded, it is important to maintain multiple gigabytes of available storage space.

How do I make sure I see all of my EARS notifications? (iOS)

To Open a Notification from the Notification Center:

  • The Notification Center shows your notifications history, allowing you to scroll back and see what you've missed. There are two ways to see your alerts from the Notification Center:

  • From the Lock screen, swipe up from the middle of the screen.

  • From any other screen, swipe down from the center of the top of your screen.

  • To clear your notification history, touch and hold the X button  and tap Clear All Notifications. Or tap the X button  and tap Clear.

To Add or Change an Alert Style for a Notification:

  • Go to Settings > Notifications.

  • Select an app under Notification Style. 

  • Choose a type of alert and banner style. 

  • You can also turn sounds and badges on or off.

  • Change group notification settings

  • You can use group notifications or keep them separate.

  • Go to Settings > Notifications.

  • Select an app and tap Notification Grouping.

  • Select one of these options:

  • Automatic: Notifications from each app will appear in groups based on app alerts.

  • By App: All notifications from each app will be grouped into single expandable alerts.

  • Off: Notifications appear in the order they’re received, without grouping.

  • From here you can also choose how to show notification previews for specific apps. For example, you can have notification previews show up all the time or never, even when your device is locked.

To Make Banner Notifications Stick Instead of Disappear:

  • To enable persistent banners for EARS, go to Settings > Notifications and scroll to EARS

  • Under Alerts, select “Persistent”

  • Now notifications banners for that app will stay visible at the top of the screen until you deal with it, or open another app.

If You Don't See Notifications for EARS:

  • To get notifications, connect to a Wi-Fi or cellular network. If you still don't get notifications for a specific app, try these steps:

    • Make sure that the app supports notifications. Go to Settings > Notifications, select the app, and make sure that Allow Notifications is on.

    • If you have notifications turned on for an app but you're not receiving alerts, you might not have Banners selected. Go to Settings > Notifications, select the app, then select Banners.

    • Make sure that you’re signed in to your Apple ID. 

    • Make sure that Do Not Disturb is off. 

    • If you’ve recently installed an app or restored from a backup, open the app to start getting notifications.

I’ve experienced a crash while using EARS, what should I do?

If you are experiencing a persistent crash, please contact your study directly. It can be helpful to provide them with extra details for troubleshooting such as:

  • How much file storage is available for your mobile device?

    • Does freeing up more than 5GB of storage space fix this issue?

  • Which permissions does EARS currently have access to?

    • Does disabling one permission at a time and opening EARS resolve the crash?

  • What device behavior generally leads to this crash?

  • When did this persistent crash begin?