Unit 8: Week 2: Mobile Devices and Taking the A+ Exam

Unit 8: Week 2: Mobile Devices and Taking the A+ Exam

Essential Questions

  • What if I don’t want to use a desktop or laptop computer to do my work? How can I make the most of mobile devices, like my smartphone, so I don’t have to carry a big device around?

Big Ideas

Much of this topic focuses on basic functionality of mobile devices, especially smartphones, and how to use them safely while keeping your information secure. One of the biggest takeaways from the use of mobile devices is that they are almost constantly being tracked through geotracking systems, and that means that people can find you, or at least your device wherever you use them.

From a support perspective, your organization should have policies that govern how mobile devices can be used on the network, if they are allowed. These may include that users keep their devices up-to-date and secure with OS and patch updates, but you may have little control over their actual practice.

There are some suggestions for troubleshooting the devices when a problem arises. Again, this may be more personally relevant than working on a Help Desk, but as more and more mobile devices come into workplaces and schools, Help Desk professionals may be asked for some support.

Connection to Student Lives

Does your school allow you to bring your smartphone and connect to the district network? If so, can you connect to the main network or is there one designated for mobile or guest users? Some schools still ban personal mobile devices, while others have embraced them because there are so many of them now available.

You should understand how to configure mobile devices so they and the information they contain remain safe and secure. You may or may not be asked to support these devices on a Help Desk, but chances are that over time they will become an issue more Help Desk professionals will have to help support.

Framing Problem

How can you ensure your mobile device is secure, especially when connecting to outside networks?

Cornerstone Assessment

Students configure, or describe, security settings they can use to make a mobile device more secure, especially preventing unauthorized tracking or access to their device. They should be able to troubleshoot some common issues, especially connecting to a network, and provide some reasonable actions to try to resolve them.

DPI Standards

  • NCCTE.2020.II22.02.08 - Implement methods for securing mobile devices.
  • NCCTE.2020.II22.03.04 - Troubleshoot mobile OS and application issues.
  • NCCTE.2020.II22.03.05 - Troubleshoot mobile OS and application security issues.

A+ Standards

TOPIC 16E: Secure Mobile Devices

1002-2.8 Given a scenario, implement methods for securing mobile devices

TOPIC 16F: Troubleshoot Mobile Device Issues

1002-3.4 Given a scenario, troubleshoot mobile OS and application issues.
1002-3.5 Given a scenario, troubleshoot mobile OS and application security issues.


  • The two challenges of portability and capacity related to mobile devices and how these threaten the security of the greater IT infrastructure
  • That many mobile devices are tracked via geotracking
  • Locator applications can help find lost mobile devices if they have been set up.
  • Authentication methods available for multifactor authentication
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM) software can be used to authenticate the use of approved mobile devices and deny others on a network.
  • A profile of security requirements dictates which functions of a mobile device are and are not enabled on a network, or parts of a network.
  • Mobile devices can use the same classes of security software as PCs and laptop to harden against malware, software exploits, and network exploits.
  • Security app options for mobile devices
  • There are few iOS security apps
  • Keeping mobile device OS and apps up-to-date is a critical part of keeping the device and the IT infrastructure it connects to secure.
  • How to find configuration options on mobile OS
  • How to perform different kinds of resets on mobile OS, such as a force stop, soft reset, and factory default reset
  • How to uninstall and reinstall apps
  • Troubleshooting issues for mobile OS, such as
    • Dim display
    • Unresponsive/inaccurate touchscreen
    • External monitor issues
    • Sound issues
    • Overheating
  • Troubleshooting issues for mobile apps, such as
    • Apps not loading
    • Log errors
    • Slow performance
    • Battery life
  • Troubleshooting issues for mobile wireless, such as
    • Interference
    • Wireless configuration
  • Troubleshooting mobile device security issues, such as
    • Utilization symptoms
    • User behavior issues
    • System lockout and unauthorized account access
    • Email problems


  • Use device location services to determine how visible the device is to geotracking services

Apply (or explain how to use) the CompTIA A+ Troubleshooting model to mobile device issues, such as

  • Finding configuration options
  • Explain how to perform different kinds of resets
  • Uninstall and reinstall apps (or explain how to)
  • OS issues
  • Mobile app issues
  • Wireless issues
  • Security issues


Secure Mobile Devices

Screen Lock

  • Pattern locks
  • Swipe locks
  • Fingerprint sensor (Touch ID on Apple devices)
  • Biometric authentication
  • Face lock (or Face ID on Apple devices)
  • Lockout policy
  • Remote wipe or kill switch

Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS)


Locator applications

Full Device Encryption

Multifactor authentication

  • 2-step verification
  • Authenticator application
  • One Time Password (OTP)

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)


