Glossary of tech terms

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A digital version of a physical book that can be read on a computer or handheld device.


Short for electronic mail, it's a message sent from one device to another using an email service such as Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook. Email is like sending a letter over the internet.

Email address

Similar to a postal address, every email address is unique and tells you and others where to send and receive emails. Usually made up of a first and/or last name, then the @ symbol (meaning 'at'), then the name of a host company's website. An example of an email address is

Encrypted messaging apps

Any messaging app that is encrypted so that outside parties cannot read the message, even if it intercepted.


A method of protecting information that passes from one computer to another. Just like sending a locked container that only a particular key can open, special computer software scrambles the message or data into unrecognisable code, which is then only able to be decoded and returned to readable information by the intended recipient's computer. The information cannot be read or intercepted by anyone who doesn't have the 'key' to unlock the code . Encryption is widely used on the internet and is an effective way of keeping information secure such as passwords and payment information. The padlock and 's' in https in the address bar tell you information is being sent in an encrypted format.

External hard drive

A portable device that's normally used to back up data such as important files and photos. It connects to a computer via a USB.