Glossary of tech terms

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A string of characters or numbers used as a password to gain access to a device or computer.


A code word or phrase used to secure an account with a website. For example, to access your Facebook or online bank account, you'll need a password.

Password manager

An online application that stores all of your important usernames and passwords for different online accounts. A password manager is protected by one important master password.

Pay later services

A payment option offered by some retailers online and in store, allowing goods to be paid for in fortnightly instalments. Similar to lay-by, except goods can be taken home straight away.

Popular examples of pay later services are AfterPay, PayPal's Pay in 4, Humm, Zip Pay and others.

If instalments are made on time, there are no charges to use the pay later service, but hefty fees are incurred if payments are late.

Pay service

An account that enables your mobile phone to pay for goods, such as at the supermarket, instead of swiping your credit card. Popular examples of pay services are Google Pay and Apple Pay.

Requires in-built Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for a mobile device to communicate with an EFTPOS machine for in-store purchases.

Pay service accounts can also be used for online purchases.


An online service provided by the PayPal company that enables you to pay, send money, and accept payments online. Once you open a PayPal account and add your payment method (credit card or bank account details), you can pay for goods by choosing PayPal if it's offered at checkout.


Short for Portable Document Format, a type of file (see also File type) that is commonly used for government and business forms. You can use the Adobe Reader program or similar to read PDF files, although most smart devices and web browsers such as Chrome, Internet Edge and Safari, can also display pdf files.


A play on the word fishing, this is a type of digital scam that tries to interest or scare you into giving up private information.

Photo editor

An application that allows you to edit and store your photos. These applications can also allow you to restore old family photos and organise your photos on your device.

Photo file type

Your computer saves photos as different kinds of files. Different files types are suited for different reasons. File types include: BMP, JPG, PNG.


Also called a 'personal Identification number'. A number used by an individual to identify themselves for the purposes of accessing accounts or validating electronic transactions.


The gesture used to zoom in or out on the screen of a mobile device. Using the forefinger and thumb, pinch them together whilst lightly touching the screen to zoom out (make an object smaller in size), or slide them apart whilst lightly touching the screen (pinch outwards) to zoom in (make an object larger).


A social networking site that lets you record things of interest for future reference, and share them with others. It's like an online scrapbook where you collect images of things you like.


A podcast is an audio recording of a show that can be downloaded from the internet to listen to at any time on your device. It can be in the form of a conversation, interview or story on just about any topic.

Pointing device

A device used to point at things on the screen. See mouse, touchpad and trackpad.

Power button

The button that turns a computing device on and off. On most devices, it looks like a circle with a line through it.


A piece of software designed to fulfil a purpose. For example, a web browser is a program used for browsing the internet. A program is also called an application, or app.