Profile of Security Requirements

Trusted app source

Security software

  • Antivirus apps on Android devices
  • App scanner
  • Firewall apps

Troubleshoot Mobile Device Issues

Soft reset

Factory default reset

Dim display, backlight

Power drain and high resource utilization

Data transmission over limit

Unauthorized location tracking



Unauthorized root access

Unauthorized camera and microphone usage


Denial of Service (DoS) attacker

  • Rogue access point
  • Evil twin

Locked out

Unauthorized account access

Weekly Map


Introduction to problem: Securing Mobile Devices

Online Pre-assessment  (available for student practice, as well)

Team meetings to develop project plan and goals

Review content resources with whole group: 16E: Secure Mobile Devices: Wired Networks

Activity 16-6: Discussing Mobile Device Security


Review content resources with whole group:  16F: Troubleshoot Mobile Device Issues

Activity 16-7: Troubleshooting Mobile Device Issues

Contribute to team project


Preparing for the CompTIA Exam and Exam Review

Contribute to team project


Preparing for the CompTIA Exam and Exam Review

Team progress check with supervisor (using project plan)


Preparing for the CompTIA Exam and Exam Review

Sharing of progress with whole group

Lesson Ideas

If acceptable use policies allow and students agree, have students bring their personal mobile devices to class. Hopefully, you may have students with different kinds of OS that they can use to demonstrate to others. If not available, screenshots may be available from support sites for different OS, but may not be as memorable as seeing and reviewing the actual settings.

Many people have shared their experiences taking the A+ exam. Spend as much time as possible reviewing student questions and helping them understand the nature of the exam, especially the timing and format of questions. While the questions use a forced-choice format, students should still have a firm control of the vocabulary and concepts presented throughout the courses so they can focus on identifying the correct response rather than trying to decipher vocabulary during the test.

Potential Resources

The Official CompTIA A+ Core 1 & Core 2 Instructor Guide for Exams 220-1001 and 220-1002

  • Topic 16E: Secure Mobile Devices: Wired Networks (pp. 893-901)
    • Activity 16-6: Discussing Mobile Device Security (p. 902))
  • Topic 16F: Troubleshoot Mobile Device Issues (pp. 903-916)
    • Activity 16-7: Troubleshooting Mobile Device Issues (pp. 917-918)
  • Course Follow-up (pp. 1063-1064)

Professor Messer at and YouTube offers numerous free videos of various lengths for many of the topics for the CompTIA 220-1001 A+ Exam. They are easy to understand, narrated videos with visuals. If you are teaching a CompTIA course, the site notes “You’re welcome to use them as much as you’d like, provided you embed the videos with the associated YouTube link or link directly to my site. Please click the “Contact Us” link at the top of our web page and let me know how you’re using them.”

Entry Level I.T. Training from Technology Gee

Articles and Other Resources:

Support from common mobile device providers (add user guides or manuals from your district-approved mobile device providers)



Windows Mobile


iOS, Android, or other mobile OS information

User Guides for versions of iOS are available for free from Apple through their Books app, but you have to have a Mac device to download and use them.

Where to Download iPhone Manuals for Every Model by Sam Costello for Lifewire

A Beginner’s Guide to Android: Everything You need to Know by Christian de Looper and Kevin Parrish for digitaltrends

Android 1010: How to Use Your Android Smartphone or Tablet by Daniel Nations for LIfewire

20 Common Mobile Phone Problems and Their Solutions by Manuel Rozewski for SimOptions, a Sim card provider

How to Fix Common Smartphone Problems by Daivd Nield for Popular Science

The Basics of Troubleshooting Android Phones by Jagdish Purohit for Joy of Android

Mobile Device Security Issues

Android Malware Tries to Trick You. Here’s how to Spot It by Laura Hautala for CNET

How do I Know if I have Mobile Malware? By Liarna La Porta for Wandera, makers of security software for mobile devices

Mobile Malware from kaspersky, a global cybersecurity company

Security Advice for Mobile Users is a series of short articles on security issues from GSMA, a global organization that focuses on mobile device issues. The list includes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about mobile device security, malware, and related issues

The 9 Most Common Security Threats to Mobile Devices in 2021 by Martin Gontovnikas for auth0, a security company that focuses on identity use

Phone Security: 20 Ways to Secure Your Mobile Phone  from Prey, makers of an app that tracks and secures mobile devices

Preparing for the CompTIA A+ Exam

How do I get my CompTIA A+ Certification from CompTIA

Getting Started with CompTIA A+ Certification Exam (9:34) from ITProTV

Mike Meyers on How to Pass the CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2 Exams from Mike Meyers (4:14). Contains product placement and advertising for his own materials.

There are many video testimonials from people who have taken and passed the A+ exam that you can find from an online search. The following are just a few. You may find others that you enjoy, as well. Remember, everyone has an opinion. Being prepared is the best strategy for completing your certification exam.